I have always done the old pick, saw, and/or knife cleaning. I am considering checking out the dremel method with the 1/32" bit. I have dremels, a foredom, and a router base. From what I gather reading stuff on the web it seems rather straight forward. Looking for finer points on using this method or any helpful info is much appreciated. My Les Paul needs frets and seems like the perfect candidate.
Those are the correct lengths. They refer to the flute length but the bits will cut a good deal deeper. I typically set the depth ~ .010-015" deeper than than tang depth.
Thanks Mark. I was assuming that to be the case. I appreciate your confirmation.
Update: Thank you, Mark!
I bought the micro endmills. Absolutely superior method! No more wasting time picking, gouging, or sawing old fret slots! Much frustration and effort saved. Perfect results! Thanks again. Tom
Watch Mark's Video!
Thanks for your sound advice Mark. I just never trusted the pick method to get everything out cleanly.
2021 thread resurrection, none of the old links work anymore. Does anyone have an online source to get the proper end mills please? Thank you.
Google micro end mills. They're available from many different vendors. Remember: slowest speed on the Dremel, draw the tool through the slot with authority (comes with practice). Pro tip: for beginners to this procedure, run a new bit against a small piece of 320 grit sandpaper for a couple of seconds to dull it slightly. The bit will follow the slot more accurately.
i've been doing a cheapo version of this idea using tiny drill bits in the same .021" to .023" size in my foredom to clean out slots on bound boards. it works but kind of slowly and the bits constantly break. not a big deal when a pack of 10 is like $5.
these micro endmills are like $15 each, but you say one will last a long time? also, how well do they stay in the slot as opposed to veering off into virgin wood? i also see 2-flute vs 4-flute versions, i wonder if one is less prone to attack new wood than the other?
Thanks for the tip. I have three fret jobs waiting and the parts should be in towards the end of the week. I do a lot of refrets and I am hoping that this will save me time and help me to get cleaner prep jobs.
Frank -Slamo Custom Guitars
It is funny that Frank should resurrect this thread at the moment. I had forgotten about the Dremel method. Just the other day I discovered another tool for this task and found it also seems great for easy fret slot cleanups. Essentially it takes a hook blade like the StewMac one and mechanises it in an oscillating saw. You can buy the blades in any hardware store, mainly used for carpet or cardboard cutting.
I saw it in this video which is not about guitars at all - justing cutting stuff up, But in 60 seconds you will immediately see the potential.
I tried it to clean out the slots in a gummed up fretboard and it was very effective. Also foolproof because unlike with a router type of bit you can’t deviate out of the slot. And in a bound fretboard it runs up to the binding but won’t cut through it. The blades I got have a thickness of only 0.6mm (0.024 inch).