Up to now, I've been using an X-Acto razor saw to clean out fret slots. I also have a small 'fret slot cleaner' tool from Stew-Mac. These work ok, but the problem with them is they have thin kerfs.
I had a bit of a 'what the heck?' moment when I got the package though. It's way bigger than I expected!
It also has a depth adjustment guide thing you can attach to it - I didn't use it this time but if I ever actually make a fingerboard from scratch, that feature will be necessary.
This is really quite a cool tool - but it's scary looking. And super sharp.
If a zombie came up behind me in the Dungeon, I'm pretty sure I could cut its head off with one swoosh. (Although the head would still be alive, of course).
Like a lot of other older guitars I see, this one has a fair amount of wear on the first three frets. But plenty of height left on this one to dress the frets.
A few swipes is really all it takes. I use 320 grit paper for this.
See the cutting lubricant at the left. That stuff is gold. (Actually yellow, but you know what I mean). Great to use on filing jobs like this.
The fret in the center, and the one on the left are almost done. See how there is just a small strip of flat surface at the top? A few passes with the fine file will finish that crown.
By comparison, the one on the right hasn't been touched yet - it's still flat from the levelling.
That's what the crowning is all about - putting a curve on the fret top. (And you thought crowning had to do with royalty).
I'm using the amazing wonderful terrific 'fret erasers' from Stew-Mac.
The name strikes me as funny. I keep using them, but the frets don't get erased. They just get polished. Why are they called erasers?
(It's a joke...ha).
But this is the finished saddle - made from unbleached bone. I polished it up to 12000 grit (crazy, huh?) and then used compound on it. Hard to see in the picture, but it looks like fine jewelry.