Fret Arbor Press only, with table

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Fret Arbor Press only, with table

Fret Arbor Press only, with table

Item # 4480
In stock, ready to ship!


Fret Arbor Press System

Fret Arbor Press System

Item # 4481
In stock, ready to ship!

List Price $189.45
Your Price $174.29

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Fret Arbor Press only, with table

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.



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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  • 3.95 average rating from 40 reviews
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Needs QC

(Customer's Reviews)

I had a couple issues with this unit as delivered. First, the set screw that holds the fretting die is too long, so the vertical shaft it's mounted in will not return to "full up" position. I ground a flat on the die mount so the screw would go in farther. Second, the spring return on the operating lever was not adjusted properly, so it did not fully return. Adjusted that, and we're good. Other than that, the thing works as advertised.


Low Quality and does not function as expected

(Customer's Reviews)

This arbor press is a peace of junk. It will do the job but with a lot of effort and aggravation. Specifically:

1) The locking knob that is supposed to lock the press down in place atop the fret while the fret glue dries does not work. Basically, you will have to apply the pressure yourself for minutes at a time. I screwed in and turned the locking knob all the way in but it did not lock the press.

2) I think someone figured out that the above-referenced locking knob did not work, so they supplied another short locking threaded bar that us attached to a flat and thin metal piece at the end of it which you are supposed to hold between your fingers and turn it. I bent and broke that thin metal piece while turning it to screw the attached locking (threaded) bar all the way in. Again, the whole press is pure junk.

3) The mounting knob for the base looks nice in the picture. But what you get in the box is an ugly and dysfunctional locking threaded bar and a bunch of nuts/washer. Good luck using those to hold the base in place.

4) I have bought a ton of tools before, none of which came with so much grease on it like this press did. It was annoying to clean it off.

5) Overall, the build quality and paint finish are very poor.

My honest recommendation is to NOT buy this arbor press. There are better quality arbor presses for this kind of money on the market.


Great unit!

(Customer's Reviews)

I was skeptical buying one after reading the reviews. I can only assume the quality control was tightened on the latest batches as this one works smoothly. It did have the cosmoline on it, but the paint was good and all the gears and screws work as they should.

The only issue I had was with the screw that locks the press in position for gluing in frets. The smooth metal on smooth metal made it so it didn't "grab" and maintain force. I slipped a 1/4" round piece of Delrin inside the hole and put the screw back in and now it works exactly like it should.

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