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Old 11-04-2014, 12:35 PM
Frank Ford Frank Ford is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Palo Alto, CA
Posts: 601

Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
. . .
I equate this practice with installing oversize bridges. If I have a stubborn nut, I try heating it a bit with a heatlamp. If that doesn't work, I just saw through the middle of the nut.
WHAT on Earth are you talking about? Oversize bridges? Gimme a break!

That little .010 cut is basically invisible to most folks even if left open. It avoids chipping the back corners off the nut when removing it, a real benefit when working with vintage Martins and ivory nuts as well as many others. OBVIOUSLY, such a cut is only necessary with a nut backed by a thick peg head overlay similar to what Martin uses. And, I hope, equally obviously that .010" kerf can be filled with a dab of paste pore filler. Would you REALLY cut an original ivory Martin nut in half rather than relieve the tiny amount behind it necessary to tap it out without damage?

Originally Posted by Ned Milburn View Post
However, it seems a bit excessive to me if the nut were to be cut out losing a quarter mm each time it required removal. That is all.
I thought it would be equally obvious that there is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON EVER to repeat the cut. Once the cut is made, the nut pops out easily without damage. Without the cut, the back corner of the nut is liable to crack off when an original nut is tapped out. Lots of Martin nuts are ivory, and there's no reason to damage them.

Once the cut is made, there's never a problem taking the nut out, because there's that little space (even if filled with a bit of paste pore filler or whatever) that allows the nut to rock backward when tapped so it doesn't chip or cause the finish on the nut to blister. And again, NO REASON EVER to repeat the cut.

Just to repeat: When I make the little .010" kerf behind the nut. It doesn't grow and become obtrusive, I don't need to repeat the cut, it's a final deal, and the nut goes in and out easily as if it was meant to.

Now, there are lots of instruments where that cut isn't appropriate. Those with thin peg head veneers, nuts on top of the overlay, etc. Then, scoring the finish is all that's necessary. A relatively large percentage of my work is on Martin guitars, so I tend to focus on them and their issues, so please forgive that bias in my description of technique.

Colings, Santa Cruz, and others use a similarly imbedded nut, but they don't glue them before finishing, and they don't embed the nut in a sea of glue. SO, there's no difficulty removing them.

Last edited by Frank Ford; 11-04-2014 at 12:45 PM.
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