FRETS.NET

Newbie here, wanted to say hi. Also, question about ideas for a work bench.

I came across this forum and thought it would be a great place to learn, especially after I read some threads. 

I've always been interested in guitar repair, been doing my own minor repairs for years.  But now I'm really getting into it and would like to tackle some more difficult tasks: fret work, nut making.  I usually just install my own pickups and do my own setups.

I became increasingly interested in doing fret work after a HORRIBLE fret job done in my home town by a so called "luthier."  I didn't know any better at the time, as it was the first guitar (Fender American Tele) I've ever had refretted.  The guy cut the tangs back too far, and some of the ends are sprung up.  I had jumbo frets installed, which was a big mistake.  After buying a Gretsch a few months back I came to realize that I like medium jumbo, or something of the like.  The jumbo frets are just too tall and wide for me.  I figured this would give me a good opportunity to do my own fret job.  I have a second Fender Tele neck that needs some fret leveling and recrowning, so I thought maybe I would start there and get some practice with the level, recrown. 

I'm having trouble finding something suitable for a good work bench at home.  Nothing seems big enough, or it's too big.  I live in a condo, and I was planning on putting it in the finished basement, so it can't be all that big.  Any suggestions, links, websites would be great. 

Looking forward to learning all I can.

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You don't need much room to do frets and nuts. Something sturdy and made of wood to screw stuff onto ... maybe with a good vise? For a fun comparison attached is the fretting bench at the Fender Custom Shop in Corona, CA.

Thanks, Tom for the visual idea. Looks simple enough, and with enough space for almost anything.
My first bench was an old wood desk I bought at a thrift shop. Cheap and sturdy with lots of drawers. I put plywood top on it that hung out over the side for vices, clamps, etc...
Make sure you get something that's well supported in the middle of the bench. Hammering in frets can make lesser benches bounce up and down in the center--something you don't want (less energy is transferred into the fret). I wedge a 2x4 between the floor and the center of my bench when I'm fretting, which helps keep things sturdy, along with a bag of lead shot.
You might consider keeping it simple until you get deeper into your hobby. By then you'll have a list of things you like and don't like about your first bench. Using an old (sturdy) kitchen cabinet as a bass with a shop made 3/4" plywood top would provide more than enough rigidity for an instrument bench.

The top of my instrument bench is 29" deep, 55" wide and 36" tall. More than enough room for me and a comfortable height.
Hi Craig - welcome to the wonderful and frustrating hobby of guitar repair-- I made a shop out of a cargo trailer and it was only 76 sq.ft. total, and I made complete guitars in that shop so you don't need a bunch of room to start off.
I now have a shop that is 4oo sq.ft. and sometimes I think I need more room still....
I had a kitchen cabinet and a Formica top for a bench and fret work was done on it. (beating & stuff too)
best to you in your new adventure and please be safe in what you do...
Peace, Donald
I'm also a newbie here on this site but enjoying it! Here is a link for workbench you can build on your own. http://www.azwoodman.com/how-to-build-workbench.html

Mark
Thanks for the link, Mark. That looks like an easy build, and easy plan modification to fit my needs.
I'm on my 4th or 5th bench - I always want more room. I'm using a sturdy 4x8 table, divided longways into two 2ft wide by 8 ft long sections. The divider is 1ft tall and used for hanging tools. One side of the table is mounted a Ridgid oscilating sander, a drill press, and a router table is built in to the table top. A shop vac sits on the shelf underneath. I have room to clamp my fret press or other tools as needed - which are also stored under nearth. The other side of the table is left open for instruments. I have a fret bender tool mounted on one end and a vise on the other. I can have 2 guitars on the table if I want to but usually I just have one. There is lots of room on the underside of that 4x8 top to store tools, wood, etc. This table is in the middle of my shop and my other tools are around it.
Byron
Wetumpka AL
I built my bench to be the full length of the shop, and has two different surfaces. One is an old smooth black hard surface from an old science room counter. The other primary section will have a carpet remnant or similar softer surfaceo on it, I just haven't put that on yet. In the meantime, my primary working spot is actually the top of my table saw.

I've found the following things:

1. figure out where you actually DO most of your work, and build your bench there. Don't build it where you THINK you want to work- Build it where you always gravitate to.

2. DON'T build it too big. I thought (and usually still subscribe to) the "bigger is better" channel. So, built mine waaaaay big. Looks cool when you're done, but the reality is you'll find that you stack up all kinds of 'stuff' that just takes up room.

3. Try to build one simple jig or permanent pattern every time you either repair something for someone, or make an instrument. Or, at least find,build, or choose a specific spot for a given tool, supply, or piece of equipment. Become anal about putting it back in that spot when you're done.

4. Don't try to do it all at once, and don't try to do it all first. All the benches that we see of great luthiers weren't developed over a long time of work, experience, and need. So, just figure out where you like to work the most. Then build a simple bench.....could be just a piece of plywood with some guides and spacers to fit over your saw. Let it grow as you and your ideas, needs, and wants grow.

Welcome to the forum! I think you'll like it here, and hopefully learn a lot!

Dave Fox
Good info Dave, thank you. I like the idea of having a couple different small stations on one bench, good idea. One side the general work bench, the other side for electronics/electronics supplies.

Thanks a lot everyone, I like your ideas!
you know I always use my table saw for my table ,reason being that I don't always need a table saw blade to do the work ,so I lower it and some times place a 1 inch mdf jack and the box table top micarta and mdf combo it lets the projects slide well like when I set up my binding jig, I do it on top of my table saw .And all the time you will see incoming tools supplies going in and out via sitting on top of this saw till I find the appropriate place to put what ever I set on to like a table work station that your thinking of .hey check this out a work bench for my bench top tools that bolt down like a sanding station space saver, I posted this cool Craftsman 3 way rotary table I just pull the chain in the middle and flip to the next station with a new sander so I can flip back and fourth like making a stat nut I flip over from my drum sander to use the disc sander back and fourth at will .hope this gives you an idea for a space saver why not build your own 3 way rotary table and a table saw comes in handy it is not just a saw it is many things i use it for good day frets

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