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Luthier Tool - Fret Bender

FRET BENDING & FRETWORK

GMC Luthier Tools Fretting Tools include a purpose designed fret bender. The tool is capable of accurately bending single fret lengths. This is made possible by the heavy duty construction and bending roller design which features precision cam type bearings at a minimum spacing apart.

 

There is also an option which also includes supplementary rollers for straightening fretwire. This is advantageous where wire has been supplied overbent in coiled form.

FRET BENDER FEATURES:

  • Close pitch precision bending rollers - permitting single frets to be bent.

  • Dual groove feed wheel - for narrow and wide fretwire types.

  • All stainless steel construction.

SETUP & USE

  1. Any burrs on the leading edge of the fretwire should be removed.

  2. The fretwire tang is located into one of the feed wheel grooves - narrow or wide depending on fretwire gauge.

  3. The handle is turned to pass the wire through the tool.

  4. Pressure is applied to the bending rollers via the top thumb screw in order to achieve the required radius.

Luthier Tool - Fret Bender

FAQ. What radii can it be set up for and how?"

A. As there are numerous fretwire options with respect to gauge and material composition, it is not possible to 'dial up' a previous setting - e.g. small differences in cross section of the crown and barbs will cause the radii to differ between similar gauges. Once the radius has been setup for a particular fretwire type, the tool will maintain this for consistent fretting.

The video demonstrates the rigidity of the tool and principal of use (although the 2nd bend produced in this example is obviously excessive for a conventional guitar).

UNBENDING / COILED WIRE STRAIGHTENING OPTION

This option features 2 additional wheels and is capable of straightening curved wire.  The fret crown is protected from damage by utilising a nylon roller with a concave groove. 

  1. The wire is fed through the underside of the feed wheel. 

  2. The handle is turned to feed the wire through the underside of tool.

  3. Pressure is applied to the unbending rollers via the thumb screw (used in opposite direction to bending).

Unbending Coiled Fretwire

Alternative tool mounting for straightening. Wire is fed from above.

Unbending Fretwire

Coiled/curved wire straightening - wire is fed from right to left underneath the handwheel.

Fret Unbending Wheels

Close up showing the additional rollers for straightening.

FRETWORK / FRET CUTTING JIG

The jig is designed for detail work including fret length cutting and tang removal, enabling these tasks to be carried out using basic workshop tools.

The jig incorporates profiled fret clamp plates with specific fretboard radii. The clamp plates are separated by a spacer which provides a gap/slot for the tang. The design allows for easy removal and seating of the fret and simple clamping of the fretwire tang via the allen screws.

 

The jig can be used in a vice or permanently fixed in a suitable position via the two mounting holes.

 

Guitar Making Tools | Fret Vise
Guitar Repair & Setup Tools | Fret Clamping Jig

The jig plates also provide a useful reference for comparison when forming / bending fretwire.

CUTTING FRETWIRE IN THE JIG

Fretwire can be cut through at the centre of the jig using a fine tooth fretsaw. As the fretwire is clamped on the tang either side of the cut, distortion of the fret ends is reduced and a clean square cut is easily achieved with a saw.

Fret Cutting Jig | GMC Luthier Tools
Pre-bend frets before pressing in

The jig will enable frets to be cut with minimal excess for finishing. 

Guitar Making Tools | Fret Clamping & Cutting Jig
Guitar Making Tools | Fret Tang Removal | GMC Luthier Tools

The fret ends can be deburred in the jig. The tang can be removed with a needle file. The jig should be turned on its side for access.

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