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 new tools ... i havent been faithful.

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madmike

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Location : phoenixville, pa. u.s. of a

PostSubject: new tools ... i havent been faithful.   Fri May 20, 2011 10:10 am

hey guys ... it has been a bit slow here and you all know how that i'm all curious, full of questions and prying for information. with the advent of PXR i've just been searching for more information so i can offer nicer products.

i found another forum about refinishing, and therefore restoration and repairs as well. they are all guitar guys. there are 2 or 3 other bassists and we make fun of the 6 stringers. everyone has been helpful to me there. i wouldnt feel right promoting it here ... but if you had questions, PM me.

i hope you guys dont feel hurt or jealous that i've been seeing other people. ha!

anyhow.

i wasnt happy with the fret dressing i did on mike's bass. there was some fret buzz and i really just wanted to do a better job, but didnt know what i was capable of.

the skill of lutherie has a sort of mystic air about it that is b.s. last week i ripped a FB off and replaced a truss ... pretty easy, but i didnt think i could do it. now the bc rich is giving me fret problems (uneven, cruddy and rusty and improperly seated) ... and i've discussed refretting and fret repairs here before. this always seemed like some pretty specialized work or something that i'de need to spend $500+++ on specialized tools.

i've learned its not true.

i asked those guys and they gave me some direction and encouragement ... and i posted this today .......

__________________________________________________________________________________________

i had some success and i thought i'de put that info up here.

i gotta go with the statements mgeek was making about using the minimum of tools for the job and finding stuff i already have.

i think its a combination of the horrible work that a lot of people do (like that thread with the guy using the epoxy for a "professional" job"), and the flood of information and tools used for marketing like with SM that make something like fretting all mysterious, magical and a bit intimidating. it is detailed work and done improperly can really look like and work like poo, but people have been putting metal frets in wood for hundreds of years. it cant be all that tuff.

i highly recommend everyone do trial and error and practice on a disposable instrument to find out what works and what doesnt.

i didnt take my own advise there. i didnt destroy my irreplaceable bc rich neck, but i did spend countless hours doing research and just going really slow while learning how to do the work yesterday ... i spent about 7 hours doing 2 hours worth of work. now i know and expect next job will go even better.

and i actually had great results.

heres what i used.

someone asked about a fret puller? i used one before. it works too good. being able to pull up like the dickens on the fret had me chip the rosewood fretboard all up ... it was scrap and an experiment so ok. now remember ... some of the frets were falling out and sticking up on the bc rich and thats what i had to fix. i was able to get a trapezoid razor blade under the fret with tape down on the fretboard as a fulcrum. i worked back and forth and back and forth till the fret popped out. I DO NOT RECOMMEND USING A RAZOR BLADE AS A PRYING TOOL! (watch someone slice themselves wide open. i dont want that on my conscience.)

Harbor Freight is awesome! i went to get the 1/2 ton arbor press. after thinking about it ... i dont need 1/2 ton to press a fret in. some talked here about putting the SM cauls on a drillpress ... i need a drillpress anyway. HF had a 8" benchtop 3 HP 5 speed drillpress with a worklight for $80. it cost me $9 to get on a preferred customer list and they immediately knocked 25% off ... so i bought all kindsa other stuff (clamps, sandpaper, diamond file set, 12" bastard, brass/rubber mallet) for under $100. it seems like a half decent drillpress, but to use it as a press, the table is a bit bendy ... i'll hafta sure it up.

brass / rubber mallet. heres where the SM marketing ends for me. those cauls are nice and i'm sure they work great but .... i just whacked those frets in with this hammer. ordering the stuff and setting up the tooling and i'm sure it all works great but once i tried the hammer i thought ... not necessary. i'de seen the video of carl thompson whailing on a bass with a hammer and thought "oh geeze ... he's killing it!", but, if you have a neck properly supported and it doesnt take that much force to seat a fret, it shud be ok. worked great!

i didnt take the advise to use wood glue instead of crazy glue. CG is nasty stuff and i did make some booboos, but it sands away, as this neck has no finish on it and is getting refinished. i was thinking along the lines of hammering, instead of using a caul and holding pressure untill the wood glue grabs ... i needed it to grab immediately. the only real problem i had was where it bleeded under the masks i had on the FB ... more sanding.

diamond files. these frets were cut and trimmed pretty sloppy and inconsistent, not to mention all gunked up and rusty. i used the diamond files to flush the tangs on the ends and round the flush seat corners, as well as using some 400 to clean up around the tang. came out nice. i also used the diamond shape diamond file to bevel the slot in the FB, as well as cleaned it out real good w/ a xacto, compressed air and a piece of 400 doubled over.

12" bastard (i love that). i used this to level the frets. the SM one is what, ??? 6" long? again, i'm sure its a great tool but. this is a nasty file and can do some damage if not careful. i followed direction to straightedge the relief and get the neck straight as possible and to count passes up and down the frets. even moreso ... flip it over and change direction. 5 minutes and all the frets were level and even (but not identical .......)

SM crowning files ... i just cant afford them now. i will get them in the future because its just easier. i tried the "drill a hole in a block of wood, sand it half the hole to the radius and put a piece of 600 on it with spray adhesive." surprisingly ... this worked great. its slow going but i'm really happy with the results.

so i gotta finish crowning them, then i always use masking and 000 and 0000 steel wool to dress and polish them up. i may hit them with some fine sandpaper before the steel wool ... but i'll see what i get.

fret job mysticism removed. just like most stuff i've learned ... its not a mystery and i can do this stuff, mostly with what i have already. last week it was replacing a truss, this week its fret work.

i kept thinking yesterday when i was working ... "its not rocket science smithers, its brain surgery ... now hand me that ice cream scoop!"

thanks for your direction and encouragement guys.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

this is just good advise and information and i wanted it to be available to you guys as well.
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PostSubject: Re: new tools ... i havent been faithful.   Fri May 20, 2011 11:15 am

Thanks for sharing this information, MadMike. After all, knowledge is power! Wink

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