Luthier Tips du Jour Mailbag - LMI Fret Tang Filer

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In this episode, Robbie O’Brien demonstrates how he removes fret tangs on fret wire used on bound fretboards.

Video Transcription

[on-screen text reads: Luthier Tips du Jour Mailbag]

Mailbag question: How do you remove fret tangs on fretwire used on bound fretboards?

Robert O'Brien: Today's Tips du Jour mailbag question comes from California. "Dear Robert, I like the look of a bound fretboard, however, I always have trouble cleanly removing the portion of the tang on the fret wire that extends over the binding. How do you do this in your shop? Terry in California."

Installing Fretwire on a bound fretboard creates a problem for us builders. We have to remove that portion of the tang, like you said, that goes over the binding, but you also want a nice clean look. How do you remove it?

Using the LMI Fret Tang Filer

In my shop, I use what's called a fret tang filer. I got this tool from LMI. It allows me to very quickly and precisely remove that portion of the tang that goes over the binding, allowing for a nice clean look along the edge of the fretboard. Let me show you how I do that.

So Terry, I simply place a piece of pre-cut fretwire into the jig. I previously set this jig up. I place a spacer in there, in this case the width of my binding, push the slider up against it, remove the spacer, and then simply run the fretwire along the edge of the file. Usually about four or five passes and it's done. You can now see that the tang has been removed cleanly and precisely right up to the correct depth I need, so there's no waste on the end of the fretwire, and also right up to the body of the fretwire. So now just turn it around, wash, rinse, and repeat. That's all there is to it.

Terry, I hope this information helps you. I know that when I started using the fret tang filer from LMI the quality of fret work on my bound fretboards went up tremendously and I think you'll find the same, so happy building.

[on-screen text reads: More Luthier Tips and online courses available at Private and small group guitar building and finishing instruction available.]



Robbie O'Brien

Luthier and Instructor, Lutherie Academy