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Pete Howlett
08-25-2010, 05:10 AM
Based on the concept of the Jointmaster made by Bridge City Tools I have at last done away with that nasty, noisy table saw! here it is:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOW_pP3b8iI

I'm not fully happy with this yet and have ordered a Kataba saw blade which has a l
slightly wider kerf than the Stewmac from Dick Tools in Germany - unfortunate name, great products.

thirdkingofpleasureville
08-25-2010, 05:42 AM
looks much better than the lil' Stanley saw I hack with!

erich@muttcrew.net
08-25-2010, 06:01 AM
Yes, when you hear Dick you really have to think Tracy and not...

OT: In German it's not a very fortunate name either, translating simply to "fat", although in modern slang the declined form "Dicker" is used as a vocative meaning something like "dude".

This is our chief supplier of tools - highly recommended.

lindydanny
08-25-2010, 06:06 AM
Wow. That is a great tool! Can I get a diagram or how to on building?

~DB

sweets
08-25-2010, 06:53 AM
Great tool Pete! Is the blade drilled through, or do the height adjustment screws press into the sides?

For those who are curious like I was, here's a video of the Bridge City item:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9EfzZYnYtA

Looks like an excellent fingertip removal tool!

olgoat52
08-25-2010, 07:48 AM
I was trying to see what the "sandwich" looks like when you are cutting. Fingerboard on the bottom, backing block and the a plexiglass template? Are there holes in the edge of the plexi and the locator pin is in the wooden fence on the cutting table?

I really like all your videos, except for the one where you are "nibbling" the wings on the bridge with the router. That one scares the shit out of me.

lindydanny
08-25-2010, 08:01 AM
Seriously, that is a cool tool. Too bad the Bridge City model is $1,300!!! That's ten times what I paid for my 70s model Craftsman saw.

~DB

Pete Howlett
08-25-2010, 08:10 AM
The secret of table routing is sharp cutters... all you are then doing is using the cutter as a rotary plane. When you plane wood you take off thin shavings. You do the same with a router-shaper.

The Stewmac blade has holes for the plexiglass depth stop. These are too near the teeth - there is a juggling act with clearances and stuff so i used a masonary drill to re-drill holes in the saw. The piece for the handle that I clipped is going to make great scraper material. When I get the replacement blade it will need similarly drilling. I'm going to give myself more head-room so I can have a go at making 'squiggle-wood' linings.

If you send me a real email address I can send you a pdf of the schema I have used suggesting 12mm rails and bearings - however these do need to be 30mm if you are using single rails. I didn't want to go the double rail route because of issues with lining up the components.

Kudos/Kitos to my friend Ken Timms who helped out at the initial design stages verifying my thoughts. I just wish I had $1300 for one of the Bridge City doo-daddies...

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-25-2010, 08:21 AM
Definitely an improvement over the hand sawing jig but you're right, the Stew Mac blades leave a lot to be desired. I like the sliding bed concept. Now you've got to make one for shooting top and back plates.
Nice job. Still, I'll keep my table saw.

olgoat52
08-25-2010, 08:24 AM
Definitely an improvement over the hand sawing jig but you're right, the Stew Mac blades leave a lot to be desired. I like the sliding bed concept. Now you've got to make one for shooting top and back plates.
Nice job. Still, I'll keep my table saw.

May I ask if you use a template and index pin when using a table saw to slot boards? I used to use a radial arm saw and I could like things up by eye but with a table saw it a PITA to see where the next cut needs to be.

Pete Howlett
08-25-2010, 08:35 AM
You make up a sled for your table saw and use the LMII indexing jig with one of their blades and ground collars...

That is so doable Chuck. I'll give it some thought...

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-25-2010, 08:47 AM
With any method of fretting you need a slotting template and indexing jig to do it accurately. Your eye will never be able to do the job as well as using a GOOD fret template. The jig I use is based on the exact concept Pete is showing but with a table saw instead.

olgoat52
08-25-2010, 12:28 PM
With any method of fretting you need a slotting template and indexing jig to do it accurately. Your eye will never be able to do the job as well as using a GOOD fret template. The jig I use is based on the exact concept Pete is showing but with a table saw instead.

