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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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Well. So I bought one. I have it. And it works great! I'm all in doing my "composite saddle bones", they are a bit fragile and this was pretty much a must have tool for me.

I don't get everything about this tool, not much information to find about it. First of all there is a loose metal clip inside the tool I really don't get why it's in there. I got rid of that. Secondly, the springs on the securing nuts was a pain. Got rid of them too. The design is very good looking though, Italians do that better than most. I found their homepage and the tool was as expensive there.

But it's is not just great at making a square bottom to the saddle bone. Another forum post showed a very elaborate and nice jig made to do the very last height adjustment of the saddle bone on top of the bone (he said the bottom was so hard to make flat and square that he did the last adjustment on the top). With this tool that last adjustment is very easy to make in the bottom of the saddle bone leaving the more complex top side alone. With the tool there is no problem to sand a straight and square slant off  the bottom. Say 1 mm off in one end and 0.5 mm in the other if that's what the doctor ordered. I just fasten the saddle bone and adjust the screws to the correct slant of the bone and roll away. The result is a perfectly straight and squared slanted bottom of the saddle bone with the desired height. Very hard to do by hand I'll tell you. This is where this tool really shines.

You could call StewMac and ask about the clip and springs. They are very helpful.

No need to really. It works great without them! A bit curious though about the clip. The springs was just annoying.

That's the thing about Stew Mac stuff, it's great if you can afford it. They are really proud of their tools. :)

I wish I could force myself to set the price level as high as Stewmac does. They are really good at that artform - and that's why they thrive. There is a saying that it isn't the best craftmen that have the longest career, it's the ones that knows how to write the invoice...

I use a key making machine that I have remade to copy a straight line and the other side a arch to match the finger board then put a saddle in the cutting place to copy what you want .  In seconds I can lower the bottom of the saddle or rearch the top/ 

Ron

I work at a fairly busy shop. We have two full-time repairmen. This tool saves a lot of time, especially with piezo setups. Well worth the expense if you need to get things out the door.

Brand new here (though I've been reading Frank's postings for quite awhile), and I thought I would mention a fairly simple version of this fancy Stew Mac jig that I've been using for years.  It's called the Dicky Saddle Sanding Jig, and does pretty much what the Stew Mac one does.  In particular as someone else mentioned this type of rig allows you to easily remove more from the end of the saddle than the other.

http://www.dickeyguitars.com/dickeyguitars/Saddlesand.html

It's really easy to sand down by exactly what you need by stacking a few business cards to match what you want to remove as you clamp the saddle between the sides of the jig.  Anyway, if you fancy the Stew Mac jig you can pretty much do everything that one does for the cost of a couple of pieces of wood and two bolts.

Simple and cheap. Should work as well as the expensive one :-)

I've always done it by hand on a sanding board, and I manage to get the bottom flat enough and square enough to meet anyone's standards. As Ned mentions, it's all in how and where you apply pressure. 

I would continue shaping nuts and saddles freehand forever, except as I get older, my hands and wrists are more prone to cramping up while holding onto tiny objects. For that reason, I'm inclined to rethink my methods, but I don't think I'll shell out 180 bucks for a custom tool. I'll probably just make something like the Dickey jig (posted above). Seems simple and easy.

I too used to use my hands to shape the saddle on a sanding board. Using pressure and rotating the bone while sanding it was not that difficult to do. But with my fragile composite saddle bones I felt that I needed something better to help my out. I'm pleased with the Stewmac jig, it will keep on doing the job until I retire. Not that expensive in the long run. The simple jig above will work as good, but will need to be replaced now and then when the wood is sanded away.

A few benefits of this tool are quick set up and easy accuracy. The two wood block thing works. I made and used one for years. This new tool saves time and money if you're doing few dozen saddles every week. That is one situation where the expedature makes sense. Arthritis is certainly another.

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