Any Thoughts On a Good Crowning File, Aside From A Three Sided File?

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by tmonkjr, Sep 12, 2020.

  1. tmonkjr

    tmonkjr Strat-Talk Member

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    Im looking to purchase a Crowning File, I'm somewhat new to Crowning, but have learned to care for my guitars from a good Luthier who is no longer reachable. Does anyone have any thoughts on what a good first Crowning tool would be, one for a variety of guitars? I'm well aware that Fret gauge has a lot to do with what file, but if there were one, and not a three sided file, triangular file, which would you recommend?
    So far the StewMac Z files are looking good, but each one seems to have a weakness, and they are quite costly. Any thoughts?
     
  2. lbpesq

    lbpesq Strat-Talker

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  3. telepraise

    telepraise Strat-Talker

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    I don't own a Z file but do have diamond crowning files in a couple of different sizes. With the great reviews they get, I'm betting one of the Z files would be a safe bet. Philadelphia Luthier Tools and Supplies has some much more reasonable options. I find 300 grit to be the sweet spot.
     
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  4. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985 Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Stew Mac is crazy. Over $100 for a file?!

    Here are many alternatives.

    https://www.amazon.com/fret-crowning-file/s?k=fret+crowning+file&tag=strattalk05-20
     
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  5. mapleglo

    mapleglo Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    fretting.jpg

    I have a bunch of crowning files. It really depends on what kind of crowning you are doing. If you are doing a complete fret level and then crowning, I'd suggest a standard crowning file, something like one of these. If you are just touching your frets up, those diamond crowning files at the bottom of my pic do a great job.

    However, to be perfectly honest, a standard bastard file (second from the left) will do a good job if you are careful, and develop good technique. The file next to that one (3rd from the left) is a swiss file with a much finer grit, for less severe work. I actually prefer those to the triangular files I have.
     
  6. tmonkjr

    tmonkjr Strat-Talk Member

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    I know its over the top, I dont know about the quality of the other files, thats my only concern. I will have a good hard look, and thanks, for, I just want to buy something that isn't trash, and I sensed I might not have to pay all of that, I'll have a look, now.
     
  7. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985 Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Good files don't really cost that much. There really isn't that much to them. Stew Mac is just way... way over priced.
     
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  8. tmonkjr

    tmonkjr Strat-Talk Member

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    Ive seen many of these files, however, there a very few reviews, so I have no idea of what quality they are, are there one or two brands aside from the StewMac's that you consider to be
    of good quality, like I see you have Hosco, are they decent enough files? I have no reference.
     
  9. tmonkjr

    tmonkjr Strat-Talk Member

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    I bought one triangular file from StewMac, hated it. Im doing a complete Fret level and crowning, and have all the right stuff, up unit the crowning file. I would like to purchase one really good one, that might cover me for awhile until I get a sense, or feel for it, than, I'll have a better idea as to what works. I was considering one of the Z files, or the offset Diamond file, of StewMac, but Ive got no one to give me some direction. I know there are a lot of things to consider, but to get started, I wouldn't mind paying if I got the right thing. Im going to try to open the standard crowning file link, I had a problem before.
    Thanks
     
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  10. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985 Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Hosco's are fine. Stew Mac is not really better quality, just more money.

    Seriously, even if you buy a $10 file, and have to replace it in a year (doubtful), you're only out $10, and replacing it means your still less than 1/5 the cost of a Stew Mac file

    Frets are relatively soft material. Any decent steel file will do the job. I have files that I've been using for 10 years, and they're still going fine. I did not pay a lot for them.
     
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  11. Torvald

    Torvald Strat-Talker

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    Hosco.
     
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  12. mapleglo

    mapleglo Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    I find that a triangular file, or even the bastard file I use is great for doing the rough in work, but they excel only in hogging out a lot of material. Once that's gone, you really need a file with a finer grit. If I had to chose one, I'd go with that standard file, which StewMac is calling a double-edge fret file. Though the fine grit diamond files are pretty essential as well.

    crowning files.jpg

    While digging through my files, I found that one on the bottom. I believe it's from LMII. Maybe this one.
     
  13. tmonkjr

    tmonkjr Strat-Talk Member

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    Yeah, I hear that, I did try the triangular file, and it took a lot of effort, I have cervical problems of my own, so it was really unusable for me.
    I think your right, one standard file, for the majority of the removal, and one diamond file, possibly their original Z file might cover me for now, until I know what Im doing. That makes sense.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2020
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  14. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

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    .

    I used a small flat rat tailed file from harbor freight (one of a set for $3) that I ground and polished the narrow sides and tip so they wouldn't scratch anything. It would be similar to the triangular file for use except it's a lot lighter. Either of these have an advantage when starting out that you don't go too fast too deep by accident.

    Just for speed purposes I ordered one of the ebay $15 files similar to what is posted in post #12 above with the vinyl handle.

    Both sides were about the same fret wire height and I do different freight heights so I ground one side back so there was less wrap and could do shorter frets that may have been leveled once or twice before. The original side works for freshly installed frets.

    You'll want nut files too ... look for the $6 welding tip cleaners at the hardware store. They work too slow if you are doing a dozen guitars a day, for which you'll get recommendations to buy the fancy sets in most forum threads, but when you are starting out the first few guitars you really don't want to go too fast as that is the road to errors. Even after you get skills, if you are only doing a couple of guitars a year they work fine.

    Like playing guitar, success using any of the tools from cheap to dear is all "in the fingers".

    .
     
  15. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I am super cheap. I have used triangular diamond files and one of the three in one files and I think I am going to spend fifty bucks on a decent file. The amount of time wasted trying to work with those other files is ridiculous.
     
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  16. lbpesq

    lbpesq Strat-Talker

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    Looking at some of the Amazon links, I was surprised to see that the Gurian 3 in 1 file I mentioned above is actually about $10 less expensive on Stewmac than on Amazon!

    Bill, tgo
     
  17. tmonkjr

    tmonkjr Strat-Talk Member

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    I liked the look of the Gurian file, however, lm wondering if its a good first file for me. I tried a three sided StewMac file, and it was too laborious, I have a bad neck, so to put that much effort, literally hurts my cervical problems, so Im think idf an easier possible way, maybe a set of Diamond Grit files? but thats a costly investment, I'll have to figure this out. Thanks, I feel clueless here.
     
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  18. tmonkjr

    tmonkjr Strat-Talk Member

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    Thats because Amazon doesn't charge for shipping, I noticed most StewMac items on Amazon are about $10, to $15 dollars less expensive, and also saw that SAtew Mac charges $14.00 for shipping
     
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  19. tmonkjr

    tmonkjr Strat-Talk Member

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    Are there triangular Diamond Grit Files out there? that would work for me, easier than the traditional ones.
     
  20. tmonkjr

    tmonkjr Strat-Talk Member

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    I know so many people who get so wrapped up in gear, toys, anything but putting their time into playing, developing their craft, its crazy. All of this stuff is fine and dandy, as long as you've got your hands on the neck, I mean, thats what its all about.