Pete and Chuck thanks for the tips. I should have known about the templates before but didn't. Pegasus is quite a bit cheaper than LMII. Any experience with the quality difference between the templates? (Pegasys is about half.)

Wish I had know about templates back in the day. (Late 70's) I think we had to make our own. Don't remember Stewmac or LMII having them. But maybe I am wrong. No internet either

olgoat52
08-25-2010, 12:29 PM
Pete

You mentioned a PDF in your previous posts. I sent you a PM with a real email address. Let me know if I should resend it.

Thanks
Tim

Matt Clara
08-25-2010, 12:57 PM
StewMac has two fretting saws, one of which is a japanese pull saw. I have that one and felt it worked very well, until about my 12th fretboard. Now they are starting to feel like work.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-25-2010, 02:42 PM
I've used every fret board template out there and could not find ONE that was accurate enough to please me. I had done a lot of research, talked to many people about it and lost lots of sleep over this topic. To me, scale accuracy is not something I want to leave to chance, and I prefer a template to be laser cut or made with a CNC. Then I found a stainless steel 25.5" Fender guitar template from Stew mac and after I found the scale length I wanted (17.025" or 433 mm), it's perfect. I had to cut the template down naturally in order to use it easily and the only thing left to error on the scale itself are the 20th and 21st fret slots I added, which are seldom needed anyway.
Works for me.

Pete Howlett
08-25-2010, 03:12 PM
The one thing with these templates is there is no compensation at the nut for the saw kerf - I think that is where they go wrong because all measurment is taken from the centre of the slot. If there is no compensation for this, the nut slot is going to by half a saw kerf too short for perfect intonation... My LMII 17" template is odd - it's not 17" but seems to play in tune. I can't work it out because the soprano one is fine...

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-25-2010, 03:29 PM
You are correct of course Pete. On the other hand, Mike daSilva is a big proponent of nut compensation (aargh, another topic!). He's convinced me that shortening the distance between the nut and first fret is necessary for proper intonation on the first few frets. Turns out that half of a saw kerf width (.012") seems to be about the perfect amount.
Talk to Mike about it. It gives me a head ache.

Vic D
08-25-2010, 06:56 PM
You are correct of course Pete. On the other hand, Mike daSilva is a big proponent of nut compensation (aargh, another topic!). He's convinced me that shortening the distance between the nut and first fret is necessary for proper intonation on the first few frets. Turns out that half of a saw kerf width (.012") seems to be about the perfect amount.
Talk to Mike about it. It gives me a head ache.

I wondered about that... now I feel better.

Pete Howlett
08-25-2010, 09:50 PM
Not that I am too bothered... I can't get technical. This even tempered fretboard is a nightmare without compensation. You wanna start talking about strings :)

Sven
08-25-2010, 11:18 PM
I just set up the stewmac fretting box with the cheap saw yesterday. I was not too impressed with the saw, and I did have a hard time setting up the guides. But once I got it right it was ok. I chose the template for classical guitars, one side being for 650 mm scale and the other 660 mm. I made the calculations (no I didn't, I drew it in autocad and measured it there) and found that I could get good versions of my scale lengths for soprano (350 mm) and tenor (~430 mm) and a concert scale as well. One of the three was on one of the lengths and the other two on the other. The template feels good and sturdy, but I had to make a 14th slot for my sopranos.

Sven

Kekani
08-25-2010, 11:32 PM
Pete, you need a new table saw if its too noisy. Not unlike Chuck, I'll keep my table saw. Of course, if I didn't have a table saw, your jig is an extremely enticing setup. I still need the hand saw setup for doing inlays across frets. . . I'm not too sure I'd be comfortable with blasting that blade through shell or stone.

I agree with the template for setting the slots, and though I hate to admit that I am using one produced without CAD/CAM or Laser accuracy, I've been fortunate that the one I made with wfret.xls has intonated well for me. Yup, even with the .0115 shortened distance to the first fret (I used the fret saw blade to make my template that affixes to the Incra).

