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Fret Arbor Press System

4.0
  • 42 Reviews
  • Write a review

Fret Arbor Press System

Item # 4481
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List Price $189.45
Your Price $174.29

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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.

Customer Reviews

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4.0
  • 4.02 average rating from 42 reviews
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Displaying 2 of 5
1 2 3 4 5
4.0

Its Pretty Good

By
(Customer's Reviews)


I had a hard time getting to set high enough for set neck guitars. It would work great for bolt ons. Some of the parts on the one i got were stuck so bad that when i went to lossen the nuts to adjust it, they bent and wanted to strip out. I just use the cauls on my drill press, seems to work better that way

3.0

Not the Quality I Expected

By
(Customer's Reviews)


I have to say, this is my first disappointment when purchasing from StewMac. I donÆt know if this makes any difference but in the pictures and videos the lock-down screw is shown in the bottom hole but mine is in the top hole. Every single nut on the unit was loose and needed to be tightened. I was not able to install the fret press caul on the first attempt. When the Ram was tapped and threaded for the set screw it left a larger bur on the inside that prevented the press caul from going in far enough. I had to drill it out and then I was able to install the press caul. Not a huge deal but I would think standard QC would make sure the caul would fit prior to boxing it up for shipment. My other beef is with the fretboard table. The directions say ôto retract the pin out of the way, simply back out the Allen screw on the other side of the fence.ö Well there is no allen screw. The pin is a solid piece which is held in place by a machine screw threaded into the back of the plastic fence. The screw head is just barely large enough to hold the pin in place. IÆm not using the fret scale templates so I donÆt need the pin but this is very hokey at best. Just not the quality I would have expected from StewMac. All this being said however, I used it to install frets on a tenor ukulele neck and it did seat the frets much better than when I was using the press caul in my drill press. I have a guitar repair vise coming this week and IÆm hoping the quality is much better on it.

4.0

heavy!

By
(Customer's Reviews)


The quality is good enough. This tool will not solve all of your challenges. Be aware of back bow and be prepared to deal with it.

5.0

Fretting made easy...

By
(Customer's Reviews)


This is so much better than pounding frets with a hammer. Some initial setup is required and making a 1 1/2" base made it very portable. This does require a little thought and inventiveness. If you can't do this, I'm not sure one should be fretting at all. Other reviewers complaints were paint chipping...mine isn't chipping and I don't care if it did. Made in China...yes, it is. I priced USA made and it was over $400, without the StewMac mods and accesories. The StewMac metal label had to be stuck back on and it's still there. One does have to clean cosmoline off the ram, removing the front plate to do so, and then adjust, and reassemble. This is not hard for someone that builds guitars. I highly recomend this unit but don't expect to lift it out of the box and throw ebony into its jaws. Learn to set up and use it just like you did with your table saw and spray equipment. Hugs....

2.0

Disappointed: crude workmanship, not up to Stew-Mac standards, not what I expected

By
(Customer's Reviews)


Before I go any further, I suggest you read the review left on 3-15-2011 by Smokie in IL; that review pretty much nails my overall opinion of this Arbor Press.

I would add that I had high expectations- not only based on all my previous purchases with Stew-Mac, but also based on my experiences with an older Stew-Mac Arbor Press at a repair shop I worked at in the past. I am now on my own, slowly building up my own supply of specialty tools. This current Stew-Mac Arbor Press is a newer/updated version with a few nice additions, such as the spring-loaded arm and fretboard table attachment. However, the overall build quality it not even close to the older Stew-Mac press. Again- read Smokie's review for more detail. This is my first, and hopefully only, disappointing Stew-Mac experience.

-Joe

2.0

Fret Arbor Press System

By
(Customer's Reviews)


I am not very happy with this press. It is very crowded, limits my possibilities, i need to use hammer, where the press is not useful. Quite expensive.

5.0

Finished hammering

By
(Customer's Reviews)


Such a simple idea but this works perfectly. It is very easy to set up but really needs a very thick plywood base to enable the use of table. Not a difficulty but you will want to play with your new StewMac 'toy' straightaway, won't you? The DHL shipping to the UK is fantastic, relatively cheap for this sort of weight, and parcels can take just three business days from ordering.

5.0

essential

By
(Customer's Reviews)


A must have tool for anyone building or doing fret repair,esp. on older instruments with fragile finishes and glue joints.

5.0

Perfect fretwork

By
(Customer's Reviews)


This press is not only a time saving tool, il helps you to make an absolutely PERFECT fretting!

3.0

not completely satisfied

By
(Customer's Reviews)


Chinese quality. not worthy of stewmac tool

Displaying 2 of 5
1 2 3 4 5


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

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