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I'm About To Give Up Slotting Fretboards...


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how on earth do you slot a board perfectly?  I have the stewmac saw but I need to find a way to hold the saw so it cuts a -perfect- 90 degree cut on the board.  So how do ya'll get your boards slotted perfectly?

Do you not have the mitre box? If not,if you had a straight enough block of hardwood you could use it as a guide. Even attach it to a piece running along the side to square it up. The backsaw (with a little help from finger pressure) should ride against the block until a groove is started then you can just use the block to keep the blade vertical.

I can't remember what the stew back saw looks like.. maybe the bolts for the depth stop will keep you from using a stop block like that. not sure.

You could always build yourself a little mitre box with a floor and two panels with a slot to accept the stewmac saw.

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the stewmac miter box if you have time to set it up perfectly, will give dead on results (combined of course with thry fretting templates) http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Fretting_suppl..._Miter_Box.html

or if you have a really good table saw and sturdy slider arm then their circular saw blade (combined again with they fretting templates) http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Fretting_suppl...ting_Blade.html

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Ah, slotting, one of the things I hate most but is very satsifying when completed. Let me see if I can explain this well...

First, I slot with the fretboard attached to the neck, and the back of the neck still being square. Then I clamp the neck to my bench-type area. I mark out two points on the fretboard with pencil in the exact center of the neck. Then I get a straight piece of maple to use as a guide. I use a square to position the maple guide parallel to the centerline of the neck using the two spots I marked out, preferably at opposite ends of the neck. The guide is one or two inches away, depending. You'll see.

After that's settled, I bust out my jig, which consists of a piece of wenge about 8"x 4"x 1", and two 1"x 4"x 1" legs that go on the ends. The wenge 'table' goes over and around the neck and one of the shorter edges slides against the guide piece. To make clear, the piece of wenge I use has to be a perfect rectangle, 90 degrees at the corners, to assure your slotting will be perfectly perpendicular to the centerline of the neck, you follow?

Then I pull out my saw and put a few strips of electrical tape on one side, acting as depth guide to know how deep I'm cutting. The other edge of the saw rests against the wenge jig, which keeps it perfectly vertical, though you have to make sure your neck isn't higher or lower at either end as well. I position the wenge beside a marked location of a fret, clamp it in place while it's resting snugly against the guide rail and proceed to saw. I also use some wax on the blade to keep it from sticking, which happens to me a lot, though it depends somewhat on the kind of wood you are cutting.

I hope that is vaguely clear. Sorry if you just can't picture it, but hopefully some other people can expound a bit more, or just let me know what's fuzzy. :D

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Ah, slotting, one of the things I hate most but is very satsifying when completed.  Let me see if I can explain this well...

First, I slot with the fretboard attached to the neck, and the back of the neck still being square.  Then I clamp the neck to my bench-type area.  I mark out two points on the fretboard with pencil in the exact center of the neck.  Then I get a straight piece of maple to use as a guide.  I use a square to position the maple guide parallel to the centerline of the neck using the two spots I marked out, preferably at opposite ends of the neck.  The guide is one or two inches away, depending.  You'll see.

After that's settled, I bust out my jig, which consists of a piece of wenge about 8"x 4"x 1", and two 1"x 4"x 1" legs that go on the ends.  The wenge 'table' goes over and around the neck and one of the shorter edges slides against the guide piece.  To make clear, the piece of wenge I use has to be a perfect rectangle, 90 degrees at the corners, to assure your slotting will be perfectly perpendicular to the centerline of the neck, you follow?

Then I pull out my saw and put a few strips of electrical tape on one side, acting as depth guide to know how deep I'm cutting.  The other edge of the saw rests against the wenge jig, which keeps it perfectly vertical, though you have to make sure your neck isn't higher or lower at either end as well.  I position the wenge beside a marked location of a fret, clamp it in place while it's resting snugly against the guide rail and proceed to saw.  I also use some wax on the blade to keep it from sticking, which happens to me a lot, though it depends somewhat on the kind of wood you are cutting.

I hope that is vaguely clear.  Sorry if you just can't picture it, but hopefully some other people can expound a bit more, or just let me know what's fuzzy. :D

I totally inderstand. Thanks for all the help guys.

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I just got a quote from a local machine shop.. 20 bucks to grind my plywood blade down to .023 kerf needed. Not bad at all. It wouldn't be hard at all to make your own version of the slotting jig for the table saw.. Just have a template board with lines that you match up to the 0 line on your mitre guage. Slot a bord in minutes that way.

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