Cutting and slotting a Nylon 6/6 nut (how to)

valvetoneman

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I actually cut more nylon nuts than anything else, I use a belt and disc sander to shape, I also bought a couple of years back serrated nut files which changed my life

Normal hosco nut files don't really work that we'll

Funny thing is I blow more bone nuts out now because it's so soft
 

charlie chitlins

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Blank rods are available on eBay pretty cheap.
I'm gonna get one and play with it.
I bet a small scroll saw or bandsaw would come in handy. And a belt sander.
I just realized my 60s Harmony archtop has a nylon nut.
Wonder if it's 6/4.
 

LtDave32

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Just received a blank strip of Nylon 6/6 from the amazon link upthread.

It's a nut-perfect bar, 3/16 thick, one inch tall, eight inches long.

It's good for several nuts. I'm going to make a few of them and likely offer a few of them up for sale, pre-slotted for LP spacing, etc.
 

LtDave32

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Blank rods are available on eBay pretty cheap.
I'm gonna get one and play with it.
I bet a small scroll saw or bandsaw would come in handy. And a belt sander.
I just realized my 60s Harmony archtop has a nylon nut.
Wonder if it's 6/4.
Probably is 6/4, if it's from the 60's.

BTW, careful with bandsaw blades/ hacksaw blades on this. I got a mini-hacksaw blade from harbor freight, measured out .015, tried it on the first Nylon nut and it cut really easy, and also too deep. Three strokes.

So proceed with caution.
 

LtDave32

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Okay, so we're back.

The Nylon 6/6 blank came, and it's enough to do ten nuts, easy.

Good to have, because when getting down to player level, it's so easy to go too deep and screw it up

Nice to have more material for a back-up.

After deepening the slots with saws, and smoothing those slots with files, we start shaping this up to be a proper feeling nut.

A bit of work with a file to round off the corners:

20191202_163017 (1).jpg


Mocking it up on the guitar for final fit, still have a bit to take off the top of the slots, don't want the slots surrounding the strings too deep:

20191202_165500.jpg


Then a bit of final sanding on the corners and back slope..



And after polishing with 320, then 400, and finally 600 grit papers, we have a nicely polished Nylon 6/6 nut:

20191203_130330.jpg



And there we have it. A proper Nylon 6/6 nut . Feels great strung up and against the hand.

The takeaway from all this?

A couple of things:

-You don't use files to cut slots in Nylon 6/6. You use saws. Preferably properly-gauged saws, such as those from Stew Mac.

In a pinch you can use a hack saw, a fretboard slotting saw, and a mini hacksaw blade with a kerf of .015.

But better and cleaner to use the right tools.

Watch out for the saws, they will cut fast and deep. Go easy and check, check, check. Even if it's a stroke at a time. It's better than starting over.

Your typical nut slotting files that you use for bone will hardly put a dent in the Nylon, but they will serve to polish out the saw cuts and remove some material to get the slot to the proper gauge.

They will also round and smooth the bottom of the slot to a "U" shape.
 

LtDave32

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That’s one beautiful nut, Dave. Seriously.
I thought it would be a stone bitch to polish up, but I did all the polishing with fine sandpaper and in my fingers. Just took a few minutes, really.

Dropped it a few times, but I got there.

One advantage over a bone nut; if you drop Nylon 6/6 on the shop floor, it won't shatter or chip.

Can't say that about bone.
 

jkes01

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Nice Dave, looks great. Is that the stuff from Amazon? How is it compared to what you already had?

I alway rough in the new nut using the old strings. I even keep some used strings on hand just in case.

Leaving the old strings on, I file the top of the nut until I hit the strings, even filing into the string winds on the thicker strings. Then all is needed is shaping and polishing.
 

LtDave32

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Yes, it's that bar from Amazon. And it's exactly th same stuff as the previous blank.
 
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