I was just looking for everyone's two cents on a couple of products.  I've had a lot of work in lately for leveling, recrowns, and a refret here and there.  One rosewood boards, I can usually get away without masking off the board.  On maple, I tape off and do all of my polishing following the direction of the fret. Though they may not be the intended product, I love the 3m micro polishing papers.  I'd love to cut down on time, but mainly the amount of stress i'm putting my body through.  I should also add that prior to polishing, I leave off at a 300 grit diamond file. How are...

1. Fret Polishing wheels for Dremel-looks great, but I imagine it requires patience to keep them from skipping and causing more work.

2. Stewmac's Fret Erasers- Looks pretty straight forward

3. Steel Fingerboard Protectors- Seems like a waste since I requires one hand to keep it in position and needs to constantly be moved from fret to fret.

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Pink wheels available.  See attachment.  You will need to open the site to find how to order the pink ones.



Russell, thanks for this link. Not sure these will be the same product but sure worth a look, have you tried them?

As a tangent to the thread topic, does anyone here have tips for avoiding a bad back? I was dressing and polishing stainless frets today and by the end of it my back was yelling at me. As if sciatic pain, calcium deposits in my hip, and occasional wrist problems isnt enough.
Forgive me if you are already doing all or some of these things but this is how I reduce back soreness for myself.

Spread your legs to lower your body and work on a taller bench. Also, push your tailbone out as you bend over. You can also lean on your bench with your left elbow (assuming you're right handed) as you inspect your work.

The best advice, simulate string tension and prep your fret boards with those long stew mac radiused sanding beams. This will reduce the amount of recrowning needed.

I have rubber fatigue reducing mats where I can't use a chair and wear gel pack industrial shock absorbing safety boots with ankle support and thick woolen sox.   I broke my back with Moto X and now have a titanium knee as well.........both these things tell me when I'm not paying attention.   I have from time to time needed a Thermoskin back support (like a big neoprene kidney belt) when the seasons change.

All these thing work for me because I know what happens when I do not use them.  

Also I have added large handles to my work tools (such as fret files and MM Polishing sticks) which gives me a bit more control and a larger area to spread less force over which reduces joint pressure in the upper body.   

Finally, It's relatively easy to teach yourself to become ambidextrous and this spreads the load across both shoulders, rotator cuffs and rotates the spine in both directions to minimise local pressure and spread the wear and tear. 

If you suffer from arthritis in the fingers wrists and elbows learning to work alternate handed is an absolute blessing - takes a couple of days to think about it and rejig your brain and then a bit of practice - try it, persevere  and hopefully you'll be surprised.  



Rusty, I had no idea about your back! That must have been a horrible time in your life. I truly can't imagine what you AND your family must have been going through. Did you have to do the whole body cast thing?


Yeah dirtbikes can be risky business. I was lucky when I had a head on collision on a blind turn. Just a little whiplash. Thats off topic though.

Ive switched to better shoes rather than my moccasins which helps the hips and lower back. I have an anti fatigue mat, but just a thin one. Maybe Ill get a back belt next. Gotta remind myself more of good posture and stretching though.

Hi Kerry,

Nah, thanks for the kind thoughts, I wasn't complaining I was just amusing myself with some reflection about previous times.  Busting myself up was when I was a tad younger, I only mentioned it to discouraged others from doing dumb things on motorbikes. 

As is said: If I'd known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of my self when I was younger.   Now, I'm just waiting for some dude to invent titanium knuckles so I can do my fretwork without feeling the burn.  

It's all good and it's fortunately shown me some good stuff to alleviate the common maladies that occur in our profession.  Thanks mate.

Best Regards. 

We don't use any of the OP's list and here's why:

Fret polishing wheels - we have a proprietary, shop-made fret buffing system that after an initial pass with 320 takes the frets to a mirror polish quickly and effortlessly.  Plus we get to run a machine, always a good time...:)

Fret erasers - see above...

Steel finger board protectors - both the old style which is closed on both ends and the new style that is open on one end don't work for us.  Often it's the case that even after modifying and safing our diamond fret crowning files that we want to crown a fret that is pretty low.  Even the only .010" of thickness that these things have can be the difference between being able to crown with our preferred files or not.  Since we safe our files anyway no need to protect the board.

Rusty sorry to hear about your back man!

I also have a bad back , lumbar and thoracic , thats why i ended up working for myself . I made a bench at the height of my bent elbow ( used to be higher but trimmed it down ) I rarely get any lumbar pain now and the thoracic is controlled by a bit of rowing at gym before work . Im 6'2" and i think that is part of it , stooping down . Also guys it is worth checking your leg lengths , at age 50 I discovered my lefty is 8 1/2 mm short so now I put some gasket cork in my shoe and goodbye burning in spine ! Sorry to get off topic a bit .


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