Somebody sent me a link to this YouTube video showing a loon fashioning a fret file to fit into a saber saw.


I nearly spat out my coffee when I saw what the video was proposing. I’m not including a link because I don’t want to help this misguided YouT’uber (term edited several times until nice enough to print) to get more views.

But, in short, this is what’s wrong with the premise of automating your crowning work –

  • A. It only takes about ten minutes to crown frets manually. 10 minutes.
  • B. You want full control of the process, control that only your hands can give.
  • C. The saber saw would remove material so fast that you’d likely be removing fret height – the height you just so carefully leveled to!
  • D. You’d wear out your fret files so fast that the time it takes to fashion the end to fit your saw would quickly overtake the time you think you’re saving with the saber saw.
  • E. If a customer ever got wind of you doing this, he’ll not only steer clear of your shop but he’ll warn everyone he knows!

Now, only the future will tell which one of us is on the wrong side of history – the guy who wants you to automate your fret crowning process or me, the guy advising you to keep the file in your hands.

But it does bring to mind a warm summer day in Pine Lake Park, N.J. around 1958. I was nearly twelve and word was going through our little village that the town mayor (who was also the richest guy around) had just bought a lawn mower that had an engine on top!

People doubled over laughing, we all thought that was so funny! Well, you know what happened. Today, nobody wants a lawnmower that doesn’t have one of those “silly” gas engines!

So, maybe the future will bring us automated fret crowners. But they won’t be anything like the monstrosity shown in this dang YouTube!