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Trade Secrets! Newsletter Issue 225 September 11, 2014
How to stop breaking router bits
A customer asked me how to avoid breaking tiny router bits. I answer this question from time to time on the phone, and it makes a good Trade Secrets topic. I talked to Dan Erlewine and Dan made us this video. Check it out!
—Matt Brooker, StewMac Tech Support

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Tremsetter Installation
How to install the Tremsetter

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Safe Slot Guitar Nut Guard
Stop your string slot file before it cuts too deep and the nut is ruined! StewMac's Dan Erlewine and Don MacRostie, the inventor of the tool, show how it works.

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Depth Stop Drill Bits
Use this 7-piece drill set to avoid catastrophes when you install guitar tuners, pickguards, string trees, truss rod covers, pickup rings, and more.

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Swivel Handle Clamps for guitar repair and building
Get better control over your clamping pressure with a right-angle handle. It's easier to make ever-so-slight adjustments, or really crank it down!

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Batt-O-Meter Video
Watch a video demonstration of the Batt-O-Meter in action.

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Chip Stoppers
Pull frets without chipping the fingerboard.

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Premium guitar wiring for Gibson Les Paul
Upgrade the pots, caps and hookup wires in your guitar with this kit: these parts look right and sound great. This kit includes the components we choose for our own guitars.

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FretBender demo: putting the curve in guitar frets
Dan Erlewine demos the StewMac FretBender. This great idea came from luthier Randy Stockwell in the 1980s, and now it's a must-have tool in guitar shops everywhere.

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Scraper Burnisher Video
Video instructions for using the scraper burnisher.

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Guitar Knob Puller vs. Knob/Bushing Puller
Erick Coleman compares a simple knob puller and the Schatten Knob and Bushing Puller, which does multiple jobs in a guitar repair shop.

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Vibramate Bigsby vibrato mount: no drilling!
Install a Bigsby without modifying your guitar. Erick Coleman shows the Vibramate V5 adapter: no drilling, and in just a couple of minutes his guitar's Bigsby-fied!

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D'Addario: Introducing the NS Micro Tuner
At a stealthy 1.25 inches, it's the best performance they'll never see.

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L.R. Baggs FIVE.O Ukulele Pickup Performance
Brittni Paiva says "The FIVE.O pickup is the best pickup I've ever heard in an ukulele." Here she performs "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

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StewMac Guitar Buffer: buffing tips
Dan Erlewine with some tips for using our guitar buffer to get a high gloss guitar finish.

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Ricky Skaggs - Lyric Acoustic Guitar Microphone
"Moving around all over the stage, my sound doesn't change and I don't have to depend on standing in front of a mic. This Lyric is the best I've found so far."

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EMG ACB Banjo Pickup System featuring Tim Weed
Tim Weed stops by EMG Studios to discuss the new ACB Banjo Pickup System.

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String Spreader Demo
David Lynch introduces his new tool at NAMM.

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Gerstner Tool Chest
Dan Erlewine shows off the Gerstner chests he's built, a fun project!

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Guitar Screw Rescue Kit
Remove broken screws! Dan Erlewine shows you how to fix this common problem with this StewMac tool set.

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Black Ice
Guitar demo using the Black Ice.

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MAG-ic Probe Electronic Thickness Gauge
Tool Demo

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Railhammer Chisel Pickups
"Dirty" Demo

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Railhammer Anvil Pickup
"Clean & Dirty" demo

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Preview: The Transitional Arm Bevel
Kent Everett shows how he does the transitional arm bevel on his guitars.

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Railhammer Hyper Vintage Pickups
"Clean" Demo

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Railhammer Hyper Vintage Pickups
"Dirty" demo

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Railhammer Chisel Pickups
"Clean" Demo

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Installing tuner knobs
Dan Erlewine replaces rotted old tuner knobs, and shows a neat trick with a drill press!

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T.J. Thompson explains the inspiration behind the Thompson Belly Reducer
Save the bridge plate and save the value of your vintage guitar! T.J. explains the inspiration behind the Thompson Belly Reducer and more in his interview with Dan Erlewine at the 2010 NAMM Show.

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Radius gauges for guitar work
Dan Erlewine demos the three kinds of radius gauges for setup and fretwork.

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Digital caliper for guitar repairs and fret work
Dan Erlewine demos the digital caliper for measuring frets, parts and all kinds of dimensions for repair work.

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Scissor Jack
Dan Erlewine demos the Scissor Jack, to simplify tricky repairs inside acoustic guitar bodies.

