Advice for filing nut

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by slick4772, Sep 28, 2021.

  1. slick4772

    slick4772 Tele-Meister

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    Hi - I'm wondering what the best approach is for fitting this nut to the neck. The string spacing matches the string spacing on another of the same guitar. This nut is obviously wider than the neck but again the string spacing should allow it to work.

    The main question is how to deal with the binding. There appears to be a small portion of the nut resting on top of the binding - really isn't going to be much material left there. The nut is .255" tall and the nut slot is 3/16" deep. Given the curve of the nut, there isn't going to be 1/16" to rest on top of the binding. I suppose I could put something in the nut slot to give the nut more height.

    What type of file is recommended to do this work? Any tips are appreciated.
     

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  2. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    There are two choices - you can make the slot and the bottom of the nut both flat or you can radius the slot to match the fretboard and fit the nut to that. I prefer the former. Just file the binding as required so you have a smooth curve or flat bottom. Use a small bastard file, jewelers files and/or a sharp chisel. Some manufactured nuts have a little tab on the bottom that you can sand off to make it radiused, leave it there for a flat channel.

    Once you get the nut fitted to the channel bring the slots down until you get the first fret action you want, then shape the top of the nut. Glue it into the slot with one or two very small drops of glue (CA or AR) - you want to be able to tap on the end with a punch and have it come right out.

    Trim the ends of the nut to fit (I use a belt sander and files), curve it slightly so you won't feel a sharp edge. Offsets from the edge can vary from about 0.100 to 0.125 (I like 0.110) - a lot depends on your playing style and the rest of the setup.
     
  3. slick4772

    slick4772 Tele-Meister

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    I'm not understanding the comment about filing the binding. The binding is the binding - the way it looks to me is that the nut is shaped like a "T" and the ends sit on top of the binding. I wonder if during the original manufacturing process the installed the nut and then routed the channel for binding. I guess it is just delicate filing work for me. Are the stew mac nut and saddle shaping files the right tools?
     
  4. NoTeleBob

    NoTeleBob Friend of Leo's

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    I would think that you'll still have enough over the binding. Sounds like there will be at least 1/32" above if not 3/64. Should be fine IMVHO.

    Te other choice is to get a taller nut for more overlap and spend some time bringing the slots down due to the fact that you have it up high. Then you'll need to file the top a bit too so that the slots are not too deep. Seems like a lot more work for something that's not really an issue.

    Spacers under nuts and not a great idea IMO. But if you have some hard material then it could work. If everything is flat bottom style then that might work out OK.
     
  5. Boreas

    Boreas Poster Extraordinaire

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    Spacing on the new nut looks pretty wide to me. Are you sure the spacing is identical?

    I am not following. With binding, don't you just cut it out of the nut slot as if it were rosewood? Then the nut extends all the way across the binding and is filed flush. Isn't that what I see in the first picture?
     
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  6. slick4772

    slick4772 Tele-Meister

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    The spacing is identical.

    If the nut were installed in the neck pre-binding, then yes the channel for the binding would already be cut into the nut. As it stands, I’m repairing a neck that already has the binding installed. So it seems that I’ll need to cut a groove into the nut for the binding then drop the nut down on top of the binding. It’ll be delicate work. I was hoping someone had done a similar nut replacement and had some tips.
     
  7. highwaycat

    highwaycat Tele-Holic

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    If I understand correctly you’re trying to do this?
    A checkering file or any flat file with a grounded safe edge will do.
    Measure carefully and mark with a caliper, the jaws are sharp. Then pencil them in.
    Very doable as long as you measure well.
    You can also make a ‘nut template’ too.

    D040BCE5-7F48-4530-B4A3-499EF96A7D3A.jpeg F97478FA-EA9E-4FFA-9D8A-4A65FD572AFE.jpeg 0B90510D-1890-4821-9294-2C4CB9125CB5.jpeg 5937EAAC-291F-4250-863F-C899895A3F87.jpeg C585FF4F-7010-48EA-B1FD-889EE05C7A0A.jpeg 90E06C05-EA28-4B25-8790-98C93D3EFC91.jpeg
     
  8. highwaycat

    highwaycat Tele-Holic

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    If the nut’s edges will be thin then it would be good to leave plenty of shoulder like the first pic. The second pic has less shoulder.

    I don’t know what your file knowledge is but I’m picky about files, I only buy from knowledgeable and reliable sellers, but you know there’s the file cut length and overall length of the file, and the length effects the cut/coarseness.

    You should use the original nut for info, or as a rough template and see what dimensions it is.
    What’s wrong with the original nut?

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  9. slick4772

    slick4772 Tele-Meister

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    The original nut was gone when I got the guitar. Someone put a really small plastic nut in that fit between the binding.
     
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