Fret Arbor Press System

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

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Fret Arbor Press System

Item # 4481
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$183.83 $169.12

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Video

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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Details

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 arbor press with table is available separately—save money and upgrade your shop.


Product Instructions

Stewart-MacDonald Fret Arbor Press

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

Ratings & Reviews

Fret Arbor Press System

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  • Based on 37 Reviews
Displaying 4 of 4 1 2 3 4
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Quality is not what you expect... but it does the Job

By DT Hawkins-Custom Guitar Tech from Clarksburg WV
(Customer's Reviews) Sunday, February 27, 2011


Waited a month and I got it today. First thing i noticed when i opened the box was Made In China. Then red flakes of paint throughout the box. As I went to set it up i noticed that the hex bolt for adjusting the ram had been stripped(not a big deal i just tapped in a star head bit with a little larger head and adjusted the arm. It works fine and definitely makes the job faster then hammering them in. I pressed 24 frets in in about 30 minutes and i am not what you would call a person who hurries. I like to take my time make sure it done right the 1st time.


Okay that said, Stew mac is a great company I just hope to see less made in china stuff in the future.. and will continue to buy my shop tools and supplies from them. Their customer service is unbeatable and they are some of the most honest people i have encountered. They don't push what you don't need. As my shop grows i may purchase another press

i just hope the next says the next one is made in the USA or Just better made..... God Bless and Best wishes

Fret Arbor Press.

By feetup from Vancouver Island, Canada
(Customer's Reviews) Sunday, December 12, 2010


I've always set frets with a soft hammer, but when my fret arbor press arrived I had three 24 fret necks ready to go with frets radiused and notched.


I knew the factories used arbor presses and now I know why. What a wonderful easy to learn tool. I had all three necks fretted perfectly inside an hour and a half, including cleaning the slots. There is no bounce, you never get a loose end, and all radiuses are perfect, especially when the "fret bender" is used.


The arbor press itself is off shore manufactured and as such there are a few small issues with quality control and finish but these are things I can fix or deal with in trade for having an affordable system. The table, neck support and cauls are all first rate as I've come to expect from StewMac.


Tim Johnson

New Star Guitars.

arbor press

By Sergio Prozzo from Italy
(Customer's Reviews) Tuesday, November 30, 2010


It is very good

The Fret Arbor Press

By GrahamL from Australia
(Customer's Reviews) Thursday, November 25, 2010


This is a great method of installing new frets and while the arbor and the other accessories of excellent quality. The build quality of the Press itself is not up to Stewmacs normal high standard.

Best press ever

By Zeca Salgueiro from Brazil
(Customer's Reviews) Thursday, November 25, 2010


I don't think it could be better than this, in a small shop like mine!

Great tool!

By Paulo from Seattle, WA
(Customer's Reviews) Sunday, October 31, 2010


I got it today and with no practice whatsoever I installed all frets for a new guitar in less than 20 minutes. It's fool-proof, accurate and very easy to use. I'll never sit frets without this again.

The Bomb!

By Mason R. from CO
(Customer's Reviews) Sunday, October 10, 2010


Skip the hammer...buy this! Flawless, idiot proof fret jobs on new fretboards. No danger of chipping the fretboard

Displaying 4 of 4
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