As for talking about strings and compensation, that's a topic that may need to be explored. I've seen a few posts recently with intonation concerns, and the infamous, "I've changed to XXXX brand and now my intonation is .00001 cents off at the 21st fret. So what's wrong with my uke?" Okay, I exaggerate, but I'm sure I'm not the only one that gets a kick out of that.

Oddly enough, I've heard about a run of Les Reitfors' instruments that had the spacing for two of the higher frets swapped, so there goes intonation above the 14th for those two frets. Now its one to look for since Les is gone. Go figure. . .

Aaron

Pete Howlett
08-26-2010, 12:23 AM
I've had 4 accidents with a table saw in 36 years - one very serious requiring a little reconstruction. I just do not like them and can get all of my cuts out of my bandsaw. Properly set up with a good blade, straight cuts don't give the finish you get with a high quality circular saw blade but a single pass through the thickness sander always sorts it out.

olgoat52
08-26-2010, 06:03 AM
The one thing with these templates is there is no compensation at the nut for the saw kerf - I think that is where they go wrong because all measurment is taken from the centre of the slot. If there is no compensation for this, the nut slot is going to by half a saw kerf too short for perfect intonation... My LMII 17" template is odd - it's not 17" but seems to play in tune. I can't work it out because the soprano one is fine...

after slotting with the template, is the distance between the nut and the 1st fret too long or too short? I assume that using the template, you end up with a saw kerf here the nut should be and that when you trim that end, you would cut off the entire kerf which would make the distance from the nut to the 1st fret a half kerf too short. Does that sound right?

Philstix
08-26-2010, 07:20 AM
You are correct, the length to the first fret will be half a saw kerf short. When we made my fret templates on my neighbors mill we added the half saw kerf back in before cutting them. But as Chuck says, some luthiers believe that there needs to be a little compensation at the nut for good intonation at the lower positions anyway. There is no such thing as perfect intonation on a fretted instrument. If the short fret bothers you it is always possible to file your template on that side of the notch and superglue a thin piece on the other side to compensate for it. Or file back the leading edge of your nut to account for it. Probably much ado about nothing.

Pete Howlett
08-26-2010, 04:06 PM
As I said - I can't tell anyway...

Kekani
08-26-2010, 06:19 PM
I just do not like them and can get all of my cuts out of my bandsaw. Properly set up with a good blade, straight cuts don't give the finish you get with a high quality circular saw blade but a single pass through the thickness sander always sorts it out.

On one hand, I agree, the table saw is the last tool to get. In fact, it was. On the same hand, the thickness sander holds more value to me than its actual price tag.

Pete Howlett
08-27-2010, 12:11 AM
You are right. Yet I think most amateur builders start because they like working wood, the idea of building and have already that all American brand Craftsman table saw in the garage/basement/hobby room. My thinking is quite simple on bandsaws (an most other things mind) - most luthier operations involving sawing deal with curves. Curves=bandsaw :)

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-27-2010, 08:20 AM
No other tool cuts brace stock, bindings and kerfings as well as a table saw. Yes, you can run the material through a thickness sander if you use a band saw but why go through the extra step? Not to mention that it's worth it's weight in koa just as a fret slotting machine. I also use it for cutting wood sets. It's not the most important tool in my shop but I'd miss my table saw if I didn't have it.

Vic D
08-27-2010, 08:25 AM
I recently chopped my scarf joint jig for the table saw in half and now use the small half to cut the joint on the band saw. I have no problem at all cutting fret slots on the table saw, in fact it's enjoyable, but I've done my last scarf joint on it.

Pete Howlett
08-27-2010, 08:26 AM
British luthier Dave King uses an Elektra Beckum pull saw for kerfed linings and they look superb - well his apprentice does :)

dave g
08-27-2010, 01:03 PM
I don't understand how the hell you accomplish anything in a wood shop without a table saw, but that's just me I guess :)

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-27-2010, 01:30 PM
I'm with you Dave. But what do I know, I eat quiche too.

