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What tools do I need for Nut work?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Tritono, May 13, 2011.

  1. Tritono

    Tritono TDPRI Member

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    Some time ago I started a thread about what tools I need for fretwork. Then I understood that if I want to work with frets, I would need to buy tools for Nut Work too.

    This time I need to ask: what tools do I need for Nut Work? I know that I will need files. Good quality gauged files. But will be of help if you can help me to choose the right files and neccesary tools.

    Can I survive only with this set? http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Nuts,_s...:_Nuts_and_saddles/Double-edge_Nut_Files.html

    If not, what other tools will I need?

    Any advice is welcome. I want to buy life time tools under the "buy once, buy smart lema".

    Thank you. Best regards, J.P.
     
  2. murrmac123

    murrmac123 Tele-Meister

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    You will also need a digital caliper, a razor saw, and a set of feeler gauges.
     
  3. arkimedes38

    arkimedes38 Tele-Meister

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    There are some great posts on here about nut making. Bone nuts can be shaped with some sand paper, files for rounding, half pencil, sloting files, and an old nut for reference. At least I like to use it as a guide. I use the warmoth files (not bad at all), but I also use the strings themselves to further round the slot to match the gauge you use. Nut blanks can be really big especially for fender style kinds. I use a jewelers saw to saw off the extra for the sides as opposed to smelling the bone dust from filing it. Plus you'll have extra to make fret dots if you want, I think for my next build that may be what i do with the extra.
     
  4. murrmac123

    murrmac123 Tele-Meister

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    ssshhh ...

    don't tell everybody ...

    next thing you know, they will figure out that you can actually cut the nut slots perfectly from scratch using the strings and some know-how, and StewMac shares will collapse ...
     
  5. Bolide

    Bolide Friend of Leo's

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    Vernier calipers have more twang :D

    A knife file is a real timesaver on this, not for the finish, but to make the initial cut to depth; I would far sooner cut the slot with a knife file than use one of the saws that are sold for this. Additionally the flat side of the knife file can be used like a mill file for shaping the top.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0..._m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=04DSG5ECYSK30WAN51WC


    After initial slitting almost to depth with the knife file, a Swiss triangle file can be used to hog out more material saving the amount of cutting that has to be done with the finishing tool.

    But the calipers and the feeler gages are an absolute must.
     
  6. murrmac123

    murrmac123 Tele-Meister

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    You are perfectly correct, verniers do in fact have more twang.. but my eyes aren't what they used to be .....:oops:

    Knife file ? ....well, the reason I like a razor saw is that it has a parallel blade, so that when I do the calculations for getting equal string spacings (as opposed to equal string centers which are the work of Beelzebub) I know I am accurate to a thou, using the digital caliper as a gauge to saw against. After the initial slotting, then of course you can open up the slot as and how you want .
     
  7. David Collins

    David Collins Tele-Afflicted

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    Mill file, nut slotting files, pencil, sandpaper. Stewmac spacing gauge is a handy tool, as can be a set of calipers, though neither of these are absolutely necessary if you have a good eye.
     
  8. murrmac123

    murrmac123 Tele-Meister

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    Set of calipers ?? I don't think so, cost a bomb, and not really of much use for nut work either ...

    [​IMG]

    What you want is a digital caliper (singular) , which is absolutely indispensable, and which only costs around $5.00 on Ebay ... ...

    e[​IMG]
     
  9. David Collins

    David Collins Tele-Afflicted

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    Semantics and grammer - I'll be sure to send my posts through my copy editor before publishing next time. ;)

    Yes, caliper - dial, vernier, or digital. A set of calipers would indeed be rather useless.
     
  10. Bolide

    Bolide Friend of Leo's

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    Nice technical tip :D

    Also, nice observation about Beelzebub :D

    edit
    and to the OP and other innocent bystanders, digital calipers are just fine, the vernier thing is a "mock bit of cork-sniffery". They're wonderful in principle, but a migraine in practice.
     
