Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

i HATE sawing fret slots.

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Newbcaster, Oct 15, 2017.

  1. Newbcaster

    Newbcaster Tele-Meister

    Age:
    43
    372
    May 10, 2015
    Gilbert
    arrrgh... hand sawing fret slots takes FOREVER...

    who has the best and simplest fairly low labor, automated process that doesn't cost a bajillion dollars?
     

  2. Steve Holt

    Steve Holt Tele-Holic

    739
    May 29, 2016
    Kansas
    Lmii will do it for $9.00 any scale and radius it as well. I just buy my boards from them because for me, even if I had the equipment to do it (and I don't) the actual process would take longer than $9 is worth to me. Plus its done by CNC and is more accurate than I'd be measuring even with a template tool. What's an hour or two of your time worth?
     
    devrock, RogerC and Newbcaster like this.

  3. Newbcaster

    Newbcaster Tele-Meister

    Age:
    43
    372
    May 10, 2015
    Gilbert

    That's why I love this forum. People amaze me everyday with factoids i don't know.

    Yeah i bought the fret sawing aluminum jig and stew mac templates. but saws with .023 kerf are thin, wiggly and bind terribly. there needs to be a wide heavy saw that terminates into a kerf width cutting surface. and the thickness of the blade being its own depth stop... or there just needs to be LMII.

    Thanks!!
     
    Lucretia likes this.

  4. Steve Holt

    Steve Holt Tele-Holic

    739
    May 29, 2016
    Kansas
    Yeah for me when I was getting started I was looking at rigs that cost $150-$200 then you have to do the work...I found LMII and they offer a lot that Stewmac does not. I use them both. I'm just a hobbyist but honestly even if did this everyday it's hard to justify buying the stuff to do it AND the time it takes to do each board when it seriously only costs slightly higher than an hour of minimum wage labor to have them do it for me...more accurately! I just ordered a birdseye maple fretboard from them last week and I'm excited to get it.
     
    Newbcaster likes this.

  5. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    56
    Mar 17, 2003
    Spring City, Pa
    Fact:
    when you put "oid" at the end of a word like asteroid or humanoid, it means, "it's like that thing... but it isn't."
    A factoid is like the newly-invented "alternative fact."
    I like "factlet" for "little, useful fact" but I don't think it's a word.....YET! ;)
     
    betocool, Newbcaster, Gibson and 2 others like this.

  6. Bugeater281

    Bugeater281 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    26
    178
    Nov 30, 2016
    Omaha
    Do you just order from the pre slotted boards or just request they slot the board you bought?
     

  7. jvin248

    jvin248 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI
    .

    I bought a $9 harbor freight 'flush cut' saw, hammered the kerf flat to get to 0.023, and double-sided-taped a strip of wood to the side of the saw. The wood acts as the depth stop plus makes the wiggly saw rigid. I use a jig to hold the fretboard or a neck in position and then cut slots. You're looking for something like a machine though....
    .



     

  8. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    There is no substitute for a decent fret sawing system. The stewmac system is accurate and pretty simple. It takes about 10 minutes to slot a board if you aren't in a rush. I actually like the LMii system better with the indexing pin, but it is plastic and I've snapped the plexi templates once or twice while trying to get the double sided tape off.

    A proper saw with a back spine is the way to go. The stewmac Japanese backsaw that goes with their system is really nice. If you really plan on doing this as a hobby, getting the correct tools is the way to go.

    http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tool...90h1v6gAsO3shBFZWVvSB-IgdtsGsW3xoCIUEQAvD_BwE

    There are work arounds for everything, but it's nice to have the stuff designed for the task and sometimes you just want to make instruments and not the tools too.

    If you are only going to make a couple guitars a year, buying the preslotted fretboards makes the most sense, unless you want a non traditional wood.

    I tried the HF saw for one fretboard...now it is used for its intended purpose...:).


    I'd also suggest you buy a fret press and an aluminum radius beam.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2017

  9. Steve Holt

    Steve Holt Tele-Holic

    739
    May 29, 2016
    Kansas
    They have all different varieties of boards in stock unslotted and you specify the scale, how you want the nut slot cut, the radius (extra 9 dollars) space behind the nut and they cut it for you in a few days.
     

