I have been testing diffrent glues for frets..
"Super glue" low viscosity Cyanoacrylate
Hot hide glue with high gram strength.
Solvent based cellulose adhesive
Simple test. Cut 4 slightly oversized fret slots so the glue is doing almost all the work, put in a fret in each slot :) with the different glues, I used a spring type fish scale to pull each fret out, then re-test the best result..
The Super glue did best, it gave way at 10 kilo grams of pulling force,
the Hot hide glue at 8 Kg and the cellulose adhesive at 6 Kg..
The re-test of the super glue gave same result..
Simple is good!
Cool and well done. We've glued in thousands of frets with fresh, quality water thin CA with never an issue.
We also clamp our frets when gluing and since we use CA we can use accelerator too after the clamp is in place and then move on to the next one in only a minute. It's also important to spray the accelerator in a direction that does not contaminate the next fret that is going to be clamped and glued.
By the way we have experiments and tests happening in our shop all the time so you would be right at home at our place.:)
I've been using CA for frets since my first day working at a repair shop in 1995. 21 years and thousands of frets later, I've never had a guitar come back with a loose fret. I wouldn't be in the guitar repair business if it weren't for superglue. It's also fantastic for filling chips in rosewood or ebony.
Hey Christopher. We have a famous player who decided to reglue his battery bag in his serial number 001 of his signature edition Martin (his signature...).
He glued his hand to the top of the guitar....
Once he got his hand off his skin was still on the top of the one of a kind Martin.... He was also embarrassed and skinless on the palm of one of his hands..... The guitar is also not naturally finished making damaging the finish a nightmare if it happened.
We wet sanded his skin off the thing and he was thrilled. We also replaced and reconfigured his battery bag velcro.
Moral of the story - super glue needs to be in the right hands and then it certainly is a great tool for us...:)
PS: We've never had a fret come loose to our knowledge either.
Moral of the story - super glue needs to be in the right hands
And not on the wrong hands.
At the repair shop I trained at in Tulsa, one of the guys who worked there glued his thumb to a Les Paul. It was pretty much the same scenario - the skin of his thumb stayed on the guitar, but we were able to wet sand it and polish it out. Another time the boss transferred some thin CA into an empty superglue solvent bottle without labeling it, and an employee squirted it onto his hands in an attempt to remove some CA residue. His eyes got huge as he stood there with his hands smoking as the glue kicked off.
I've heard people say that using superglue for frets is a dirty trick to play on the next repairman, but it turns loose almost instantly with a little heat from a soldering iron, which should be standard procedure for removing frets regardless of which type of glue is holding them.
Yes you should heat up any frets you want to remove! And that the frets say in place are way more important then what the next repairman has to deal with!
Be carefull with the CA people :)
We teach fretting to Luthiers from all over the world. Five times a year folks come to our shop for a busy weekend of fretting, lectures, set-up, and a good time too.
We use and teach CA and it's our experience as you said that the frets still come out very easy and clean with heat AND the slots are not all filled up with old glue either. CA works great and believe me I am not a CA fan either for Lutherie but it does have it's uses.
I'll add that water thin CA also seems for lack of a better word stratify... the fret slots wicking into the pores and likely making chipping less likely in the removal process when it's time for a refret. That's our experience too.
Since I'm usually trying to pull frets from old, dried out fingerboards. I chip out slots a lot. I sometimes use a run of water thin CA along the edges of the frets before I try pulling them. With heat, it really doesn't get in the way, ( as long as it's dry before heating the area) and it really can help cut down on the chipping.
I haven't glued myself to anything else in a long time but I compensate by sticking my fingers together with appalling regularity. Acetone is my friend so I haven't lost any skin over it in a long time.