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demonx

My New Fret Slotting Setup - And How I Made It

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I bought the stewmac 6" blade and the smallest cheap sliding saw I could find, then did the following:

1) Test the saw before I void the warranty!

2) Remove all the safety shields in exception of the top one and install the stewmac blade. I had to remove the safely guard as it would interfere with the slotting template.

3) To use as a baseplate I cut some MDF to size on the table saw:

IMG_1934SMALL.jpg

4) After marking out all the mount holes I drill them on the press

IMG_1935SMALL.jpg

5) I used screws that were way bigger than needed just to make sure the template doesn't move, then I ground them flat on the rear before drilling the nexk set of holes and recessing them on the press.

IMG_1938SMALL.jpg

6) Drill and tap a thread into the sliding mitre saw , I also used washer/nut underneath as well.

IMG_1939SMALL.jpg

7) Here is a close up of the partially dismantled stewmac mitre box. I've mounted it forward on the saw so the blade has full travel across the complete board and set it perfect square to the blade so it's a 90 degree cut.

IMG_1940SMALL.jpg

8) Heres a slotted board with the new setup:

IMG_1941SMALL.jpg

Took me a maybe an hour to set it all up.

I slotted this fretboard in maybe two to three minutes and I was taking my time!

If I want to adjust the slot depth then I simply turn a hex key grub screw on the side (has a lock nut on it)... it's too easy!

One thing I didn't count on is the blade/sliding rails have a very slight decline, so the slots on one side of the board were maybe half a mm deeper than the other side. I'll counter this by shimming one side of the stewmac mitre box with a strip of sheet metal and see if I can get it perfect. If that doesnt work maybe the mounting plate (MDF) needs to be shimmed.

Another thing I want to work out is how I can mount it without loosing the swivel feature of the mitre saw, as that would make fanned frets a breeze!

All in all I'm pretty happy with this addition and it just made slotting boards fun!

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Ok, been playing with it and doing some more test cuts, got it sorted... This thing is great!

I cut a 12" shim the full length of the mitre box - that solved the wonky slot.

IMG_1947SMALL.jpg

After shimming the back of the box up I noticed the plastic case around the motor was "just" barely touching the mitre box, so I hit it with the angle grinder and knocked a few milimeters off the top, won't hit now.

IMG_1943SMALL.jpg

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Nice jig. I just hand slotted a couple of fretboards last night using templates printed with wfret. What a tedious job!

What size hole does the stewmac blade have?

Would your system work with this sliding mitre saw? Or do you know of cheaper sliding saws in Melbourne?

Cheers,

Brian.

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If you have a good table saw why would you make a jig for a chop saw?

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Having it set up and dedicated for a delicate job like fret slots seems like a pretty good reason to me.

Pulling the panel saw blade out and swapping it over for the fret blade, then setting it up would take maybe an hour +- then putting it all back afterwards versus having something set up ready to just cut.

Also the versatility of the mitre saw will allow fanned frets etc which would be quite tricky on the panel saw. I just set up the laser yesterday and tested this whilst cutting a 27" scale. .

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Having it set up and dedicated for a delicate job like fret slots seems like a pretty good reason to me.

Pulling the panel saw blade out and swapping it over for the fret blade, then setting it up would take maybe an hour +- then putting it all back afterwards versus having something set up ready to just cut.

Also the versatility of the mitre saw will allow fanned frets etc which would be quite tricky on the panel saw. I just set up the laser yesterday and tested this whilst cutting a 27" scale. .

I am not a nub who has never used a panel saw, a 1 hr blade change..really.??????. The word "delicate" honestly makes no sense to me, its "accuracy" I strive for. Sawing is in itself not a delicate process no matter how small the cut. Chop saws are not delicate tools nor are they extremely accurate or made to be.. IMO. Fanned frets yes thats a reason to choose one tool over the other but you did not show a fanned fret sled nor mention that fact until now. My point is you made a decision I would not have, which was to use a chop saw over a table saw.

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I am not a nub who has never used a panel saw, a 1 hr blade change..really.??????. The word "delicate" honestly makes no sense to me, its "accuracy" I strive for. Sawing is in itself not a delicate process no matter how small the cut. Chop saws are not delicate tools nor are they extremely accurate or made to be.. IMO. Fanned frets yes thats a reason to choose one tool over the other but you did not show a fanned fret sled nor mention that fact until now. My point is you made a decision I would not have, which was to use a chop saw over a table saw.

ok... an hour might be an exageration, but still, to stip out the blade on my panel saw, set it up for fret slotting and then set it back up how it was beforehand is just stupid when I can have a dedicated tool that is sitting there set up ready to go, does the job well and is cheap to build. It takes only a couple minutes to setup the board and slot the board with this setup. It takes longer than that to change a blade let alone set up the cuts on a panel saw.

You mentioned a "sled" for fanned frets. I don't need a "sled", this is why I used a "sliding mitre saw" - the saw offers the movement and keeps it inline where a "sled" has room for human error. The saw has a rotating base and a laser guide which I have set to where the blade will cut. The potential for human error here is to line the lazer up with the template I put onto the fretboard for the fanned slots, however the room for error here (tollerance of the human eye) is less that the tollerance of the stewmac fretslot templates and the locator pin which I have had great success from in the past, so I am happy with this setup for this purpose, I have tested for this purpose and was happy with the results. It took longer than the normal cuts using a stewmac template on the mitre saw, however there are no templates for this, so it's open territory to explore and experiment. I succeeded so I'm happy.

I've fretted three boards so fat that were cut on this setup and they were all satisfactory - so I have no problems with this for fret slots.

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I think it's cool.I really don't like futzing about with my tools trying to get them set up for something only to change it again after.I will most likely try this one in the future myself.You don't get any wobble in the slide?

Some people like to play with tools.I really don't,I just want the end result.

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Why would it wobble? If the blade isn't on right or the tool is the cheapest of cheap it might wobble

Otherwise it's no different to a table saw.

I will admit the $200 saw I made this from isn't as "rigid" as my $1k+ makita sliding mitre saw, but it cuts fret slots. The slots are straight. The frets seat and stay where they're put. If I could have afforded to spend more money on the saw I would have. I was looking for second hand ones on eBay at the same time I bought this but they were all "pick up only" and too far away

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Why would it wobble?

I don't know,because every power tool I buy lately is from China and lacks in craftsmanship?I thought it was a reasonable suggestion but I guess you are in defensive mode.I'll look for straight answers elsewhere or just check some sliding miter saws out myself

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Why would it wobble?

I don't know,because every power tool I buy lately is from China and lacks in craftsmanship?

You're right... you get what you pay for.

If I were to do it again I wouldn't buy this exact saw (brand). As far as I can tell the blade itself doesn't wobble - however there is up/down flex, so I have to be careful to pull it through smooth and not with downward pressure so the slots are level.

If I bought a more expensive saw this wouldn't be an issue.

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