Luthier Tips du Jour Mailbag - Gluing Frets

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In this episode, Robbie O’Brien answers a viewer’s question about gluing in frets.

Video Transcription

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

Mailbag question: Do you glue your frets in? If so, what glue do you use?

Robert O'Brien: Today's Tip to your Mailbag question comes from Alabama. "Dear Robert, some people glue their frets in. Do you do this? And if so, what glue do you use for doing it? Matt in Alabama?"

Well, Matt, I have used Titebond, LMI White Glue, and even fish glue for this process. These days I'm using CA glue. I use a brand called Hot Stuff in my shop, and I prefer the thin viscosity for this step. Let me show you how I do it.

Gluing in frets using CA glue

For this, I'm going to be using the thin viscosity CA glue and a pipette to apply it. I find that if I pick the fretboard up like this by the peghead [Robert grabs the peghead and lifts the guitar up in the air a little ways leaving the body sitting on the workbench], that I can wick glue in one side of the fret. Since it's the thin viscosity, it rolls right down in there. I only have to clean up one side of the fret. So I haven't created any more work for myself.

[Robert applies the glue using the pipette down one side of every fret working his way down the fretboard from the peghead towards the soundhole.]

So Matt, thank you for your question. And remember, don't get happy with the glue when doing this step. If you get too much on the fretboard, it rolls off the fretboard, and onto the soundboard, and the technical term for that is bad.

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

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Robbie O'Brien

Luthier and Instructor, Lutherie Academy