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Thread: about gluing in a fret

  1. #1
    Registered User
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    Default about gluing in a fret

    I am now fretting my fingerboard, before it is on the mando. I had a real problem getting a couple seated , most I did not. One , I did find something in the fret slot, but one I have put in and can't keep it in. When I finally got it in, I was dressing down the sides , and it would fly out, so , if you have to glue , do you go CA, or binding glue? thanks
    Mike Marrs

  2. #2
    Teacher, luthier
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    Default Re: about gluing in a fret

    CA might hold it, or might not. Binding cement is a poor choice.

    A suggestion instead: ding the back of the tang with a cold chisel several times across its length. This is how we expanded the tang's working width before Stew-mac's fret tang crimping tool came along. If the slot is very oversized, you might need to partially fill it with a thin strip of ebony and re-cut it if possible.

  3. #3
    Registered User
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    Default Re: about gluing in a fret

    Water thin CA will wick in there and hold it well. Put lots of auto paste wax on the fretboard on both sides of the fret and mask off the underside of the neck with low tack tape. The idea is, you want it in the slot and nowhere else. Water thin stuff has a tendency to go all over the place where you don’t want it. Don’t ask me how a know that! Once it wicks in then press down on it with a wooden dowel or something similar. Even though it’s supposed to cure in 30 seconds, keep holing it down for at least 2 minutes to make sure.

    I have heard of some using thinned hot hide glue for this job too. But you should clamp longer if you use that. But not binding cement.the reason that’s a bad choice is that it isn’t thin enough to wick.
    Don

    2016 Weber Custom Bitterroot F
    2011 Weber Bitterroot A
    1974 Martin Style A
    Fender Octave Mandolin c.2004-2008

  4. #4

    Default Re: about gluing in a fret

    Agreed, CA glue is correct here. I would personally fill and recut the sloppy fret slot.

    As a case of don't do as I do... I use thin CA glue and often do it unprotected. You have a couple of seconds to wipe it off. I use pieces of paper towel. Be warned, there is a chemical reaction and it can get HOT enough for the paper to smoke and cook to your finger. Aside from this, it is great for cleaning the glue.

    One bead of glue down the fret. A couple of presses on the fret and it will come out the other side. ONE quick clean wipe with the paper towel, Clamp with an Irwin qwik-grip (custom caul). This needs to be done in 3 seconds total. I use both hands. Glue goes on with left hand, push on fret with right hand, grab towel, clean in one stroke, clamp. The whole fretboard only takes a few of minutes.

    The glue bottle needs a small clean tip. Practice cleaning the glue in one swipe. There are no second chances. The paper towel is a catalyst.
    Robert Fear
    http://www.folkmusician.com
    1-800-493-4922

    "Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't.
    " - Pete Seeger

  5. #5
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: about gluing in a fret

    Quote Originally Posted by Martian View Post
    I am now fretting my fingerboard, before it is on the mando. I had a real problem getting a couple seated , most I did not. One , I did find something in the fret slot, but one I have put in and can't keep it in. When I finally got it in, I was dressing down the sides , and it would fly out, so , if you have to glue , do you go CA, or binding glue? thanks
    First find out WHY didn't the wire want to get seated on new board. If you damaged the slots during fretting you may need to repair the slot before trying again. SOmetimes sharpening the leading edge of fret helps. The wire should be pre-bent to correct curve (or slightly overbent) and hammered slowly to prevent bending the fret during installation that will make the ends stick out of slot and hard to keep down.
    I like to remove much of the nibs from tang before installation and use drop of CA at each end of fret (quick wipe with acetone wetted rag to clean the glue immediately after application).
    I would suggest reading ALL of Frank Fords frets.compages about fretting - he covers pretty much all bases of fretting.
    Adrian

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  7. #6

    Default Re: about gluing in a fret

    So I’m hardly an expert, but if the fret pops out then it’s under tension.
    You’re going to have to figure out why. Next question, what kind of fret wire are you using?
    I recently refretted an old bowl back with evo and I definitely needed to overbend the frets just a tiny bit.
    Also there is a small radius on the underside where the tang meets the top of the fret. I understand it’s even worse with stainless fret wire. You may need to remove a little bit of material from the top corner of the slot to make room.
    But still if you have only one fret with a problem then I’d say you’ve done a pretty good job.

  8. #7

    Default Re: about gluing in a fret

    I will not admit to anyone the amount of CA that I use. It is embarrassing. Your problem is quite common and I use CA to fix it. I see this occasionally during a refret but mostly when working on older less expensive guitars from the '60s and 70s in the form of spongy frets. Having everything at the ready, I use a whip tip for water-thin CA and let it wick under the fret. Press the fret down with a purpose made caul which is a drum stick that has been tapered to a point with a relief small concave tip carved at the end using a .050 nut file. I hold it in place for 60 seconds and then hit it with CA accelerator and hold it for 10 seconds more. I use the house brand of accelerator provided by an on-line store -- google "the glue guy". Its not a bad idea to do some protective masking at the fretboard edge as CA can have a mind of its own and go exactly where you don't want it to.

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