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Refret tips and tricks ?


Aug 28, 2017
Anyone prefer using a hammer to press ? Whats your preferred leveling tool ? Beam , file or radius block/beam ? How do you crown ? Triangle file or concave?
I used the last year and quarter break from gigging to explore and teach my self how to refret my most worn out guitars so being relatively new to this practice I'm interested to hear how others go through this process.
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Active member
Mar 13, 2006
Umm, you just have to muddle through a couple projects. StewMac has a lot of great tools. I recommend pre-bending the frets and using radiused sanding blocks, a fret beveling file and good quality fret nipper to get you going and save you the most time. A complete set of files for edge detail work will come in handy, too. I wouldn't get too hung up on details like crowning style until you get a few under your belt. Getting the refret functional is tough enough.


All Access/Backstage Pass
Mar 11, 2002
get a good end snip and grind flat for zero clearance so you can lift frets. Heat them first with soldering gun.

You'll need at least one good triangle file. You can make your own by grinding off the corners of an off-the-shelf file. You can use that for edge detailing and crowning once you get the hang of it.

I have an arbor press but still prefer a light plastic hammer.

As mentioned, pre-radius the wire first. To make the radius right, I print out a radius on a pieece of paper and match the wire to that. A trick I use is to make them a smaller radius than needed, then they seat great with a good tap in the middle. I like to use cyanoacrylate glue to help hold and fill gaps. no worries for next job as heating kils that stuff and all frets come out the same.

I like a dremel to undercut the tang at the ends for over the binding. I also dremel the long overages before a long bastard file to match the ends to the edge of the board. Less side motion keeps the frets seated better.