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How were nut slots cut and rounded before nut files?

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by trxx, Oct 22, 2020.

  1. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

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    Just curious. Everyone seems to be using nut slot files these days. But how did the old timers do a good job of it before nut slot files were a thing?
     
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  2. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    With their teeth, perhaps ???
     
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  3. ritten70

    ritten70 TDPRI Member

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    I used a triangle file for years. That’s what was used at Roberto-Venn when I went there in the early 90’s.

    Paul
     
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  4. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

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    Any specific profile? I mean, was it a true triangle file or something more like a knife edge profile? I guess that won't give a round bottom slot, but does it really matter? It seems to me that most important is that the slots don't bind or are too loose for the string to have side play. It seems like a triangular slot would provide that just fine.
     
  5. ritten70

    ritten70 TDPRI Member

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    It was a standard small true triangle file like you’d get at a hardware store. There is a taper to them so that you’d use the tip for thinner strings moving towards the handle for bass strings. I forgot that we used a fret saw to cut the slots for the unwound strings.

    I’m not sure that the needle files with the radiused bottom we use now are really an improvement.

    Paul
     
  6. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

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    The unwound strings were only sawed, without using the triangle file?
     
  7. DrBGood

    DrBGood Tele-Holic

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    Fingernails ?
     
  8. ritten70

    ritten70 TDPRI Member

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    Correct, although over the years I did whole nuts with just the triangle file if I was remote and didn’t have a fret saw with me.
     
  9. ritten70

    ritten70 TDPRI Member

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    I should add that I generally would use the triangle file on the g string of a les Paul or something with a similar headstock- seemed to help with the problem of that string binding at the nut and going out of tune. Still do something similar today.

    Paul
     
  10. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

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    When I started out , small saw blades were used , no idea what the saw is called in english , but the blades are used for fine woodwork .
    Bass strings were cut with the thickest saw blade , and the thicker strings were filed with a round file that was almost a point at the end, you had to control when the string slot was wide enough.
    Lots of todays tools just wasnt around.

    Even today , many people use the triangular file on both sides of the fret , instead of the more modern files.

    The job still got done , and many players didnt have a clue about all the " must haves " that came up on the internet decades later , LOL...
     
  11. ritten70

    ritten70 TDPRI Member

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    Yup, I still use the triangle file with one edge ground smooth as a fret crowning file.
     
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  12. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Small files and small saws have been around for centuries. Clock makers, watch makers, silversmiths, .etc..
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2020
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  13. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

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    Possibly some grinding stones too?

    Just postulating.
     
  14. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

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    How would that work?
     
  15. dogmeat

    dogmeat Friend of Leo's

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    Exacto made (still makes) a razor saw with a very thin kerf. thats what I was using 50 years ago. still have a couple
     
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  16. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

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    I used and still use a razor saw and needle files.
     
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  17. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

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    You guys use just the razor saw for the open strings? Or for also establishing cuts for the wound strings? Are you using different widths for different strings?

    And beagle, are you using needle files for the wound strings only?
     
  18. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Holic

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    Coping saw perhaps?
    https://www.rockler.com/coping-saw-and-blades-select-option?country=US&sid=V91040 (just an example)
     
  19. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

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    No , blades are higher and shorter.
    Same blade used for e and b
    I have never worried about getting the bottom of the slot round.
     
  20. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Meister

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    I used a small triangle saw for years cause I didn't do enough cutting to warrant the cost of actual nut files. But, now I own the files I don't know how I lived without em! LOL!!!
     
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