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Gibson Les Paul Refret

6/29/12

This article shows the process of refretting a Gibson without saving the binding nibs.  It is possible to retain and or repair binding nibs during a refret but it costs more.  An explanation of that process can be seen here.

1. The Gibson Les Paul.  This R8
has a warped neck which is causing
fret buzz and making the guitar
harder to play.
2. Binding “Nibs” are the small
sections of raised binding at the
fret ends.  In accordance with the
customer’s wishes, I’ll sand the
nibs flush with the fretboard and
bring the crown of the new frets
out over the binding.  Here’s more
info about “nib-retetention
gibson les paul r8 refret heat frets and remove frets with end nippers gibson les paul r8 refret sand fretboard in neck jig
3. Removing the Old Frets with
a soldering gun and flush ground
end-nippers goes quick and easy
with no chipping of the fretboard.
I’m temporarily protecting the
pickups with an e.m.f. shield.
4. Sanding the Fretboard with
the long, radiused sanding beam
under simulated string tension will
quickly sand the fretboard straight
and to the proper radius.  I’m
starting with 80 grit psa sandpaper,
then I’ll follow up with 180 grit.
 resurface rosewood fretboard bevel fret slots
5. More Sanding with 220 grit sand-
paper wrapped around a sanding belt
cleaner gets rid of the courser grit
marks.  I’ll follow up with 600 grit.
6. The Triangle File has had it’s
corners sanded smooth so it can
not accidentally damage the binding
or surface of the fretboard.
gibson les paul r8 refret fret slots beveled gibson les paul r8 refret resaw fret slot
7. Chamfered Fret Slots will allow
the new frets to safely be installed
and removed without chipping the
fretboard.
8. Re-sawing the Fret Slots with
a small pull saw ensures that the
tang of the new frets will not be
obstructed during fretting.  When
I’m done resawing the fret slots, I
will loosen the truss rod nut all the
way.
gibson les paul r8 refret press frets gibson les paul r8 refret tap in frets with mallet
9. Pressing the Frets is quick and
painless.  I press in as many as I
can before the body of the guitar
gets in the way.  I’ve pre-bent the
fretwire that I’m pressing to a 12”
radius.
10. Mallet Work. I will have to tap
in the last few frets with the dead-
blow mallet.  A pair of sandbags
makes the frets seat more easily.
I have slightly over-radiused the
last few frets because they seat
better with a mallet this way.
gibson les paul r8 refret glue frets gibson les paul r8 refret clamp frets for gluing
11. Gluing the Frets with water
thin super glue.  I do not want the
glue to compress the neck so I
have the truss rod nut completely
loosened.  I have lightly oiled the
fretboard with stew mac’s fretboard
finishing oil in order to prevent the
glue from darkening the rosewood.
12. Clamping each fret with a 12”
radiused clamping caul and quick
grip bar clamp while the glue dries
helps to ensure properly seated frets.
gibson les paul r8 refret bevel fret ends with file gibson les paul r8 refret bevel fret ends with short sanding beam
13. Filing the Fret-Ends with a
mill file.  I’ll stop filing before the
fret ends are flush with the binding.
14. Sanding the Fret-Ends with
400 grit self-adhesive sandpaper
on a short sanding bar.  I’ll stop
sanding when the bottom of the fret
ends are flush with the binding.
gibson les paul r8 refret dress fret ends gibson les paul r8 refret sand frets to prepare for buffing wheel
15. Leveling the Frets went quick
with the neck jig.  Now I am dressing
the fret ends.
16. Sanding the Frets with 600,
1000 and 2000 grit sandpaper pre-
pares the frets for the buffing wheel.
The guitar is safely and conveniently
held in place by two special bench
dogs and the twin screw vise.
gibson les paul r8 refret polish frets with buffing wheel gibson les paul r8 refret polished frets
17. Polishing the Frets with the
buffing arbor.
18. Polished Frets
gibson les paul r8 refret smooth fret ends with no binding nibs gibson les paul r8 refret polished nickel silver frets
19. Smooth Fret Ends 20. Ready for a Set-Up to achieve
optimal playability.