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Hi all I am new here and new to 3 string CBG s I have built a few UkUleles but with pre fretted finger boards. I now wish to built a 3 string CBG and I am about to order a stew mac fretsaw. As I am shipping to Australia I thought I should ask here about some other basic items and tools I should include in the order to make things easier. I would love the miter box set up but its not cheap so I will look at other options here. I did look at a thread which talked about dovetail saws but it seems the width of cut is crucial and the stew macs should be correct? Stew mac talks about their saw and their fret wire matching so should I get a supply of their wire as well > Which tuners do you guy recommend etc, you get the idea hold my hand on this first order , I am sure there will be others but get me started. Thanks in advance. Mitchell
Have you compared total costs between Stewmac and Australian luthier supply companies?
Yes I am in country NSW . Stewmac has very reasonable shipping rates and an excellent site.
A fretsaw and guide delivered from Stew mac is only a few $ cheaper but their range and web site are very superior than LSA the online Australian supplier.
I may well support the local guys if they have all i need but if i decide purely in $ terms and bought some wire tuners etc then stewmac would get my business.
Alright just wanted to be sure you had factored in duties and shipping before committing the order.
Fretsaw and fretwire so far, you might want to think about fret dressing tools.
Tuners, unless you have a particular reason for a specific tuner, pretty much any of them will work. For a first CBG build I would go with a less expensive tuner, you can change them out down the line if you decide.
Which style of tuner are you considering?
Classical - 3/4" thick headstock, have to drill holes and cut slot, need to purchase ones suitable for metal strings.
Perpendicular tuners - 1/2" thick headstock, only have to drill proper holes, singles give more flexibility of tuner placement over 3-on-a-plate, will need bushings that match the tuners.
Nut and saddle blanks can be handy if you don't want to deal with manufacturing your own.
60-grit sandpaper and a scrap block of wood can be a very inexpensive alternative to a rasp and spokeshave.
BTW, these guys might be able to help when it comes to what's available in the land of dropbears: http://cigarboxguitarsaustralia.ning.com/
You might consider getting your hands on a standard coping saw for your first try at fretting. And don't believe everything you read on a company's website or this comment. Fret saw and fret wire matching? I guess if you want to believe it.
I have used a coping saw without a jig or fixture and it works just fine if you take a little care. I haven't had a fret fall out yet and I have my (almost) seven year old daughter hammer most of them in. It isn't so hard.
What kind of coping saw? I'm pretty sure mine would leave too much kerf to hold frets.
I dunno. Some cheap little 6" / 150mm coping saw that has a nice narrow blade. I've never measured it and didn't buy it for cutting frets. But it is what I have and it works just fine. Try yours on a scrap and see what you get.
The hardest parts of fretting are not hitting your thumb and not cutting yourself when you file down the edges.
Isn't that child labor, I think we have laws against that up here.
Yes, but I'm not paying her anything so it all evens out.
I bought one of these for frets:
The biggest saw is about right and I attach a strip of wood to the blade using a bulldog clip. This acts as a crude but very effective depth guide. I've only used it once and the limitation was my skill, not the saw !
Edited to clarify that the strip of wood rests against the spine of the saw so that it stays in place.
If you want a $7.99 solution, I use the Harbor Freight japanese saw
When it has cut enough that I do not see the teeth, it is just right- like a built in depth guage.
For a miter box, some 3/4 x 2" stock makes a nice one - just make your cut with a table / radial arm saw & put a approx 1/16" shim to tighten the kerf. I also print the scale from a drawing program (Corel Draw) then tape the printed scale on the fretboard to eliminate any measurement transfer errors.
I have done 6 this way & very happy with it.
Following the suggestion of a fellow ukulele-builder I just flattened the regular (small) metal saw with a file. It makes more or less 0.6 mm wide cuts, perfect for the fretwire. Use the miter!
Tuners: if you're planning to use friction tuners - I'm very happy with the Grover tuners. Not very cheap (11 EUR) but really good.