Fret Arbor Press System

Fret Arbor Press System

Fret Arbor Press System

Fret Arbor Press System

Item # 4481
In stock, ready to ship!

List Price $238.30
Your Price $219.24

+
Fret Arbor Press only, with table

Fret Arbor Press only, with table

Item # 4480
In stock, ready to ship!

$140.92

+
 
Total:
Qty:
Scroll to Top

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 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.



CALIFORNIA PROPOSITION 65 WARNING
WARNING: Cancer and Reproductive Harm - www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.


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

  • Excellent
  • Good
  • Average
  • Fair
  • Poor
Write a review
4.0
  • 4.12 average rating from 67 reviews
Sort by
4.0

Bought it because it was on sale!

By

Verified Buyer


The Fret press came somewhat damaged - I had to pull it apart mechanically and re-enginner it a bit!!!

I like this fret press, it works (now) as it should... I would have prefered it perfect out of the box for the price.... I should mention that this is the first product/tool that I have purchased from SteMac that I have had an issue with - honest to God!!!

I still highly reccomend it if you are in the market for a nice arbor style press - one of the nicest features is its portability... Pack it up and take it on the road if needed....

5.0

how did I do without this?

By

Verified Buyer


I used my drill press for years when fretting and always thought about modding a small arbor press. I bought just the press as I already had all the other accessories. The cost of this press is about $40.00 more than a standard arbor of similar build but then you would have to do machining and drilling on it in excess of that $40.00. Pretty straight forward to set up and use. Have already used it to install jumbo frets on a Jaguar and it was the fastest I've ever managed. Great tool, highly recommended.

5.0

Fret Arbor Press

By

Verified Buyer


Has a certain pro look to it, sure beats my wooden handmade press. I was taking too much time piddling with fretting new necks only to have sub-par quality. This thing is precise, easy to set up and make builds go smoothly

5.0

Excelent tool

By

Verified Buyer


Easy to use and very helpfully

5.0

Great piece of equipement

By

Verified Buyer


new fretboard or neck refretting, the thing to have for both jobs.

1.0

Caveat emptor: Have proper expectations (2019)

By

Verified Buyer


If you are expecting a German-engineered and manufactured precision tool with a world-class fit and finish, all for $200, prepare to be sorely disappointed. As others have indicated over the last eight (8) years, this tool may require some effort on your part to be brought into working order. I have no idea in what condition your new Arbor Press will arrive and nether, apparently, does the company.

There are twenty-six (26) individual components (including nuts and bolts) that comprise the Arbor Press, not counting the fret press caul and radius brass inserts, along with twenty-three (23) additional components that make up the table. Note that while much of the press and table come pre-assembled, sufficient issues were encountered that made it necessary for me to completely disassemble the system.

Arbor Press Issues

Ram lockdown plate: Threaded holes not tapped all the way through
Recoil Spring: Installed backwards (forcing the Ram perpetually downward)
Knurled knob: Scratched, dinged and dirty - looks like a used part, retaining screw threads were stripped (likely due to metal filings left in the threaded hole in the Ram gear)
Arbor base: Lapped area is humped, not flat, not square with Ram path, paint was applied over metal filings that were (obviously) not cleaned off prior, all threaded holes were filled with metal filings
Ram: Teeth were jagged, full of metal filings, Ram had razor-sharp burrs along edges indicating it was stamped
Ram gear: Plating applied over metal filings that were (obviously) not cleaned off prior

Arbor Press Table Issues

Table: Not flat, nowhere near straight
Table fence, Not straight, mounted to table improperly, warping the table
Table mounting plate: Appears to have been made of scrap aluminum plate, not flat, not square, two (2) upper holes not aligned with pre-tapped holes in front of table, two (2) lower holes much too small for the included adjustment bolts to pass through

Assembly instructions: not included. I located setup (not assembly) instructions on the web site

Remediation

All of the the Arbor Press parts required my attention except for three (3) zinc-plated nuts and the Arbor Press handle. After disassembly, de-burring all holes, re-tapping threads, filing rough or sharp edges smooth, thoroughly cleaning, properly lubricating, etc, and re-assembling, I am pleased to report the press is now working as expected. I have not yet flattened and squared the lapped area of the base, as it looks like I will need to take my press to a machine shop to have that properly addressed.

The table's fence appears to have been hurriedly assembled to the crooked table with a hand drill, without the use of jigs or fixtures to hold everything square. The resulting mis-alignment of the fence is primarily responsible for creating a much too warped, bent and out-of-square table to be used, as is. The table fence had to be removed so the table could be re-cut on the table saw. The fence had new mounting holes drilled through it. The table edge required new mounting holes drilled and tapped before the fence could be re-assembled (this time using a fixture to align the fence with the table). I had to re-create a table mounting plate.

Summary

Once all the issues are properly addressed, this Arbor Press will likely outlast me. StewMac has never been shy regarding pricing. I would suggest that the company publicly acknowledge the quality control issues and identify the economic reasons behind the pricing of this tool. Alert the prospective customer to the possibility that work may be involved at this price point to bring the tool into conformity.

Response from StewMac


Hi Christopher,

Thank you for sharing your honest feedback with us. We are very sorry to hear that the Fret Arbor Press System you received had so many issues, and apologize for the inconvenience this caused. We stand behind our return policy -- if you are not satisfied with a product, you may return it anytime for a refund or exchange. Please call us at 1-800-848-2273. Our customer support team has decades of experience making customers happy.

In the meantime, I've placed your suggestions on how we could improve this tool with our product development team -- customer comments like yours have been the catalyst to many changes to our products.

5.0

StewMac made good on this item for me

By

Verified Buyer


There are some reviews on this tool that are not exactly favorable. I just want to report I was in that category as well. But I reached out to Customer Service to explain my experience with this tool. They made good on my investment and resolved the issues to my satisfaction!

Well done StewMac and Customer Service!

D

5.0

Genial, una idea genial

By

Verified Buyer


Es de las mejores herramientas que se han inventado para el entrastado, sin dañar la madera, sin maltratar a golpes, ahorra tiempo y esfuerzo, solo como observación, la versión más económica le falta un aditamento para la prensa, el cual es parte fundamental, y se vende por separado, debería contemplarse !!!

4.0

Must have for the serious builder

By

Verified Buyer


This is a great tool, once it's setup. General comments, the press needs a lot of cleanup (oil and grease) The red paint finish rubs off easily. One day I will strip it clean and give it a proper paint job. The screw that holds the caul hits the front plate, and if left as is will ruin the hex screw. I filled a relief on the face plate, problem solved. The brass inserts for the cauls are well machined and accurate. The table is close to useless. I am happy with the press now, and have completed 3 fret boards with a minimal amount of post-install leveling and dressing. Be prepared to do some work on the press to get it performing well. I watched the video and can only imagine how much time was needed to get it to perform so smoothly. I'm almost there.

5.0

Excellent

By

Verified Buyer


Very well built. Much more accurate than hand hammering frets and a huge time saver.

Showing 10 of 67 Read more reviews >>