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  #1  
Old 11-02-2019, 11:36 PM
maxtheaxe maxtheaxe is offline
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Default PSA saddle & nut jig

I'm sure you've all seen the one of Stewmac's site. A while back someone here posted a pic of one they had made out of hardwood (that was brilliant!). The problem with the one from Stewmac is the price...unless you do many, many, MANY nuts & saddles, such that the tool will pay for itself in short order (or you just have money to burn) the price is prohibitive.

Enter this guy...same tool, basically, at a price that is not insane:
https://reverb.com/item/15017829-nut...ts-and-saddles

With all due respect to Stewmac...they come up with some ingenious solutions for various aspects of lutherie and kudos to them for their skill & inventiveness, but their prices leave a lot of us out. I've actually bought many tools from them over the years and have gradually, one item at a time, assembled a pretty nice kit of stuff I need, but this one was a no-brainer for me.

I haven't received it as yet, but will review when I do.
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  #2  
Old 11-03-2019, 12:10 AM
phavriluk phavriluk is offline
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Default opinion

OP is entitled to his definition of rational pricing and tool value, which I cannot question. I just looked at the link to the anti-stew-mac tool, and I choke at the idea of a single-use jig for $88.00, no matter how nicely made it is or how much more expensive is stew-mac's tool.
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Old 11-03-2019, 05:55 AM
mirwa mirwa is offline
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I have the jig, purchased it back in the days before stewmacs prices went crazy.

IMO, one of best tools I ever purchased from them, I cut saddles and nuts on a daily bass, this is one of those great go too tools for expediating the job

Steve
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  #4  
Old 11-03-2019, 06:19 AM
jonfields45 jonfields45 is offline
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It appears to be identical except in small details of markings and metal finish on the knobs at half the StewMac price. If you wanted one, it seems like a good deal.

I took my bench vice to a machine shop and had them make the top of the jaws flat and flush as recommended by the old MacNichols guitar shop. I use masking tape to attach the saddle to one jaw exposing what is to be removed, tighten the vice, and sand.

I recall the machine shop charging me $20 and let me wait while it was being done.
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Last edited by jonfields45; 11-03-2019 at 11:16 AM.
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  #5  
Old 11-03-2019, 09:37 AM
phavriluk phavriluk is offline
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Default Aha!

I have a small bench vice doing nothing. Next time I visit my friend with the milling machine, I.ll bring it along.

Thanks for mentioning it.
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  #6  
Old 11-03-2019, 06:08 PM
maxtheaxe maxtheaxe is offline
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Looking again at the Stewmac version, it appears that they've actually reduced the price compared to the first time I saw it, by quite a bit...I remembered it being well north of two hundred bucks.

Their version is still more than twice the price of this one I found on Reverb...maybe created by a guy with machining skills/tooling who copied the design, with brass knurled adjustment nuts instead of the steel ones, perhaps other shortcuts/variations that aren't obvious (or simply a lack of overhead).

I agree that it still would not be worth it simply to have a "single-use" tool, especially if you have a good luthier nearby who would do it cheaper than the tool. However many of us, who may not be paid luthiers or even know a good one nearby, might have multiple guitars that need new parts on occasion, or buy guitars to flip them, from people who weren't willing or able to do what was needed to set them right.

It takes me a long time to properly grind a nut or saddle, because being obsessively careful with these things I have to stop frequently to check my work as I go; if nothing else, this will be a huge time-saver and I will know for certain that the base of the part will be precisely flat.
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  #7  
Old 11-04-2019, 08:05 AM
packocrayons packocrayons is offline
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Couldn't you just clamp a squared block of hardwood to a bench (on sandpaper) or a water/diamond stone? Same way as is done for sharpening mortise chisels.

Despite being an engineer, this seems like a place where an engineer was not the right person to solve this problem.
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Old 11-04-2019, 09:01 AM
redir redir is offline
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IMHO it's completely unnecessary. A piece of MDF with some sand paper glued to it is all you need to flatten out a saddle. I realize I might sound like a jerk saying that and I don't mean too. I love Stew Mac don't get me wrong but sometimes they just way over think things. Jigs are great for eliminating guess work and standardizing a process so I guess it's good for that. But it's not something that is too difficult to do. You could even make a very simple shooting board out of a scrap block of wood that you square up perfectly.

