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  #1  
Old 07-03-2020, 12:44 PM
jonfields45 jonfields45 is offline
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Default Best Fretwire: Jescar, Sintoms, Dunlop, Stew Mac or some other brand?

There is yet another fretwire thread in the general forum where I posted this question too:

Is there any reason to prefer Jescar, Sintoms, Dunlop, Stew Mac or some other brand? Does the prefered brand depend on the metal selection?

And another tangent, is Cryo nickel silver competitive with EVO?
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  #2  
Old 07-03-2020, 04:06 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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It depends on the intended purpose of the fret wire.

Many years ago, when I was first starting out, I had a lot of fretting issues - mostly getting the ends to stay down. There was no CA glue back then.

I was let-in on the "secret" that all of the Toronto builders of the time - Laskin, Larrivee, Manzer, etc. - used. They used a very soft nickel-silver fret wire from a German supplier named Dotzauer. The stuff goes in like a dream, having zero spring-back to it. I still use that on classical guitars where wear is irrelevant.

Evo is harder than nickel-silver and still relatively easy to work, and not too hard on tools. If one wants long-wearing for those that are hard on frets, it's a good choice.

Stainless is even harder, for the "ultimate" in wear resistance. It's a waste on a nylon string guitar. I don't use stainless, but am told it is hard on tools and more difficult to work with.

I haven't tried cryo nickel-silver and don't know much about it.

So, it depends on for what purpose one is using the frets. One can match the fret material to its intended purpose, rather than one fret wire for all uses. Your choice.
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Old 07-03-2020, 08:24 PM
redir redir is offline
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I just tried the Cryo stuff on the last two and will use it on the two I am finishing now. Client doesn't like the look of Evo so I thought I would at least try it, it's not that much more expensive. The jury is still out on that one. So far it handles just like the regular Nic/Silver stuff.
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Old 07-03-2020, 09:47 PM
mirwa mirwa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redir View Post
I just tried the Cryo stuff on the last two and will use it on the two I am finishing now. Client doesn't like the look of Evo so I thought I would at least try it, it's not that much more expensive. The jury is still out on that one. So far it handles just like the regular Nic/Silver stuff.
Mmm, cryo treatment of nickle silver defies all logic to me, not saying it does not work as I really not up to date on cryo treating, but nothing in the mix can harden vee temperature variations.

I was taught mettalurgy as part of an apprenticeship i did in my younger years, nickle silve is typically copper, zinc and nickle, this composition only gets harder through cold working, we use heat to soften it again.

If a customer wants hard nickle silver you can roll it and then unroll it and roll it again a few times, this will dramatically increase the hardness

Steve
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Old 07-03-2020, 10:27 PM
redir redir is offline
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Originally Posted by mirwa View Post
Mmm, cryo treatment of nickle silver defies all logic to me, not saying it does not work as I really not up to date on cryo treating, but nothing in the mix can harden vee temperature variations.

I was taught mettalurgy as part of an apprenticeship i did in my younger years, nickle silve is typically copper, zinc and nickle, this composition only gets harder through cold working, we use heat to soften it again.

If a customer wants hard nickle silver you can roll it and then unroll it and roll it again a few times, this will dramatically increase the hardness

Steve
Yeah I don't know myself. But the cryo part of it does mean cold. Basically like when they cut your head off and put it in some sort of cryo solution so that maybe one day you will be Buck Rodgers, this cryo wire is also dipped in a cold solution.

Sounds gimmicky, I totally agree, and it probably is. But, it's not that expensive in the shop and might even make more money in the marketing department.

Re-reading what you say, when you say 'cold working' I think you mean room temperature manipulation and or hammering and folding of the metal? I know nothing of it so sorry for my ignorance.
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Old 07-03-2020, 11:16 PM
mirwa mirwa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redir View Post
Re-reading what you say, when you say 'cold working' I think you mean room temperature manipulation and or hammering and folding of the metal?
That is correct
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Old 07-04-2020, 09:21 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mirwa View Post
Mmm, cryo treatment of nickle silver defies all logic to me, not saying it does not work as I really not up to date on cryo treating, but nothing in the mix can harden vee temperature variations.

I was taught mettalurgy as part of an apprenticeship i did in my younger years, nickle silve is typically copper, zinc and nickle, this composition only gets harder through cold working, we use heat to soften it again.

If a customer wants hard nickle silver you can roll it and then unroll it and roll it again a few times, this will dramatically increase the hardness

Steve
I hadn't given it much thought but it appears that is what the science states.

