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 Post subject: Really LMI?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:46 pm 
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$119.00 for a set of table saw blade stiffeners? What are these things made out of? Disappointing to continually see the luthier pants drop and bend over price for run of the mill items. I found a set elsewhere for as little as $12.00 but spent $20 on a nicer looking set. Is there any reasonable justification for that ridiculous price? It's 2 steel discs with 2 holes for a 5/8" arbor. Unless it's made of precious metal I can't fathom how in the world anyone can justify charging that price. THey're probably made in the same Chinese factory that the ones I just ordered are made at.


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 Post subject: Re: Really LMI?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 3:00 pm 
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Maybe if they were dynamically balanced but it doesn't look like they are.

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 Post subject: Re: Really LMI?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:01 pm 
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they are most like set up and ground to be parallel
a good tool is an investment a cheap tool a cost.
I have a set , it took a lot for me to justify that cost but it is worth it in accuracy of the blade . As a machinist I can appreciate the cost

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 Post subject: Re: Really LMI?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:43 pm 
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What John said.
For $12.00 or even $20.00 you are buying an oversized washer from China. Hard for them to qualify their steel much less their heat treating processes. There is no way I would even try to make a one off set of stiffeners hardened and ground for that price. Just sayin'


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 Post subject: Re: Really LMI?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:00 pm 
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I'm sorry, but I'm with the OP. Not sure what precise metallurgy has to do with blade stiffeners. Likewise don't know why anyone would assume the LMI stiffeners are being sourced anywhere but China.

We do 60+ fretboards a year. When we needed new stiffeners we had metal working program at the school fabricate some. Couldn't tell them from the LMI ones to save my life. Certainly can't see a difference in outcome.

As long as they are balanced and the blade doesn't slip, it seems to me you have an effective stiffener.


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 Post subject: Re: Really LMI?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:46 pm 
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Forrest blades have stiffeners available, claimed to be machined to .001 true.
They also recommend using only 1. Not sure on the reasoning there, but they make a great blade.
US made. Quite reasonable.

B

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 Post subject: Re: Really LMI?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:02 pm 
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We use a Stew Mac blade and after market generic stiffeners -- our set up works perfectly. I do prefer the SM blade over the LMII blade that we sold a while back.

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 Post subject: Re: Really LMI?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 5:29 pm 
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I'm surprised that anyone is shocked at LMII's high prices, they've been doing this for years and generally their quality is below competitors.


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 Post subject: Re: Really LMI?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:07 am 
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Tim L wrote:
What John said.
For $12.00 or even $20.00 you are buying an oversized washer from China. Hard for them to qualify their steel much less their heat treating processes. There is no way I would even try to make a one off set of stiffeners hardened and ground for that price. Just sayin'


Actually the ones I bought are made in Italy (which I confirmed this morning- not a great picture on the website) and from a vendor that I've used plenty in the past and been very happy with for $19.90 +shipping. Another poster here told me he's used a similar product (maybe a different vendor) around the same price point with success. I'll check their weights to the thousandths to see exactly how precise they are in terms of weight as soon as they arrive.


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 Post subject: Re: Really LMI?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:45 am 
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You see this sort of pricing in a lot of Niche areas.. I scuba dive and here in Canada while I am not alone Hockey is a bigger sport.. I use to carry my scuba gear in a hockey equipment bag because it was 1/3 the price of a "scuba" equipment bag... "Luthier" blade stiffener must be better than a "regular" one idunno ... Always something to watch out for...

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 Post subject: Re: Really LMI?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:08 am 
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They are an odd size also. 5 1/2" as to expose only a quarter inch blade all around. Is anyone getting good results with a regular 5-inch stiffener?

It might be a fair price for the custom made item at hand, but it might just be overkill too.


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 Post subject: Re: Really LMI?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:31 am 
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Specialty stuff can get expensive. Bad Axe makes some of the best saws around - I have a friend who had a beautiful Harvey Peace handle with a bad saw plate and had them install a new plate - fabulous. Buuuut - check out this one:

http://www.badaxetoolworks.com/luthier.php

Ed


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 Post subject: Re: Really LMI?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:21 pm 
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Ruby50 wrote:
Specialty stuff can get expensive. Bad Axe makes some of the best saws around - I have a friend who had a beautiful Harvey Peace handle with a bad saw plate and had them install a new plate - fabulous. Buuuut - check out this one:

http://www.badaxetoolworks.com/luthier.php

Slotting a fretboard with my LN dovetail saw was a dream compared to the fret saws sold by SM and LMI. I finished off each slot with a friend's SM fret saw with the depth stop just to make sure the slots were spot on in terms of depth.

