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Thread: Fret slots by hand, or on a table saw

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    1,017

    Default Fret slots by hand, or on a table saw

    I am about to begin my first builds, a few at once. I recognize that setup and jigs are essential to all of this. Looking at cutting fret slots I see thast some do it by hand, and some by power tool. I am comfortable with a table saw, and hand saw. It seems like using a sled on a table saw with a template for fret location is the way to go, better than a hand saw.

    For those who have done many fretboards, what do you think? Table saw or hand saw?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    central CA
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    706

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    The only thing I regret about the table saw is that I didn't switch over sooner. The setup time is minimal and you can do a bunch of fret boards at one time. I can do quite a few in the time it took me to do one with the hand saw.
    My Real name is Terry Harris

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Amity Oregon
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    216

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    I started out with the table saw and admit that is is faster, I am now buying one of the new hand saw jigs that lmi sells. If you convert the templates that comes with it to be used on the table saw then you might have the best of both worlds. I have also found that your slde has to be exact or you get slop in it the slots will be a little big and you will have to glue the frets in. Plus the blades dull and need replaced after time and they are much more costly than the hand saw.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Big Island, Hawaii
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    I think most builders start cutting by hand but as resoman mentioned as soon as you cut your first board on the table saw, you'll never look back. If you already have the table saw, the blade will be your major expense and the sled is pretty simple to make. (A good blade will slot 300 or 400 blades before getting too dull to use.) I also think you'll do a better, faster and more accurate job with the table saw. I saw recently where Stewmac has come out with a new hand cutting jig that has roller bearings but it's almost $200. It would make cutting by hand easier but you're still better off with the table saw.
    Chuck Moore
    Moore Bettah Ukuleles
    http://www.moorebettahukes.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Fairfield, CA
    Posts
    606

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    I did slot my first with a table saw. And every one since. I use the LMI table saw rig, but found I prefer the StewMac blade, because the unthreaded portion of my arbor is too short to utilize the stiffners properly.

    I applaud those who measure or print and cut by hand. Where the frets go is too important for me to eye it.

    Steve

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Big Island, Hawaii
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    5,233

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    Quote Originally Posted by two dogs plucking View Post
    I applaud those who measure or print and cut by hand.
    You may be the only one. I know customers don't appreciate it!
    Chuck Moore
    Moore Bettah Ukuleles
    http://www.moorebettahukes.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Default

    Thank you for the replies, looks like the table saw wins...


    Cheers!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Santa Cruz, CA
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    2,699

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    Table saw.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    cairns, australia
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    I will never cut by hand again.
    Liam Ryan.
    Cairns, Australia.
    Stump Jump Ukulele Co.
    Stump Jump on Facebook

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Amity Oregon
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    Having both and starting out with the table saw I guess I like the feel of doing it by hand. I don't make many so I would see when you make a bunch then the table saw is the best way to go. I just hate swapping out my blade. Maybe I need to have a saw set up all the time with it on it. My shop is small and having two table saws set up would be hard. I do use templates so no need to measure each one. I would also never trust a printer for the correct spacing ever.

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