Fret End Nippers
If you have ever seen fret wire, you know that it comes in long wires or rods. Unless you custom order it, fret wire does not come pre-cut to size. Fret end nippers are used by luthiers to cut the fret wire down to fit each individual fret, but that is not the only purpose of a pair of fret end nippers. They are also used to pry and remove frets out of the fretboard. Since the frets are inlayed and most likely glued in the fretboard a powerful tool must be used to wedge and pull the frets out. That is where the fret end nippers come into play.
Fret end nippers are basically a pair of wire cutters with one exception. Fret end nippers are usually ground down flat on the edge with the cutting blades. This flat edge allows the fret end nippers to wedge in between the fret wire and the fretboard when removing the frets. After the glue in the fret slot is softened by a soldering gun or heating pad, the fret end nippers can wiggle their way underneath the fret bead. Once you have the fret end nippers under the bead of the fret, you can just clamp down on the handles. The blades with force the fret upward and out of the fret slot. Pretty cool, huh? Many inexperienced people try to rip frets out of the fretboard and usually end up chipping the fretboard in the process. Fret end nippers minimize this problem by forcing the fret up rather than pulling it out. Here are some typical nips used by luthiers.
Even though wire cutters can cut fret wire down to size, fret end nippers can't be replaced with common wire cutters. There is no good way to remove guitar frets with regular wire cutters. Fret end nippers are a specialled designed luthier tool to not only cut fret wire down to size but also to help remove fret wire. This is an essential fretting tool that I recommend anyone attempting to remove guitar frets get. If you would like more information about how to remove guitar frets, please see my how to remove a guitar frets article.