Fretting for cheapskates

This is how I go about fretting my instruments without buying any specialty tools. First of all, sorry, I'm doing this on a fingerboard that has already been fretted. I think, though, that you'll get the gist of the process.

This is the saw I created for cutting my fret slots. The blade came off this saw, which I bought at my local Ace Hardware. I attached the blade to a length of 1/4 inch oak and shaped a handle. I also attached it so the oak is a stop - which you can see more clearly in the second picture.

I then determine the angle with a sliding bevel and use the edge as my cutting guide for the fret slots.

Next I cut the fret wire to the length of the slot. Notice in the first picture that I use my vise as a "third hand" - very helpful when using the snippers in the second photo.

Next I install the fret with a regular quik-grip clamp (I tried a hammer once and I didn't get the hang of that - this clamp does exactly what I need it to do).

After all the fret wire is installed I put a file in vise length-wise and file down the wire flush to the wood.

I then angle the fretboard to angle the fret ends.

I then fine tune each fret end with smaller files.

Hope this helps.