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bob123

Converting A 1/2 Ton Arbor Press To A Fret Presser?

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Harbor freight has a really cheap arbor press (25$) that seems like it would be perfect for a fret presser.

Any ideas on what to use for a fret caul? Glue a peice of curved wood or what?

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I use the same press, and I bought the cauls & holder from StewMac. It works great!

Lol, spend more on the damn caul then on the tool itself... I hate stewmac sometimes :P

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Lol, spend more on the damn caul then on the tool itself... I hate stewmac sometimes :P

I myself don't like paying big bucks for luthier tools, but I can't just go down to Bunnings (Aussie version of home depot) and buy a pair of fret tang expanders, fret tang nippers or a 16" radius sanding beam.

The tool market for luthiers is no-where near as large as that of a person buying a hammer, chisel set or any other standardized woodworking tools, so their prices are going to reflect this.

If you or I were to go into the luthier tool making business, the cost of research, development, designing, prototyping, sourcing solids and then wages, overheads, profit and finally producing, machining and marketing these items would be incredibly high, so much so we'd probably want $500 for each fret caul and $1000 for a pair of fret tang nippers just to cover costs.

A few years ago I had a bulk batch of plexiglass templates laser cut for myself and I had a heap of people jump on the bandwagon saying "get us some cut at the same time". I had the CAD work done free by someone I knew - who taught me the basics enough that I could finish and edit what he didn't get done. So the cost was only for the plexiglass and the lasercutting. I worked it out that to get even I'd have to charge each template at around $50.00 (my cost, no profit) and then when I presented this price to the people wanting templates their reaction was "no thanks" - but what the **** were they expecting? Sure you can buy similar templates from ebay for $20- but these were one off templates, not bulk made and they come at a cost to me.

What I'm getting at - Stewmac get these items to us at a pretty good price considering they are so specialist. I don't like to fork out my hard earned dollars on expensive items, but this is real life. Supply and demand.

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Demonx has it spot on there.

OK some of the tools on stewie mac might seem pricey, But where else can you get them at the same level of quality for the money. I can easily go to a machine shop & get parts made up for tools, I have the design background & can produce my own CAD or CAM drawings. But even so, I would pay more than I would from Stewie mac.

I say support them. I get as much as I can from them when I need it. Even if its not entirly warrented, I buy maple tops from them even though I have a heap of them here. I use their fretboards for about 20 guitars a year even though I can make my own for a fraction on the cost. I can make their hotrod truss rod from scratch in about 20 mins but I still buy in a load every year.

As to their fretting cauls. I have a full set that I use here, & so does my slaveprentice. You should get them, For the cost, you get a set of tools that will most likely outlive your guitar building days

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There are some tools from stewmac that I just wont buy... some of those pliers, drill bits, and other stuff are just over priced because they are tailored to the building community, so no thanks to those.

That said, I have no problem buying the stuff I need from them. I know some of that stuff is one off and would be expensive to have made, I just think its funny Ill spend 25$ on an arbor press and MORE for the caul lol

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