DIY Fretpress (Part deux…)

Those of you with a long memory may remember my noble endeavor to convert a drill stand into a fretpress. Turns out, it was a bit punky, and the wheels came off.

Actually, the lever came off. It didn’t have any wheels.

Anyhow, let me present the replacement, this time converted from an el cheapo Screw Fix welding clamp.

To convert it from the original use as a welding clamp, I drilled out the rivets holding the lower jaw, and bolted in a straight replacement, using M6 nylox nuts and a section of .25″ steel cut from a discarded hydraulic door closer arm. The top jaw was cut short, and rounded over at the end.

I fitted a pivoting glass-filled nylon fitting to the top jaw, to hold some fretting cauls from Stew Mac, and a teak neck caul (padded with leather) on the lower jaw, slotted to slide back and forwards to allow self alignment as the adjustment of the jaws changes to suit different neck sizes. The pin to prevent the neck caul falling off is an offcut of M6 studding.

Here it is in situ:

The neck shown is the first one I fretted with the new gizmo, and it went very smoothly, despite the complications of an ebony board and teeny-tiny Fender style frets. It’s a replacement neck for Tim’s Musima, more details to follow…

P.S: The flat clamp included in the screwfix welding clamp set is very handy for holding nuts, saddles and other small parts for shaping on a belt or disc sander, especially if you share my aversion for sanding away the tips of your fingers.

88 Responses to “DIY Fretpress (Part deux…)”

  1. Digideus Says:

    Nice one! Next week… How to make you own penis enlarger!

  2. Ant Says:

    I knew if I started posting again it would draw in a more sophisticated crowd… :P

  3. Dave Says:

    Top marks young man! I’m off to Screwfix tomorrow!!

  4. Randolph Says:

    Very nice. Only question I have is how exactly did you attach the Stew Mac Fret Press Caul to the top clamp. I am not sure I know what the “glass filled nylon fitting” is or how it works with the clamp. Do you have a picture of that assembly?


  5. Remi Paulin Says:

    Fantastic press, and so ridiculously cheap to make. Right after work, Home Depot here I come…

  6. fredric Says:

    can you post more pictures please?
    from all sides of the clamp if you could.
    thank you

  7. fredric Says:

    alright can somebody tell me how he made the CAUL?
    glass-filled nylon fitting? what is it? where do you get something like this?

  8. Fret Jaws, anyone built this? Says:

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  9. itdon'twork Says:

    this is so obscure he’s not really telling the truth about how he attaches the caul to the freaking vise. it’s impossible for UHMW to be used as a substitute for a fret press caul.

  10. Setch Says:

    @ itdon’twork

    I’m not telling the truth? The caul simply sits in a tight fitting slot, cut with a 3mm router cutter. For extra insurance I drilled and tapped the caul for an M3 allan-head screw, but in practice friction alone holds the fretting caul in place, and simply using the tool pushes the caul back into the slot if it has any inclination to come loose.

    I also never mentioned UHMW at all, the plastic I use is glass filled nylon, though a close grained hardwood like cherry or maple would work fine too.

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