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  #1  
Old 06-29-2019, 01:36 PM
Knives&Guitars Knives&Guitars is offline
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Default Nut Files-size for string

Having fun learning how to work on my own guitars.
I have successfully being doing my own saddles for a couple of years now, with very precise measurements. I am a stickler for accuracy.
I am now getting into doing my own nuts after hearing the difference a new nut, with proper contact and nut height made on my guitar.
Right now I am considering Uo-Chikyu for their quality and the ability to order custom sizes.
I have heard that some say it should be the exact same size. Some say smaller and let the string expand it naturally. And some say it should be larger by a thousands or two to let the string vibrate freely.
*What are your opinions on Nut file size in relation to the string. Should the nut file be the exact same size?
What is your opinions and why?
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  #2  
Old 06-29-2019, 03:24 PM
Bax Burgess Bax Burgess is offline
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I go a little larger, especially when the 3 and 4 strings have a sharp angle to the tuner post - sometimes the same size will bind, especially with unbleached bone.
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Old 06-29-2019, 04:09 PM
Knives&Guitars Knives&Guitars is offline
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Great reply and explanation Bax Burgess.
Thank you! And yes, that is exactly what I use is Unbleached bone.
*How much larger would you suggest?
* And only larger for the 3 & 4th strings? The rest of the strings use the same guage?
My strings for the 3rd are .026
4th is .035
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Old 06-29-2019, 04:41 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knives&Guitars View Post
I have successfully being doing my own saddles for a couple of years now, with very precise measurements. I am a stickler for accuracy.
Just for clarity, in the technical world, "precision" and "accuracy" have two different meanings. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accuracy_and_precision


If you'll excuse the pun, you don't have to go nuts on file sizes - or quantities. Files can be used with a "rolling" sort of technique to produce variably larger slot sizes than the actual width of the file. That is, as long as you have a file a little smaller than the actual slot width you want to produce, one file size can be used on a variety of slot widths. This allows you to have far fewer files but use them on a much wider range of slot widths.

To throw more flies in the ointment, so to speak, a more recent addition to nut slotting is the introduction of gauged nut saws. Each saw produces a saw cut width (kerf) of a specified size. Unlike files, each saw can't very effectively be used to create a variety of slot widths: each saw produces a singe, stated slot width. The primary advantage to using saws is that they cut/slot VERY fast, much faster than files.

I prefer to use fine saws for the B and E strings, rather than files. They cut much faster and don't bind like the narrow files do. The saws can also be used to "rough-in" nut slots on thicker strings, removing the bulk of the material, making the subsequent use of files much quicker and easier.

If you have a size-on-size slot and string diameter, the string will bind in the slot. I typically use a few thousandths larger file than the string diameter. However, I also use the "rolling" technique to leverage the file sizes that I have so as to accommodate a range of string diameters. (Translated, that means, the "few thousandths" is qualitative, rather than an actual measurement.)

Keep in mind that gauged fret files first appeared on the market in the 1990's. Prior to that, people used needle files, an inexpensive, but adequate set of which is about $10. I have two needle files that I used for more than a decade to cut nut slots. Those two files, and a single saw, were all that I found necessary. All that to say, gauged nut files aren't necessary, particularly if one does only occasional nut work. If one does a lot of such work, as in being a professional repair person, the gauged files save time and effort: in skilled hands, they don't produce better results, just faster results.
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Old 06-29-2019, 08:48 PM
Bax Burgess Bax Burgess is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knives&Guitars View Post
*How much larger would you suggest?
* And only larger for the 3 & 4th strings? The rest of the strings use the same guage?
My strings for the 3rd are .026
4th is .035[/INDENT]
On a 1 11/16" nut I first try the same gauge as the string, and then increase with Charles' method, of working with the same file to enlarge the slot width. On a 1.75" nut I will go so far as using a 36 file for a 32 string, but I prefer to increase each nut slot by .002
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  #6  
Old 06-30-2019, 02:08 AM
nikpearson nikpearson is offline
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Default Needle files or specialist nut files.

Iíve used both and prefer the speed of using dedicated nut files. Part of the trick is to get close to the final nut height so youíre not having to make deep slots with either file type. A half pencil laid across the frets and used to mark the nut gives a good reference point for the final nut slot depth.

The final slot needs to be slightly larger than the string diameter to prevent binding. This can be done by using a slightly larger file or rolling the file as the slot is cut. That way I can use a 0.012Ē file to do slots for just about any gauge of string for the high E.

A fine saw is useful for marking and creating an accurate centre point for the bigger strings. I use a fine toothed model makers saw for this purpose (Zona I think the brand is) as it cuts on the pull stroke like a Japanese saw, has a very fine kerf, and is inexpensive to boot.
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