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Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by Chicago Matt, Nov 2, 2019.
I have these. They work great.
I bit the bullet when it came to purchasing nut files and went the Hosco 11 file set, yes, bloody expensive, but what a pleasure they are to use.
EDIT: Wrong, I bought the 10 piece set and added a StewMac .020 which i rarely use, preferring to rock the .016 side to side a little for that tricky G string slot (10-46)....
Welders Nozzle Cleaners:Can be an 'Alternative' for 'Expensive'nut files.
The thin serrated rods are easily flexed,distort (Hence one must avoid... undue(finger) pressure being applied to the rod,when filing the slot=Avoid Back & Forth strokes(it can distort the rod etc)=Use 1 directional stroke only (maintains 'straightness'+the Control')
An Axacto Saw(A mini craft saw,with a fine blade) even a Razor Blade..can be used 'initially' to begin the slot first.Cut to an 'approximated' depth for the 1st & 2nd String slots with an allowance ALSO made etc.To finish to the 'final' required depth via the suitable,appropriate Rod etc.
A delicate ''Touch'' is all that is required when filing.Undue heavy pressure distorts the rods,leaving them curved,bent etc=Dispose etc.Which is why many dismiss their use!but with the right approach & Application they DO WORK successfully.,and give a perfect end result.
Finishing with the suitable 'round' thin rod leaves the slot base curved.,a 'mirror' of the strings underside etc.Sometimes a small 'Needle' file can sometimes be use full here also.
Avoid leaving the slot base 'Level!'=leave the slot base with a subtle gradual slope to its appropriate Tuner Post!!.
If the slot base 'IS' left 'Level',IT WILL COMPROMISE the individual strings scale length.,Tuning to its desired 'Pitch' & adjustment for 'INTONATION' will be near impossible.
The string must leave its slot specifically.... at its 'Exit point' (Where the fret board begins & NOT before it!)Filing the sloped base gradually with care to its 'finished' depth,at its EXIT point.. assists here etc.The EXIT point GOVERNS .. the final String height at the nut!
The strings specific Scale length is measured precisely from its 'EXIT' point to its saddle Peak!Where the string also 'contacts'etc.
The String must be allowed to fully 'seat'' itself 100%..on its curved base,hence.=Do not leave the slot a 'V' shape.It must be left a 'U' shape...To avoid 'String Bind'.
The slot,its entire length,must run in a straight line.
Large hands etc can be 'cumbersome' with micro tools.Especially when working to fine Tolerances!Hence the 'Negativity' towards The Rods but they can be adapted in their use.
A JEWELERS PIN VICE-Holds the rod firmly,maintains control of etc & the rods fragile 'Rigidity' can be maintained etc.Assists 'Precision' & the appliance of light hand pressure required when filing the slots etc.
Good lighting+ A magnifying glass can also assist too!
With care..the Nozzle cleaners Do & can last a very long time.They are cheap to replace.I've never had to purchase the expensive nut files.Though i will not debate there 'precision'
You won't be disappointed Matt, I hope you enjoy using them .
Keeping them clean and dry between filing jobs and in their plastic jacket will protect them and keep them from getting banged up and dulled.
To help keep my files cutting at their best, I use a brush or a file card to keep the gullets between the teeth clean.
Putting yourself in a comfortable and relaxed position and putting you work piece in a solid and secure position will give you the best opportunity to make straight, steady, and controlled strokes. Trying to hold the work piece with one hand and filing with the other is not the path to success.
I always use both hands when filing - one hand to provide the motion - the push and pull, the other hand to guide and control. Provide and control the motion, and let the file do the work .
Thanks Bluesman and Old Wrench for some great advice! TDPRI again proves to be an invaluable resource. Thanks to all.
I bought a set of Grobet nut files .
These are good, but you need to be careful with the thin ones. Also good to buy some thin CA glue and baking soda for when you go too far
Just wanted to report back. My Hosco .010-.046, 3 file set arrived day before yesterday, and the $19.00 neck block to hold the guitar steady came yesterday. Today I got some time to use the files. I have an old Epi Dot that had a nut where all the grooves had been cut high to facilitate slide playing. It was pretty much unplayable for regular playing. I took my time and filed the slots to where I wanted them, making sure to angle up to the exit point at the fingerboard. It worked great!!! No binding, no tuning or intonation issues. The guitar plays like a dream! I feel empowered for sure. All my life I've done my own relief, action, intonation, and electronics work. But I've always stopped short at cutting a nut or doing fret work, and left that to professionals. Well, next time I need a new nut, I feel confident that I can do it. And my new files just paid for themselves!
Thanks again, guys, for all the advice!
Late to the party but my $0.02 is I have the Hosco set (from Phila. Luthiers) as well.
Have fine tuned several existing nuts and done the baking soda and thin CA repairs.
They work great, and have some bone blanks I will eventually get to as well.