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Anybody Made Their Own Arbor Caul For Fret Press?


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I picked up a 1/2 ton arbor press from Harbor Freight Tools for $30 and I am trying to save more $$ by making my own caul similar to the one that Stewmac sells. Has anybody out there attempted this or should I just spring for the Stewmac one with 4 inserts for $46?

Thanks for any input.

HG

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H,

I bought one of the StewMac cauls, put it in the drill press, works really slick.

Do the inserts match the fretboard radius you are using?

Good Luck,

d ward

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If any of you guys have the stew mac version. If its not do much trouble could someone measure the brass radius inserts for me. Length and thickness and depth it sits into the caul.

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Yes they are. They have the fretboard radius across them as well as a small radius perpendicular to that to hold the crown. If that makes any sense.

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Yes they are. They have the fretboard radius across them as well as a small radius perpendicular to that to hold the crown. If that makes any sense.

Extremely hard to make I might add. And from a functionality standpoint irrelevant if its set perpendicular into an arbor press with a set screw.

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Bah, it's not that hard to mill the little groove in there. But if you don't put the groove, you'll be better off to make your caul wider than Stew-Macs, to help keep it from slipping off the fret. Stew-Mac's very first cauls were like that. Scanning a picture of it would make me look compulsively crazy (or I should say 'MORE' compulsively crazy ).

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Bah, it's not that hard to mill the little groove in there. But if you don't put the groove, you'll be better off to make your caul wider than Stew-Macs, to help keep it from slipping off the fret. Stew-Mac's very first cauls were like that. Scanning a picture of it would make me look compulsively crazy (or I should say 'MORE' compulsively crazy ).

Speak for yourself. Milling a radius "accurately" is hard enough. About 60 passes with a ball endmill. Sure i could grind a groove in there but all accuracy is lost. The only thing I can think of is to dimple the middle on each pass to make the grove. I havent had any problem with the wood ones slipping. We'll see how the brass turns out.

I think Godin nailed it on this one. For 5 Bucks you get a cnc milled one. easier.

edit: ah I see. just measured out 3 mm wide thats .118" most fretwire is around the .1 mark. That could sip easily if it wasnt perfect. That one of mine is 1/4" wide. Makes a big difference. I guess ill make my width and an adapter plate lol.

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On the stewmac cauls, are they radiused for the crown of the fret as well as the fretboard radius? Did that make any sense?

yes

Oops - of course, I didn't look at the 2nd page so my post is a bit... tardy :D

Edited by mikhailgtrski
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Don't want to give away my material of choice for these cauls, but here's a "test version" made from pergo floor scrap. Hard to see, but the little fret-crown hugging groove is also a perfect radius (which is a 17.5" radius on this one).

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v398/soa...retcaul3061.jpg

Just one or two passes with the ball-end bit, the way I do it, that is, after the radius has been made with a straight bit.

I can't make them out of hardened steel, but I think those would be the best. I imagine you could hold them over the fret and give a couple blows with a hammer to the caul to seat the fret.

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Hey Hydrogeoman - I like your ID! Long-time groundwater flow modeler and former assistant editor of Ground Water here. You might be surprised at how many hydrogeologists are guitar bums.

Welcome Old Black! I think it is the blend of science/art/earth that is so appealing. Makes be believe that although many folks on this site are from completely different backgrounds we are all "cut from the same cloth."

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just so you know I have not tried this yet...........But

For about $5 you can get one of these scrapers and cut the handle off and JB Weld an old drill bit for the shank. Get the Stew Mac insert of your choice, and all for about $10 bucks.

Scraper Pic

If you try this method be sure to get a scraper with a straight head, some are angled.

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