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Nylon Nut for a Fender Neck

8/1/2013

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Fender Strat stock factory cyclovac nut remove strat nut sideways with punch
1. A Fender Strat.  This one needs a new nut.  The owner has opted to replace the original cyclovac nut with one made of nylon. 2. Removing the Nut with a 1/8” punch (actual dimension is .108”) doesn’t damage the fragile stub of fretboard at the headstock end of the neck.  I first scored what was left of the finish all the way around the nut with a sharp razor blade.
trace radius gauge onto nylon nut blank bandsaw nut blank
3. Layout is Key.  I trace a 9.5” radius onto the face of a 1/8” thick by 4” wide sheet of 6/6 Nylon with a fine-tip sharpie. 4. The Bandsaw gets rid of most of the waste.
machine sand with oscillating spindle sander nylon nut clean up burr on nylon nut with chisel
5. The Oscillating Spindle Sander sands the bottom of the nut to a consistent 9.5” radius.  A second bandsaw cut parallel to the first cut frees the nut blank from the sheet. 6. A Sharp Chisel removes the burr of nylon created by the bandsaw and oscillating spindle sander from the faces of the blank.
scribe ends of nut layout top of nut with half pencil
7. Scribing the Nut Blank with a razor blade to layout the ends of the nut. 8. A Pencil sanded in half will transfer the plane of the top of the frets to the face of the nut blank.
cut nylon nut to rough length with flush ground end nippers hand sand end of nut
9. Trimming the Nut to rough length with flush ground end nippers. 10. Sanding the Ends of the nut to the scribed lines by hand with 180 grit, 600 grit and 2,000 grit sandpaper on the flat granite slab.
small parts vise for sanding nylon guitar nut on belt sander hand sand and polish top of nut
11. Shaping the Top of the nut with the belt sander with the help of a small parts vise made by Ken Picou. 12. Final Sanding the top of the nut with 180, 400, 600, 1000 and 2000 grit sandpaper wrapped around a cork-lined sanding block.  I polish the top and sides of the nut with a small grinder equipped with buffing wheels.
layout e string nut slots for neck shipped without body notch outside e string nut slots
13. E-Strings Layout.  Since this guitar was shipped here sans body, I will copy the location of the E-strings from the original nut. 14. Notching the E-Strings with a .012” nut-slotting file.
layout inside strings nut slots with stew mac nut layout rule rough shape slots with nut slotting saws and Japanese pull saw
15. More Layout with the graduated nut spacing rule marks the 4 inner strings’ nut slots. 16. Sawing the Nut Slots to their rough-depth and width is necessary because nylon does not file easily with nut slotting files.
stew mac nut sloting saws final shaping nut slots with slotting file
17. Small Saws.  I use the set sold by stew mac for nut-work as well as a Japanese pull saw with a .035” kerf for the 6th string. 18. Final Shaping of the Slots with nut slotting files.
floss nut slots lubricating nut slots with stew mac guitar grease
19. Flossing the Nut Slots with abrasive cord. 20. Lubricating the Nut Slots with “guitar grease”.
new polished nylon nut for fender stratocaster smooth polished fret end
21. A New Nylon Nut looks good and will provide tuning stability for a very long time. 22. All Done.