The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Build and Repair

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 12-16-2019, 05:29 PM
Gil80 Gil80 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 19
Default Nut filing - MacGyver approach?

Hi all,

I wonder if there's a sane option that doesn't break your bank account to have a decent outcome for nut filing.

Every listing in eBay that is cheap, is a poorly design tool that do more harm than good.

I'm trying to set up a new nut and I need to file the slots.
Doing the 6th and 5th is reasonably easy.

For the 6th slot, I used the 4th guitar string and tightly wrapped it with a sanding paper to achieve round and well-defined slot.

For the 5th slot I did the same but I used the 3rd string to achieve decent results.

However, for the 4th and smaller slots, I'm in a problem.
They all require the much expensive nut filing that one can find in StewMac.

Are there any cheaper ways to help achieve decent results?
Using improvisations, household items?

Or any other eBay alternative of decent quality that is reasonably priced?

Otherwise, I'm stuck with a guitar that is unplayable
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 12-16-2019, 05:33 PM
Brucebubs's Avatar
Brucebubs Brucebubs is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Eden, Australia
Posts: 12,992
Default

This is a fair price for a good quality set of 'Made In Japan' nut files.

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Guitar-N...g/111480267049
__________________
Brucebubs

1972 - Takamine D-70
1980 - Morris B-50
2002 - Guild F-412
2009 - Martin Grand J12-40E Special
2011 - Martin JDP 2 #71/71
2014 - Alvarez ABT60 Baritone
2015 - Kittis RBJ-195 Jumbo
2012 - Dan Dubowski#61
2012 - Epiphone EJ-200/N
2012 - Huss & Dalton MJ Custom
2018 - Rickenbacker 4003 Fireglo
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 12-16-2019, 05:47 PM
docwatsonfan's Avatar
docwatsonfan docwatsonfan is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Chandler AZ
Posts: 1,134
Default

I bought a set of " nut files "


they are basically feeler gauges, rounded on the bottom edge,
and then given teeth, like a saw blade
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 12-16-2019, 07:39 PM
Gil80 Gil80 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 19
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brucebubs View Post
This is a fair price for a good quality set of 'Made In Japan' nut files.

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Guitar-N...g/111480267049
That's still too expensive for my budget, but good to know about this option. Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by docwatsonfan View Post
I bought a set of " nut files "


they are basically feeler gauges, rounded on the bottom edge,
and then given teeth, like a saw blade
How did you get the teeth on the feeler gauges?
I have a set of 32.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 12-16-2019, 07:47 PM
rmp rmp is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 1,247
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by docwatsonfan View Post
I bought a set of " nut files "


they are basically feeler gauges, rounded on the bottom edge,
and then given teeth, like a saw blade
those are gas burner cleaners.

they do a decent job,. (meh..) but none are small enough to properly handle treble strings.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 12-16-2019, 08:11 PM
redir redir is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Mountains of Virginia
Posts: 5,186
Default

I've been using needle files for the last 25 years. I did however just get some nut files, they do make nice U-shaped slots.

But anyway this is all you need, well and a bit of technique too. The ones they call knife and crossing will probably take care of everything.

https://www.amazon.com/SE-10-Piece-D...79087093&psc=1
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 12-16-2019, 11:11 PM
Gil80 Gil80 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 19
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by redir View Post
I've been using needle files for the last 25 years. I did however just get some nut files, they do make nice U-shaped slots.

But anyway this is all you need, well and a bit of technique too. The ones they call knife and crossing will probably take care of everything.

https://www.amazon.com/SE-10-Piece-D...79087093&psc=1
Are they thin enough for the trebles? 1st/2nd/3rd strings?
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 12-17-2019, 03:41 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 6,808
Default

Commercially made dedicated fret files first came to market in the 1990ís. For the centuries prior to that, instrument makers used needle files. I used needle files and an Xacto saw for about 25 years before switching to dedicated nut files.

Needle files will produce perfectly functional v-shaped slots, rather than the u-shaped slots of dedicated nut files or the straight, flat-bottomed slots of saws. I have found no functional difference between v, u and flat- bottomed slots. Saws are now available in a variety of kerfs to match common string diameters.

These days, I exclusively use saws for the top two treble strings, for roughing in all slots and for any string where the kerf produced appropriately matches string diameter, The saws cut much more quickly than files and are a little cheaper than dedicated nut files. However, unlike files, saws canít really be rocked in use to produce wider kerfs. For string diameters where I donít have a corresponding saw, I use nut files. However, needle files can just as successfully be used for all nut slots.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 12-17-2019, 04:43 AM
Gil80 Gil80 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 19
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by charles Tauber View Post
Commercially made dedicated fret files first came to market in the 1990ís. For the centuries prior to that, instrument makers used needle files. I used needle files and an Xacto saw for about 25 years before switching to dedicated nut files.

Needle files will produce perfectly functional v-shaped slots, rather than the u-shaped slots of dedicated nut files or the straight, flat-bottomed slots of saws. I have found no functional difference between v, u and flat- bottomed slots. Saws are now available in a variety of kerfs to match common string diameters.

