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Thread: Nut files recommendation please

  1. #1
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    Default Nut files recommendation please

    I'm looking to get some better nut files than the modified feeler gauges that I've been using (a la Rob Meldrum's ebook).
    I'd like standard mandolin string gauges, .011 .015 .026 .040 with the addition of .036 for Daddario EFW74 which has G that size. Also looking for some for octave mandolin and mandocello.
    My current project is a Harmony guitar conversion to mandocello. String sizes on the octave are .012 .022 .032 .045.
    Mandocello are .022 .032 .048 .075.
    Can anyone point me to a set or singles that I can buy that won't break the bank?
    I guess since the mandocello is first up, I can start with those.
    Thanks!
    Al

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Nut files recommendation please

    I believe you can get them from Stew-mac online.

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Nut files recommendation please

    I used to recommend the Stew Mac double files, but I have the old set which has file number one with .012/.016. But they change that one to .012/.020, and that makes them largely useless for mandolin. I recommend instead their single gauge files. Each file still has two cutting surfaces, but only one gauge per file. Just buy the gauges you need. They make a set of files for mandolin, light or medium gauge. At a bit of a discount. Inexplicably, no mandocello set! But you can just buy singles of the gauges you need.
    Don

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Nut files recommendation please

    My Stu Mac set is even older than Don's, having a 10,16,20,25,28,32,38-42,48, 54. Each is single and they last a long time. Guess that was the main point here, had these a couple decades.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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  8. #5
    texaspaul texaspaul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nut files recommendation please

    The Stu Mac files are great, but expensive for hobbiest. I found a cheap-quality and inexpensive on EBay. I use welder's tip files to polish and finish the grooves. The tip files come like feeler gauges in a little box set at many hardware stores. A friend used an old set of automotive metal feeler gauges and put them in a vise. He then used a stall triangle file to cut teeth in the edge like a saw to begin the cuts.

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  10. #6

    Default Re: Nut files recommendation please

    I have both types of Stewmac nut files. Mine are older. The feeler gauge style was much softer metal and wore faster (I do still use them) Aside from this, they are great and very consistent. The double sided set I have has the first file at 12/15. This set is still going after tens of thousands of instruments.

    That said, I keep planning to buy some Ibanez and Grobet nut files as well. Just haven't done it, as the Stewmac files work fine.
    Robert Fear
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  12. #7
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    Default Re: Nut files recommendation please

    Three years ago I bought a custom set of 4 nut files from an eBay vendor for $54 (with shipping). Probably more now. Send them an eBay msg for a quote on the sizes you want. Here is a link to some guitar files from them:
    http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Electric-Regu...QAAOSwpkFY6BhX
    Ralph
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  13. #8

    Default Re: Nut files recommendation please

    I gust bought a set from Lutherier's Merchantile, a three file set with two sizes per file. Covers a mandolin med set except for the .011. For that I have a small saw that is exactly that size. Japanese quality, vinyl case, but inexpensive, no.
    Silverangel A
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  14. #9

    Default Re: Nut files recommendation please

    you want to use parallel nut files, with dual (obviously same size) cutting edges. ANY other "nut file" type will not be as good, and in some instances will be inferior.
    Mandolins are truly *magic*!

  15. #10

    Default Re: Nut files recommendation please

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    Covers a mandolin med set except for the .011. For that I have a small saw that is exactly that size. Japanese quality, vinyl case, but inexpensive, no.
    wrong - you do NOT want to cut nut slots the same size. a .016 will perfectly handle .009 through .012 strings. you *could* get a .013 nut file, but it is NOT required. all nut files should be parallel sided.
    Mandolins are truly *magic*!

  16. #11

    Default Re: Nut files recommendation please

    there are good and not-at-all-good methods of nut cutting, not matter what the stringed instrument.

    for a new nut installation with a bone blank, making and using a half pencil for the initial guide saves time. there are a few things worthwhile getting from stew-mac, and one is their nut slot template.

    after making the initial shallow slot cuts on a bone blank, string up to concert pitch and test the nut relief for each string - that is far better than any measuring device since it employs yer eyes and the tactile feel of your fretting fingers.

    with coursed unison stringed instruments, i string up only with 1 string per course while nut cutting - makes it lots easier to check nut relief during cutting. a bit of beeswax (or "procut") on the nut file makes cutting slick and smooth.

    always back cut fret slots at a slight angle, never ever parallel with the fret board - for all stringed instruments, the scale length, and thus intonation, occurs on the very front edge of the nut.
    Mandolins are truly *magic*!

  17. #12
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    Default Re: Nut files recommendation please

    What is a parallel sided nut file? With the basic nut files on Stew-mac be parallel sided. If you were getting a set of nut files, what sizes would you get? Would you need one for each string course?

  18. #13

    Default Re: Nut files recommendation please

    lmii has parallel sided nut files, stew-mac should have them as well. ALL other "nut file" will be "V" files - wrong! we don't want either a sharp bottomed (dumb!) or round "V" groove bottom nut slot, we want a parallel sided nut slot that delivers a rounded bottom to the diameter of the file itself.

    a .016" parallel nut file is a work horse for at least the "E" and maybe get away with the "A". look for something between 3 and 6 thousandths larger than the string(s) in question.
    Mandolins are truly *magic*!

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