  11. Tritono

    Tritono TDPRI Member

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    Thank you. I read the threads that Jupiter recommended, great information. I read the thread of the 17 years old guy asking for files too.

    What files are better?

    - Doble Edge Set http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Files/Double-edge_Nut_Files.html

    - Or http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Nuts,_s...Slotting_Files.html?actn=100101&xst=3&xsr=561 they seems leave a round-bottom slot.

    Other thing that I dont know accurately is what gauges I need for the files. I understand that the gauge of the files need to be slighty bigger than the corresponding slot.

    I will buy a 0.10 gauged saw to start cutting the slots, digital caliper, a set of feeler gauges and the string spacing rule.

    Thank you for your help, any advice is welcome :D
     
  12. RussBert

    RussBert Tele-Holic

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    Have you done this? Got pics?
     
  13. Tritono

    Tritono TDPRI Member

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    I have read alot about nut files including the great post of David Collins with magnified photos. I understand that the best Nut Files are the Groberts but in my country they arent available and I dont know from where to buy. Considering the information that I have, the second best files are the Gauged Files from Stewmac.

    I use 0.09s and 0.010s strings in my guitar with a 0.068 for the 7 string (I play 7 string exclusively). Im thinking in this files gauges: 0.013, 0.016, 0.020, 0.035, 0.042, 0.050, 0.085 considering the information that Rob DiStefano have in his page (he recommend .049", .040", .035", .020", .016", .013" but the Stewmac ones dont match all the sizes).

    Are they good files? the gauges that I selected are good? Im ready to go?
     
  14. Mike Bruce

    Mike Bruce Friend of Leo's

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    I manage to do nuts and saddles with a Japanese draw saw, belt/disc sander (actually 2 with different grits), some finer grit sand paper, and a set of nut files. I might use a band saw if the piece of bone/horn/tusq/corian/whatever is larger. A small Record brand vice with padded jaws comes in handy, as does a pair of wide jaw sheet metal style vice grips (though I usually just use my fingers).

    Peace, Mike.
     
  15. mowens145

    mowens145 TDPRI Member

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    A tip from a Dan Erlewine book suggested supergluing old guitar strings in the gauges you want to the edge of a popsicle stick. I don't know if he meant the unwound strings too but I can see it working if you only have an infrequent need of replacing a nut considering the cost of a set of files. Also found that welders tip cleaning files quite useful & can be found for about $5.00 for a set. Another cheaper tool to look at is X-acto Hobby tools for their razor saws etc.
     
  16. davmac

    davmac Tele-Afflicted

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    In a similar vein to that Dan Erlewine tip, I've used old strings in a junior hacksaw handle. Trap the ball end at the far end, pass the other end through the notch, pull it tight and wrap round the handle a couple of times, and hold it tight. Works fine for occasional use but a PIA if you do it frequently.
     
  17. Tritono

    Tritono TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the tips. I will considering the information. Im planing to enter in the local business eventually. Im looking for good quality-quick-accurate files to get good results. What files do you like better? the doble edge or the gauged files? Im thinking in the gauged files because the information that David Collins shared in the post of the magnified photos. But I dont know what gauges to choose. I will go with 9's, 10's and a 0.068 for my 7 string. Do you recommend that files? what gauges are the best for my needs? Thank you in advance :)
     
  18. Tritono

    Tritono TDPRI Member

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    Btw Im from Chile, Im not a rival :D. Do you think this gauges are correctly for 9's and 10's sets of strings?

    - 0.013, 0.016, 0.020, 0.028, 0.035, 0.050 plus a 0.065 or 0.085 gauged file for a low 0.068 string? Stewmac gauged files dont have all the gauges, I wrote the approximation of what I think is a decent idea of gauges considering their stock options.

    What do you think? do you have a better gauge recommendation? Im new in nut making, please share your thoughts.

    Thank you
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2011
  19. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I use

    Bench grinder to shape the nut
    digital calipers to do string spacing
    pencil
    pocket knife
    nut files
    sand paper
     
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