1956 Fender Stratocaster neck
Rebuild tuner holes to proper size
Refret with Dunlop 6105 wire
Maintain original patina

Frets are glued in, with cyano it appears.
Excess glue on all wires
Will  Tape/Heat/Pull
Cross grained Maple plugs ordered for peghead repair.
6105 Dunlop wire- furnished by cust.

Plugs arrive, picked up fret wire.

Ready to ream after gluing

Tape off for protection against chip out
 Leave enough room for fret pliers

Taped, solder gun heating, ready to pull

Slice any old glue and finish away from wire with clean  sharp blade
flip it around halfway down

Tip cut for crown of fret, you do not want slip offs even with protection

First wires pulled, shows 2 things.
Ends are crimped because the last luthier was trying to gain retention
Reason ""Slot rot"
Too much sweat, String cleaner, and prior refrets have degraded these slots to a point that they will all need rebuilding
These are not old frets, they are very recent and my guess is never worked properly.
They were cut down to try and catch up with the sunken wires.

Here you can see that the breakage is right under the wire, not behind it.
You can also see on the frets, the wire ends compressed into the neck wood, not the top of the fingerboard

All the way they are crimped on the ends for retention.
That and glue held the ends down

You can see in this sequence, the heated wire is coming out clean, and the problem is under the wire rot.

Easy to see wire is embedding into the board past the plane of the fingerboard.
This is no new problem for me, I do 100s of vintage banjo fingerboard a year with a similar problem in Pearwood boards.

I cannot stress enough, that nothing could be done about this ugly removal.
I can however, correct these woes and make nice new slots.

All out, ready to regain a foothold and go back up the hill
Proper removal with tape off is always very important even if it is not a rare Strat neck

Cleaning the slots for rebuilding

This is teflon, comes in sheets from Stew Mac and is gauged for the proper size to correct slots by using #10 and #20 Glues
First the water thin #10, which will wick up and into all the degraded areas and harden them
After this, I used Amber #20 to regain the height
You run it a little high and onto the teflon dams so you can "Cut to flat"

Dried, the teflon slides right out

A fine file to get the bulk and my sanding sticks to get the rest

After you smooth them you clean them with the saw again

Now they look like fret slots again.

Ready for 2106 Dunlop wire

Always clean your wire with solvent, there is machine oil from the mfg. process that will inhibit glue retention

Cutback tool so they do not end up with ends sticking out like the previous fret job.

Getting the length and nipping

Compressing with hand fret press

Sealing the new wire with #10 thin

Smoothing ends

You can see now that the wire are back "On top",
I will fill the ends with amber for a tight seal.

Then smooth the edges

Since I will not be doing the final leveling process I will merely dress the ends and smooth it all up.
It needs to be on a guitar and under tension then placed on a jog to get the best fret leveling possible.
I do not own that jig....yet.
All the other procedures you see on new necks is OK, for new necks with everything new, not for 50-60 yr old rutted and patina'ed boards
You can only do what you can do when trying to keep something as original as possible and an expert on Strat's can go the next step if it needs spot leveling
Radius boards are always trickier than flat ones and with discerning players being more "picky"that is best left for someone with proper tools.

End dressing

after 1200 fine paper, 0000 steel wool

Then a polish on the machine buffs
I will not install the string guides, best left for someone "in the know.


Test run on a scrap peghead
I want to see which bushing reamer works best

I had the correct size so now I will go forth

The top grained maple plugs should do well
I stained them since on th backside there will be a little showing since its 1/4 where the post goes thru.
Front side is wider for the bushing

Maple dust to fill all old holes so I glue and redrill


Starting size
Very critical to stay centered on both sides
There is no factory template here to go by and with individual tuners needing to align perfectly, no room for error.

First one where I want it, lets go.

That is all the plug that is left. after bushing ream
A very light touch on the reamer here is important or you will blow out a plug.

I'll tape that straightedge down to hold things for drilling

All good to go


After final dressing and buffing

A good challenge,
Thanks for watching,