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View Full Version : Great Tool: Fret Press Caul



sequoia
02-12-2017, 06:23 PM
I'm always a bit surprised when I spring money for a new tool that I realize I should have bought a long time ago. Doh! I'm very happy with my new fret press caul. Turns your drill press into a fretting arbor system. Very sweet and works great. Took me a little time to get the hang of it, but much superior to a fret hammer. If you are still hammering in your frets, get one of these. Worth the money IMO.

97783 97784

Rrgramps
02-14-2017, 10:46 AM
Looks pretty good; the DP cauls and the end result. Lovely binding too.

jcalkin
02-14-2017, 11:07 AM
That's a sharp-looking fretboard. I just bought the same tool. Haven't test driven it yet, though.

Timbuck
02-14-2017, 09:15 PM
That's a sharp-looking fretboard. I just bought the same tool. Haven't test driven it yet, though.
I wouldn't buy one..I would make one! .. All you need is a bit of scrap steel..an old brake pad will do and a piece of round bar and a 4" nail (for a rivet)....Then an hour with a hacksaw a file and a pedestal drill....and youv'e got one. :D

jcalkin
02-15-2017, 02:34 PM
I wouldn't buy one..I would make one! .. All you need is a bit of scrap steel..an old brake pad will do and a piece of round bar and a 4" nail (for a rivet)....Then an hour with a hacksaw a file and a pedestal drill....and youv'e got one. :D

I'm a big fan of self-sufficiency, Ken, but not this time. By the time I slapped something together and made the cauls for a variety fingerboards radii I'd have more time into it than the tool costs, and it would have looked crappy. When writing about this work for pay its worth a little expenditure to have pretty photos of the stuff. People won't think I'm a duffer just by scanning the spread.

DPO
02-15-2017, 03:15 PM
I think I will stick with my hammer. Easy peasy.

sequoia
02-15-2017, 05:24 PM
I think I will stick with my hammer. Easy peasy.

The one thing I omitted is that I needed to get the fret started with a hammer, then onto the press. I haven't figured out how to omit that step... As far as Ken's advice about making your own fret press: You are the man Ken. A God when it comes to making tools. I am not worthy. Me, I'm a mere mortal and have to pay the bucks because... I'm into making ukuleles and not tools, my fatal flaw. I'm trying to get into the jig and tool making side. There is a beauty and satisfaction there for sure. A kind of Zen. Make the tool, then make the instrument. A good tool is a joy forever.

Timbuck
02-16-2017, 01:06 AM
You can also press them in just using a large'ish bolt with a polished head in the drill chuck.

UkulelesRcooL
03-06-2017, 02:05 PM
I found my drill press too wimpy to use it as a press its a bench top.... the adjustable table would flex way too much..
So I got an arbor press... I dont want to have to replace my drill press..
One thing about the arbor press is if you use StewMacs fretboard templates to cut your frets, they can slip right into the arbor presses table and it matches up perfectly.
Really speeds up the process..
Sequoia, that drill press of yours looks like a monster...
I was using a caul my father made, it doesnt rock like the one your using.. it worked ok but yours is better.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
03-06-2017, 04:55 PM
The one thing I omitted is that I needed to get the fret started with a hammer, then onto the press. I haven't figured out how to omit that step... As far as Ken's advice about making your own fret press: You are the man Ken. A God when it comes to making tools. I am not worthy. Me, I'm a mere mortal and have to pay the bucks because... I'm into making ukuleles and not tools, my fatal flaw. I'm trying to get into the jig and tool making side. There is a beauty and satisfaction there for sure. A kind of Zen. Make the tool, then make the instrument. A good tool is a joy forever.

I start my fret ends with a pair of pliers in which the jaws have been ground safe. Those fret cauls are the best. You're just not going to have the consistency you need with a hammer. Well, I'm not anyway.

sequoia
03-06-2017, 05:57 PM
Thanks for the tip Chuck. Had not thought of that... Did a fretboard today and then checked for level. What a difference! No hours spent sanding level and then recrowning. No recrowning at all except one or two. This is the only way to go. The problem with the hammer is that it is never going to be consistent and if you look real close there are slight waves in there which will have to be sanded out and the fret recrowned wasting valuable metal and time. You know sometimes there is just the right tool for the job and really nothing else works.