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 Post subject: Nut Files
PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2014 12:43 pm 
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Posts: 657
Location: Tenn.
Got a question, what brand and where do you guys get your nut files from? I have a few guitars in need of new ones. I like to use 9s on most of my guitars and was wanting to know what size file to use on a 9 or how close do you get on any given string as far as size matching the file? As most of you already know off the shelf rarely fits, besides I have some time to kill before going back to work.

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 Post subject: Re: Nut Files
PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2014 9:48 am 
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Location: NYC
Nut files can get pricey. I have not used them myself but I know people who buy a set of chainsaw sharpening files for a few bucks. They come in a wide assortment of sizes and are cheap.


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 Post subject: Re: Nut Files
PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2014 11:17 pm 
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Location: Tenn.
Thanks for the info. Starting to get some buzz on a few guitars. Seems the nut slots are worn down pretty deep and ready to be replaced.

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 Post subject: Re: Nut Files
PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 8:31 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:52 am
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Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
If the grooves are just worn down, you can build them back up with bone-dust and super glue, you'll still have to have a nice set of files to remake the slots. Here is a decent stewmac video of the process:



If the edge of the nut is broke off at either E string, nut replacement is required, the tension of the string will bust off anything that you try to build up on the edge of the nut. Best of luck, Mike.

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 Post subject: Re: Nut Files
PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 8:44 pm 
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Location: Tenn.
Thanks Mike, one nut is missing the edge off the low E. The others are all plastic nuts (Hondo)or the grapht on the Phoenix's I have. May give the glue a try on one of the plasic nuts just to try, what can it hurt. I would like to try a bone nut in place of the plastic. Thanks again guys for your help.

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 Post subject: Re: Nut Files
PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2015 10:33 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:53 pm
Posts: 85
Location: Middle Tennessee
There are a two obvious ways to go with this. You make do with workarounds like folded sandpaper and a knife, or you pay the price to get accurate nut slots. I'm hung up on the role nuts play, so I cut them often. It's often a new guitar that come to me with this problem as, for the manufacturer, a plastic molded nut is far cheaper that a hand carved bone or Corian nut.

On the cheap, and low on accuracy, start each groove with a blade like a utility knife, just enough to mark your position well and start the next cut. Then take a piece of 400-600 folded tightly over aN approprotrly sized feeler gauge and extend the groove in slightly and across the face of the nut (back towards the headstock. After you've started them all you can go back with heavier grits, or double folded paper to get the approximate sizes. Take your time and don't cut too deeply. You won't be super accurate on the width of the plain strings, but you can get very close compared with what most new guitars come from. I go a tad over 1/2 the diameter for the depth of cut on wound strings, and close to the diameter on the plains, depending on the person's playing style.

On the not cheap side you have options. I use Uo-Chikyu/Hiroshima files which are gauged very finely, as in the thousands of an inch. Some of these files are very delicate and must be handled with great care. That's their only drawback, however, as they allow you to get as close to a dead on match to string gauge as possible. I have something close twenty five or more of them, guitar and bass. I made do with around fifteen for thirty years. I start my grooves with feather edged file, one that is aptly named. You can order these nut files from Josh at Japarts.ca. Drop my name... maybe I'll win a prize. ;-)

StewMac sells nut files and saws. If you just want to cut them for your guitars and more or less the same gauges the the Uo-Chiku file will save you money compared to SMs double sided files, though I can't speak to the quality of SMs offering. They also sell nut saws, five from .010-.030 for 7.18 down from 8.98, or the new pull stroke versions for 9.62 or 42.81 for the set. They appear to have discontinued the older sets and are clearing out the older saws at an even lower price. Quite a good deal. LMI (lmii.com) also sells Uo-Chiku files so compare prices. Also, saws aren't generally thought of as a finishing tool. They're used more as a means of removing material quickly, followed by filing to the desired depth and width. Finally, if you need an inexpensive starting point, Exacto makes a small saw with a blade that's right around .010 if I'm not mistaken. A very good way to get your groove stated. No matter what, practice first before chewing up that nice block of bone.