One discussion of it is as follows:

Quote:
Understanding why sub cooling is effective on some materials and not on others is actually a pretty deep dive into metallurgy. It required understanding of metal phases and phase transformations, heat treatment, development of rapid cooling non-equilibrium constituents, crystal structure, TTT and CCT curves and material density. Probably the best thing to do is read up on heat treatment of tool steels for dimensional stability. Steels are hardenable by heat treatment. At high temps the structure is FCC austenite. Cooled slowly enough and with low enough alloying, the austenite transforms to the equilibrium phase BCC ferrite. Cool fast enough and you get a very hard strong (but sometimes brittle) non-equilibrium BCT phase called martensite. This phase has a different density than the room temp equilibrium phase ferrite or the high temp equilibrium phase austenite. Depending on the amount and type of alloying elements, not all of the austenite may transform to martensite since alloying can impede the movement of atoms. The inability of the atoms to move around is how we get martensite anyway. If the movement is slowed down enough we get what is called retained austenite. This retained austenite is not as hard as martensite and has a different density. Bad because it gives non-uniform properties and can lead to dimensional instability. A couple of things can get rid of retained austenite. Applied loads (like tool steels often get in service) can cause the retained austenite to transform to martensite. This results in shape changes which is a bad outcome for many tool steel applications. Subcooling also causes the austenite to transform to martensite. This gives a uniform structure with dimensional stability and consistent properties.

Thusly cryo treatment of tool steels. It is real, it works and it is done.

Nickel silver (copper, nickel and zinc) is basically a single phase austenitic structure that undergoes no phase change from solidification to room temperature. It is considered a non-hardenable by heat treatment alloy. So it will stay austenite even if subcooled. No non equilibrium phase so no hardening. Same for 300 series stainless steel, non-alloyed copper, all do not undergo phase transformations and are non-hardenable by heat treatment.

There is such a thing as strain hardening which is why it gets more difficult bend a wire each time it is bent. Cool rapid enough and deep enough and a certain amount of strain hardening is possible for non-heat treatable alloys since rapid enough cooling can induce strains in the material. However the simple act of bending fret wire to the shape of the fret board will induce much more strain hardening than would be achieved by subcooling. Erlewine even recognized the potential benefit in increased hardness that can come from overbending and unbending fret wire prior to installation.

Key take away is just because it works one place it may not really work much in another place however logical it may seem on the surface. There is more than I was willing to type here and this may confuse more than it helps but it is a view into what is going on.

hunter
From: https://www.thegearpage.net/board/in...frets.1918375/

A scientific study on Nickel-titanium concluded the following:

Quote:
Cryogenic treatment resulted in increased microhardness, but this increase was not detected clinically. There was no measurable change in elemental or crystalline phase composition.
From: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1266290/

It appears that Gibson started the cryo fret thing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmkVxzeKttM

The description of it in the video isn't very scientific: it suggests marketing with little substantiating evidence.

Stewmac's description of it is subjective: https://www.stewmac.com/luthier-tool...-fretwire.html

It seems unlikely to be an improvement, but, it isn't more expensive than regular fret wire. If one believes in the marketing, no reason not to try it, despite there not being substantiating science behind the claims.
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  #8  
Old 07-04-2020, 01:34 PM
John Arnold John Arnold is online now
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I have softened nickel-silver by heating it red hot, then quenching in water. I do this with bar fret material to make it more pliable, but it would work the same on tee frets. That process has the opposite effect on carbon steels.
The original Martin bar fret wire was rolled flat from round wire, which work hardened it. It was made dead soft by heating, which gave it a characteristic dark gray (oxidized) surface. Softening it facilitated the rolling, but it also made the wire easier to install. It spite of this softened state, original Martin bar frets wear an extremely long time, possibly due to the high nickel content. Martin specified a 30% nickel alloy, which today is generally called cupro-nickel.

I have used Martin, Dunlop, Jescar, and Stew Mac wire at various times, and they all work just fine. I do use a lot of Stew Mac wire, but the Evo wire I have used came from Jescar. I have only done one stainless fret job, and I found it to be a royal pain. Unless someone wanted to pay a significant premium, I would rather not mess with it.
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  #9  
Old 07-04-2020, 08:52 PM
mirwa mirwa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
Martin specified a 30% nickel alloy, which today is generally called cupro-nickel.
I cannot attest to what Martin use in the past, it is beyond my personal knowledge.

I do have round lengths of stainless, brass, copper, nickel silver and cupro-nickel for manufacturing keys on flutes / clarinets and other musical instruments.

Nickel Silver has copper, nickel and zinc, Cupro Nickel has copper, nickel, iron and manganese.

I would be genuinely surprised if martin used cupro nickel, but again beyond my personal knowledge

Steve
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  #10  
Old 07-09-2020, 06:14 PM
mc1 mc1 is offline
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The best fret wire is the width and height you prefer. Material differences have mainly to do with longevity.
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