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Sep 23, 2021 - 8:45:17 AM
1 posts since 9/23/2021

Hi all,

I've had a look at various DIY fret slotting jigs online--is anyone able to share a photo or plan for one that you use and know works please? Hoping to do my first tenor fret sawing next week.

many thanks,

Simon

Sep 23, 2021 - 9:08:13 AM

160 posts since 2/20/2004

Most important, cut your fret slots while the fingerboard is still rectangular. Make sure it is nice and square before you set things up. Otherwise, you’ll never get it right.
Go online and find a “scale” or fret calculator. There are lots. There is one on Stew Mac.
Print the “scale map”, tape it to your fingerboard as you want the scale/frets to lay out. Then you can use a speed square, mitre box, Carpenter square or anything square to cut your frets straight. Cut the frets right on the image you just printed and taped to your fingerboard.
Don’t really need a jig. Yes you could build a simple jig but by the time you build one you could be done using the above method.

Sep 23, 2021 - 9:10:30 AM
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4611 posts since 9/7/2009

Here's the video of one that I made to work on my Shop Smith. It's made from simple materials and works amazingly well. The slot guide itself was made from aluminum bar, and the pattern slots were cut using a bandsaw. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaBvDOdHlTU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y70beZhvo4M

Sep 23, 2021 - 12:38:14 PM
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3118 posts since 2/18/2009

I did my first 50 or 100 necks by hand, with a fret saw from Stew-Mac and a plastic speed square to keep it straight. This worked fine, but was slow. I then bought a mini circular saw, some .023" slotting saw blades and some aluminum angle and made a guide that holds the saw and a fence for the fretboard. I thought about using the ShopSmith like Marvin did, but I cut many different scale lengths so I wanted to be able to mark the locations by hand and then cut them from the top, so I can visually line up the blade with the pencil mark. Here's a link to an old picture. I still use the same setup but with a couple of minor alterations.
https://hoytbanjos.com/2018/02/12/building-banjo-66-part-4/

Sep 23, 2021 - 1:05:13 PM

88 posts since 5/27/2019

It's possible to adapt a sliding compound miter saw to take a 0.023" slotting blade. Then you would likely need to add an auxiliary table to raise the fret board up to the proper cutting height.

Former Hangout contributor Rudy posted some pics of this on this forum in the past.

Sep 23, 2021 - 3:22:08 PM

87 posts since 3/24/2020

Once I have the banjo assembled I run the top & bottom strings in their place. Then I measure & mark for each fret directly under the string. Every banjo I make is fan-fretted so I find this method to be very accurate.

Sep 23, 2021 - 7:44:15 PM

484 posts since 10/18/2020

I picked up a fretting jig on E bay that is just like the one Stew mac sells for like $30 US funds

Sep 24, 2021 - 3:13:49 AM

2344 posts since 2/7/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Gallaher

Most important, cut your fret slots while the fingerboard is still rectangular. Make sure it is nice and square before you set things up. Otherwise, you’ll never get it right.
Go online and find a “scale” or fret calculator. There are lots. There is one on Stew Mac.
Print the “scale map”, tape it to your fingerboard as you want the scale/frets to lay out. Then you can use a speed square, mitre box, Carpenter square or anything square to cut your frets straight. Cut the frets right on the image you just printed and taped to your fingerboard.
Don’t really need a jig. Yes you could build a simple jig but by the time you build one you could be done using the above method.


This is what I did. 
 

That said, next time I'd probably just buy a board that was already fretted. Luthiers Mercantile will make any scale you want. 

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