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Fret Cutter for trimming fret ends
After installing new frets, the flush-cut jaws of a fret cutter trim the fret ends.

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Franklin Titebond Glue
Versatile and popular, Titebond is our customers' go-to glue.

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StewMac Ultimate Scraper
Al Carruth shows how to use and sharpen the Ultimate Scraper.

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Scraper Blades
Steel scrapers leave an ultra-smooth surface. Here's how to use them in your shop...

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Behlen Ground Hide Glue
Dan Erlewine shows how to mix up a batch of his favorite glue.

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String Action Gauge
Dan Erlewine uses this gauge for checking string height, measuring saddle and pickup heights and more.

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String Spacing Rule
Dan Erlewine shows how to use the String Spacing Rule to quickly locate the strings on a guitar nut. He also explains the problem with using equal spacing.

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Behlen Behkol Solvent
Every guitar shop needs Behkol on hand.

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Behlen Naptha Solvent
Naphtha cleans, degreases and raises wood grain for sanding before finishing.

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Jack The Gripper
Jack The Gripper holds the jack steady while you tighten the nut. This keeps the jack from turning and damaging the solder joints inside.

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Gauged Nut Slotting Files
It just makes sense to cut the string slots to match the string gauges! With this set of gauged files, your work is fast and accurate too.

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Spray Gun Cleaning Kit
Dan Erlewine's getting a kick out of this little cleaning kit.

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Neck Joint Routing Template For Fender
Erick Coleman shows how to really use a routing template.

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Fret End Dressing File
Dan Erlewine shows how to use this small file for shaping fret ends.

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Making a Concert Classical Guitar
A video preview of John Bogdanovich's 10 DVD set.

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Deadblow Fretting Hammer
Erick Coleman shows how the shot-filled deadblow head is ideal for fretwork. The way this hammer transfers energy to the fret makes fretwork faster.

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ESP Multi Spanner
The thin steel Multi Spanner tightens-up jacks, tuners and control pots.

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Three-corner Fret Dressing Files
Erick Coleman demos these three versatile fret files.

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OptiVISOR Headband Magnifier
Dan Erlewine demos his most used tool: the OptiVISOR.

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Guitar Repair Vise
Dan Erlewine shows how we've customized our Guitar Repair Vise for instrument work.

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Nut and Saddle Vise
A StewMac exclusive. You'll appreciate the specially-shaped jaws.

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Nut Slotting Gauge
Dan Erlewine uses the Nut Slotting Gauge: the most accurate measure of nut slot depth.

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Tortoloid pickguard material
Dan Erlewine demos Tortoloid. Like natural tortoiseshell, every piece of Tortoloid is unique.

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Snap files for leveling and beveling guitar frets
Erick Coleman demos the Snapfile System: a 4-in-1 combination of our best leveling and beveling files.

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MacRostie Binding Trimmer
Make any size bindings of wood or plastic. Here, Dan Erlewine replicates the bindings on a 1929 Gibson L-5.

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Guitar Tech Screwdriver Set
StewMac's own: this kit replaces a drawer full of tools!

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Essential Fretting Tool Kit
Dan Erlewine shows what's in the kit and what each tool is for.

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Foam polishing pad for guitar finishing
Dan Erlewine shows how he uses foam pads for a finish repair.

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Refret Saws
Dan Erlewine demos his gap-toothed saw for cleaning and modifying guitar fret slots.

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Micro-Mesh guitar finishing paper
Dan Erlewine uses Micro-Mesh to get rid of finish scratches, without using a buffer.

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Rock-n-Roller Neck Rest
Good. Simple. Solid. Support.

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Guitar fret beveling file
Erick Coleman shows how to quickly put a uniform 35-degree bevel on all the fret ends.

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FretRocker
Dan Erlewine troubleshoots fret problems with the tiny straightedges that became the Fret Rocker.

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Notched straightedge for guitar or bass
Dan Erlewine demos the notched straightedge from StewMac. This tool lets you check a guitar or bass neck for straightness, with or without the frets in place.

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Fretboard Finishing Oil
Dan Erlewine applies a protective finish on the fretboard of a 1953 Gibson J50.

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Mini Cam Clamp
A lighter, smaller cam clamp for guitar building and repair.

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Basic Setup Kit Video
Dan Erlewine shows what's in the kit and what each tool is for.

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A Master Class in Acoustic Guitar Making
A video preview of Chris Wynne's 10 DVD master class.

