I have refretted a couple of guitars & mandos using the hammer method but am no expert at it (yet!). Then I watched the Stew Mac video on using a fret press and they sure made it look easier and more accurate than hammering. It's probably my lack of experience, but I always have loose frets and usually need to dress the frets after hammering them in.
For you expert fretters out there, what are the pros & cons of each method? If you were to buy the fret press tools, what would you buy? I will be refretting acoustic and electric guitars, some with through necks, some with bolt-ons, some with dovetails. Also mandos, banjos ... just about anything with frets.
Thanks for your input!
Would a sand bag work just as well as a bag of buckshot?
I have an 8" piece of 4X4 covered with an old leather guitar strap I use for a neck support. I hammer directly over it. I've never used a press, but I can feel the feedback through my hammer when the fret is "home." I use a half bag of shot on an acoustic body to hold it steady and keep the noise down, Wear earplugs!
I bought a set of the stew mac fret press cauls on ebay and even bought an arbor press from harbor freight but just haven't gotten around to setting it up. I want to give it a try. But even if it the cats meow you still need to learn the hammer in method since you can't always press the frets in on the upper frets on an acoustic. Yeah yeah I know stew mac has a special tool for that too and it cost another $300. I should also say the hammering method allows me to relieve some stress. I kinda find it relaxing....Mike