My fret crowing files are getting worn and I also need to add additional files for different widths of wire.

To date I have used the Stew-Mac diamond files ground down a bit to reach lower frets and mar the board less or hopefully not at all.  I've been happy with them except that one of my files needs to be rocked or it leaves the crowns looking like a school bus roof....

Before I invest in several new files I wanted to check-in with the repair pros here ans ask you what you use, do you like it, do you do any modifications and if so what modifications, etc?


(Thanks in advance not this is Africa.... from the film Blood Diamond...)

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I've primarily used the original 300 grit S-M diamond file since its introduction.  At this point, it's seen its better days.

A few years ago, I was in a small town hardware store that looked like it was right out of the 60's.  I immediately head to the "file" section and found a sealed NOS box of 6" Nicholson Cantsaw files.  I bought them all for $2@ since that was the original asking price.

Anyway, since then I've been using them (w/safe edges) for the majority of my fret shaping work.  Of course, there are always unique situations where other files are used, but mostly it's the Cantsaw files.

I also use them regularly for other shop chores and find them incredibly versatile.

I'd love to see someone develop a conventional toothed file (or a diamond file) with a sharp inverted "V" profile that would taper the fret on its vertical axis which would leave it ready for rounding using Frank Ford's "final dressing" process. I've attached a drawing to show you what I mean.Best of luck, Hesh  (-:

More sincere thanks to you guys for the great replies!

John said "Oh. I don't do that it leaves marks on the fingerboard"

Yeah there is that "skill" factor too.... ;)

Don't ask me how I know this but a single edged razor blade makes a great little scraper to freshen up the fret board AND.... remove marks....

I use my first gen Stewmac diamond file that has worn down into a pretty sweet state. I remember the guy who trained me back in '93 had a toothed file that was so worn and left the frets so nice that there wasn't much sanding to be done to bring the frets to a shine.

I like the StewMac diamond 300 grit, and then take out the scratches with Simonds Nucut file I have had forever. Wish I could get another.
It is worn but leaves an almost polished finish.

They have some Nucut files on eBay.

Unfortunately, none of them are fret files.

Grobet makes both toothed & diamond fret files in their Swiss made line. They're super expensive but their "typical Grobet quality & durability" probably make them a 'best in class' investment.

And Robbie, thanks so much for the link to the Little Bone products (on the previous page).  I was unaware of them. They're definitely worth looking in to. They appear to be a logical evolution of the fret file.

Thanks again, Robbie & take care man (-: 

Hi Hesh, I use the StewMac fret crowning files then finish with their fret erasures. But I only do my own if I was in this as a business I would explore other avenues


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