Fret template

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by xmaddogx, Sep 2, 2013.


  1. xmaddogx

    xmaddogx

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Location:
    Ludington, Michigan
    Is there another source for fret templates other than Stew Mac? I'm looking for 33" and 24". Thank you.
  2. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Location:
    Fillmore, CA
    Disclosures:
    Professional Luthier
    My slotting rig uses fret scale "rulers", which are made from 1/8" thick x 3/4" wide aluminum bar stock, with the fret locations accurately scribed on them. I have a large vernier fixture that I use to make these rulers, accurate to 0.001", in any scale length.

    If that would work for you, I can make you one for about $25, any scale length you need.

    If you specifically want the plexiglas strip with the pin notches, find a local machine shop that has a long table mill with a digital readout. Take them a strip of plexiglass and a spreadsheet of numbers.
  3. xmaddogx

    xmaddogx

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Location:
    Ludington, Michigan
    So your rig doesn't use the notches? Have you posted pictures of it on here before?
    Thanks, Bruce.
  4. Big B.

    Big B.

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    LMI also offers fretting templates. They have a few more scales than stew Mac and a capacity for 30 frets instead of 24. The drawback is that they are a high impact plastic instead of metal, and the slots are slightly wider than the stew Mac slots so any existing jigs would need slight modification.
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  6. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Location:
    Fillmore, CA
    Disclosures:
    Professional Luthier
    No, my slotting saw lines up the scribed lines of the scale ruler against a fixed scribed line on the base. I slide the carriage to line up the lines by eye, and lock it down. When I talk about scribed lines, I mean precisely scribed in metal, not drawn with a black marker!

    It may sound crude, but that's actually a very accurate way of positioning things. The human eye/brain is very sensitive to the position of two scribed lines, end to end. Back in the days before digital readouts and those new-fangled computer things, precision measurement was almost all done by eyeball, comparing scribed lines. Remember vernier calipers? Slide rules? I do, so that must mean that I'm over the hill.

    Anyway, slots and pins work too, but you're depending on a tight fit between the slot and the pin to hold the accuracy. If the slot wears, or there's any clearance between the slot and the pin, the position of the fret slot moves. The scribed lines don't get wear. That's why I built my machine the way I did. I've slotted about a thousand necks on it over close to 20 years. I have about 30 different scale rulers that I've made up, and I can make up new ones any time, for any special scale length that comes up.
  7. iamlowsound

    iamlowsound

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Location:
    Listowel/KW Ontario
    A regular vernier calliper and micrometer are more accurate than their digital versions.

    lowsound
  8. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Location:
    Fillmore, CA
    Disclosures:
    Professional Luthier
    I didn't want to get into that argument, but yes, that's usually true, until you get into the real expensive stuff.

    For any of you who aren't clear on what I mean by lining up scribed lines on a fret scale ruler, here are some pictures of my trusty, well worn fretsaw. I built it around 1993, and it's cut a lot of slots. I just did three necks on it an hour ago.

    Attached Files:


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