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Fret saws and fret boards (Read 4659 times)
hapakid
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Fret saws and fret boards
Nov 23rd, 2003 at 7:34pm
 
I'm new to uke building and I'm working on a basic mahogany kit from Hanalima. Although I have some luthier and ukulele books, I'd like to confirm the proper size of fret saw to use with the fret wire in the kit. The books say .022-.025" set is proper, but I don't want to blow $20 at stewmac only to find out later that it's the wrong size.
Also, I'm wondering if anyone has stained tried to stain a rosewood fretboard to make it a little darker than the surrounding mahogany. Any ideas? Thanks!
Jesse Tinsley
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John_Mayes
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Re: Fret saws and fret boards
Reply #1 - Nov 24th, 2003 at 6:37am
 
I'm not familiar with your kit but the fret tang should be slightly (very slightly) larger than the slot.  So if the slot is .022 the a .023-.025 tang with should be jim dandy.  I used a pre-sawn fretboard from Asa not too long ago and the fret wire he supplied was a great fit.  And yes people have been staining fretboards for wuite some time.  It has to be a very penetrating type of stain to do the job right.  If not then the black will wear off and you'll be left with a freaky looking board.  Go to www.stewmac.com and they sell a stain that is made just for that purpose.

Cheers,


John
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achock
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Re: Fret saws and fret boards
Reply #2 - Nov 26th, 2003 at 9:51am
 
Hi Hapakid,
Sorry about the delay in response here,  Thank you for looking out John!  Smiley

These are the dimensions of the fretwire included in our kits:
...
We use a blade with a .022" kerf and the fit is nice and snug.  Those barbs extend out quite a bit from the tang, and really dig into the fretslot.  We also use a little glue when fretting just to be safe.  The specific wire we are using is #147 also from Stewart Macdonald.

-Asa

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Ukeman
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Re: Fret saws and fret boards
Reply #3 - Nov 26th, 2003 at 12:41pm
 
aloha people...just a few ents worth: Hana Lima'Ia uses the fretwire as shown in Asa"s reply but for you techies this wire 147 is a bit larger than mandolin sized wire that other uke makers use. I prefer the tad larger fret wire as it gives me lots of area to dress and level me fretboards and a bit more height for future dressings since the uke will be around for a bit.....and we can get lots of mileage from the fretwire.   laters ukeman
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Dominator
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Re: Fret saws and fret boards
Reply #4 - Nov 26th, 2003 at 1:26pm
 
Asa,
Where do you purchase your saw that cuts a .022 slot?  The one at Stew Mac cuts .024 and the one at LMI cuts .023.
Thanks,
Dominic
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hapakid
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Re: Fret saws and fret boards
Reply #5 - Nov 26th, 2003 at 6:48pm
 
Thanks, Asa,
That's what I need to know. Maybe some day you guys could have a guidebook to help us guys who can't get to Oahu? Mahalo!
Jesse Tinsley
(In snowy Idaho)
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achock
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Re: Fret saws and fret boards
Reply #6 - Dec 4th, 2003 at 6:49am
 
Good question Dominic,
My father bought 3 fretcutting saw blades many years ago... (maybe 2 or 3 years now) from Stewmac.  I know it is hard to find one of these small blades with a 5/8" arbor.  We will have to look into where we can get more of this blade or what alternatives there are. 

Jesse, the guidebook is in the works now  Wink
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Ukeman
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Re: Fret saws and fret boards
Reply #7 - Dec 4th, 2003 at 10:14am
 
Gee guys here's a tip for all its worth: I have used my fret slotting blade for over 9 years which has slotted thousands of slots...after each use which might mean 1 to 10 fingerboards..i clean the blades surfaces with a  fine sanding block i got from Klingspor called sandflex..i use it like a large eraser and rub the blade surfaces till its rid of all the pitch marks and real shiny. My figuring is that as i wear the blade and i keep cleaning its surfaces the kerf thickness remains constant as there is no set...whatever....the hallucination it works for me and the blades keeps on cutting. I have two blades that i rotate in usage...ok  also have 3 more blades spanking new but purchased 4 to 5 years ago in reserve...but haven't had to bust them out.....laters  ukeman
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Jon Y
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Re: Fret saws and fret boards
Reply #8 - Dec 4th, 2003 at 3:55pm
 
Hey Mike I just bought a slotting blade and the slot is a hair larger than yours... I really like the smaller slot that your blade cuts it fits the tang perfectly and the brand new stew mac blade cut seems almost too wide. Wow all that in one sentence Smiley.  Anyways don't bus' out the new blades just yet...   Jon
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Ukeman
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Re: Fret saws and fret boards
Reply #9 - Dec 8th, 2003 at 10:03am
 
aloha Slotters out there: Thought I'd also mention that slot cutting blades are available kinda cheap and in good dimension supply meaning .022 can be easily purchased for under 15.00. I am refering to saw blades for small table top saws that use a 1/2 inch arbor. I bought a mini table saw years back and little 3 and 1/2 inch diameter blades are readily availanle and cheap...I used to cut all my fretboards with this little baby as well as all my delicate bindings.Its a little variable speed Proxxon Model made in Japan. I bought it through a mail order catalogue. Alas it died on me about a year ago and I got it fixed and it died again. Been in my tool box for all this time and I just thought of it...will try and repair it but it is a nice alternate for slot cutting fingerboards if you are not a factory production man. Blades are super cheap....think a cheaper version...no variable speed is available at Woodcraft as we speak...no need the variable speed anyway...ok laters   you will fing the blades real cheap too!     ukeman
oh this mini saw was 400.00 many years ago..think you can get one for a hundred now without the variable speed.
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