Cheap fret saw...

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
MessyTendon
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Cheap fret saw...

Post by MessyTendon » Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:52 pm

What is a good general idea for teeth profile on a fret saw. I see designated "fret saws" from luthier supply companies and I've come to the conclusion that a pretty handle is all it is...The saw blade looks like something I could buy without the handle for not much money.

Any ideas on blades? Seriously, this specialized tool market is nauseating. 60$ for a tiny little saw...

simonm
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Re: Cheap fret saw...

Post by simonm » Sun Jul 16, 2017 8:25 pm

Cheap fretsaws are a bad idea. There is a big difference between a cheap "pretty handle" and a well designed "pretty handle". I still haven't decided what the best one is but above all avoid the cheap ones with a wing nut. You can easily do $60 worth of damage with one of those.

A good starting point might be the "fine tools" website here in Germany. Put this "PEGAS Swiss Fretsaw Blades Fine Tools" into your favorite search engine and then study the "suitable for following materials" chart (you click on a big green button to see the chart). Read the info about fret saws on the site as well. It is a useful starting point. I bought a fretsaw from them and a bunch of different blades. Very happy. I have a sheet of paper with extracts from that chart to wrap up the 6 packets of blades I got as I would not be able to remember what's what.

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Michael.N.
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Re: Cheap fret saw...

Post by Michael.N. » Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:56 pm

Fretsaw or a saw suitable to cut slots for frets?
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jim watts
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Re: Cheap fret saw...

Post by jim watts » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:08 am

The difference is, the saw designed to cut fret slots has had the teeth set to cut the proper width slot for the fret tangs.

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Michael.N.
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Re: Cheap fret saw...

Post by Michael.N. » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:39 am

I use the Veritas carcass saw. Probably one of the sharpest western style saws I've had 'out of the box'. It's kerf is 0.7 mm, so a bit large for some fretwire. I just stoned both sides a little to remove a touch of set. Frets go in easy so I glue to fix them in place. It's not a cheap saw. The good news is that it's at 14 TPI so you don't need a microscope to sharpen it. The saw plate is also 0.5 mm which means less tendency to bind than 0.6 mm saw plate. I also have a Z saws Japanese pull saw that I think is suitable (I'll have to check the kerf), the type with replaceable blades. In fact you can just buy the blade and knock up a broom style handle in 20 minutes or so.
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MessyTendon
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Re: Cheap fret saw...

Post by MessyTendon » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:58 pm

Thanks guys...I think I'm going to try some Suizan japanese saws. I can get three saws for the price of one Veritas...Don't get me wrong the Veritas looks amazing. But I need to get as much utility out of my budget as possible.

One thing I think is fascinating about saws is the price...I think Veritas is nice...but I just can't justify buying a nice high end specialized tool just yet.

I think the inexpensive japanese saw will have the kerf I need. I even found a guy on Etsy selling a miter box...pre built for fret cutting all for the low, low price of 6.99...sure I could make one...but if it all goes together for 7$...it saves me a bit. hahah.

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geoff-bristol
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Re: Cheap fret saw...

Post by geoff-bristol » Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:30 pm

The Pax guitar saw is ok. I got mine for about £20 - its nicely made. Cuts on the pull. Cuts exactly 0.6mm as near as dammit. I have had no problem with it it and all my boards are ebony - and some very hard. Japanese saws cut ebony nicer I think - but its a job to get a standard blade at anything other than 0.5mm 0r 0.7mm.
Take a look at Deiter website - good stuff at good prices ( Pax Guitar 24 euro )
https://www.fine-tools.com/index.html
Bear in mind its easy to get fretwire with a 0.5mm tang. Many Japanese saws have 0.5mm set - but they are rather shallow on the blade so it makes it awkward to cobble up a depth stop.

Actually - a depth stop is not really necessary. Once the initial cut is about 1mm deep - its quite easy and accurate to deepen it freehand with the same saw if you are carefull. You need to do that anyway if the board need dressing when on the neck. But you still need some depth for a guide to be effective.

vesa
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Re: Cheap fret saw...

Post by vesa » Tue Jul 18, 2017 5:58 am

geoff-bristol wrote:
The Pax guitar saw is ok.
Works for me too. I stoned the sides a bit cause I use Sintoms 0,42 tang width frets.
Vesa Kuokkanen

Antonio Marin nr. 813 1995 (Bouchet)
Vesa Kuokkanen 2016

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attila57
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Re: Cheap fret saw...

Post by attila57 » Fri Jul 28, 2017 7:42 pm

MessyTendon wrote:
Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:58 pm
Thanks guys...I think I'm going to try some Suizan japanese saws. I can get three saws for the price of one Veritas...Don't get me wrong the Veritas looks amazing. But I need to get as much utility out of my budget as possible.

One thing I think is fascinating about saws is the price...I think Veritas is nice...but I just can't justify buying a nice high end specialized tool just yet.

I think the inexpensive japanese saw will have the kerf I need. I even found a guy on Etsy selling a miter box...pre built for fret cutting all for the low, low price of 6.99...sure I could make one...but if it all goes together for 7$...it saves me a bit. hahah.
Hi MessyTendon,

My choice is supermarket grade (Aldi) Japanese saw (10 euros) with 2 blades (0.4 - 0.6 mm) stiffened with a piece of wood clamped to the blade. I have bought 3 (!) and they will serve me well for my life... I wouldn't change them for anything.

Attila
Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy...

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Stephen Faulk
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Re: Cheap fret saw...

Post by Stephen Faulk » Mon Jul 31, 2017 4:28 am

I bought two $10 Stanley back saws at an Ace hardware about 20 years ago. And a file to sharpen the blades. So I just sharpen them and set the teeth to whatever kerf width I like. Then use a little hard wax on the blade and a homemade box to clamp the fingerboard into. I keep one kerf set narrow and one wider.

Most of the stuff makers do for hand sawing fret slots is massive overkill. It's really just old fashioned saw sharpening skill that gets the job done. That said, most of the time I just do what erstwhile archtop maker Bill Moll described when asked how he marks out and saws fret slots. As follows:

"First I measure the distance from my arm to the phone, then move arm in the direction of phone and call LMI and put in an order for 25 slotted boards ........."

Etc. He stopped making guitars to manufacture guns....I'm sure he's still a funny guy however.
Last edited by Stephen Faulk on Mon Jul 31, 2017 4:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

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Stephen Faulk
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Re: Cheap fret saw...

Post by Stephen Faulk » Mon Jul 31, 2017 4:29 am

*doublepost clean up*
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

Douglass Scott
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Re: Cheap fret saw...

Post by Douglass Scott » Mon Jul 31, 2017 5:38 pm

The Stew M. Japanese fret saw looks good for the price. Especially with the depth stop.

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