installing frets with a chisel rather than a saw?

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installing frets with a chisel rather than a saw?

Postby Claude Misukiewicz » Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:55 am

Hello folks,

On a lap steel build, I'm thinking about using fret wire, which I've never used before. I'm not using a separate fret board, so I can't use a fret saw (because the neck is wider than the fret board would be). So I'm wondering whether I could make slots in the right places with a fine chisel and then hammer the fret wire in place with some super glue?
Could that work?

On the other hand, maybe I could do the same thing with flat jewelry wire. Inlay it and sand it flat, which sounds appealing to me. Any advice for that approach?

Thanks for any advice or comments.
Best wishes,
Claude
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Re: installing frets with a chisel rather than a saw?

Postby Barry Daniels » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:11 pm

Using a chisel to do fret slots would require very fine work. Can you chisel a straight slot that is 0.025" wide and about 0.075" deep with straight walls? I'm not sure I could do that.

Since this is a lap steel you don't actually need frets sticking up do you? I think what you actually want are fret markers that are flush with the fretboard, right? Those are usually done with flat jewelry wire (like you suggested) or plastic purling. These are glued into slots and then leveled.

I think your issue is trying to cut a blind slot in a wider board. That is usually done with a dremel or a fret saw that has been shortened. Here is a link to a photo at StewMac.

http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tools/Tools_by_Job/Tools_for_Fretting/Refret_Saw.html

You probably don't need a saw with that short of a blade. I would take a regular fret saw and shorten the blade to about 3/4" or 1" long. The blades are a press fit into the spine of the saw so they can be pulled out and reinserted after cutting to length.
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Re: installing frets with a chisel rather than a saw?

Postby Claude Misukiewicz » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:52 pm

Thank you very much Barry for the information!
I think I'll try the inlay approach.
Claude Misukiewicz
 
Posts: 21
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Re: installing frets with a chisel rather than a saw?

Postby Freeman Keller » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:04 pm

I haven't built a lap steel (yet) but I have made a couple of Weissenborns. For the frets on them I cut the slots as usual (0.020 inch), then bound the boards to match the binding on the body and installed 0.020 maple purfling material in the slots with a drop of CA. Planed everything down flat

Image
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Re: installing frets with a chisel rather than a saw?

Postby Brian Evans » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:13 am

FWIW, and only a suggestion, but a local guy to me advertised just this morning on Facebook that he would CNC slot a fretboard with blind slots, any dimensions, any scale length, you supply the wood, $30. Maybe you can find a service like that?
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