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Anyone seen this yet?  $180 for a bone-sanding jig?  Oh, I'm sure it works well but, dammit.....

http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tools/Tools_by_Job/Nuts_and_Saddles/...

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It ha$ one review, $omeone bought one of the$e.

I made these out of scrape board (free) that had been laminated, useful stuff for all kinds of jiggery. Check with your local cabinet shops, they probably have a dumpster full of this stuff.

90 degree for nuts and saddles and an angled jig for Martin nuts.

That reminds me of the chisel sharping jig I have in a drawer. I use it once in a while if a blade is dented or chipped but almost never bother to just put on a new edge. It's just too much trouble to set it up for a few strokes.

Paul jigs are perfectly suited to the task, as are any number of DIY solutions for this purpose, but this is insanity. To be sure, there will be sufficient "gotta-have-every-tool" folks to make it worth StewMac's while.

Indeed, there ARE tools out there that are worth every penny of $180... but this can't be one of them. The only reason I'd ever purchase one is as a solemn reminder to myself that nickels & dimes are precious and they need to be treated as such.

I shake my head: for all of the cool and worthwhile stuff that StewMac sells, something like this comes-along and it rattles my confidence in their decisions.  

The last time something similar happened was when they sold (and maybe still do?) empty little cans... not unlike cat-food cans.... for small parts storage. Really? 

I'm waiting for the programmable robotic version of this device. USB it to your PC, enter the model of the instrument you want a nut or saddle for, wind it up & off it goes. :)

Yet there was a discussion I was reading a little while ago (probably not current, I am browsing all the past post pages) about the complete impossibility of sanding or filing the bottom of a saddle flat free-hand.  Couldn't be done, was the cry, and a non- flat saddle would kill the tone of the best guitar instantly!  I guess StewMac reads this forum for ideas  :)

My wife has around 30 of the little cans that I set up on a magnetized board and she stores spices in them.  No idea where she got them, probably the dollar store.

Hmm, I wonder how it would do on a pine wood derby track?

Point taken, Brian.... but a fancy custom Italian-made widget for $180 seems a little overkill to address the problem.  It's akin to buying a Ferrari just to get to the grocery store.

Sure, if money were no object, it'd be fun to have one.  But money IS an object and the task at hand can be accomplished in so many other (and less expensive) ways.

Paul Breen's jig is simple and a very effective solution. Maybe -alongside the fancy tool- they could offer something like Paul's jig and charge accordingly.... maybe $20 or $30 for a simple set of jigs that would sand both the flat and the Martin angled blanks.  Or better yet, build your own. 

Don't get me wrong, I love StewMac. They routinely fill voids and offer remarkable special tools for this niche' market of ours. However, once in a while, they drift a bit far from the shore... and this seems to be one of those times. 

In retrospect, I probably should keep my trap shut and just not buy it... but it seemed to be an easy target.

I view these things as kind of funny - in my other hobby I am a machinist - which means that curves are almost impossible, and perfectly flat and round within a thou' are easy as pie...   There is a simple, $5 or even free bridge sanding jig in the Benedetto archtop book that would as easily flatten a saddle as shape a bridge to an arched top.  Here is what I don't get.  People want the bottom of the saddle flat to .001" or better, but the bottom of the bridge slot?  Made with a saw and chisel, or a wooden router jig at worst, a CNC machine at best, in wood - maybe a year, or five years or five decades ago?  The odds of the bottom of that slot being flat are slim to none, but no one creates jigs to even measure it.

Ha! This is pretty great and put in a way I didn't think of before - the slots are an unknown and there's no way to measure.

I think I get my saddles "flat enough" by sanding them on a granite tile and then standing them on the tile and checking if it's perpendicular to it. I still think that even though the slot isn't flat, we reduce the "error" by flattening the saddle.

Interested in that $5 jig. I don't have the book!

Man, that is a very nice expensive tool. I use something similar to Paul B. I have been happy with results. I am sure a lot of posters here have tried many methods. As far as the slot bottom goes. There is the concept of jacking up the top and flexing the bridge to approximate the string tension while cutting the slot. One could use articulating paper like a neck set fitting to get a good saddle / slot mate. Never tried that. The bottom line is - can you hear the difference? 

With that same money you could purchase the Luthiers Friend tool from them. I found it to be quite useful for a range of operations. I like SM for certain items. From a business point of view, I understand their need to keep trying new things. I will give them credit for loving the craft.

Just my two cents...

If someone is willing to pay $200 and up for fretting jaws that are in fact just modified welder's vice grips, then why not try and sell something that is machined from scratch for less money?

Don't get me wrong, most of the SM stuff is overpriced in my opinion and I am more than happy if I can copy their tools on a mill or waterjet.

You can't say this tool doesn't look nice. And it probably serves its purpose, too. Probably the Italian guy sells it much cheaper, altough Italians are great machinists.

I think ranting about this item is all about some old-timers trying to feel more secure about their own and tested methods. Beware of the Italian guy! :D

I don't get all grumpy when I see an expensive tool at either SM or LMII. I try to make the best of it, try to use some of the ideas from it or just simply make the tool, if I think it's that good.

I get the bottoms squared up on a belt sander. Very simple. I keep my blanks at 12mm height, I start by sanding the bottom until I get a perfectly flat surface measured along the edge of my digital calipers. With a blank high enough I can rinse and repeat until the bottom is perfectly flat. If I need a slanted nut, I will slant it, big deal.

Sanding a small piece back and forth on a flat surface, eats the edges quicker than the middle. The belt sander only goes in one direction and in best case scenario you end up with a "ramp", but the bottom is still flat. The ramp can be corrected when you're working on the top of the nut.

That tiny little line of sandpaper on those particle board jigs is ridiculous. Maybe you're doing the buffalo bone, but my homeprepared cattle femur bone is so hard it even destroys my HSS blades and bits. This won't even brush the dust off of it.

I used to think it wasn't possible to get a flat edge by "sanding a small piece back and forth on a flat surface..." too but I finally realized that it's all about how and where I apply pressure. With practice it is possible to do it.

 I have a piece of plate glass that is about 12 by14 in. square and 1/2 in. thick that I use for sharpening, lapping, and other tasks that require a "flat" surface. Having sheets of sandpaper attached to it in various grits makes it possible to work a piece down in increments but I have found that the finer grades work just fine for bone shaping as long as my expectations are not to hog off lots of material in a few passes. Personally, I've never had trouble getting flat edges on bone pieces on this setup.

I get a flat edge by holding the bridge or nut against a block that is square to the glass. I move the block along with the bone part so, in a sense, the block is sacrificial. I don't just go back and forth without thought which will almost always give the results you mentioned. Instead, I use a combination of "back and forth", moving the part on only one direction, often swapping ends on every pass, and I may even move it widthwise either in a straight line or even in a circular pattern. It's not a mindless task and I have to stay involved but it is possible to get flat surfaces with this method and it saves my sander belts for making wood dust instead of bone dust. 

 

BTW, the bone I use is pretty dense and hard. It doesn't break easily and has a very fine, close grain.  It's not any type of horn which isn't usually bone anyway although I do have some deer antler that a friend gave to me some years ago. It seems pretty hard too but I haven't tried it on anything yet.    

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