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Fret Barber guitar fret tang resizer
Dan Erlewine demos the Fret Barber: a tool that will "take a little off the sides" of fretwire, making it fit fret slots that would otherwise be too tight.

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Installing guitar frets with the Jaws press
Faster, better fretting with Jaws -- the original handheld fret press.

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Fret press: arbor press for guitar fretting
Dan Erlewine demos our arbor press, which is specially adapted for fretting stringed instruments.

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Tune-o-matic bridge repair tools
Erick Coleman demos the Tune-o-Medic tool kit for adjusting and fixing these Gibson-style bridges.

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Fret/Fingerboard Levelers
3 sizes to make any fretboard absolutely level.

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Guitar Repair Magnet Kit Video
Dan Erlewine uses magnets in his guitar repairs. He's got LOTS of ways to use them...

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Fret Slot Cleaning Tool
You can't have a well seated fret without a well cleaned fret slot. The fret slot cleaning tool removes the gunk and glue and that means better fret jobs.

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Dual-face Fret Hammer
Erick Coleman demos the fretting hammer, and explains what the plastic/brass heads are all about.

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Guitar Shop Starter Kit
Set up your own guitar repair shop -- and get a great head start with this kit.

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Vibramate V5 and Bigbsy B5 Installation
Install a Bigsby Vibrato on your guitar in minutes without drilling any holes using the Vibramate V5 Mounting Kit.

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Archtop Bridge Fitting Jig
Dan Erlewine gets a perfect fit on a Washburn archtop.

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BridgeSaver guitar bridge repair tool
Dan Erlewine demos the BridgeSaver tool for repairing damaged bridge pin holes on acoustic guitars.

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Precision Router Base
Dan Erlewine demonstrates our Precision Router Base, for inlays and other routing on guitars and all stringed instruments.

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The Responsive Guitar
Ervin Somogyi discusses acoustic guitar theory, design and construction.

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Essential Nut Making Tool Kit
Dan Erlewine shows what's in the kit and what each tool is for.

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Erlewine Shopstand
Dan Erlewine shows how his ShopStand replaces a workbench for guitar repair, buffing, and all instrument work.

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How to use the Erlewine Neck Jig
Simulate string tension with the strings off for the most accurate fret and fingerboard work ever!

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Parsons Street Humbuckers: pickups with real P.A.F. specs
These pickups are true to Gibson's original 1950s P.A.F. pickup specs. Great sound at a low price!

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Radius gauges for guitar work
Dan Erlewine demos the three kinds of radius gauges for setup and fretwork.

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Fret Slot Depth Gauge
Before you try to put frets in, make sure the slots are deep enough!

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Airbrush for guitar finishing
Dan Erlewine uses this easy, inexpensive airbrush for guitar finish touchups and and small spray jobs.

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Micro finishing papers for instrument finishing
Dan Erlewine on using micro-grit finishing papers as the last step before buffing an instrument finish. In this case, he's finishing up a spot repair on a poly-finished guitar body.

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Radius-sanding Beam
Erick Coleman using a Radius Beam on a fret job for leveling the board, then the frets.

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TrueChannel Binding Routing Jig
Erick Coleman shows the TrueChannel jig in use, routing the binding channel on an acoustic guitar.

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Truss Rod Rescue Kit
Dan Erlewine shows two truss rod troubles that are solved with the Truss Rod Rescue kit.

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Guitar Nutdrivers
Guitar Nutdrivers are great for control pots, output jacks and tuner bushings.

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Flexible polishing papers for instrument work
Dan Erlewine on using cloth-like polishing abrasives for guitar repair. They're a micro-grit "finishing fabric" that conforms to any shape, wet or dry.

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Danny Roberts (The Grascals): Loar mandolin with Waverly tuners
Danny Roberts with his 1922 Lloyd Loar mandolin that once belonged to his good friend, the late Charlie Derrington. Danny visited Stewart-MacDonald, and talked about the Waverly tuning machines on his Loar.

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Gripper Truss Rod Wrenches
Dan Erlewine demos the tapered Gripper truss rod wrenches.

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Mitchell abrasive cord
Guitar floss: flexible sanding cord has a lot of uses.

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Freehand Holder for guitar finishing
Erick Coleman demos the Freehand Holder for spraying bodies and necks.

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Shellac for French-polishing a guitar finish
Dan Erlewine shows that shellac is great for finish repairs and for creating a French polish finish: a good gloss without spraying.