No Sweat Fret

On the first two guitars I built, when it came time to install the frets in the slots I had so carefully sawed into the finger board, I did it the old fashioned (and cheap) way. I fabricated some hardwood blocks with one edge slightly curved to match the radius I had sanded onto the finger board, and then, using a dead blow hammer on the blocks, I carefully pounded each fret home. It was tedious and time consuming.

For the PotatoCaster I used my new fret press. I say new, but I have actually had it for a couple of years. It just hasn’t been used until now. (What can I say? My guitar building goes in spurts.) Let me tell you, That thing is a revelation. It turned a frustrating 2-hour job into a 15 or 20 minute piece of cake. Check it out.


I took 11 photos of this neck and still this is the best I can do. There is something about the way the ebony absorbs the light while at the same time the nickel silver frets and hard maple reflect it that my shitty old phone camera just doesn’t like. I could have broken out the old Sony Cyber-Shot and probably done better, but that would have meant finding the damned thing, and then charging the battery, and I just couldn’t be arsed.

Anyway, as you can see, the shaping on the neck is pretty much complete. I mostly just need to file and burnish the ends of those frets, do a little final sanding, and this baby will be ready for a few coats of clear lacquer. Then it’s on to the part I’ve been dreading, finishing the body. I just know I am going to fuck that up. Maybe I can come up with a small Christmas gift-exchange project to do first, and put it off until after the new year.

One thought on “No Sweat Fret

  1. It looks great, and even though it s a shitty picture, it looks well built. I just love having the right tool for the job. I almost came the first time I used a ring compressor, it changed everything. When I was growing up (probably like you) we didn’t have money to throw around on expensive tools, you made do. I made a bunch of doo by not having the right tools, but the projects were always done below budget.

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