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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 9:04 pm 
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Koa
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I’ve been looking into arbor presses to use in the fretting process but I haven’t seen any that will chuck up. Is a drill press the simplest way to go? Or, is there an attachment for the arbor presses I’m not seeing?
Thanks
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 9:49 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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The Harbor freight 1/2 ton arbor press had a ram that was soft enough to be drilled and tapped. Looking on their site I only see the 1 ton press listed now.



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 9:56 pm 
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Try Ebay, there was a few that looked like they were intended for a drill press.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:12 pm 
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A decent drill press does the task very well.



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:48 pm 
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I bought HF's one-ton press. Easy enough to bore a hole in the ram for the fret press, and bore and tap a setscrew hole on one side of the ram. Sure was cheaper than a dedicated arbor press from a guitar specialist. Only difference I could figure out between my cheapie and the specialist's not-so-cheap press is a return spring.

Very expensive spring.

Also a very expensive hole in the pillar...

I bought the press out of fear that my drill press would not be happy being pressed into service as an arbor press. I did not want to find out that continuing to use the drill press for that job wasn't a good idea. Used my drill press just on one set of frets.

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Last edited by phavriluk on Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:45 am 
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This is a modified HF 1/2 ton. If HF isn't selling the 1/2 ton now, there are lots of other sources on line.

The square vertical shaft can easily be drilled for a StewMac caul assembly and is held in place with a small knob that goes thru a tapped hole. The knob is used instead of a setscrew so I can easily swap the caul for a guillotine miter cutter. The return spring is a useful feature and easily installed. I replaced the main handle with a torque wrench, which helps get all the frets in at the same height. Today I set up a new tenor ukulele with Evo frets on a radiused ebony board. It was uncanny - all frets were even at the center and both ends of every three-fret group. Absolutely no fret leveling required. This doesn't happen every time but the arbor press definitely eases setup.

I used a drill press in the past. I find that this rig is easier to use and yields better results. Even though my drill press is a pretty sturdy unit, to keep the table from being deflected by the downward force of the cauI, I had to use a temporary strut under the table.

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These users thanked the author saltytri for the post (total 2): Colin North (Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:48 am) • SnowManSnow (Mon Nov 19, 2018 7:42 am)
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 7:43 am 
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Koa
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I’m concerned w being able to drill the shaft completely strait... how did you accomplish that? The last thing I want would be for the caul to be at an angle


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:00 am 
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Are you avoiding the SM press because of the cost? It won’t require any modification.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:09 am 
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SnowManSnow wrote:
I’m concerned w being able to drill the shaft completely strait... how did you accomplish that? The last thing I want would be for the caul to be at an angle


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I striped out the shaft from the arbour press and held it in a drill press vice upside down, the drill press tables I've seen mostly have a large hole which will accommodated this.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:13 am 
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bcombs510 wrote:
Are you avoiding the SM press because of the cost? It won’t require any modification.


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I saved at least $80, without delivery and taxes, for the sake of drilling a hole.
That's the price of a pretty good soundbard or two.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:01 am 
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Koa
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bcombs510 wrote:
Are you avoiding the SM press because of the cost? It won’t require any modification.


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Yes


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:13 am 
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SnowManSnow wrote:
bcombs510 wrote:
Are you avoiding the SM press because of the cost? It won’t require any modification.


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Yes


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:26 am 
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I don't think the SM press is of any better quality than the HF one honestly. The SM one has a spring to raise the caul automatically, I don't know if the HF one does, but could be added I guess.

That torque wrench idea is brilliant!

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:50 am 
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Koa
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Although it can be drilled and side tapped... I’d really like to find a press that has this already done


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:40 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Just remember if you gravitate to fretting as the last step after neck shaping and fretboard leveling (which I did many years ago) the arbor press may not work so well and Jaws would be better.
I was never totally comfortable using the drill press, it always felt like there was a slight spring in the system that just didn't seem right. Maybe it would be different with an industrial drill press. I have a mid priced Jet floor model.

My arbor press is gathering dust.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:44 am 
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SnowManSnow wrote:
Although it can be drilled and side tapped... I’d really like to find a press that has this already done


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What was that I heard about a snowball's chance....

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:46 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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My 1/2 ton press was stolen when my shop was broken into summer before last ( I remember it was the summer because they stole the air conditioner and took whatever was in reach through the window).
I have been fretting boards by hand with a rubber mallet. Lately I've been thinking about modifying my bottle crown (cap) setter to use as a fret press. It wouldn't be as robust as an arbor press, but frets drive pretty easy with a hammer, so it might work well enough.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:08 pm 
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Back in the 90s I had a generic press that I modified for the SM cauls. It had been at a friends house and seems to have gone missing.

So when I was setting up my new shop I picked up the SM version with all the extras. It was on sale so I saved a little.

I was using a bench top drill press for a while but the arbor press feels more solid.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:55 pm 
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Colin North wrote:
SnowManSnow wrote:
Although it can be drilled and side tapped... I’d really like to find a press that has this already done


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What was that I heard about a snowball's chance....

Some of the Palmgren presses come with arbor bits... but I can’t find the diameter of those shafts


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 4:49 pm 
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I avoided adding another limited use tool and its cost. Just chuck up the caul with a profile in your drill press. No need for an arbor press unless you do metalwork or motor repair.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 7:23 pm 
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Koa
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Mark Fogleman wrote:
I avoided adding another limited use tool and its cost. Just chuck up the caul with a profile in your drill press. No need for an arbor press unless you do metalwork or motor repair.

I do see the point, but at the same time fretting is one of those things that has to be as perfect as I can make it. No room for error. However if still press will handle it then I don’t mind using one. I even have an extra benchtop I could sure up and dedicate to the process


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:10 pm 
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I've never used an arbor press but can't see how any advantage over my drill press would be worth the real estate in my shop. If your drill press can't handle pressing in a fret how could you drill metal accurately with it? Mine is an older, nothing special Craftsman and has a similar rack and return spring coil as most heavyweight shop equipment. I made a cork lined cradle to hold the necks. You can feel the fret come home, see the fit and correct any gaps with it. I always hammered my frets until I bought a grab bag of tools from an estate sale of a luthier and the caul and brass patterns were included.



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:54 pm 
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Koa
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I have a delta drill press and broke the table where it joined the vertical shaft. Cracked it doing frets. I got a new one and still use it for fretting but chock a board under the front of the table for support.



These users thanked the author Glen H for the post: Mark Fogleman (Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:11 pm)
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2018 7:44 am 
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According to the answered questions, this Palmgren is drilled on one end of the ram. 3/8", 3/4 inch deep with a magnet to hold the bits.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006 ... NI0B&psc=1



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2018 9:16 am 
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Koa
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kfish wrote:
According to the answered questions, this Palmgren is drilled on one end of the ram. 3/8", 3/4 inch deep with a magnet to hold the bits.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006 ... NI0B&psc=1


Is that depth enough to accept the stewmac caul?


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