Fret Tang Nippers for Stainless Frets?

TonyFlyingSquirrel

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Anyone know where to source them?
I know it's one of the few fretting tools that Stew Mac is specific about NOT for Stainless Fretwire.
 
After almost 40 years of doing refrets, I recently did a couple stainless jobs. I had some worries, but used the same tools I've always used - no problems. My files will really scream on the stainless when leveling, and it eats sandpaper during polishing - but the end result was great, with minimum troubles. Drive on.
 
AirCap said:
After almost 40 years of doing refrets, I recently did a couple stainless jobs. I had some worries, but used the same tools I've always used - no problems. My files will really scream on the stainless when leveling, and it eats sandpaper during polishing - but the end result was great, with minimum troubles. Drive on.

But are you using Stew Mac nippers or another brand?

If another brand, what brand/link?
 
If you don't do it regularly, standard tools will tolerate stainless, albeit with some accelerated wear. Oddly enough, the files seem to suffer the least. Fret tang nippers and cutters can get ruined fast, though. The stuff I had from StewMac lasted less than one job, although they weren't new at the time. But, if there's a tool you need because you don't have it, it only makes sense to buy the stuff designed to chew on stainless. Even if you don't do a lot of stainless work, the durability and design of the better tools makes working on standard frets a breeze.

If you need new fret tang nippers, the only ones that I've found to last job after job on stainless are the recently available parts from Summit Tools, which are sold by Jescar. It's an expensive tool, but whaddaya gonna do? If you have to buy the cheaper tool repeatedly, you're certainly not saving any money.

They also sell a tempting tool they call a "straight overhang fret-end cutter" that looks like a handy thing, but I wouldn't recommend it. It's so easy to wreck the fretboard with them I can't believe they even sell the stupid things. I had to refret a neck I had just fretted because the tool dented the fretboard all up and down the neck and I didn't notice it while it was happening. The only way to repair the dents was to remove the frets and resurface the 'board, then fret it again. What a pain in the shorts. Stupid me, right? Don't know how to use it? So, I tried it again on another neck, knowing what I knew and being careful to avoid what I had determined the problem to be. Very difficult to avoid. It can be done, but at the end of the day, it's a lotta work that you can do almost as easily with their standard end cutters and no risk.
 
Cagey said:
If you don't do it regularly, standard tools will tolerate stainless, albeit with some accelerated wear. Oddly enough, the files seem to suffer the least. Fret tang nippers and cutters can get ruined fast, though. The stuff I had from StewMac lasted less than one job, although they weren't new at the time. But, if there's a tool you need because you don't have it, it only makes sense to buy the stuff designed to chew on stainless. Even if you don't do a lot of stainless work, the durability and design of the better tools makes working on standard frets a breeze.

If you need new fret tang nippers, the only ones that I've found to last job after job on stainless are the recently available parts from Summit Tools, which are sold by Jescar. It's an expensive tool, but whaddaya gonna do? If you have to buy the cheaper tool repeatedly, you're certainly not saving any money.

They also sell a tempting tool they call a "straight overhang fret-end cutter" that looks like a handy thing, but I wouldn't recommend it. It's so easy to wreck the fretboard with them I can't believe they even sell the stupid things. I had to refret a neck I had just fretted because the tool dented the fretboard all up and down the neck and I didn't notice it while it was happening. The only way to repair the dents was to remove the frets and resurface the 'board, then fret it again. What a pain in the shorts. Stupid me, right? Don't know how to use it? So, I tried it again on another neck, knowing what I knew and being careful to avoid what I had determined the problem to be. Very difficult to avoid. It can be done, but at the end of the day, it's a lotta work that you can do almost as easily with their standard end cutters and no risk.

Thanks so much Cagey.
I think the first tool and the standard end cutters should do me just fine.
 
I've got some from a company called Knipex, which I think have a US presence too. The tool I have has been ground to work better for fret work. Makes a hell of a pair of nail clippers too :)
 
Those Summit Gluing Assistance Pliers would come in quite handy!
Great for all kinds of glue ups, especially lam tops.
 
But are you using Stew Mac nippers or another brand?

I have a selection of brands - some might be from StewMac (which is not a brand). Since my industrial training was as a tool and die maker - I usually buy quality tools, and modify them per my tastes for best performance.
 
Those Knipex tools look pretty good. I think I'm gonna get a pair for cutting bulk fretwire. The ones I'm using now work fine and don't seem be hurt by the work, but they take more effort than I like to expend. This model won't work for installations, but should make short work of cutting individual frets from the bulk reel.

Where did you find some with the edge flush cut for fretwork?
 
Cagey said:
Right, it was stratamania who mentioned the Knipex tools.

I sourced a set from Crimson Custom Guitars in the UK.  They do quite a few tools that they either make from scratch or have adapted. With the USD versus GBP they might not be a bad buy at the moment.
 
Those look nice. At current exchange rates, they'd be $41 + shipping to here. That's pretty attractive relative to the StewMac tool for $30 that won't make it through one job.
 
Cagey said:
Those look nice. At current exchange rates, they'd be $41 + shipping to here. That's pretty attractive relative to the StewMac tool for $30 that won't make it through one job.

Cool, give them a try.  The owner is a good chap...
 
I've watched a number of their videos, and they seem like a competent bunch.
 
So I finally recieved these Knipex cutters...

7112200-02-1.jpg

...and I can't tell you how happy I am. These things cut through stainless 6100 wire like it was 16ga. copper. Very little effort required, and I destroyed about a foot of the stuff 1/4" at a time with no visible effect on the blades. When I think of how much work I've had to do in the past to cut fretwire, I have to laugh. $42 at Amazon, in the box, out the door. Step right up! Everyone's a winner!  :laughing7:

You can't flush cut with them so you still need a tool for that, but for getting the frets down to size for installation, this is a must-have tool. Especially if you do any stainless work at all.
 
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