  10. Bugeater281

    Bugeater281 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    26
    178
    Nov 30, 2016
    Omaha
    So all that for 9 bucks extra. I'm buying fretboards from them for now on.
     
    devrock and Steve Holt like this.

  11. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County

  12. ndeli55

    ndeli55 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    33
    May 12, 2008
    oklahoma
    The Japanese backsaw rips--I guess it saws--but it's fast and by pulling the blade tends to follow and doesn't bind easily. Be careful it cuts humans just like it cuts wood.
     

  13. s_tones

    s_tones Tele-Holic

    708
    Nov 10, 2013
    central CA
    Before I went CNC, I used a Japanese fret saw and a simple melamine jig with blocks to align the saw blade. plastic stops on the saw blade.
    honestly it worked great and took maybe 30" to do the whole job.
    Drawback: you cant leave an uncut outer edge to hide fret ends.

    Tell ya what's worse: filing fret tangs! Oh yeah, and polishing frets!

    Steve
     

  14. Ripthorn

    Ripthorn Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    35
    Oct 22, 2009
    Austin, TX
    I am not overly fond of slotting by hand, but it really doesn't take tons of time for me. I have the regular StewMac saw (got it before the Japanese one came out). It now has a bajillion fretboards under its belt and needs to be replaced, but it works well. I use the steel templates in a shop-made MDF miter box with indexing pin for standard scales, and a paper template from fretfind2D along with the saw, a guide block, and some spring clamps for multiscale or other non-standard scale boards.

    I have used the LMII service before, and it is top notch, but I build enough and with enough materials that they don't stock that I haven't done so in a long time.
     

  15. Preacher

    Preacher Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 17, 2007
    Big D
    I just took a tour of K'Aloha ukulele shop a couple of weeks ago. He designed a multi blade saw that you run the board on and it cuts all the slots at one time. Was way cool and fast!!
     

  16. Ripthorn

    Ripthorn Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    35
    Oct 22, 2009
    Austin, TX
    These are fairly common. They are called gang saws and pretty much all the big companies use them. They don't work well for multiscale guitars, however :)
     

  17. otterhound

    otterhound Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 14, 2008
    Manheim Pa.
    Stew Mac sells indexed metal templates and circular saw blade . You will need a decent radial arm saw . You are set . If you are looking for ease and can afford it , Grizzly has a fretboard setup that uses one of their belt sanders . You can even do compound radii with this setup or build your own . Sanding blocks work also . PSA sandpaper works well with the blocks .
     

  18. Larkins

    Larkins TDPRI Member

    94
    Feb 15, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    I've been using a laser engraver lately. Takes about 20 minutes but it's not touch time.
     

  19. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2011
    Tucson
    It takes me less than that to cut them by hand. I'm wondering just how fast the OP is trying to make it. I have no beef with automation in this effort but of all the slow things in my shop sawing fret slots is not one of them. I mark them with a fine pencil, line them up by eye in my little miter box, and cut 'em. One of these days I'll probably rig up an indexed system but have not needed it over a dozen very successful builds.
     

  20. Newbcaster

    Newbcaster Tele-Meister

    Age:
    43
    372
    May 10, 2015
    Gilbert
    My main beef with the saw I have; it's a Kobalt saw whose blade was replaced by Lee Valley with a blade that had the correct kerf, for free, but sadly the blade wiggles so much and binds in the slot so bad becasue the saw is so flimsy. Thats not to say the blade is poorly made, but its essentially the wrong tool for the job despite it being free and the right kerf. I can't push the blade forward. I draw it back, lift, then replace and draw back again.

    This thread was more frustration post than anything, but I am very grateful for the reminder... the right tool for the job. TrexF16 is wholly correct.

    Sadly, LMII doesn't sell flame maple fretboards and i have 6 of them at home here that need doing. Shipping them is clearly out of the question. I'll just buy the saw ripthorn and guitarbuilder mentioned. Why I was doing a fretboard at 4am is anyone's guess... I'm pure Scots on my dad's side which is to say I'm retardedly stubborn....much too often...
     

IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.