Fretwire is sold in either 4 foot lengths (this is normally enough for one standard instrument if you're not wasteful, but please check your plans before ordering) or 100 foot lengths. For easier installation, fretwire is coiled with the tang toward the inside of the curve. 4 foot sections might be cut into halves for shipping purposes. All of the fretwire we carry will fit into a .023" slot, with the exception of the FW75 nickel/silver wire.
More and more builders are using stainless steel fretwire because of its resistance to wear and its playability, so LMI decided to carry stainless in our most popular sizes. More difficult to use due its hardness, stainless fretwire is not for everyone. Our experience is that it is much harder on your tools. There are two schools of thought on how to combat this: 1) Buy less expensive tools, and go through more of them. Or 2) Buy expensive tools and they'll last longer.
If working with stainless seems a little daunting, check out our Evo gold fretwire. It is a copper alloy (elemental composition: CuSn15Fe1Ti0.1) that has been used for years in the optical industry. It contains no nickel and therefore meets the"nickel free" European standard. It stands the test of time and can really dress up your guitar. With a Vicker's hardness of HV5/250, it is harder than our nickel/silver wire (HV5/200), but softer than the stainless (HV5/300). This wire is not plated; it is gold all the way through and retains the gold color once the frets are dressed. See gold fretwire .
Installation Tip: The juncture of the tang and the crown on fretwire is not a crisp 90º angle, instead it is slightly radiused (+/- 15º) We recommend slightly beveling the edges of the fingerboard slots with a needle file so that the fretwire seats properly. This beveling also makes it possible to pull out the fretwire, if necessary, without fear of tearing up wood. (A drop or so of water in the fret slot helps lubricate for easier tang entry.)