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StewMac Z-File Fret Crowning Files

5.0
  • 53 Reviews
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StewMac Z-File Fret Crowning Files Original Z-File

Original Z-File

Item # 5082
In stock, ready to ship!

$94.40

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StewMac Z-File Fret Crowning Files Centered Z-File

Centered Z-File

Item # 5080
In stock, ready to ship!

$94.40

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StewMac Z-File Fret Crowning Files Safe Edge Z-File

Safe Edge Z-File

Item # 5081
In stock, ready to ship!

$94.40

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StewMac Z-File Fret Crowning Files, Set of 3

Set of 3

Item # 5083
In stock, ready to ship!

List Price $283.20
Your Price $266.21

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StewMac Z-File Fret Crowning Files

About This Item

Next generation fret files
A whole new idea for crowning frets. Z-Files™ won't mess up your carefully-leveled fret tops because they only touch the sides of the frets.

Won't cause string buzz
After you've leveled the frets for uniform height, your crowning file restores their rounded shape, leaving the thinnest possible line of leveled surface on top. This is when other crowning files can accidentally scrape the fret top, creating a buzzing low spot.

Z-Files don't have this problem—because they don't touch the top of the fret.

    Z-File features:
  • Fast cutting 300-grit diamond abrasive
  • Unique angled cutting edges work the sides, not the tops

Three versions for any working style:

Original Z-File
Two diamond edges speed the work, shaping both sides of the fret at once. Offset angles shape the fret higher on one side while the other side works lower. Use one side of the file, then flip it to the other side.

Safe Edge Z-File
Offset shape like the Original, but with a smooth, non-cutting safe edge to ride on the fret, guiding your strokes as you cut just one side of the fret.

Centered Z-File
Two diamond edges in a centered V-shape cut both sides of the fret at the same angle. Simple to use and fast working.

Sold individually or SAVE when you buy the set of 3 files.

Works on stainless frets, too!
All of our tools are suitable for use on stainless-steel fretwire, with the exception of our Fret Tang Nippers. Modern stainless-steel fretwire is known to be harder than the traditional nickel-silver blends, but our own shop experience indicates the wire does not cause premature wear of files or sandpapers.


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5.0
  • 4.79 average rating from 53 reviews
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5.0

Original Z File. GREAT tool!

By

Verified Buyer


I started with the offset files a few years ago, then transitioned to the 3 cornered file. This Z file produces similar results as the 3 cornered file with MUCH more control. No slipping and tearing the tape or scratching the fretboard. I love how you just flip it over to do the other side. Just a fantastic invention.

5.0

AMAZING!!!!

By

Verified Buyer


this is by far a must have tool in every guitar workshop.
i chose the Original Z-File and i get a beautiful and super fast results every time.

5.0

Great tool!

By

Verified Buyer


Very fast compared to the more traditional crowning tools I've used before. A slight learning curve in terms of rounding the fret but once you get the feel it makes crowning a LOT easier.

4.0

Brilliant tool with one annoying flaw

By

Verified Buyer


I bought it and replaced my old crowning tools. The change over was a cinch. The tutorial video could have been a bit more in depth with how to correctly use them to profile frets, especially extra jumbo ones that have been dressed once or twice before.

The biggest issue I have with it is trying to use it on acoustics over the body. The length of the file combined with the lack of contoured end means you can't dress the whole length of the fret but have to take it from each side. If they made this with curved ends like the the diamond file, or even halved the length of it, it would allow for dressing of frets closer to the body far easier.

5.0

Great file

By

Verified Buyer


This has to be the best tool I have bought for this job so far. Perfect crowns every time.

5.0

Excellent tool. You can expect great results if you take your time working each fret.

By

Verified Buyer


After many years of relying upon traditional files, using this tool really simplified the process of obtaining the thinnest possible crown tangent point, right down the midline of each fret. I did notice that with continued use, the internal notch of the tool can accumulate material (which is likely a mixture of filings and agglutinated sharpie ink. If not removed, this gunk can prematurely remove the sharpie permanent marker line you've placed on the crown of the fret, making it impossible to know how much material you've removed without redrawing the line. For this reason, I recommend cleaning the tool every two to three fret dressings. A convenient way to clean the tool is with Frog Masking tape. The high adhesion/low residual potential of this tape is ideal for pressing into the Z-File's grooves with your finger nail. After a few cycles of doing this, the file's slotted area becomes clean again. With respect to attaining the thinnest possible crown line, it really helps to use reading glasses and additionally, there's nothing wrong at all with re-applying the sharpie line, mid-process, just in case some of the marker has worn off.

With respect to the use of the file, I recommend low working pressure, as the diamond surface is already quite efficient at removing material. There is no reason to apply excessive forces, as this will only risk removing more material that intended. Also, it is helpful to frequently switch file sides, so as to obtain the most symmetrical final crown. This is particularly if you are new to fret crowning, as it is remarkably easy to over-crown one side, given how quickly diamond abrasives remove material.

Bottom line is that if you take your time with this tool, you will obtain phenomenal result. Just remember to 1) clean the tool often, 2) switch file sides often, 3) use light filing pressure, 4) re-ink the crown surface as needs and finally, 4) use reading glasses of loupes, so you can clearly see the width of the remaining crown line.

As a final tip, after dressing the frets, some final sanding with 2000, 3000, and 5000 grit sandpaper, followed by polishing with automotive paint rubbing compound will obtain absolutely mirror finish results, while at the same time ensuring that the fret level of each fret is not an iota below the original point obtained after initial fret leveling with your fret leveling file.

Keep in mind that polishing compound makes a mess, as it takes off metal, and in so doing, creating a black residue. For this reason, make sure to have the whole fretboard masked off, with only the frets showing, whenever you are sanding (fret leveling tool), crowning (Z-tool) or polishing (2000 grit, 3000 grit, 5000 grit sandpaper, automotive rubbing compound). This will protect the fretboard from becoming soiled with machined metal filings.

5.0

20/10 - Perfect

By

Verified Buyer


I just did a level & crown on a 1963 guitar using this file. It came out absolutely perfect and I could not be happier about it. I put this task off for many years because I was too afraid to do it to such a rare instrument. I've done a few jobs with the Z-File on some cheaper guitars as a test and they all came out great.
The file still seems sharp and works great. I hope Stewmac keeps making them and doesn't change a thing about these files for many years to come. I will get another for sure once mine wears out.

5.0

StewMac Z-File Fret Crowning Files

By

Verified Buyer


After spending years learning to crown with traditional triangle files, these modern Z Files are a game changer. Crowning has never been faster or more accurate 10 out of 10

5.0

Wonderful tool!

By

Verified Buyer


This is huge. I bought this on an impulse, trying to up my fretting game. The results exceeded my expectations. Much more precise fret shapes.

5.0

Brilliant Tool

By

Verified Buyer


No better tool out there. I purchased the original version. I use a reinforced mechanics glove to hold the file. Try it, you will minimize hand fatigue. I also wear cheap 5x reading glasses to really focus on the task. Go slow.

Showing 10 of 53 Read more reviews >>


StewMac PDF Catalog, page 12 See StewMac Z-File Fret Crowning Files
on page 12 of our StewMac Digital Catalog