2011 NOS Wesley semi-acoustic LP. Here the fretboard is masked ready for a deluxe set-up and fret dress. The bridge has been removed and both pickups wound down below the height of the fretboard.
When using leveling blocks it is important to mask the fretboard to protect the rosewood from any debris removed from the frets. The nut has also been removed so we can level all the frets evenly.
Adjusting the trussrod to get the neck as straight as possible is essential.
A few passes with a 24″ heavyweight steel beam precision-ground for flatness. I am using 400-grit 3M abrasive on the block.
Once the tops of the frets have been leveled, I use a crowning file to ensure the string will contact the middle of the fret when played. Playing on square fret tops will cause intonation problems.
Once the frets have been re-crowned it is time to dress the frets with varying grades of successively finer abrasive paper. 400, 600, 800, 1200, 1500, 2000, micro mesh, polishing compound, and finally chamois leather. This is arguably the most time consuming part of a fret dress but is essential for a good uniform dress. The leveling and crowning stages will add fine scratches to the frets which need to be polished out by hand.