As for thinning a saddle check out this little jig on Frank Fords site.

http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Luth...saddlepal.html
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Old 11-04-2019, 10:00 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redir View Post
IMHO it's completely unnecessary.
I don't think anyone disagrees that it isn't necessary.

As you point out, jigs/fixtures can be used to improve results, save time or make a task easier or more consistent. As you point out, there are many possible ways to do that in sizing nuts and saddles. Lost of them will work, lots of them can improve results, can save time, can make the task easier and can produce a more consistent result. One chooses the method or tool one prefers. Some will prefer one, others will prefer another.

I haven't tried Stew Mac's Nut and Saddle Sander. It looks like an elegant, albeit expensive, solution to the problem. If I was making many saddles per week as part of a busy repair shop, I'd likely invest in one - or make some variation of it. It looks like it would do everything a good jig or fixture should do - save time, make the task quicker, easier and more consistent. But, it isn't necessary.
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Old 11-04-2019, 10:17 AM
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fazool fazool is offline
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I don't do a lot of setups, now. I was doing maybe one a month. Now I do a few a year and just for myself. But I am obsessively careful about being "perfectly" flat and squared properly (actually slightly angled etc).

I use a fence and milling vise and such to keep things square and flat but its still very imprecise. I think this is a great looking tool but I would never pay $200 for it. For less than half of that I would buy one just to have it for future uses......it's not necessary.....but no elegant tools are "necessary".....


They just makes this better and faster.
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Old 11-04-2019, 10:28 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fazool View Post
I am obsessively careful about being "perfectly" flat and squared properly (actually slightly angled etc).
There is an assumption that an "imperfectly" fitted nut or saddle will audibly reduce the sound quality of an instrument. For guitars not fitted with an under-saddle transducer, does anyone have any non-subjective data showing a relationship between fitting of a nut or saddle and the sound quality produced? Or is the assumption just based on plausible-sounding reasoning, along the lines that heavier objects fall faster than lighter ones?

In other words, people obsess over the fit of nuts and saddles, but has anyone done any work to show that that obsession actually matters?
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Old 11-04-2019, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charles Tauber View Post
There is an assumption that an "imperfectly" fitted nut or saddle will audibly reduce the sound quality of an instrument. For guitars not fitted with an under-saddle transducer, does anyone have any non-subjective data showing a relationship between fitting of a nut or saddle and the sound quality produced? Or is the assumption just based on plausible-sounding reasoning, along the lines that heavier objects fall faster than lighter ones?

In other words, people obsess over the fit of nuts and saddles, but has anyone done any work to show that that obsession actually matters?
I have not and it may fall in the "false belief" territory. But I work in the lab-grade vibration measurement industry so I am of the opinion that "perfection" can't hurt. That's the source of my bias which, admittedly, may not be applicable here.
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Old 11-04-2019, 11:17 AM
redir redir is offline
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I've never come across any peer reviewed data that suggest perfect fitting is better for tone.

Piezo's bring up a good point though. In fact it's not uncommon to purposely make the bottom of the saddle less then flat to make the pickups sound full across the strings. Much of that is due to the fact that a bridge might distort over time and so the bottom of the saddle slot is actually arched. I suppose one could argue that the correct way to fix that is to re-rout the saddle slot but in 5 minutes I can fiddle with the bottom of the saddle and get it just right too.
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Old 11-04-2019, 12:29 PM
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So who’s made a saddle wide contour guage to match the slot base perfectly? Or, I guess you could saw the saddle up into individual pieces, so each one gets a more “perfect” contact -
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  #15  
Old 11-04-2019, 05:43 PM
mirwa mirwa is offline
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One thing to consider, yes it makes a perfect flat bottom relative to the side, however very rarely is a nut shelf actually flat and 90 degrees to a fretboard edge.

Still, i use that tool daily, its my roughing tool not my precision tool, example my drop saw is my roughing tool to shorten a piece of wood, my hand plane is my precision tool.

Steve
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