Hardwood Fret Dots

Hardwood fret dots are easy to make, and they add another custom element to your handmade guitars. The nice thing about hardwood fret dots is that you can make them yourself. You also get to choose exactly what species of wood you want to use. This means you don’t have to settle.

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Making Fret Dots from Scraps

hardwood fret dotsI explain the process for making fret dots in another article, and it only requires a plug cutter and Forstner bit. You can make them from scraps in the shop, and even smaller pieces can give up several dots. Save your scraps, as they can be turned into something useful if you start making hardwood fret dots.

This guitar has a Padauk fretboard, and Maple binding. I decided that I wanted to tie the fret markers into the binding color, so I went with Maple for the fret dots.

First, I found a piece of Maple in the shop that was a good color match for the binding. Then, I used the plug cutter to cut several fret dots into the surface. After that, I went over to the saw and freed the plugs from the scrap wood.

After collecting the inlays (they fly all over the shop) I drilled holes in the fretboard with a Forstner bit.  I then applied glue, making sure to coat the walls of the hole as well as the bottom. I pressed them in so that they stood up over the top of the Padauk fretboard.  After drying, I finally sanded them flush.

I have been making custom hardwood fret dots for a long time. You can find plug cutters in several diameters. Find a couple that work for the guitars you make, and you will always end up making custom markers instead of buying them. Not only do they look far better, but they are also nearly free.

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The First Set Pays For the Tool

Plug cutters can be found online. The very first set of hardwood fret dots you make will pay for the bit, and you will have it forever. I make my fret dots from scraps, so they are as close to free as possible. This allows me to add something nice to the guitar without having to charge very much for it.

If you have any questions about Hardwood Fret Dots, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Also, please share my work with your friends on Pinterest! Happy building.

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2 thoughts on “Hardwood Fret Dots”

  1. After you use the plug cutter, stick down a piece of masking tape over the plugs before you saw them. The plugs will stick to the tape when you peel it off and you won’t lose any.

  2. Lynn, I can’t believe that I never thought to put some tape over the plugs before sawing them on the band saw. That’s a great way to prevent losing the pieces, and much easier than trying to search around the floor to gather all of your dots. Thank you for sharing that with everyone, and happy building.

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