StewMac tools

Burns Gear-O-Matic Truss Rod

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Re: Burns Gear-O-Matic Truss Rod

Postby Gordon Bellerose » Thu Aug 24, 2017 11:39 pm

Yes. That is also my question.
I buy wire from stewmac that has a tang of .023
I need your help. I can't possibly make all the mistakes myself!
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Re: Burns Gear-O-Matic Truss Rod

Postby Barry Daniels » Thu Aug 24, 2017 11:59 pm

I am using the wide and tall Stew-Mac #154. It matches the wire that was originally on this 7-string, and is what the client wanted.

I don't know why, Mario, but I have sometimes struggled a bit with getting fretwire fully seated. Just about any fretwire pressed into a .023" slot is just too tight of a fit in my opinion. So I came up with the approach to widen the slot with a tapered dremel bit that has a maximum width of about .027". But that is a bit overkill and I have worried if it is really secure enough. I thought I would try the approach of removing a bit of the fret barb. So far, I like the results.

Keep in mind that I am installing frets in a board already glued to the neck. Also, this is an archtop so I don't have the ability to use a fret buck under the fretboard extension. I need to be able to press these frets in pretty easily.
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Re: Burns Gear-O-Matic Truss Rod

Postby David King » Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:00 pm

Barry,
I'm really impressed with the quality of the Jescar wire and have long since replaced all my stewmac sizes with the equivalent Jescar which tends to have thinner tangs (.020"-.021") and shorter barbs (.032"-.036"). I'm sure you probably have a collection of both. I still have large spools of Dunlap wire which have been hanging around my neck for a couple of decades but were unusable due to poor quality and twisted spooling.
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Re: Burns Gear-O-Matic Truss Rod

Postby Barry Daniels » Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:09 pm

You are not the first person to tell me that. I will check it out. Where do you buy your Jescar?
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Re: Burns Gear-O-Matic Truss Rod

Postby Barry Daniels » Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:40 pm

I see that LMII has it. I did not realize that their tang width was so much less. That is exactly what I needed. Thanks David!
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Re: Burns Gear-O-Matic Truss Rod

Postby David King » Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:08 pm

I buy it in the 3LB rolls right from Jescar's US website. They now sell in 2 foot straight pieces for folks who can't wrangle a coil.
Here's the dimensions page https://www.jescar.com/fret-wire-specifications/
They sell a lot of other handy lutherie related items like flannel buffing wheels, Manzerna sticks, Summit tools and the double-priced CA glues with pictures of guitars on the labels.
I'm quite happy with their evo-gold wire which is nickel free but not quite as hard and brash-sounding as the stainless wire.
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Re: Burns Gear-O-Matic Truss Rod

Postby Mario Proulx » Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:31 pm

Also, be sure to slightly bevel the fret slots' edges a bit. A small square needle file works great...
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Re: Burns Gear-O-Matic Truss Rod

Postby Barry Daniels » Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:49 pm

Thanks Mario. That task is already part of my normal routine.
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Re: Burns Gear-O-Matic Truss Rod

Postby Craig Bumgarner » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:47 pm

FWIIW, I've been going through this too, frets hard to drive and too much back bow. To mitigate, I've been using a cheap fine tooth back saw with the teeth dressed down to .025" to open the slots up a bit for fret wire w/ .023" tang. Also, I'm using the Stewmac Fret Barber to trim the tangs down some. I ordered Jescar stainless wire with .020" tang. We'll see how this goes.
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Re: Burns Gear-O-Matic Truss Rod

Postby Barry Daniels » Mon Aug 28, 2017 3:03 pm

I sent a note to Stew Mac. Their circular fret saw blade is sized to cut a .023" slot, yet their fretwire has a tang width of .025". I think those are incompatible specifications.
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Re: Burns Gear-O-Matic Truss Rod

Postby Craig Bumgarner » Mon Aug 28, 2017 3:09 pm

Agreed! I'll let you know how the .020" Jescar goes in a .023" slot. My guess is it will be good.
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Re: Burns Gear-O-Matic Truss Rod

Postby Barry Daniels » Mon Aug 28, 2017 3:32 pm

I may beat you to it, or at least a tie. LMII has put my Jescar in the mail.

Stew-Mac refunded my fretwire. But I think they need to make some adjustments to the blade or wire.
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Re: Burns Gear-O-Matic Truss Rod

Postby David King » Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:24 pm

I did a bit of research a few years back and figured out that there only something like 4 fret wire mills in the world. Stewmac and Dunlap I think have the same source in the Northeast. There's a mill in Russia (Sintoms) and another in S. Korea and then Jescar in Germany is probably the largest.
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Re: Burns Gear-O-Matic Truss Rod

Postby Barry Daniels » Fri Sep 01, 2017 6:16 pm

The airport finally opened up yesterday and I got my Jescar fretwire in. It looks good. The tang measures about .022" thick. It is going in with just the right amount of pressure. Thanks again David.

I will probably still need to use my fret barber on the fretboard extension.
Attachments
IMG_0592.jpg
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Re: Burns Gear-O-Matic Truss Rod

Postby Barry Daniels » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:56 pm

Trimming the fretwire down for the fingerboard extension worked out great. It tapped in with the right amount of force. Not too much and not too little. I am happy with the Jescar and the way it turned out.
Attachments
IMG_0593.jpg
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Re: Burns Gear-O-Matic Truss Rod

Postby David King » Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:26 am

Stunning work.
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Re: Burns Gear-O-Matic Truss Rod

Postby Barry Daniels » Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:01 pm

Thanks David. I am always trying to find ways to do things better. One issue that I had been having increasing trouble was getting a good buff on the frets. For several decades I have sanded my frets with 320 grit wet or dry paper and then gone to a 8" diameter buffing wheel with gray compound. In the last few years it seemed like the level of gloss achieved was getting less and less. I hadn't changed anything. So I started adding in a final sanding with 800 grit paper before buffing. Still no joy. So I was recently reading a thread over on the OLF about Menzerna compound bars dying after a certain number of years. Hmmm. That bar of gray compound I'm using is probably 35 years old. Could that be the problem? So I pulled out a bar of tripoli that is probably only 10 years old (relatively young for my shop) and it worked. One quick pass and high gloss.

Now I just need to rebuild my old buffing machine because it is rattling pretty badly. I inherited it from my grandfather so it is probably nearly 70 or 80 years old. I can't replace it due to sentimental issues, so I will need to replace the bushings. Another job for the list.
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Re: Burns Gear-O-Matic Truss Rod

Postby David King » Wed Sep 06, 2017 5:24 pm

I used to buff but I got lazy applying all the tape to the board and taking it off so now I do 400 grit Norton 3X, 1200 3M Imperial silicone carbide both on a fret shaped handle and "buff" using 00000 steel wool with a steel eraser mask over the fret to protect the board. I clean up the board with a white plastic eraser and move on. It's definitely a workout for the hands so I limit myself to one fret leveling a day. A big magnet wrapped in a plastic baggie is handy to gather the steel wool flakes.
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Re: Burns Gear-O-Matic Truss Rod

Postby Barry Daniels » Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:52 pm

Yeah, the tape is a pain.
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Re: Burns Gear-O-Matic Truss Rod

Postby Barry Daniels » Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:13 pm

In order to bring completion to this project here are photos of the finished repair.

IMG_0596.jpg


Installed new TV Jones Supertron pickups and wiring harness which includes a tone selector switch. These are blade pickups which works with the string spacing of the seven strings.

IMG_0597.jpg
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