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Fret Arbor Press System

4.0
  • 41 Reviews
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Fret Arbor Press System

Item # 4481
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List Price $189.12
Your Price $173.99

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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
  • 4.05 average rating from 41 reviews
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Displaying 3 of 5
1 2 3 4 5
5.0

easy work

By
(Customer's Reviews)


makes job alot easy then hammering this is a great system THANKS STEWART

4.0

My best jig yet from Stew Mac

By
(Customer's Reviews)


I am not particularly fond of hammering in frets and needed a jig that would be reliable, fast and foolproof when installing frets. I read all the reviews on the fret arbor press and the pros and cons are as noted. They were very helpful in making a "positive" decision to purchase it. The 4 1/4 inch long threaded rod is actually a metric rod and not inches. It is 8mm x 1.25. I went to Fastenal to get the rod. As with any jig, there is a bit of problem solving, setup and time invested to ensure it works properly and as advertised.

See the photo of the press setup on my work bench. I used the setup suggested in the instructions provided. The press is totally worth the investment.

1.0

Very Poorly Made

By
(Customer's Reviews)


It will do the job intended. However what you have to do is take it apart an de-burr the rack and pinion gear set. There are missing part to mine. The pressure adhesive label was in the bottom of the box

I understand made in China, I have vast experience with doing business there. So the Cosmoline dripping from the parts was to be expected.

I have a some what larger arbor press, that I replaced the Stew mac one with. And have ste the other aside for what I don't know.
A Lesson learned.
unhappy in Seattle

4.0

Never Fret Again

By
(Customer's Reviews)


I used to hammer my frets dealing with frustration and heartache with each blow of the hammer. Now after purchasing the fret press my fretting jobs are nothing to fret over.

This machine makes fretting easier and more reliable. I purchased the arbor press only as I already had the arbor bit with a 20 inch radii. I used it to fret prior to gluing to neck. The price is a steal for such a great machine. If you do a lot of fret work, this machine is highly recommended

4.0

I like the press but the table needs work

By
(Customer's Reviews)


I fret unglued fingerboards so wanted to use the table. It is tapped with some bizzare, unmatchable thread where the hold-down screws in, so you can't just go to the hardware store and get a longer length of threaded stock to lengthen the reach of the holddown...it had to be retapped and then buy standard stock.

The table fixture doesn't stay in place well, so you need to tweak it between presses. The arbor itself is sturdy, though the tightening knob for vising glued frets is not strong enough to keep pressure on the fret, so don't rely on it for that.

5.0

Fret System

By
(Customer's Reviews)


You know the fret is set. Easy to use.

5.0

Thanks God Someone Sells It!

By
(Customer's Reviews)


i think i would never, ever got into fretwork if i couldn't get a hold of an arbor press. i tried hammering frets once, and i swore myself i'll never do it again. just hate it! so i got myself the arbor press and now i'm definitely a refret guy. it's so easy, fast and accurate to refret with the arbor press. i think i'll also give a try to Jaws, too.

4.0

Fret Press

By
(Customer's Reviews)


Works good.

5.0

Best bang for your buck

By
(Customer's Reviews)


Regardless of the few minor issues mentioned by other reviewers, this is the best value for so little investment that I have ever purchased, from any tool supplier. Anyone who is at all experienced with fret work should have the ability to set up this tool and get beyond the lack of fine details in the casting and paint job. I'm just thankful that it has been made available at such an affordable price. You may have to clean it , assemble it and maybe file down a spot or two but in the end it works great. I would give it six stars if possible.

3.0

Great, but needs work

By
(Customer's Reviews)


I read the previous reviews and had some concerns about purchasing. I decided to buy the press mostly because there is nothing else out there like this press. When I received it, I noticed right away that the tool was dirty and grimy from the oil and machining process. As I started to clean it up, I realized a surface clean-up would not do.



Here's my advice if you buy this press: When you receive it, disassemble it. This includes taking off the front plate that houses the gear drive. You will need to clean the body thoroughly. I do a lot of work on bicycles, so I used a degreaser that I use on my chain rings and chain drive. Once the body is cleaned, take off all of the grease and oil on the gear drive assembly. I found the gear drive had a lot of rough spots from the machining. I took the time to grind off the rough spots with a Dremel tool. Once that was polished up, I then used a tap to clean out all the machining gunk in the threads on the body. They're rough and need cleaning. If you don't have tap tools, take a cotton-tipped ear cleaner and clean the threads well. I then degreased and cleaned up every screw. When I put it back together, I used a high quality grease to grease the gear drive. I also used a slight amount on the screw threads so they can easily be removed if need be in the future without fear of rust or corrosion.



When I was putting everything back together, I was able to precisely set the set screws that hold in place the internal gear bar. This significantly stabilized the gear and the arm worked the gear smoothly.



I found the casting to be rough. The machining was rough, too, and I took some extra time to lap the rough machining on the plate where the fretboard table rests. It's work that you don't necessarily have to do, but it really cleans up the machine and creates a flat surface for the table.



The paint is poor. The paint will just fall off the machine. I suppose if one was really bothered by this, you could have it stripped, then powder coated. That would be very nice. Expect the red paint to come off. It looks like crap, but the machine works.



Once it's all cleaned up and greased properly, you should be ready to go. I gave this three stars because although the tool quality isn't the best (rough castings, gears, paint, etc), it's the right idea and works fine once tuned up. I would go with five stars if the basics of tool quality were improved.



If by chance you can cast and properly machine with quality, you've got an opportunity here to make a quality machine that many would purchase and use for a lifetime. If not, if you buy this one, expect to put some work in to it to get it working as well as can be expected.

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

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