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Thread: Tools that you use.

  1. #1

    Default Tools that you use.

    I am only a user, and focus on what I need to do a good setup, this includes making new nuts for string spacing. The only other job I do is installing pickups.

    These are the tools that are vital for me for doing a setup.
    - string height gauge from stewmac, this is the single most important gadget I own. It is far more accurate than cards or feeler gauges.
    - nut files.
    - electric string winder made from screwdriver and string winder bit.
    - a very accurate tuner.
    - reading glasses, so an OG can see what he is doing... :-)

    For cutting a new nut:
    - xacto micro saw to trim nut width, is there a power tool for this?
    - finishing sander, to shape the nut before cutting slots.

    For installing pickups:
    - a set of reamers for cleaner holes for the 1/4" jack.

    Curious if others know of any cool tools.

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  3. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2015

    Default Re: Tools that you use.

    A #2 pencil for lubricating the slots in the nut.

  4. #3

    Default Re: Tools that you use.

    I like having a decent caliper around for measurements on certain odds and ends . . . .

  5. #4
    Registered User Rick Jones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Rochester Hills, MI

    Default Re: Tools that you use.

    If you are talking about setup work, the other indispensable tool in my personal opinion is the StewMac String Spacing Gauge. I can't imagine slotting a nut without it.
    "I don't want to get technical or anything, but according to chemistry, alcohol actually IS a solution."

  6. #5

    Default Re: Tools that you use.

    I have had a bit of an issue with collecting/making tools. I can't leave things alone and always look for a better way... That said, 95% of my tools go mostly unused.

    I have the stewmac gauge. Great, but not 100% mandatory.
    Nut files. Critical and one of the few specialty tools needed.
    String winders.. I also made a couple that go in the electric driver. Wouldn't bother for occasional work, but for a shop, YES!
    Good tuner, yes VERY important. I use Strobosoft with and without a clip on pickup.
    Wire cutters.

    Fret files. A triangular file with safety edges is fine, but I prefer diamond fret files. I have the big Stewmac version, but only use the small stewmac versions.

    Diamond fret levelers. I have sanding blocks, a few fret files and misc, other things, but really only use the diamond levelers.

    Fret rocker
    straight edges

    Hammer... the standard brass/plastic style.
    Clamps. All sorts, but mostly use Irwin qwik clamps. I have some custom made cauls on them and use them to quickly glue and clamp frets.

    various files, some custom ground.
    scrapers: Mostly for fitting the bridge.

    caliper, I use more to scratch lines onto things than for measuring. I do all string spacing by eye. I find it more accurate that way. Same for cutting nuts etc.. I do have jigs for several standard string spacings. Also setup a mini mill to premake nuts and bridges in batches.
    Screw drivers
    Various truss rod wrenches.
    instrument cover

    These are used on almost every mandolin setup.

    Add reamers for acoustic guitars.
    Vise for new nuts
    Drill for redoing bridge posts, list goes on....

    As far as "cool" tools... I have tried some crazy stuff with varying degrees of success. I love rotary tools (have Foredom, Dremel and Proxxon). How about a Foredom powered sled with vaccumm attachment for taking the top off of nuts. It actually works great, it is just hard to contain the cloud of bone dust! Easier to do it with a hand file then clean up the mess. haha
    Robert Fear

    "Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't.
    " - Pete Seeger

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  8. #6

    Default Re: Tools that you use.

    Used to look forward to the latest Stew-mac catalog so I could turn yard sale finds into necessary mandotools, till I had twice as many as needed.
    Last time I picked Mike Kemnitzer's brain, he couldn't find half of his either!
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