People that repair guitars know that fretwork can be hard on the body.  Consider what goes into a basic fret level and dress (we’ll simplify the process for brevity’s sake).

First we use a sanding block or beam to take all of the frets to the proper height.  Since the tops of the frets are now flat, we’ll use a special file called a crowning file to round the top of the frets.  Finally, we’ll polish the frets.

The crowning and polishing are seriously punishing on the body.  Lots of repetitive motion with a good amount of elbow grease.

We use Stewmac’s Fret Erasers to do the polishing work.  Fret erasers are wonderful – the help us remove any scratches on the frets, and after multiple passes, get a mirror shine on every fret.  The drawback to fret erasers is that they aren’t particularly easy to hold.  It’s a recipe for carpal tunnel syndrome or some other repetitive stress injury.

So – do you have a spare Gurian file on hand? Here’s what we do to make fret polishing a bit more ergonomic:

The file give you something a bit more substantial to hold onto, which definitely reduces wear and tear on the body, at least from our experience!