Polishing frets?

msbrech

Strat-Talker
Jun 19, 2021
133
Dover, Pa
So far I've only used 0000 steel wool, but on the electrics the neck had been removed and was well cleaned before being reattached to the body. I've been curious about the micro mesh pads, but I do want to get a Dremel or Dremel-like tool in the near future, and that method does look pretty slick.
 

jvin248

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 10, 2014
5,433
Michigan
.

No steel wool.

Why players are so addicted to using steel wool is continually amazing given the potential risks.




But then some players buy fragile headstock Gibson guitars because 'they take care of their guitars'...




.
 

Believer7713

The Pink Bunnyman Frankenstein
Silver Member
Dec 27, 2016
16,513
KC
Welcome I believe @Believer7713 may have suggested scotch brite pads of varying grades. Hopefully he'll chip in and enlighten you.......and remind me. Wouldn't be the first time I was wrong. 🤣
Here is how I normally do mine. Keep inind that this is a full refret but if I am only polishing and not smoothing then start at the 22:00 mark. If I am smoothing them then I use a crowning file followed by an emery wheel on my dremel before the polish wheel. Start at 14:05 for the full smoothing after the leveling.
 

revtime

Senior Stratmaster
Jun 17, 2014
1,226
kansas
I use these.
20220522_215855.jpg
I can get one full fret polish from one of these. I keep a bunch on hand and pick up more when im at walgreens.I have seen what dremels can do accidentally. Puttin a screwdriver to my junk makes me sweat. A dremel aint coming near it. I need therapy after soldering.
 
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Believer7713

The Pink Bunnyman Frankenstein
Silver Member
Dec 27, 2016
16,513
KC
I use these.
View attachment 564554
I can get one full fret polish from one of these. I keep a bunch on hand and pick up more when im at walgreens.I have seen what dremels can do accidentally. Puttin a screwdriver to my junk makes me sweat. A dremel aint coming near it. I need therapy after soldering.
I wouldn't want a screwdriver stuck in my junk either...

Errr, wait, are we talking about the same thing? o_O:whistling:
 

Ebidis

Providing the world with flat bends since 1985
Nov 14, 2013
28,303
Alabama
I would never use a dremel on my frets. I seriously f'd up the frets on an expensive Les Paul with a dremel in my younger days.

Steel wool is just a PITA because it gets EVERYWHERE, and can seriously irritate your skin.

If I have to polish frets (and let's be real, how often do you really need to polish your frets?) I use this.

1653276849990.png
 

rocknrollrich

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 8, 2016
6,915
philadelphia
I would never use a dremel on my frets. I seriously f'd up the frets on an expensive Les Paul with a dremel in my younger days.

Steel wool is just a PITA because it gets EVERYWHERE, and can seriously irritate your skin.

If I have to polish frets (and let's be real, how often do you really need to polish your frets?) I use this.

View attachment 564555
The polishing wheel is really non destructive. I think it's probably made of cotton? I could be mistaken on that, but my point being, you would have to almost try to do damage to something.
It certainly won't harm a rosewood board. Maple I do tape up, buy really that's just to avoid any coloration of the wood.
 

Ebidis

Providing the world with flat bends since 1985
Nov 14, 2013
28,303
Alabama
The polishing wheel is really non destructive. I think it's probably made of cotton? I could be mistaken on that, but my point being, you would have to almost try to do damage to something.
It certainly won't harm a rosewood board. Maple I do tape up, buy really that's just to avoid any coloration of the wood.
It's nut the polishing wheel that's the problem. It's when you slip and bang the chuck into the frets and/or fretboard.
 

Scott Baxendale

Most Honored Senior Member
Gold Supporting Member
May 20, 2020
5,182
Athens Ga
Hello All I am wondering what is the best finest grit non-magnetic wool for polishing frets?
I don't want to use steel wool and have the fibers get attracted to my pickup poles.
OR is there another means by which to accomplish the same thing?

Again thanks again in advance,
JDarby
All you have to do to remove the steel wolf fibers off the pickups is to either use a bench broom to brush off the top of the guitar after steel wool. Or use a brush attachment on a shop vac. It takes less than 2 seconds.
 

cpk313

Strat-Talk Member
Nov 18, 2018
41
18049
Minimal tools?

Do steer clear of anything metal. All the people who've had no issues with steel wool have just been lucky so far. It only looks like it's been contained but it gets everywhere. Everywhere!!!

You can buy a kit that comes with a metal polish, cloth and guards to isolate the frets.
View attachment 564526

Or you can try what I've been doing.

Dremel with polishing wheel and compound and fret guards.

View attachment 564528
Before
View attachment 564527
After
View attachment 564529
Fret 19 is by hand with the kit and fret 20 is with the Dremel.

The Dremel does create heat on the fret so you need to keep it moving and do a little at time.

IMO it's faster and does a better job though.

PS. I personally have never had a pickup die due to using steel wool but many times over discovered the steel wool on the windings while changing pickguards. So those pickups were at risk without me knowing.
That's my finishing move. It's the only way I can get them really smooth.
 

Ianguk

New Member!
Sep 15, 2017
1
London, England
Hello All I am wondering what is the best finest grit non-magnetic wool for polishing frets?
I don't want to use steel wool and have the fibers get attracted to my pickup poles.
OR is there another means by which to accomplish the same thing?

Again thanks again in advance,
JDarby
Try Silver Polish. You can get it impregnated onto a wool /insulation type material. Should work nicely.
 

Guitar Hobbyist

Strat-Talk Member
Oct 25, 2021
60
Virginia
I use 0000 steel wool but I cover the pickups with a paper towel that's taped in place. I use painter's tape. Zero issues.
Same here although I use masking tape over the pickups. Don’t do it on guitars often but on my Jazz Bass I do it after every yearly restringing with roundwound strings. But having been the only owner of this bass for over 45 years, I getting really close to it becoming a fretless.
 


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