Jump to content

Fret Press- Jaws Type


Recommended Posts

Been thinking about the SM fret Press and making my own. One reservation is the standard C clamp Vice Grips everyone uses. I have narrowed down my choices to using the Vice grip SM uses or the UK made Lockjaw. Both are self locking Pliers with auto adjust no huge screw to play with, set the tension and you are done. The LockJaw is readily available everywhere in the US.

Now it took me a while to track down what brand of Pliers are used to make the SM Fret Press. I am sure Soapbar knew but he keeps those secrets to himself, Ha.

Anyway here is the secret (at least to me it was)the Facom 506, made in France but the company is now owned by Stanley. These are hard to find pliers in the US. It is also not a cheap pair of Vice Grips. However the layout of the upper jaw makes it ideal to attach the fixed rail too and the Hinged jaw on the 506 is also ideal to attach the Press body too. However the tool must be used upside down?


As you can see up close it is OK but not exceptional in its construction.

The LockJaw is under $20 but requires more work to modify. Not sure it will be as good? Maybe someone can share their SM Fret Jaws experiences so I can decide if I want to fork over $70 or less.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When starting projects like this I like to look at other examples. Hope this helps...

Our very own Luthier than thou has done it.

That post actually inspired me on this quest. It's less of the construction than the final product working as it should. I think that it may be worth the few extra bucks to spring for the Facom. Its an easier mod and the dimensions are already proven commercially. Also the hinge mechanism is unique (the 4 slots on the body) on this tool. I know its cooler to make it from a cheaper clamp but cool does not always mean better.

Any one who does have the SM Jaws can chime in here to change my mind.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

hey, was checking this out and its the Facom 506 with the hinged jaw tips, if you look close in the picture you can see it under the brand name or just check out their website

You are right it is the 506 made changes to the post above as it says on the tool it is the 506. The 501 will also work just missing the pivoting jaw.

Thats for the correction.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Facom is a self adjusting tool as is the LockJaw, they should in theory preform in a similar manner. Unlike the standard Vice Grip/Molegrip where you have to adjust the screw as your neck changes in thickness; these tools are pre set by you once. Set it and forget it. As you move down or up the neck you should not have to change this setting every few frets. To me this means a better fret job since each press of the tool against the fret is uniform. The main difference between the two is the Hinged jaw, of course the price difference is also a major one. But if I go with the Better grips I still will be able to make an inexpensive Jaws like tool at less than half the cost.

But all of this is from tool discriptions not hands on experience.

I will assume Stech you are in Europe as the Molegrips are not a known brand here in the US. Surprized you didnt spring for the Facom as they are much cheaper where you live?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Once you get this figured out make several pairs as I will want a set....

Sure NO Problem, LOL

Here is todays afternoon project, didnt feel I had to document the process. A Clamp Fret Press made for an Irwin clamp. An inexpensive but solid clamp. Haven't drilled out the clamp or made the neck block but that is a minor operation.

I do have a metal Lathe if you are wondering how I made the shaft. The aluminum Block was cut on a table saw out of 1/2 x 1" aluminum using a triple chip blade. The pin is a expansion pin I had from a Harbor Freight pin kit that finally came in handy. Shown with a SM insert.


Side shot

Side shot with SM Press

This design was not quite so easy to implement, made an easier clamp solution in another post

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I found a Facom 506 on ebay around the time I was posting this thread.

Today I received it. One thing it is not an automatic tension mechanism as I had thought. The barrel screw is just the same as the Vice Grip screw just conveniently placed on the handle. Here are some comparison pictures with some other tools for your viewing pleasure.



It is a big as my larger sized Pliers. Note the hinge mechanism and how wide the Facom can open. Opens as wide as the 11" clamp on the bottom. One note is the jaws stay parallel and It's shinny!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...