Has anybody started doing their own fret work? I've been considering buying a fret leveling beam as it doesn't seem all that hard to do and the more I do it I'm sure the better you get. Until now I've had my local shop do it....
If you're willing to try, mess up and learn, and maybe have to have it re-fretted to correct your mistakes, go for it. Start with a guitar that's not as precious.Has anybody started doing their own fret work? I've been considering buying a fret leveling beam as it doesn't seem all that hard to do and the more I do it I'm sure the better you get. Until now I've had my local shop do it....
I don't believe Stu-mac has the highest quality tools and their prices are usually twice what you can get elsewhere. Quality tools are made from materials that are durable and to very strict tolerances. I've built a small toolbox of luthier tools from various places and have not had to spend a ton of money to get them. You can get a sanding block from a countertop shop. Just ask for a scrap 2"X12-18" piece of granite or quartz. Most will just give them to you. Fret crowning file is highly recommended and will probably be the most expensive tool you'll purchase.. Depending upon how much material is removed, leaving the tops of the frets flat can lead to intonation headaches. For fret polishing, I use the MIcro Mesh sanding system with the 3"x6" sheets, does a fantastic job.
Biggest piece of advice, tape your fretboard and the top of the guitar before beginning any sanding or filing. Blue painter's tape works great.
ebay is a great place to find good deals on things like the notched straight edge and sanding block. With ebay though you need to double check the item description, read feedback and make sure they have a return policy. Personally, if a seller does not have a return policy for a brand new item, I won't buy it no matter how good the deal. I will also avoid sellers in China and Indonesia. Hardware stores like Home Depot and Lowes have tools that can be easily modified, turning them into more expensive specialty tools. It doesn't take a lot of tools to get good results. My refret/fret level "toolkit" consists of:Could share some of your sources? I’ve also purchased some tools and supplies from Luthiers Mercantile. Some of StewMac items are a bit pricey and with a bit of detective work can be found cheaper, some, not so. I purchased their diamond fret crowning files around 25 years ago and they’re still doing the job. I’d say that that is a pretty good value. If I’m thinking about purchasing one of their specialty tools, I’ll read the reviews to see if it looks like it’s worth it and also do a little YouTube searching to see if there are any DIY alternatives. I did see an old Dan Erlewine video where he’s using a notched, cut-off T square to check a fingerboard for relief. These are definitely cheaper than buying the StewMac metal version.
It is much more precise and gives a lot more control of the amount of fret material you're removing. It's also easier to see the areas you're targeting and maintain the same amount of pressure over the entire width of the block. Using a radiused block could cause the fret radius to shift or angle either way from the nut if you're not careful.Maybe I'm dense... But how are you using a flat sanding block with a radiused fretboard?