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Nut files, best choice?

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by backalleyblues, Oct 6, 2020.

  1. SamIV

    SamIV Tele-Holic

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    I asked the same question here a while back. I am ordering the Stew Mac files, well after hurricane Delta passes. Between myself and my brother, I will about 30 guitars to touch up.
     
  2. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    The sizes are 10, 13, 20, 28, 36, 50. I typically use a file 2 or 3 thousands above the string gauge that will be in that slot. Those sizes would not work for me, particularly with all the acoustics I make nuts for. If you only did electrics they might be OK.
     
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  3. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    These have an excellent reputation but just looking online it appears they are about the same price as StewMac files. As well they should be.
     
  4. backalleyblues

    backalleyblues Friend of Leo's

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    thanks for the advice, I'll pass on these-we have quite a few acoustics in the house, and though we don't string them real heavy, they are heavier than the electrics.

    Franc Robert
     
  5. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    I have the StewMac files. They work well for the larger strings but not so well for the e,b, strings. I even use my fret saw to get close for the larger strings and then clean up with other files. I do have to remove a lot of material since I use the nuts as a string stay with my zero fret. However it is very important that the slots on the string stays NOT be too wide for each string...hence the name string stays. What I use most for the "fine tuning" of the slots is this $5.00 tool from ebay. On a non zero fret nut I find this $5.00 tool used by itself works well for me. Also, for the wound strings if you need just a little tweaking, take an old string and use it as a file. Takes a bit of time but works ok with softer material....not sure if it would work with bone. Also, early on when I started building I even made a set of files using feeler gauges. Notch the guages you want. Takes time but will work.
    file.jpg file1.jpg 20201008_042146.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2020
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  6. Davecam48

    Davecam48 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Zero fret are great aren't they Wade! I don't seem to do anything else lately.

    As an exercise in "Wonder if I could successfully build a decent guitar case?" I have one about half done, but have found they are just as difficult but seem to be more time consuming than building a guitar.

    I personally prefer the zero fret approach to be easier than mucking around with bones etc and just as accurate as well as more reliable, and better looking!:lol:

    When (if) I complete the case I'll post some pix here...................it just looks like a wooden box at the moment!

    DC
     
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  7. Davecam48

    Davecam48 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Reading this thread again today reminded me of the time probably about six years ago while in China I was going through a touristy type shop which had everything from a pencil sharpener to an atomic bomb, I spotted some large bone ladies hair combs which had a sign on them indicating they were made from the horn of some mountain yak or buffalo type beast.

    We had seen plenty of these animals in the mountains where we had been doing the tourist thing and they had huge well shaped horns, so I bought one of the combs to bring back to OZ to make nuts from them.

    About one minute into cutting this comb into nut sized portions to shape, I was almost vomiting from the disgusting stink it exuded while cutting, so I wrapped it it some plastic and tossed it into the rubbish bin.

    The stink lasted for several days!!!!! That's one of the reasons I switched to zero frets made from plastic or aluminium.

    Aluminium does not smell when you cut and file it!!!:lol:

    DC
     
  8. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    Those are actually welding tip cleaners. You can find them locally at any hardware store that has a welding and soldering section.
     
  9. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you decide to try them be sure to have your calipers handy so you can figure out which size to use for each string. I bought a set a long time ago, tried them once and went back to my SM files. Good news is that they are cheap.
     
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  10. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    Agree. My only experiment with them did not end well. Those lower diameter tip cleaners are really very bendy and difficult to get a straight cut on bone. I suspect you could chuck them up in a small jewler's saw, but at some point the cost and labor you expend surpasses a set of nut files. I don't want to go back to the days before I got my modest collection of nut files either. They are the perfect tool for the job.
     
  11. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

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  12. Davecam48

    Davecam48 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    I posted this a couple of months ago!

    I bought a set of StewMac files years ago and always had a small problem using the thinner ones just holding between my fingers. This scrap-wood blade holder solved the wobble problem altogether!!!

    For 10 minutes of your time and a couple of screws and nuts you will end up with easy to use files of correct size with no wobble factor. The big danger with the SM files was the high chance of cracking them if the thin ones became jammed on a push stroke.

    This little holder eliminates the problem.

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/stew-mac-nut-slotting-files.1031937/



    DC

    IMGP0025.jpg
     
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  13. backalleyblues

    backalleyblues Friend of Leo's

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    Tried those welding tip cleaners, glad I didn’t spend real money on them-total waste of time! Bought the stew Mac files last week, finally broke them out-MUCH better! I did some work on my new National duolian, and while it still needs a tweak, it plays much better near the nut. This is definitely a “cry once” purchase!

    Franc Robert
     
  14. ajaxlepinski

    ajaxlepinski TDPRI Member

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    A friend of mine made fret files from feeler gauges. Too much work for me so, I bought a set from StuMac.

    I also bought the new, StuMac "Under The String Fret Files" 4 1/2 " and 9". Bought them to doctor up the 15th fret ski jump on two of my guitars. Haven't had a chance to do the job but, I think they will work fine.
     
  15. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    Simple, effective and adaptable. Perfect. That looks great.
     
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