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Thread: Removing frets without damaging fretboard

  1. #26
    Adrian Minarovic
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Banska Bystrica, Slovakia, Europe

    Default Re: Removing frets without damaging fretboard

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Kelsall View Post
    It would be nice if the various manufacturers,especially the companies such as Eastman / Michael Kelly /Kentucky etc., actually stated the way in which their instrument frets are fitted ie.''pressed in or glued''. It's possible that many folk know that info.,but for the uninformed - could somebody with the knowlege please share it ?. I contacted Bruce Weber shortly after i bought my "Fern" for some general info.,& Bruce told me that the Weber mandolins (when he was building them), had pressed in frets. I assume that The Two Old Hippies 'Webers' are the same - are they ?.

    At least if somebody knows how their mandolin frets have been fitted,then the guy doing the re-fret is in with a chance,
    That won't help you much, Heating frets is the way for releasing them no matter if they are glued or not. Some boards are inherently problematic and the only way is to proceed slowly and not lose the bits... From my experience boards with grain not parallel to surface will typically chip badly on one side of slot and the chips will have tendency to separate completely and fall away. Also boards with perfectly radial cut (quartersawn) will be prone to chipping like the one in OP. In those cases drop of water, heating and very slow pulling (I'd call it wiggling-out) helps tremendously.

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  3. #27
    Registered User Drew Streip's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Removing frets without damaging fretboard

    I've done two refrets -- one on a rosewood mandolin board, and one on a synthetic "Richlite" guitar board. Heat and patience are the way to go! By the time I installed new frets, both boards looked brand new.

    It's worth mentioning that both needed some serious planing and sanding, but not so much that I had to deepen the slots.

    I know eventually I'll find a stubborn board -- I just hope at that point I'm not too stubborn to work even more carefully.

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  5. #28

    Default Re: Removing frets without damaging fretboard

    Quote Originally Posted by HoGo View Post
    You are forgetting that instrument undergoes multiple refrets over years and if each lutier thiks like you stated after fourth-fifth refret there would be chipped edge all along the fret slot making even seating of frets hard. These damages are cumulative.
    I don't want the next guy to curse on my work so I try to glue back ALL tiny chips immediately as they appear and fill any missing after init. I run a tiny bead of thin CA along both sides of slot (not inside, but on top of board) so even the fuzzy edges of the "zipper" created by the studs after extraction of fret will solidify and when the board is sanded and edges of slots slightly chamfered the board looks just like new.
    Chamfering the corners of the slots is good advice when you're considering future refrets. Logic tells me that chamfer will reduce (somewhat) chip-out when the fret is pulled. I just use a small 3-corner file, seems to make the installation a little easier too. Of course, if you put in 0.080" EVO wire, it may never need another refret (or at least not for a LONG time)

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