My good friends Aaron Younce (at Fodera Guitars) and Megan Younce (at Taylor Guitars) recently helped me snag the very last Taylor Fret Buck. I’ve wanted one of these tools for years, and on a whim I got in touch with Megan to see if they had one laying around, even though they’ve been discontinued for years. Turns out they had one left just sitting in a box in their warehouse, never been used! They even sold it to me at cost! Hooray for industry connections! Huzzah!
Yesterday I got the opportunity to use it for the first time, while I was refretting a guitar for John Fohl (Dr. John’s guitarist). Man, I wish I had one of these YEARS ago. Check it out:
The Fret Buck is a heavy, cast iron jig that supports the fretboard tongue when pressing or hammering frets into acoustic guitars. This is a very fragile area on the guitar, and the force required to seat a fret properly in this area can potentially damage the soundboard. The Fret Buck not only supports the fretboard extension, but it also diffuses and absorbs the shock of hammer blows, allowing the guitar tech to fret without worry (see what I did there?).
I usually press the frets with a special fretting caul, but on acoustic tongues I use a small dead blow hammer, which has a soft head that doesn’t damage the fret.
Before I had the fret buck, I would support the tongue using a small scissor jack, which was never really satisfactory (and can also damage the guitar if not used properly). Now that I’ve got this thing, the hammer blows feel really solid, and reduce the once noisy operation to a quite satisfying dull thud. No need for ear plugs anymore!
Now the frets are perfectly seated and ready for gluing. Hotcha!