So this saw really intrigued me. A price hadn't been set yet when someone mentioned it earlier this summer, so I emailed to inquire. With the options I wanted, it would've been over $300, and that's just not something I could seriously entertain.
What's the alternative to $300+ for the saw? Get another dovetail saw from Lie-Nielsen or modify my current one, add a depth stop, adjust the tooth set. Half the price, probably 99% as effective (if not 100).


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 Post subject: Re: Really LMI?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 1:17 pm 
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Like Mr. Orr, we use a Lie-Nielsen dovetail saw for slotting repair work, but resharpened for crosscut work and set for .023" kerf width.

The newest Lie-Nielsen family saws use a thinner saw plate and are tapered from heel to toe. The plate on the dovetail saw is just 0.015" thick, so after resharpening for crosscut work, we reset it and used the Wenzloff procedure to dial in the correct width kerf.

Our previous saw used for this duty was a Veritas small crosscut saw with the set reduced from 0.026" to 0.023" by a little sharpening stone work - the 0.020" plate was just a little too thick to get enough set for the job, so we took one of the two identical saws and modified it.

I have not asked Lie-Nielsen whether they would punch their saws for a stop, but given our other interactions with Mr. Lie-Nielsen, I suspect that would be no problem, provided the location and diameter of the holes is described well enough to do the job.

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 Post subject: Re: Really LMI?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 3:46 pm 
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Hey Joey: This may be the old argument between hobbyist priced goods for Lutherie and professional stuff.

Stew-mac and LMI both offer tools that span the spectrum of the weekend guitar builder to the high volume professional Lutherie shop.

To us good tools are priceless and with our volume they remain pretty cheap considering. One great example of this is the Stew-mac reamer for installing acoustic pups. It's perfectly designed, inexpensive from our perspective and prohibitively expensive for someone installing one or two pups.... ever. We were discussing this a couple weeks ago and mine has likely installed over 100 pups easy and that means that I paid less than $1 each for a quality AND long lasting tool. Dave has his own too and it's likely installed more pups.

If these stiffeners provide a level of precision superior to alternatives AND someone gives a dang about fret board precision while having the volume to justify the purchase it's great to have these available. If all of the above is not true, don't buy them.

What I really wanted to address is not anything in your post but the notion that LMI is perhaps ripping anyone off. Nothing could be further from the truth and in my experience LMI and Stew-Mac are very ethical, high quality operations staffed by some of the finest folks we would ever hope to be supporting us. Another vote for being OLF sponsors too not only now but for well over a decade now as well.

Dave and I ventured into producing high precision, low volume Lutherie tools and we lost our arses.... Something that we once though could sell for X had to sell for X times three to break even.... It's NOT easy servicing our industry and I know this now from personal experience.

BTW at some point you will see a very long term study published about fret spacing and forensically foot printing valuable, vintage instruments by uber precise measurements of their fret spacing. Dave Collins has been measuring hundreds of instrument down to the lowest .001" and combining this with historic accounts of the tooling used by G*bson, Martin, and others.

An off shoot of this research produced data that quantifies which instruments have audible.... errors in fret spacing making what we hear, or what some folks hear impacted by poor, imprecise tooling.... Point being fret spacing is likely one of the very most important things that we have to control well when producing guitars.

With this said if you produce enough of them and an expensive (by someone's measure...) tool delivers measurable, positive value it's certainly something that may be justifiable to at least some.

While I'm at it Chris, Natalie and the good people at LMI have always been there for us and I want to take this opportunity to thank them. [:Y:]

Lastly if by chance someone here has an alternative that actually performs as well or better and you can substantiate this give LMI or Stew-Mac a call and let them know. It may be a service to all of us including the suppliers that we are fortunate to have.



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 Post subject: Re: Really LMI?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:07 pm 
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I'm all for sharing info on alternative sources for tools, but bashing sponsors is bad form.

