How do you shave your nuts?

joe_cpwe

Senior Stratmaster
Jul 21, 2015
2,733
WI, USA
Having rudimentary tools around the house, how do you shave down a Graphtec TUSQ nut to achieve the correct hieght? Knife, file, coarse sandpaper, other.....

Fwiw, in my limited experience with TUSQ nuts, the slots are cut good and guitars stay in tune very good after installation.
 

Guy Incognito

Senior Stratmaster
May 14, 2019
4,558
Here and now
Having rudimentary tools around the house, how do you shave down a Graphtec TUSQ nut to achieve the correct hieght? Knife, file, coarse sandpaper, other.....

Fwiw, in my limited experience with TUSQ nuts, the slots are cut good and guitars stay in tune very good after installation.
If you're installing a new Tusk nut don't lower each slot. Shave off the bottom until Heights are correct. For that you can use a flat file or sand paper on a flat surface. Do small amounts at a time (don't rush). If you go too far you'll have to shim. You may not be taking the same amount off both sides (E to E) but when finished you need the bottom flat and the bottom square to the sides of the nut (front to back, not E to E).

I might tend to think sand paper could be better because the bone/tusq can really clog the teeth of the file.
 
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StratoMutt

Dr. Stratster
Mar 15, 2019
11,300
SE Pennsylvania
If you're installing a new Tusk nut don't lower each slot. Shave off the bottom until Heights are correct. For that you can use a flat file or sand paper on a flat surface. Do small amounts at a time (don't rush). If you go too far you'll have to shim. You may not be taking the same amount off both sides (E to E) but when finished you need the bottom flat and the bottom square to the sides of the nut (front to back, not E to E).
Ahyep.

Having made a bone nut from a blank (three tries) on my last assembly, I learned a few things. Cut the slots to where you know they are functioning properly and correctly radiused, then slowly remove from the bottom to achieve proper first fret clearance.

Even with a pre-cut Tusq, you cannot be sure the slots are correct. It varies with each installation. With what I learned in bone, I'd never use a pre-sized / cut nut of any material.
 

Intune

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 14, 2021
4,859
Edmonton, Alberta
That’s one way to do it, shave the bottom down to achieve the proper string height. This takes time. The Tusq nuts I find I ever only have to lower the high E and B string.

So I just use wood glue(very little) and install the nut. Cut the slots a little deeper to get right. Then just tape off and shape the nut with a small file. I usually round everything over until I can slide my hand up to the nut and not feel a edge.

Then finally sand lightly with 400 up to 2000 and then polish. This is a before and after before the polish. 4CC98A58-04E0-42EB-BABC-E9E0CC67473C.jpeg 927E190A-8835-434A-8749-52E30DAA5396.jpeg BFFCD25D-67FA-42A6-BF19-CE32851F377E.jpeg F8EF0A95-E7B9-40B4-B9F4-FFD76D5773D2.jpeg
 

StratoMutt

Dr. Stratster
Mar 15, 2019
11,300
SE Pennsylvania
File and sand paper.

Sanding the underside to achieve the desired string height, assuming the slots are to one's liking.
Filing to shape the top...

About ⅓ of the string sits above the top of the slot on a properly cut nut.
Be sure to sand on a right angle. I have a .5" chunk of polycarbonate cut at a precise right angle like a fence on a table saw when sanding.

Fender curved nut slots make that more difficult. The Warmoth necks I use have proper flat bottoms, making sanding easier.

I use about one half above on wound strings and flush with the nut on plain strings on the recommendation of Stewmac. Go there for great tips on making / cutting nuts.
 

StratUp

Most Honored Senior Member
Sep 5, 2020
8,044
Altered States
Sandpaper, 240, on a flat surface, wet with a little dish soap I. The water. Go slow, test frequently.

If you have the old nut you can match the BOTTOM of the string slots and draw a pencil line on the new nut to ballpark it in.
 


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