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Feeler Gauge Nut Slotting

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by grant1r, May 26, 2010.

  1. ThermionicScott

    ThermionicScott Poster Extraordinaire

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    There are others... it seems like people identify very strongly with the tools and processes they've chosen, and take it personally when alternative methods are espoused.

    I really enjoy learning about different ways of doing things, but in this case, I cringe when I compare the results I got with the feeler gauges to what I can do now. ;)

    - Scott
     
  2. SimpleOne

    SimpleOne Friend of Leo's

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    Great discussion thanks!
     
  3. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I still don't know why the TDPRI Membership don't collectively buy a couple of sets of Hiroshima Files and simply pop them in the post box off to the next member who needs them - a "waiting list" thread could organise it.

    They would be the best-traveled tools in America. You'd only need them for a day or two max, so over a hundred people could use them a year.

    No more sloppy nuts, if you pardon the expression.
     
  4. ThermionicScott

    ThermionicScott Poster Extraordinaire

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    That's an awesome idea! Get those, a small container of Vaseline+graphite mixture, a couple of allen wrenchs, jeweler's screwdrivers, feeler gauges, and miscellaneous setup tools, and organize a "box pass". :cool:

    I dunno if that's pardonable, but I've seen some atrocious nuts in my day. :eek:

    - Scott
     
  5. flatfive

    flatfive Friend of Leo's

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    I've only made one nut, and used torch-cleaning tips and an x-acto
    saw. I didn't think the torch-cleaning tips were good tools for the job.
    The thin ones, especially, which tend to bend. Needle files can
    be used, but only for the widest slots.

    After that experience I bought nut files from Warmoth. Prices at
    Stewart-MacDonald often seem too high to me.
     
  6. gogirlguitars

    gogirlguitars Tele-Holic

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    You mean these ? i find them too thick, I only use 1 and 2 or 3 for nuts. It's my weakest point this nut making.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. forgivenick

    forgivenick Tele-Meister

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    Anyone try using several guages of old roundwound guitar string that is cut and superglued lengthwise on a wooden dowel?

    Fine grit sandpaper can be wrapped on them if needed too.

    Haven't tried it yet, but it was recommended in a setup book i have.
     
  8. grant1r

    grant1r TDPRI Member

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    I found out where to get the grobet files where I live.

    How many joint round edge files do I need and which sizes in order to cut a nut?
     
  9. David Collins

    David Collins Tele-Afflicted

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    Very cool. Invest in a few of these, and you'll have at your disposal for life. It's a modest investment you'll always be glad you made.

    If you know how to use them and aren't doing setups every day, you can get by quite well with just 3 or 4 sizes. A .016 can take care of all your plain steels, then a .024", .035", and .047 for the wound strings. You can use a narrower file for a wider string (within a reasonable range), by tilting the file side to side slightly as you cut the slot. You can even get by just fine with .047" if you take this route. The only downside is that the .016" (narrowest Grobet sells) can be a bit wide for the high E unless you have enough breakover angle. With a string tree they can work perfectly fine, but for something like an Eric Johnson setup, you really need to match the width a bit closer.

    Pe prepared to invest far more in time than in tools before you really get nut slotting down though. Even with first-hand training, it can take making several dozen nuts before you really start to get it, sometimes more. It's certainly an art, one which even many professionals ever refine to any great degree, which is a big reason so many people want to learn to do it on their own. Keep a close eye, go slowly, and you'll eventually get it though.
     
  10. rainedave

    rainedave Tele-Holic

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    Speaking of string trees... if you are replacing a factory nut, pay attention to the original string spacing. The trees were installed at the factory to match that spacing. Alter the new nut's slot spacing too much and there could possibly be alignment issues with the tree(s). Just a thought.
     
  11. 930vet

    930vet Tele-Meister

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    I use tip cleaners. They cost me, what, $5? However, I would gladly pay as much as $10 (+ up to $3 shipping costs) for a good set of new nut files.
     
  12. lovellintn

    lovellintn TDPRI Member

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    Saying you can only cut a nut with nut files and not torch tip files or feeler gauges/sandpaper is like saying you can only make a Tele body with a CNC, when we all know templates, routers, and patience will get you there.
     
  13. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    We did that with a Bad Monkey, it has made it into my possesion, but I can't find the thread now to locate the next member on the list. Whoops, I guess I need to start a new thread and send it to someone else.
     
  14. Jan Folkson

    Jan Folkson TDPRI Member

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    TMI!! :D
     
  15. Soapbarstrat

    Soapbarstrat Tele-Meister

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    I have a Grobet (marked on the tang, with Switzerland marked on the other side) that was advertised as being .010" but reads .013" with calipers. Bought it from either stewmac (as you probably know, they used to sell Grobets) or LMI.
    Damn thing broke in half long ago, but I made a cool handle to hold the shorter pieces.
    Almost everyone I know has had their high E nut files snap apart.

    And for you guys still green about nut-work, you really need to get good at removing excess top material off the nut before slotting. It will mean less slot filing and less wandering from your spacing.
     
  16. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Making a set of nut files from feeler gauges? How much is your time worth? Allowing for failures etc, it would probably take me an hour or so at first attempt. I'm not going to tell you how much they charge for my professional time, I reckon less for my own time, but suffice to say it is more than the cost of a set of the best nut files.

    You don't need CNC to make a tele, but you probably would not choose a kitchen knife for the job. Having used ground-down Swiss files, torch tip cleaners (which are too flexible for my liking) and other such home-made tools, I opine that nut files are much easier to use, and do a better job.

    And really, the nut is one of the most important parts of a guitar. If it is worth doing, it is worth doing well.
     
  17. Soapbarstrat

    Soapbarstrat Tele-Meister

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    I'm not exactly sure. Hard to say when we're talking minutes. I just found a .035" thick piece of steel about the size of a nut file. Edge was not rounded, so I crudely rounded it with a file. Then grabbed a piece of Klingspor cloth-backed 60 grit (not even a fresh piece either. Moderate wear). Went sideways 3-4 times across the 60 grit. Corian scrap blank in the vise (1/8" thick). Less than a minute to make a U shaped .035" wide slot about 3/4 the depth of a .032" guitar string.

    Outcome right up there with a real deal file. Yeah, this will piss some people off, as usual.

    Heck, the slot is even shiney like I get with the real files.
     
  18. David Collins

    David Collins Tele-Afflicted

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    I give up. Use whatever you want. I could cut nut slots by carefully scraping away material with a safety pin if I wanted to. Nut files like those from StewMac are cheap for what you get though.

    I'm not saying you need a CNC to make a tele body - what we're talking about is the difference between using a hammer, screwdriver for a chisel, and a nail file vs investing in a pretty minimal set of decent and appropriate tools.

    If you are bent on getting by on the cheap, do what you will, I don't care. Just trying to offer advice from the perspective of someone who has cut thousands upon thousands of nuts, and has tried about any tool you can think of for the job over the years. A decent set of nut files is worth it, and given the price, it's a waste of time to bother tinkering with so-so makeshift tools in my opinion.

    Of course as I said, the tools are barely the tip of the iceberg. Most people can make a nut functional, but making them ideal is by far one of the most difficult aspects of setup to master. Even learning to recognize the differences when fine tuning is certainly an acquired skill. The difference in end results however, can often make the difference between "this is alright", and "holy crap, I've never played anything like this". In my experience, most players have never played a perfectly cut nut, and simply have no idea what they're missing.

    Good luck, and have fun with it.
     
  19. NateM

    NateM TDPRI Member

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  20. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    No. These.

    [​IMG]
     
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