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Fender Strat Bone Nut

1.1 fender strat new bone nut nut broken.JPG 1.2 fender strat new bone nut.JPG
1. A Standard Fender Strat This one has a broken string-nut. There is no point in trying to repair this guitar’s nut since it will be faster, cheaper and more reliable to fabricate a new one from cow bone. 2. Removing the Nut with flush- ground end-nippers is safe for the guitar so long as it’s done with care. If the neck’s finish overlaps the sides of the nut, it’s important to score the finish first to prevent chipping.  If the end of the nut wasn’t mangled, I would tap it out sideways with a punch.
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3. Removing the Old Glue with a razor-sharp chisel should be done in such a way that none of the fretboard material is removed. A chisel with a triangular cross-section, such as is used for dovetailing, is an ideal tool for removing the old glue from the bottom of the nut seat. 4. Removing the Old Glue Cont. A standard 1 inch chisel works well for removing the old glue from the end- grain of the nut seat. Again, I’m being carefull to not remove any of the rosewood.
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5. Flattening the Nut Blank with 80 grit sandpaper on a flat surface. 6. Thicknessing the Nut Blank with the Luthier’s Friend Sanding Station on the oscillating spindle sander is quick and painless. A few passes over the 80 grit paper on the flat machinist’s reference block brings the nut down to a snug final thickness.
1.7 fender strat new bone nut.JPG 1.8 fender strat new bone nut.JPG
7. Radiusing the Bottom of the Nut with the oscillating spindle sander free-hand.  Some double sided tape attaches the nut to the block of wood. 8. Laying Out the End of the Nut. I’ve sharpened the end of this mechanical pencil’s lead by sanding a shallow bevel into one side of the lead. The resulting chisel shaped pencil lead leaves sharp, precise marks that exactly follow the contour of the fretboard and neck at the end of the nut seat.
1.9 fender strat new bone nut.JPG 2.0 fender strat new bone nut.JPG
9. Shaping the End of the Nut with the disc of the shop’s belt sander. Because the layout line on the end of the nut is not square (it never is) I’m slightly tilting the blank on the disc sander’s bed so the abrasive disc removes only the material I want it to. 10. Final Shaping of the End of the Nut with 2000 grit sandpaper on the shop’s dead-flat granite slab will remove all of the disc sander marks. I’m genly rocking the nut as I sand as I fine tune the fit between the end of the nut and the neck/fretboard.
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11. Laying out the Height of the Nut. A Pencil ripped in half laying on the frets gives me a good line to sand to. 12. Shaping the Top of the Nut using the shop’s belt sander is quick.  I’m holding the nut in a small-parts vise.  I’ll sand away the excess bone from the top of the nut to just shy of the pencil line on the bass side and just into the line on the treble side. This will give the completed nut proper string protrusion.
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13. Contouring the Top of the Nut with fine grit sandpaper both gives the nut a traditional strat nut profile and removes the sanding marks left by the disc-sander. 14. Rounding Over the top of the nut ends with 2000 grit sandpaper. While I’m at it, I’ll sand away the courser sanding marks from the rest of the top of the nut.
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15. Polishing the Nut with the shop’s small buffing wheels gets the bone as smooth and glossy as glass. I load the coarser wheel with jewler’s rouge and do the final cleaning and polishing with the compound free, fine wheel. 16. Laying Out the E Strings’ Slots needs to happen before the inner string slots are established. The latteral set of the neck, bevel of the fret ends and playing style of the guitar’s owner all come into to play during this first step of the crucial layout.
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17. Laying out the Nut for Slotting. I’m using this handy tool sold by Stew Mac. It compensates for the gradual increase in diameter from string to string to ensure an even feel. 18. Slotting the Nut with a thin nut slotting file ensures accurate slot location. I’ll go back and refile each slot with the approp- iate nut slotting file in order to accom- date the strings for final slotting. Note the angle of the slotting file, I file each slot at an angle that is halfway between the plane of the fretboard and the plane of a line from the top of the nut to the hole in each tuning machine post. This ensures full contact between the bottom of the nut slot and the string.
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19. Flossing the Nut Slots with abrassive cord removes any of the file marks left from final filing of the slots. I will dust the bottom of each slot with powdered graphite to further lubricate the string in the bottom of the nut slot. 20. A New Bone Nut. The string protrusion is just where I want it. I like the 6th string to protrude above the top of the nut at about 1/2 of the E string’s thickness. For stability during string bends, the 1st and 2nd strings should be subsurface and the top of the G string just about flush with the top of the nut.