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zdiver7
06-18-2010, 09:59 PM
Hey guys, got another question...

I'd like to order a nut slotting file and am curious which ones are your favorites?

Currently, I am looking at the Gauged Nut Slotting Files from Stew-Mac(12.95 each) or the double edged ones($25 each).

Anyone use/like these? Any other sources for slotting files to recommend over Stew-Mac? Can I get away with just buying a single gauge(such as a .032")? Or would you really recommend getting a set? It'd be nice to be able to get good results from a single file and save on cost! :)

DaveVisi
06-18-2010, 10:18 PM
You can save even more and buy a torch tip cleaner from Home Depot for about $3.00 That will give you up to a dozen gauges to choose from in a convenient folding pack.

Michael N.
06-18-2010, 10:31 PM
Pardon the pun but just one won't cut it I'm afraid. That would defeat the objective of gauged files.
The alternative is simply to buy a fine round needle file - something decent like a Grobet. That will cover any gauge of string you care to throw at it. The disadvantage of using that needle file is that it can take a lot of practice before you get good results. The gauged files turn the operation into a no-brainer but you need a decent selection to cover string types.
I have heard of some makers buying a number of round needle files and grinding the sides of them to effectively produce different gauged nut files.
Don't bother with the LMI Pippin file. That certainly works but no better or easier than a round needle file.

Michael N.
06-18-2010, 10:43 PM
If you want to get a little more scientific about it. . .


http://www.tdpri.com/forum/tele-technical/210187-cheap-er-nut-files.html

Allen
06-18-2010, 11:03 PM
These are the ones I bought years ago for guitars, and they work great for ukes as well.

Nut Files (http://luthierssupplies.com.au/product_info.php?cPath=162_340&products_id=246)

I've loaned them to a few other luthiers to try out, and they all have bought a set after their disappointment with the Stew Mac gauged files.

Company is in Australia, but will ship, and you should also be able to find them elsewhere.

Kekani
06-19-2010, 01:09 AM
. . . which ones are your favorites?

Currently, I am looking at the Gauged Nut Slotting Files from Stew-Mac(12.95 each) or the double edged ones($25 each).

Anyone use/like these?

I have, and use both. I started off with the gauged files, then went to the double edged. I like the first for the bottoms, and the latter for the sides of the slots. I'll usually use the double edge first, then finish off the bottom of the slots with the individual gauges.

-Aaron

Matt Clara
06-19-2010, 02:30 AM
If you want to get a little more scientific about it. . .


http://www.tdpri.com/forum/tele-technical/210187-cheap-er-nut-files.html

Interesting. Looked like the guy with the closeup/macro photos didn't give the torch cleaning tips a fair chance, saying they were too hard to work with. The small curve he did cut looked very clean, particularly when compared to any and all of the stew mac file cuts. I was taught to use a ground down hack saw blade to make the cut to depth (or nearly so), and the torch cleaning tip files to get it to the correct width and round the bottom. To the naked eye the cuts are very clean.

Michael N.
06-19-2010, 02:52 AM
I haven't tried the torch cleaners yet. They really aren't designed to cut material like bone so you are wise to cut a slot first. They are cheap enough to buy so I'll give them a go and get a loupe on the resultant cut.

Matt Clara
06-19-2010, 03:42 AM
I haven't tried the torch cleaners yet. They really aren't designed to cut material like bone so you are wise to cut a slot first. They are cheap enough to buy so I'll give them a go and get a loupe on the resultant cut.

I just cut a slot and took some shots of it with a macro lens and bellows extension (= pretty good magnification). My windows computer died last week, so I'll have to figure out how to download the images and work them up in Ubuntu, but it shouldn't be all that difficult.

13817 | 13818
(I colored the faces in with a black sharpie so we could see where it was splintering.)
(I should have lit it properly, too.)

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-19-2010, 07:41 AM
Again, it's a matter of choosing the right tools for the job. I've used torch tip cleaners when I was a hobby builder and they worked fine but are painfully slow at cutting. They're great if you have a lot of time and don't plan on building more than a few ukes. And they are the perfect tool for cleaning torch tips!
Like Aaron, I use both types of the StewMac nut files. The gauged files have a tendency to bind a bit on the cutting stroke and they produce a true "U" shaped slot. The double sided files are shaped more like a rounded "V", they cut fast and well. If you bought two files, #s 4542 and 4543, you would have slots sizes .026", .032", .036. and .042. That should cover most of your needs. I never worry about matching my string gauges exactly as I always hit the slots with a bit of sand paper after filing them anyway.

70sSanO
06-19-2010, 10:40 AM
If you are going to do a lot of nuts, you should get nut files.

However...

If you are only doing a few... a 20 pc set of Mini Drills-Rasps from Harbor Freight works great.

They range randomly from around .010 inch to about .045 inch.

The part number is 44924. Since they randomly thrown together some sets have a few larger sizes, if you can go to one of their stores you can pick the set you want... for $5.49.

I use them by hand like a file, not with a dremel!!!

Here is a picture...

http://photos.imageevent.com/70ssano/ukulelestuff/icons/HF%2044924%20Mini%20Drills.JPG

John

Mission Guitars
06-19-2010, 05:03 PM
I would second Chuck on the torch tip cleaners comment - good if you are only cutting one or 2, but if you are looking to do this on a regular basis, buy the proper files...Warmoth has a good selection, and their prices are pretty good: http://www.warmoth.com/Files-C215.aspx

Vic D
06-19-2010, 06:24 PM
These are the ones I bought years ago for guitars, and they work great for ukes as well.

Nut Files (http://luthierssupplies.com.au/product_info.php?cPath=162_340&products_id=246)

I've loaned them to a few other luthiers to try out, and they all have bought a set after their disappointment with the Stew Mac gauged files.

Company is in Australia, but will ship, and you should also be able to find them elsewhere.

That looks just like the set I bought. The only problem I have with them is, like Chuck said they cut more of a V than a U type channel. I rock them side to side gently at the end to create a U shape, but I could see using tip cleaners to fine tune the final U shape. Hmmm. Maybe just some sandpaper.

Michael N.
06-19-2010, 11:48 PM
I'm not sure if a slight V shape is such a bad thing. We're only going to half string depth, even if you create a true U shape the side walls still have to be very slightly wider than the actual string gauge. When all is said and done I very much doubt that they will give any real world problems, V shaped or not. It gets even more interesting when I read (on a Classical Guitar forum) that a few makers were using nothing but a triangular needle file. Sounds like a bad idea but those guys are respected makers and have been Pro for many,many years. A triangular needle file does not produce a sharp apex, it produces a rounded profile at the bottom of the slot - even the expensive Grobets.

spookefoote
06-20-2010, 01:23 AM
For our school uke orchestra I lower the action at the nut end with a junior hacksaw blade. Mind you the ukes are in the main relatively inexpensive Mahalos.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-20-2010, 08:06 AM
T The only problem I have with them is, like Chuck said they cut more of a V than a U type channel.

I never meant to imply that that's a problem. In fact I prefer the rounded V as a nut slot shape. All of my nut slots get sanded with 600 grit paper but that only to smooth them, it doesn't shape them.

spookefoote
06-20-2010, 10:23 AM
Matt, I cannot reply to your private message as the error message says that you have exceeded your quota and need to delete messages. However, cheers mate, by torch tip cleaner do you mean something which cleans the tip of an oxy acetylene torch? or are we experiencing what is often reffered to as the phenomenon of two countries divided by the same language?