After futzing around for several years back in the '90s with various top-mounted jigs for routing saddle slots (and not 100% happy with the results) I purchased this 1600 lb. saddle-routing jig to give me the accuracy I was after.

Okay, I confess there's more to the story about this purchase beyond routing saddle slots. I was exposed to machine shop practices in a previous life and wanted to bring that accuracy to my budding guitar repair business. And, I just wanted to make stuff for fun. This is not a Snap-on, BTW, but a Wood Mill from Grizzly. The spindle turns at 5000 rpm max which, while not 30K router speeds, is plenty fast enough for guitar work. I use 2 and 4 flute carbide end mills for just about everything. They are cheaper than router bits and for my purposes a lot more versatile. I built a mobile base to be able to move the mill around but it mostly lives in the same corner as it's a real bear to get started across the carpet, being 1600 lbs. and all. It's 220 volts but my shop is wired for 3-phase power and getting 220 was going to be very expensive and require a building permit and inspections, so I bought a transformer (on the floor to the right ) for about $75 and solved that expensive equation on the cheap! And quickly, too.

Here I'm slotting a bridge I made as a replacement of the plastic bridge Gibson used. It had deformed and shifted forward, digging a small latitudinal furrow all along the front edge of the bridge and taking finish with it as well. I made this bridge slightly oversized to cover the damage. The bit is .125" and the slot is exactly .125". I had the mill tuned shortly after I purchased it and the tech told me the runout of the spindle was measured in "tenths", meaning ten-thousandths! And I thought to work in thousandths was small! In any case, the mass, solidity, and tuning of the mill ensure a very high level of accuracy.

I added a Z-axis digital caliper to give me fine control over the depth of cut.

The mill is also used for making custom jigs and cauls etc. And it holds the floor down pretty well.

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I want to see a picture of the wrench that can tighten those....

That’s a hard one to top ! 
Looking forward to the next one.

Those big tools will come in handy  for this job.

looks like union work to me.

Naaah, just having to salvage poor OEM work.


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