Vic D
08-27-2010, 03:58 PM
Well only real men eat quiche, or at least that's what I think I read somewhere... I can see using the table saw for a lot of things, especially fret slots and linings. Spanish heal joints look like a breeze on the table saw and that's the best way to go for sure in my opinion. Other neck joints seem to be a breeze on the table saw. I couldn't get rid of my table saw, but I'm gonna use it only when only when it feels good to me.

Pete Howlett
08-27-2010, 09:45 PM
I think that here in the UK we look at anyone who uses a table saw without a riving knife or guard (Chuck's pic a few posts up from here) as somewhat of a maverick... I agree, table saws are great for straight cuts but unguarded they are as dangerous as the now banned 'french head' on a spindle moulder. Too many luthier operations with the table saw require it to be used unguarded. One result of this can be seen on Dave Means' site where an image shows his hand strapped up, having spliced a digit on the table saw. I know it's common sense and all of the arguments; that this debate is a little bit like the gun-law one in that you will never convince the average American that owning a gun is potentially dangerous. The right to bear arms is a very difficult argument that Britons don't understand and I am one of them.

And yet, a little known fact is that part of the American Constitution originally had the right to own a table saw but the founders conveniently left it out of the final draft...

Kekani
08-28-2010, 12:56 AM
I recently chopped my scarf joint jig for the table saw in half and now use the small half to cut the joint on the band saw. I have no problem at all cutting fret slots on the table saw, in fact it's enjoyable, but I've done my last scarf joint on it.

Scarf joint? Who needs scarf joints when you can do the "Kenny B" headstock - bandsaw required. . .
http://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll290/kekani427/Ukulele/IMG_1362.jpg

Pete, let me know when you (or Ken) figure out a jig for this. . .definitely interested.

Okay, back to the fretting jig.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-28-2010, 07:37 AM
Yikes! That's interesting but hideous! Just because you "can" do something doesn't mean you should.

Pete Howlett
08-28-2010, 08:36 AM
Agreed - why make something look like plywood when you can use the real thing :)

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-28-2010, 08:42 AM
Agreed - why make something look like plywood when you can use the real thing :)

And bad plywood at that!

Timbuck
08-28-2010, 09:45 AM
My first thought was "Jam Sandwich"???:)

Vic D
08-28-2010, 09:56 AM
My first thought was "Jam Sandwich"???:)
Laughing out loud, my first thought was those striped peanut butter candies... peanut butter logs? The craftsmanship is definitely there though. I think it's kinda groovy. :p

Kekani
08-28-2010, 10:45 AM
Ha, I just wanted to see the comments. I'll take the digs, that's okay. Truth be told, I did this on a Tiple build a few years back, one that I severely overbuilt because of all of the failed Tiples I've seen. Of course, the woods were Mahogany (with Koa inserts), and you didn't really notice it unless you knew it was there. This was in the early builds when I was really concerned about straight grain going through the neck/headstock. What the hell did I know then? Shoot, what the hell do I know now?

Anyway, I've had a few requests for this, believe it or not, and the first one was built, as stated, because it can be done. . . I gotta tell you, it is REALLY stiff up there. . .
but what a PITA to do.

Admittedly, if you see the whole instrument, it disappears with a Cocobolo FB (koa bindings) and a Koa bound body.

Okay, either back to the original post, or the digs can continue. . .glad I could give you guys a laugh for the day.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-28-2010, 10:53 AM
I didn't know it was your uke Aaron. Looking at it again I think it is quite lovely.

Timbuck
08-28-2010, 11:11 AM
I didn't know it was your uke Aaron. Looking at it again I think it is quite lovely.
Crawler..........:D:D

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-28-2010, 11:13 AM
Crawler..........:D:D

As long as I'm being honest I also hate my table saw!

ksquine
08-29-2010, 03:33 AM
Nice set up. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who didn't like the Stew Mac fret saw

Pete Howlett
09-03-2010, 01:23 PM
Got my blades today! Fret saw from Dick in Germany - very nice... smaller than the Stwemac and much more aggresive. Fitting the Kataba Quer in the 'fretmaster' tomorrow. New video to follow I think :)