I'm in for a new fret file, and I find the idea with Stewmac's Z-file fine. Do you agree? If so: Which of them?

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Yes you do. The Z-file is way better than all the old ones, at least if you're asking me. I also have a couple of fret files that I never use anymore, the Z-file is the one I use now. Also, I might add, the latest and newest Stewmac fret tang nipper is much better than the old ones. Times they are a-changing :-)

That new SM end nipper is a step up. Worth every penny.

Hi, well I've made my mind up and decided not to go for the Z files or the new tang nipper. The tang nipper would cost me around $240. to buy from an Australian Luthier outlet. And I suspect the Z files to be a similar amount. 

I have no problem using the old diamond files. If I angle them on each side of the crown as I file I get a thin black line on the top of the fret. And that is what we are looking for.

The tang nippers are a different story as I  do have an issue with them. I've had them for 20 years and find that at times they will not only remove the tang but also undercut the base of the crown. I had a close look at why and came up with a solution.

This can be seen in the photos. I modified the design so that the part shown comes down and clamps the tang to the edge of the slot surface that the fret crown sits into. This is just ahead of the cutter and allows for a smooth cut. There is still a small area to file down, but I believe that the new tang nipper leaves that too. 

I have also made a fret tang filing jig that speeds up that part of the process. two passes and it's done. 

I'll show the tang filer later. Cheers Taff

Z-File original here (offset). Put off buying one for years and when I did realised I could have saved myself heaps of time over the years where I was using a 3-cornered file. I love this file that much, I even have a spare in my workshop for when my first one becomes useless. Mine is 2 years old and still going strong! Did cost £125 after import tax/shipping for the first one (I am based in England) but still worth every penny...


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