One last thing, I'm a big Corian fan and it's usually my go to choice for nut material. I have all sorts so you can get some very nice visual effects by its use. If you, or any other Forum Member needs a piece I'd be glad to send you a piece of white at no charge, just PM me.

Feel free to PM me if you need any help.

Best,

C. R.

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 Post subject: Re: Nut Files
PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2015 2:25 pm 
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Location: Southern Indiana
I got the basic stewmac set - pricey, but I have used them OVER and OVER. I bought a generic set off of ebay, and they were very different (and a lot more files too) - but they did a poor job compared to the stewmac ones. I believe the basic starter set is only 4 files - you can rotate the file slightly to widen as needed.

I would try to repair them first as suggested by Mike. Super glue lightly, then dry, then recut if they are too low. If they are not too low, just are buzzy, you can run a file through the slot to clean it up usually. If you go too far, do the fill with superglue thing and recut. The slot should be angled to match your head stock in my opinion, and the round off to an angle only slightly less deep than the angle in tilt of the head stock (if that all makes sense).

If your phoenix style (strat style) guitar buzzes on certain nut slots, namely the smaller strings, check to make sure your string retainers are there. If there isn't enough angle then a string retainer is required to keep the down force such that it will not buzz.

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 Post subject: Re: Nut Files
PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 4:13 pm 
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Location: Tenn.
Thanks for the info guys. I'm practicing on one now. Useing the super glue and bakeing soda trick in the plastic nut on my Hondo. Figure thats a good place to start and get the feel of it. Then I'll try putting bone nuts in my none trem guitars. Going to use Tusk on the trem models. I have a precut Tusk and a blank to play with after the bakeing soda learning curve.

Thanks,

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 Post subject: Re: Nut Files
PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:41 pm 
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Location: Tenn.
The super glue and baking soda worked pretty good, not bad for the first try. I got a stew mac basic nut file set and it works pretty good. Wasnt real impressed with the nut vise for the money ( didnt look as shiney as the ones in Dan's video) but it will do the job. Thanks again for the help guys.

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 Post subject: Re: Nut Files
PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 2:21 pm 
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Location: Southern Indiana
With that stuff, practice really does make perfect. I do one just often enough not to get great at it but I do definitely passable work. I have a friend that makes them all the time and his are works of art.

That stewmac basic kit will probably be the last you'll ever need for basic guitar nut slots.

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 Post subject: Re: Nut Files
PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 6:43 pm 
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Location: Tenn.
Yes it works good. Pretty straight forward on the instructions and easy to follow. Doing another one now. Waiting for the glue to set. I doubt this will lead to a new profession :P , but its new and kinda fun for now. Like building hot rods when we were younger. I give the starter kit :up: :up: . Give it a try guys.

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 Post subject: Re: Nut Files
PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 11:00 am 
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Joined: Mon May 31, 2010 5:32 am
Posts: 182
The issue is having a slot with a rounded profile for the string. A V or square bottom slot can cause the sitar sound or cause other tone problems. I've spoke with my master luthier friend and he said the only way to do it correctly is with real nut files, that's not to say you couldn't make something else work.


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 Post subject: Re: Nut Files
PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 1:29 pm 
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You can use a wound string like a file to round the bottoms...wont help for the solid slots but folded sandpaper as mentioned in previous posts will work on those...


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 Post subject: Re: Nut Files
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:48 pm 
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Location: Southern Indiana
Update -

Dudes, CE distribution is now carrying a lot of luthier parts and they are a WHOLE LOT cheaper than stewmac. Don't get me wrong, I love Stewmac, but man, the price is a lot more. CE is wholesale, but their retail site is Antique Electronics. Man - they have a LOT OF TOOLS now. Check it out. No affiliation, I just buy stuff from them when I repair amps.

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 Post subject: Re: Nut Files
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:53 pm 
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Location: Tenn.
Hey, thanks for the info. Good looking site.

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