When we’re re-fretting a bound fingerboard in our shop, we take a few extra steps to make it right. You can’t just cut the binding to make room for the fret tang – you have to cut the tang back to overhang the binding.
Here’s a shot that illustrates the issue:
You can see that the fret tang needs to clear the binding – and needs to be cut back enough so that it doesn’t push the binding away from the fingerboard when the fret is pressed in. We cut the fret tang back with a special tool designed expressly for this purpose:
One quick snap, and viola!:
Now that the tang is cut back, the fret can just be pushed in, right? Not so fast! Is that fret tang completely gone? Look closely…
Even though it’s only a few thousandths of an inch, that remaining fret tang will make it impossible to make the fret end lay down perfectly flat on the fingerboard. So, in a somewhat tedious process, we file each fret end to make sure that the fret end is totally smooth:
NOW the fret is ready to press and glue. This fret nipping and filling process takes us about 45 minutes of extra work, but it’s worth doing to make the fret job as best possible. The devil is in the details, man!