Fret Files are for Saddles
© Frank Ford, 9/26/98; Photos by FF, 9/22/98

Here it is, the classic too made for rounding ("crowning") frets after they're filed level:

It's a fine tool, a file with concave edges and precisely cut teeth down inside that concave edge. But for me, it's a great tool for rounding the tops of guitar saddles to produce just the right contour.

Lots of old Martin guitars, and many vintage reissues have their saddles glued in place for extra strength. That makes it difficult to cut the saddle neatly when lowering the action.

I've found that my fret file makes just the right tool for the job of rounding the saddle top once I've filed it to the proper height.

I introduce the end of my fret file to Mr. Beltsander, to produce a very sharp front edge:

Then, using it as a chisel, I simply "plow" along the top edge of the saddle:

Its like a chisel with a 90-degree cutting angle, and it scrapes easily without digging in.

In no time flat, I've countoured the top of the saddle to a very nice curvature:

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