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Nut Files - Alternatives


bluesy
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I have just started making my own guitars, and I just finished my first neck. Most tools I have needed have been fairly cheap, but one simple thing seems to require a large expense. That is, making the nut. For some reason a set of nut files are quite expensive - getting up towards $100 locally.

For the neck I just built, I used a premade nut, and adjusted the slots depths in a somewhat crude manner. For the finer slots, I used a 'junior' hacksaw which has a very thin blade, and I used some needle files for the larger slots. This seems to have worked well enough.

So, how necessary is it to have the special nut files? Do others here use alternatives? Any suggestions on other/better ways to do slot nuts?

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......a set of key files for $10......

I did a google image search on " Key files" (Had to add "locksmith" to help weed out computer file stuff as much as possible).

From what I did find, these "key files" seem to be pretty much just like a set of needle files.

If that's not the case, it would be nice if you could possibly show what a set of "key files' looks like.

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I'll post a pic when I get back home. It is basically a set of needle files, plus a few round and square files for making keys.

I found the same with Google. They are basically needle files. My needle files look identical, and the problem is that the thinnest needle file is too big for the small slots - hence why I had to use a thin saw blade. Maybe some locksmith key file sets have smaller needle files?

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Another option is to go to your local hardware store ( I went to Tractor Supply Co.) and get a set of welding torch files. They are a set of varying sized round wire files. They will match your strings almost perfectly. I paid 6 bucks and I belive there are about 15 files in the set. They come in a little metal case. They might take a little longer, but you can't beat the price.

-John

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Another option is to go to your local hardware store ( I went to Tractor Supply Co.) and get a set of welding torch files. They are a set of varying sized round wire files. They will match your strings almost perfectly. I paid 6 bucks and I belive there are about 15 files in the set. They come in a little metal case. They might take a little longer, but you can't beat the price.

-John

Here's a link to similar files

I picked up a set here in Oz for $AU5

With a bit of patience good results can be achieved

dayvo :D

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Guest RavenT

Use the right tools and you’ll get good tone. If the string does not sit nicely in the nut slut the string well tend to wobble in it slut and you lose good coupling between the nut and the string. So if you are to cheap out on tools the only tools that you should buy is nut files, fret files. You’ll see what a difference it makes.

I have just started making my own guitars, and I just finished my first neck. Most tools I have needed have been fairly cheap, but one simple thing seems to require a large expense. That is, making the nut. For some reason a set of nut files are quite expensive - getting up towards $100 locally.

For the neck I just built, I used a premade nut, and adjusted the slots depths in a somewhat crude manner. For the finer slots, I used a 'junior' hacksaw which has a very thin blade, and I used some needle files for the larger slots. This seems to have worked well enough.

So, how necessary is it to have the special nut files? Do others here use alternatives? Any suggestions on other/better ways to do slot nuts?

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I bought a .010 and .013 fret file from Stew mac but not overly impressed with them and find if you use a .010 with that gauge string it is too tight in the slot and binds. Strings need about .003-005 clearance so they dont bind. I use welding torch cleaners and they do the job fine though a bit slow. I am using brass nuts for my electrics now and it is hard work filing them. I have a jewellers saw that has very thin blades which i use to cut most of the slot then finish with a file or tip cleaner.

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I bought a .010 and .013 fret file from Stew mac but not overly impressed with them and find if you use a .010 with that gauge string it is too tight in the slot and binds. Strings need about .003-005 clearance so they dont bind. I use welding torch cleaners and they do the job fine though a bit slow. I am using brass nuts for my electrics now and it is hard work filing them. I have a jewellers saw that has very thin blades which i use to cut most of the slot then finish with a file or tip cleaner.

That is the thing about nut files, a set of 6 (3 double sided) is very expensive, close to a hundred dollars here, and still there are not enough sizes for all possible string gauges. In other words you'd need multiple sets, and it would cost hundreds of dollars.

Jewellers saw blades come in a range of sizes, so between them and the torch cleaners, I think you'd have most what you need.

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Guest RavenT

Lets say you use 11 gauge strings. Pick up a set of 10 gauge and use a sanding film it is thin, place your string in the film don’t roll it all around the string. Hold the string at each end with the film and you can use it like a file.

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Lets say you use 11 gauge strings. Pick up a set of 10 gauge and use a sanding film it is thin, place your string in the film don’t roll it all around the string. Hold the string at each end with the film and you can use it like a file.

Sounds good. I have never come across sanding film though. Is it a specialist thing, not something your local hardware store carries?

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