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I want to add a slot where the nut sits, safe way to do this?

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when I built my guitar a couple years ago the area where the nut rests ended up being at a slight angle, call it 10 degrees, from square, now I'm replacing the nut and I am honestly not skilled at matching this angle* (I had help from a guy I paid at the time that certainly helped this process). I am thinking if i can make the small area right behind the nut 90 degrees with the end of the fingerboard this process would be a lot easier, the only thing I have come up with is using a file as wide as the nut and slowly cutting a groove back there and put some painter's tape over the top edge of the fingerboard so I don't inadvertently shorten the scale of the guitar.

does this sound like a sold plan or can you guys give me any idea how to do this and not screw up my guitar. If I have to spend a little bit on a tool that's ok too (like less than $20)  I no longer have access to a table saw or router, but those sound frightening to work so close to this finished area anyway. 


* not skilled meaning I am on my 3rd nut trying to get this right, telling me to take it slow and check often isn't enough for me apparently I just can't judge this right.

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Yes - what you are suggesting is pretty much how I would do it.  I would use a square edged file and use the fretboard end as the guide, as you say, protected with masking tape.  The file probably won't get into the very corner though so, if I didn't have a small enough chisel, I would run a modelling knife along the bottom corner - again using the fretboard end as the guide. then along from an angle and scrape the resulting fillet out and square with the edge of a 6" steel rule or similar...

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thanks andy, this gave me the confidence I needed to get to work, I'm still working on cleaning up the area but I got the rough cuts in and it worked ok,. I'd like to add that adding tape to the surface of the file that would be in contact with the fretboard end seems to be a good idea as well. I changed the tape on the fretboard out a few times as it got worn away (which happened quickly in places, and the extra layer on the file cleared up that issue.

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