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Fret Tang Grinding Jig

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1. A Thin Fretboard presents certain challenges for a guitar repair person. This rosewood fretboard is pretty thin from previous refrets. Replacing this vintage strat’s fret- board is not an option as it would devalue the instrument and add sig- nificant labor costs to the repair bill. 2. Fretwire Tang is the subsurface part of the fretwire that holds the fretwire in the fretboard’s fretslot. This fretboard is thinner than the tang of the fretwire. The solution is to reduce the depth of the fretwire tang. This task is tedious when accomplished with a mill file or a slow speed grinding wheel, especially when the fretwire is made from hard stainless steel. In order to save some time, and wear and tare on my fingers, I’ve created a jig to accurately and quickly modify the fretwire with a dremel tool.
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3. A Stock Dremel Tool Circle Cutter will serve as a sliding depth adjuster. 4. Stewart MacDonald’s Fret Bending Tool will feed the fretwire through the jig.
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5. Drilling Additional Mounting Holes in the fret-bender will add stability to the jig. 6. Fret Crown Guides will stabalize the wire as it passes through the Jig. The guides are made from gnurled brass nuts. I’ve “turned” them on the drill press with a swiss needle file. This opens up the guide to accept fretwire with jumbo crowns without binding the action of the jig.
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7. Here’s the Jig in Action. By loosening the brass nuts on the circle cutter I can slide the dremel to adjust how much of the tang is ground off. I make multiple light passes. 8. The Crown Guides are adjustable to accept the various radii of pre-bent wire that are used on guitars.
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9. The Pre-Bent Fretwire coils around the dremel on the infeed and around the handle of the fretbender on the outfeed. 10. The Tungsten Carbide Cutter is the only dremel bit I’ve found that’s up to the task of grinding stainless steel fretwire without quickly wearing out. The product number of this type of cutter is 9901 and is widely avail- able at hardware and home improve- ment stores.
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11. Custom Ground Fretwire makes refretting this guitar possible in an accurate and efficient manner.