Fret Press

Discussion in 'Guitar Building' started by Gary, Feb 25, 2018.

  1. Gary

    Gary New Member

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    I have a Delta floor model drill press and was considering using it as a fret press, but I am unsure if I can exert enough force with the drill press without bending the pinion shaft handles by exerting too much force. The handles are 8-10 inches long. Has anyone had success using a drill press as a fret press by just inserting the press caul into the chuck? Your thoughts?
     
  2. GuitarBuilder

    GuitarBuilder Member

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    Your drill press table may not be able to withstand the pressure.
     
  3. Murkar

    Murkar Well-Known Member

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    I always use my drill press to press frets in, and it's only a small benchtop model.

    However, you will have difficulty trying to press the whole fret in at once with a caul (a drill press isn't really made to exert that kind of downward force). I actually just chuck a large bit in reverse in the drill press so the flat side is facing down towards the table, and use that to press the frets in. Do the ends first, then press along the length to seat the rest of the fret (same as you would with a fret-seating hammer, just using the drill press instead).

    Never had any issues with this method and it is very fast and easy. Also doesn't require buying a caul, and it won't exert too much pressure on your drill press.

    EDIT: Note also, I do have one special bit that I use for this that I sanded the flat end a bit so that it's a very (VERY) tiny bit concave. If the bottom of your large drill bits are convex, they might slide off of the bit and damage the fretbard. That's never actually happened to me but I still worry about it. Better safe than sorry.
     
  4. aeleus

    aeleus Active Member

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    I use the fret press caul from StewMac with a 12-inch desktop press from Delta. It works fine. I've used it with ebony and maple fretboards. I find it doesn't require any more pressure than when using, say, a 2-inch forstner bit.
     
  5. bruce bennett

    bruce bennett Active Member

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    Have no fear, your standard drill press has enough force available to actually crush the fretboard wood under the fret.
    Which BTW, is something you will NOT want to have happen. So pay attention when pressing your fret wire in.

    That said, I'm using a 2 ton arbor press from my local cheap tool sales company. only because a second drill press was more expensive to buy.
     

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