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Aug 2, 2020 - 8:52:55 AM
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4526 posts since 9/7/2009

Just thought I would share...

This is a fret slot cleaning tool that I made several years ago to clean out the binding glue in fret slots. It is made from an old hacksaw blade. I ground the thickness down to fit in the fret slot, and ground it to an angle. I mounted it in an Exacto knife handle. The sharp point and blade teeth work great for cleaning out the glue!


Aug 2, 2020 - 9:01:33 AM

2460 posts since 6/19/2008

That does look good. I've used a hook blade in a utility knife handle, with the very tip of the hook filed into a chisel type edge, but it's sometimes hard to control. I think I'll try your solution.

Edited by - Jonnycake White on 08/02/2020 09:02:35

Aug 2, 2020 - 1:43:26 PM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)


23910 posts since 6/25/2005

Aug 2, 2020 - 2:16:14 PM
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13162 posts since 6/29/2005

Very nice!!

We don't need to pay astronomical prices for simple tools that do the same job.

I wonder if anyone has started a thread about indispensable tools we make ourselves?

Aug 2, 2020 - 2:56:37 PM



1578 posts since 7/2/2007
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I use a modified thrift store steak knife I ground to the right thickness and made a sharp pointed hook on the end. Works great for getting glue out of a fret slot right up to fingerboard binding where glue tends to creep in to the slot.

But very similar to Marvin's, I've been buying these "KeyHole" blades from Xacto -

I discovered many years ago that they were 0.023" thick and perfect for cleaning fret slots right out of the box.

I use them mostly for increasing the depth of fret slots along the outside edges of radiused fingerboards. That way, I don't have to make the whole slot deeper to accommodate the radius. I think an ebony or rosewood fingerboard can add significant structure, stiffness and strength to a neck and I just can't see weakening the neck unnecessarily by cutting deeper fret slots than necessary.

The little keyhole blades work very well for that. I ordered a bunch, seems like when I find the perfect tool, it isn't long before you can't get them anymore.



Edited by - RBuddy on 08/02/2020 14:57:43

Aug 2, 2020 - 4:05:26 PM

7789 posts since 1/7/2005

I made myself one of Frank Ford's design. It's not perfect, but it does the job. Mostly needed on bound necks, to get into the tiny corners. I re-shaped an Xacto blade into a scraper hook. The thickness of the blade just fit into the kerf of my fret saw. Marvin's mini-saw looks superior and now I'll have to make one too.


Aug 3, 2020 - 2:51:17 AM
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4526 posts since 9/7/2009

The handle mount of the Exacto knife can be used as a lever point against the fret board surface to remove stubborn glue. First, use the point of the blade to press downward into the slot to loosen the glue at the top, then place the blade into the slot under the glue and prise it up using the pivot point for leverage.  See picture 3 above. You can place some tape one the surface of the fret board, or around the knurled part of the knife, to prevent scaring of the fret board surface. I didn't use it on this board because it has to be inlayed and sanded later.

Aug 5, 2020 - 1:33:17 AM
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Polle Flaunoe


5431 posts since 3/7/2006


These "tools" have served me well for several years:

- a modified $1 kitchen knife and

- a StewMac fret slotting saw - with some of the teeth grinded off - thus now also working on bound necks to be re-fretted

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