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 Post subject: Re: Really LMI?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:31 pm 
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I'm not bashing the sponsor. I use LMI for several things in my shop and I've always been happy with them and their products. However, when I see things like stiffeners priced like that I have to seriously question whether it's justified or a niche markup. As I said another poster here uses a 5" $20 stiffener with good results. At that price I'll see if if those 5" stiffeners work for me before dropping 6x $ for an additional 1/8" of blade clearance. Honestly, I still haven't heard a good explanation as to why these are worth the extra scratch other than they might (emphasis on might) be ever so slightly more precise. Precision machining these days really isn't that difficult with all of the recent advances in technology. I suppose that's why I have a hard time wrapping my head around why an extra 1/8" of blade clearance costs 6x the price unless they keep so few of them on hand that it's a one off order each time they re-stock ever few years. Fabrication of something this simple is not very much of a challenge these days.




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 Post subject: Re: Really LMI?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:42 pm 
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Did you ask LMI? They would be the ones to talk to. Your post isn't of much value without some background.

I'm happy with my Lee Valley stiffeners.


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 Post subject: Re: Really LMI?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:49 pm 
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fingerstyle1978 wrote:
Fabrication of something this simple is not very much of a challenge these days.
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I had a machinist friend make me some stiffeners for my slotting blades. He charged me $10 and said it took him no more than a few minutes.

re: Lmii
They ripped me off big time a number of years ago on a Brazilian RW buy. I put up $2000 for 50 sets of RW and received 10 sets of garbage (not Brazilian). They gave me "credit" for the rest of the money. I didn't want "credit", I wanted Brazilian RW! I now occasionally buy from them since they are under new management but find it really hard to forgive this kind of behavior. It's nothing new since I've been cheated by lots of vendors over the years.


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 Post subject: Re: Really LMI?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:30 pm 
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I had a set of these, and they are carefully ground and then hollow-ground, and balanced beautifully. As others have said, they aren't just round pieces of steel. These are designed so that they stiffen a very thin blade and virtually eliminate any vibration and wobble.

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 Post subject: Re: Really LMI?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 6:42 am 
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Nothing but kudos to LMII. I have never been the least bit disappointed with their products or service. Sure, there are a lot of specialty luthiers tools that I drool over, but can't really justify on my hobbies budget. But I have never regretted paying the price for the ones that I do have.



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 Post subject: Re: Really LMI?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 4:40 pm 
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Don Williams wrote:
I had a set of these, and they are carefully ground and then hollow-ground, and balanced beautifully. As others have said, they aren't just round pieces of steel. These are designed so that they stiffen a very thin blade and virtually eliminate any vibration and wobble.


Can you clarify what you mean by "hollow-ground, and balanced beautifully"? I know what a hollow ground knife blade looks like & typically rotating cutters or wheels that are balanced have mass taken away by drilling shallow holes in key locations. Are the stabalizers sort of dished out so they contact only at their inside & outside edges?

Thanks.

Edit:
Do you mean the inside surfaces are flat & the outside surfaces hollow ground?

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Last edited by klooker on Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Really LMI?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:07 pm 
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violinvic wrote:
Nothing but kudos to LMII. I have never been the least bit disappointed with their products or service. Sure, there are a lot of specialty luthiers tools that I drool over, but can't really justify on my hobbies budget. But I have never regretted paying the price for the ones that I do have.


Yes, maybe if I were building in volume to make a living, I would need to find cheaper sources. But for me building one a year, LMI has delivered great product, on time, at reasonable prices, and has everything in one shop so I rarely pay shipping.

I think a total of two times, I've had problems with the product, and they promptly took care of it both times, no questions asked.
Mike



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 Post subject: Re: Really LMI?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 7:43 pm 
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If you have a problem with LMI, you have a problem with yourself. I've had nothing but great service from them for the last decade. If you don't like the price, don't pay it. No need to air it on a public forum.

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 Post subject: Re: Really LMI?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 12:21 pm 
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I have been dealing with LMI for many years and I do like the products and service. Stew mac has great service also . I have nothing but good things to say. As a machinist and tool maker , There is more into this than you may imagine. The more precise something is made the more it costs. Tools steel is not cheap and having someone make you one and getting one that was made by a professional are 2 different things.
To be fair to LMI these are machine ground and also heat treated there is more to it than just grinding flat.

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