These days, I exclusively use saws for the top two treble strings, for roughing in all slots and for any string where the kerf produced appropriately matches string diameter, The saws cut much more quickly than files and are a little cheaper than dedicated nut files. However, unlike files, saws canít really be rocked in use to produce wider kerfs. For string diameters where I donít have a corresponding saw, I use nut files. However, needle files can just as successfully be used for all nut slots.
Thanks for the reply.
I have found one on eBay Australia with a 3mm width and with all the required shapes as mentioned above, the cross and the knife will be used most.
However itís only 120 grit. Is that ok?

This is the eBay listing
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 12-17-2019, 05:48 AM
jrodriguezcros jrodriguezcros is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 40
Default

About ten years ago I bought these nut files that someone was selling on ebay, quite cheap. They were actually feeler gauges that someone had turned into a nut file by cutting some saw teeth (kind of) on them.
As I said they were quite cheap and not the fastest tool on earth, but they worked fine and actually I still use them! So for sure something like this would be good for you.
Unfortunately it was long ago so I don't have any records related to it.
There's a picture here:

https://ibb.co/3mLZv2t
__________________
Jorge
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 12-17-2019, 05:53 AM
Gil80 Gil80 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 19
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrodriguezcros View Post
About ten years ago I bought these nut files that someone was selling on ebay, quite cheap. They were actually feeler gauges that someone had turned into a nut file by cutting some saw teeth (kind of) on them.
As I said they were quite cheap and not the fastest tool on earth, but they worked fine and actually I still use them! So for sure something like this would be good for you.
Unfortunately it was long ago so I don't have any records related to it.
There's a picture here:

https://ibb.co/3mLZv2t
Thanks. Iím thinking of using a feeler gauge wrapped with sanding paper.
Just not quite sure it would work for the B and high E
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 12-17-2019, 05:57 AM
jrodriguezcros jrodriguezcros is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 40
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gil80 View Post
Thanks. I’m thinking of using a feeler gauge wrapped with sanding paper.
Just not quite sure it would work for the B and high E
I think you would need a very thin feeler gauge for the first two strings, not sure it would work. For the other strings maybe...
For the first two,you can use a thin saw as someone mentioned before.
__________________
Jorge

Last edited by jrodriguezcros; 12-17-2019 at 06:28 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 12-17-2019, 07:51 AM
redir redir is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Mountains of Virginia
Posts: 5,186
Default

Yes the Exacto razor saws can be used for the first two. And when you think about it, no one cuts slots in the saddle right? Well I've seen it done a few times but it's by no means the norm. So at the saddle the string just rides right over the top of the bone piece to the bridge holes. A nut needs a little guidance even if it's pure straight through pull since the break angle is much less then the bridge, but as Charles mentioned it doesn't matter if it's a V or a U shape. The string due to the tension and the downward pull is going to find it's happy spot at the bottom of the valley and all you really need is for it to be deep enough to hold it in place. So if that valley being U or V shaped is a bit too wide for the string [dare I say *gasp] who cares? If anything it's worse having slots that are too narrow and bind up the strings.

The three important things about nut slots is that 1) they hold the string in place and don't bind 2) they are spaced equally so no strings are too close or too far apart relative to the others and 3) the slot depth is equal too or only very slightly taller then the fret in front of it.

You can accomplish that in many ways
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 12-17-2019, 07:57 AM
Mr. Jelly's Avatar
Mr. Jelly Mr. Jelly is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Sioux City, Iowa
Posts: 4,135
Default

Two words ÖÖ. Harbor Freight
__________________
Life blooms when existence is it's own reward.

Santa Cruz 1929 00
Waterloo WL-S Deluxe with K & K mini
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 12-17-2019, 02:55 PM
Gil80 Gil80 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 19
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by redir View Post
Yes the Exacto razor saws can be used for the first two. And when you think about it, no one cuts slots in the saddle right? Well I've seen it done a few times but it's by no means the norm. So at the saddle the string just rides right over the top of the bone piece to the bridge holes. A nut needs a little guidance even if it's pure straight through pull since the break angle is much less then the bridge, but as Charles mentioned it doesn't matter if it's a V or a U shape. The string due to the tension and the downward pull is going to find it's happy spot at the bottom of the valley and all you really need is for it to be deep enough to hold it in place. So if that valley being U or V shaped is a bit too wide for the string [dare I say *gasp] who cares? If anything it's worse having slots that are too narrow and bind up the strings.

The three important things about nut slots is that 1) they hold the string in place and don't bind 2) they are spaced equally so no strings are too close or too far apart relative to the others and 3) the slot depth is equal too or only very slightly taller then the fret in front of it.

You can accomplish that in many ways
Can you please explain the "don't bind" thing? I don't fully understand what it means.
The current way I filed my 6th and 5th nut slots are filing to a measured height, say 0.51mm above 1st fret. I then marked the slot with a lead pencil and started to file in an angle equivalent to the head angle, to create a take-off point. I made sure that the front of the nut (closest to the fretboard) doesn't get filed and the lead pencil mark is untouched. The back of the nut had an angle to create that take-off point.

But still not clear what binding is in that regards.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Jelly View Post
Two words ÖÖ. Harbor Freight
I can't find a way to set the shipping to Australia
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Build and Repair

Thread Tools



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:29 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=