So, I ditched my radial arm saw in favor of a 220v Delta cabinet saw...   I already cut 8 new fretboards from a piece of $7 Jotoba from my local hardwood supplier...  I couldn't be happier...

And with my Tax refund, I was going to treat myself to the Stew-Mac fret saw, miter box, and template... but then...  I saw the circular saw blade...   so...  for LESS money than the miter box and saw, I could use my table saw...

So... with that, I'm looking to see if anybody here has that blade, has used it, and could comment on how well it works???

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I too have lusted after both those setups. If your buying a mitre box and saw, I like Chickenbone John's.,.,way cheaper than Stew-mac.,.,and the circular saw blade, a few folks on here have pointed out you can get a similar jewelers circular saw blade for  $5 or $10 bucks from Ebay and the like.,.,I'm frugal and made my first 2 mitre boxes.,they were simple.,.,.for my 2 cents get the stew-mac fret saw, and a cheap simple mitre box.,.,my stew mac saw is a good bit sharper then the widely available Zona saw.,.,.,

I have a good table saw (cast iron table, etc). Love it for everything but..........

When it comes to cutting fret slots, I like to slow down a bit and focus on accuracy. Like Chickenbone said: "Cutting exactly on the line.:

I sprung for the StewMac fret saw because it looked like it would hold up, and it had a built in depth stop.

I built my own miter box. It's not rocket science and a little hard maple and you're in business.

For me, the key is to slow down and get into enjoying the process of cutting each fret slot. I usually go for around 25 frets and I find that it takes less than a half our to accurately cut all of them.

With the depth stop on the StewMac saw and a miter box it's a bit of a mindless exercise.

Unless you're into doing high production where time is critical, then a decent saw and box is a good way to go.

I have the older version of the Stew Mac box/saw (no ball bearings on the guide). Much more accurate than a stock miter box and saw. will save you time, and allows you to set the depth of the cut.

The table saw blade is good if

1:  You have a high quality table saw

2: You can build an accurate sled and know how to correctly use the template/sled combo

3: If you're high production

4: if you have carpal tunnel or other wrist problems

By the way, I think LMI (luthier's mercantile) sells that thin, fretting blade along with blade stiffeners

I saw a video on YouTube of someone that had set up his table saw sled to automatically Move the fret board and set the fret slots to
Be cut by the table saw blade

Build pocket

Bill Puckett uses the 4" mini table saw from Harbor Freight to cut his fret slots.
He puts a paper template on the
Back of the fret board with double sided tape. He then uses a table saw sled made for the many saw to cut the frets. Since the template is face up on the back of the neck, he knows where to cut the frets by sliding the table forward across the blade.He has a video about how he does it on YouTube and that is where I found it.

I posted a link to Puckett's video for your veiwing pleasure.

Hi, I have used my  powered fretting saw for many years, but still use the hand fretting saw from Stumac for custom scales to save making a new template.

I'm not into big production, but I do charge for my time, so if I can save time I save the customer money and I'm onto other things sooner.

Here's some photo's of my set up. Like a lot of my machines and tools it is dedicated to the one job. If I have to walk up to a router, saw or any machine and have to set it up first to do a little job I'm wasting time.

Over the years [I'm spoilt] I have accumulated eleven routers, includes Dremel style too] all set up for different jobs, but that's another story.

I make my own perspex templates for the popular scales I use.

Oh, and just in case you are wondering, I'm a hobbyist, always have been and always had a day job too, so time is/was at a premium. 

Tip: I push my fingerboard blank through the saw once and bring it back for the next slot without going back through the one just cut. This is to save having the slot wider than I need. Works for me.


I've used a bench top electric scroll saw with the thinnest blade teeth turned away from me. I pull the neck toward the blade until it is sunk just the blades depth. Not as good as a circular but much faster than by hand.

This is what I'm saving up for, Mighty mite $39 +/- Harbor freight. I'll post the blade when I find the link again. Stew mac is outrageous on their stuff, for example their fretboard clamping straps are what I use in my RV to keep my cabinets closed in transit. The saw is like 8"x 8" small and cheap enough to be dedicated for fretboards.

Puckett fret saw

Well, it's been 4 years and probably 120+ fretboards made. Best decision. I've made! Yes StewMac is expensive, but some things are worth it....


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