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Fret Arbor Press System

4.0
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Fret Arbor Press System

Fret Arbor Press System

Item # 4481
In stock, ready to ship!

List Price $199.03
Your Price $183.11

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Fret Arbor Press only, with table

Fret Arbor Press only, with table

Item # 4480
In stock, ready to ship!

$116.43

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Fret Arbor Press System

About This Item

A fretting factory on your workbench! Our veteran fretting experts developed this unique system for speed and accuracy.

You won't find a more thoughtfully designed and efficient arbor-based system! It's far more versatile than generic tool catalog arbors. It can fret an entire unglued fingerboard, a bolt-on neck, and most of an attached neck, quickly and consistently.

Why press frets? Faster and more consistent than hammering (and a lot quieter!), arbor-press fretting is preferred by many guitarmakers. Pressed-in frets have fewer loose ends and more uniform heights, because there's none of the recoil produced by hammer blows.

    The complete system includes:
  • Heavy-duty cast steel arbor press
  • Self-leveling pressing caul
  • Five radiused/grooved brass inserts for the caul
  • Table with fence attachment
  • Hardwood neck support
  • Instructions

Designed and refined by StewMac fretting experts. Four interchangeable 2-1/2" grooved brass inserts match standard fretwire radii (7.25", 9.5", 12" and 16"), and a special 6"-radius insert holds down the fret ends when you're using glue. Additional insert radii are available separately. The arbor has an adjustable steel pinion for firm pressure.

Built-in lever return spring. The pressing caul won't fall down and dent your work—makes fretting much easier and less cumbersome. A StewMac exclusive, this is the first half-ton arbor press to feature this innovative spring recoil.

Pinion locking screw. Locks the caul down for clamping a glued-in fret (a handy feature suggested by luthier Bryan Galloup).

Versatile table attachment. The system now includes our 24-3/8" x 3" table attachment with fence, for fretting unglued fingerboards. Adjustment screws move and rotate the table forward and back, to center the fingerboard and precisely align the frets beneath the pressing caul. A thumbscrew locks the table to the arbor.

Faster fretting for production work. The table fence has a retractable indexing pin that works with the notches in our Dual Fret Scale Templates. Attach a slotted unglued fingerboard to a matching template with double-stick tape, and the pin aligns each fret directly beneath the pressing caul. A real time-saver!

Fret glued-on fingerboards, too. Simply remove the table and use the contoured 12" x 2-3/4" x 1" cork-lined hardwood neck support included with the system. (Tip: it's also a handy lower clamping caul for gluing a fingerboard on a neck.)

Already using our Fret Press Caul in your drill press? The Fret Arbor Press with Table is available separately—save money and upgrade your shop.


Video

Instructions

Product Instructions

Stewart-MacDonald Fret Arbor Press

Setup instructions and useful tips for getting the most out of our Fret Arbor Press System.

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4.0
  • 4.10 average rating from 50 reviews
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2.0

Good concept

By

Verified Buyer


The concept for this tool is good, unfortunately execution and build quality is terrible. I would much rather pay more for a quality built tool than pay less for a poorly made one.
It does do what it was designed to but, it is a cheap chinese tool adapted to work on guitars.
Be prepared to spend at least an hour fixing the flaws to get it to work in a somewhat acceptable manner. I would personally not buy this again.

5.0

Fret press

By

Verified Buyer


Excellent addition to my shop

5.0

Really speeds up fret setting, without any compromise for accuracy.

By

Verified Buyer


I've been hammering frets for quite a while now. It works, but can be really time consuming. I favour using hide glue for my fretwork, which means working quickly, not always possible on some frets. That can be a pain when hammering, so I took a chance and bought the fret press. My biggest complaint is that I didn't get it sooner. Makes fret setting so much smoother and faster, without compromising accuracy. It also allows me to clamp for a few minutes between frets, to give the hide glue time to cool. Since it's a straight press, the fingerboard must be properly radiused so the fret seats properly, but once that's done you're good to go. I will say that the arbor press should be fastened to a base and clamped to your table, so it doesn't move. Great tool for the shop.

5.0

5star tool

By

Verified Buyer


A fully sorted work station for pressing frets like a pro.
Everything you need and need having done for the conversion of the arbor press.
Once again and excellent addition to my workshop thanks to StewMac

5.0

Quality built in

By

Verified Buyer


Fret jobs just got a whole lot easier in my shop.
From alignment, pressure, stability, radius to fret surface integrity, StewMac has come up with another winner.
If the price point has you wondering, count up your hours on fret work, realize the savings there, not to mention the accuracy.
I wish they paid me to say this, but they don't.
If it works, it works. And this works. Well done folks.

4.0

Just wish it had more room! 

By

Verified Buyer


I was apprenticed in the art of hand hammering frets and have been doing it with excellent success for years. My mentor had purchased and modified the press caul to use as a hammer caul and loved that! But a few months ago I spent some time with David Nichols in his shop, and he had the arbor set up for use. After three frets I knew instantly I had to have one. No better way to have even pressure and control (you can watch the fret seat smoothly into the wood). Wish I had given this a shot years ago!

My only gripe is that I wish the throat was deeper to accommodate a full refret on a guitar attached to the body. 16th fret is about as far as I dare go on an SG I just did. I know the caul can be used in a drum press, but that doesn't give the same feel and pressure as the arbor.

5.0

Useful and Versatile Tool

By

Verified Buyer


Right out of its packaging I could tell that this is a solid and useful press. I have read others' concerns that the tool has sharp edges and required some burnishing before use, but I did not see this with my purchase. After some initial assembly the press was ready to use. It moves smoothly and makes the fretting process a breeze and more exacting. I have also found that if one removes the caul and makes some minor adjustments that the tool can be used for other jobs that require a press.

5.0

Nice product. A time saver!

By

Verified Buyer


The Fret Arbor Press System does a great job at setting frets in a short amount of time. This will save you a lot of time not only by putting in frets quickly, but you will also have much less clean up to do VS. hammering the frets in.

3.0

It works

By

Verified Buyer


It does work and it's accurate. It sure is not a high quality piece. It looks like my 5 th grader machined the base.

Response from StewMac


If you are not satisfied with the quality of this tool, please let us know. We stand behind the performance and quality of our tools and parts with our 100% satisfaction guarantee. Use the "Contact Us" link on the site or give us a call and we would be happy to assist you. - Spencer, Customer Support

5.0

Save the chase

By

Verified Buyer


After reading other reviews on here about the press I was reluctant to invest.
Since most of the complaints are cosmetic and not functional, and most all of the poor reviews where from 2011 I took the chance that things have been worked out. Over all I'd say they have been. Once I cleaned up the press of the machining oil and made a base for it, I found a few sharp edges and filed them lightly. No real issue with paint as described.

My first fret job took about 45 minutes (less dressing) on a brand new fretboard, uninstalled.
Several weeks later after completing the guitar I'm working on I go to set it up, and the fretboard is perfect. Not a single buzz anywhere. I've never experienced this as a builder hammering frets. This has fully eliminated the chase the buzz from fret to fret. Well worth the money if this is the out come.
Not to mention the frets are shinny and flawless, not a single mark. What a time saver.

Showing 10 of 50 Read more reviews >>


StewMac PDF Catalog, page 9 See Fret Arbor Press System
on page 9 of our StewMac Digital Catalog