Who has used the bone dust and glue method on a nut?

dumbell78

Member
Messages
4,950
My neck from Musikraft that came in, has a small issue with the low E string. They filed it down a little too deep. I have seen this method used before and a few have been with happy with the results. baking soda I think is another option.

I just put the neck on the guitar I built, everything else is fine and I'm happy with the results. Action, set-up all round is good, relief is right where I like it. I'm sure its the slot at the nut. I've gone through the testing to rule out other issues.

I mean I can go down to my tech and get a new nut installed but this method has crossed my mind for a quick fix. What do you guys think?
 

Khromo

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
935
It is way less than optimal with a lot of bending or whammy use, probably not worth considering if you play like that. You'll need a new nut eventually anyway. If you're not bending your low E a lot, those repairs can last quite a while.

CA glue really requires some practice, and the mistakes tend to be ugly. If you do it yourself, practice on scrap. Don't rely on masks to protect the surrounding area, as rogue CA will just glue it to your guitar. Pack the baking soda or bone dust into the slot well, and make sure it is packed flush to the front surface of the nut.

These repairs can last quite a while on the fat strings.
 

testing1two

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
2,477
Assuming you've already checked the string wraps around the tuning post to ensure the proper break angle behind the nut, there are 3 quick checks you can do:
  1. Capo the first fret and see if the problem goes away.
  2. Hold down the 3rd fret and look to see if there's clearance between the string and the 1st fret. If it's touching that's a fair indication the slot is low.
  3. Measure the distance between the string and 1st fret (no frets depressed) using feeler gauges to check that it's not less than .020"/.5mm.
The dust/glue method works well enough, but oftentimes the end result looks rather ugly and would stand out on an otherwise new neck. A shim underneath the nut would be less obvious if fitted properly.

That said if you can prove with measurements that Musikraft cut the nut slot(s) too low, they should credit you for what they charged so you could have the nut replaced locally.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
37,561
done it a million times;

it works but it mostly sucks, the result is just more "grabby" than the actual virgin nut material. it won't stay in tune as well
I mean I can go down to my tech and get a new nut installed but this method has crossed my mind for a quick fix. What do you guys think?
the better "cheat" is to just pop the nut out, shim it from underneath with a thin layer of whatever (thick paper, thin wood) then re-cut all the slots to be the right height.

the other cheat i've rescued myself with many times now is to get a hunk of tusq or graph tech nut or saddle (depending on needed color, it's the same stuff) then take a super-sharp chisel and carve off a thin sliver. then you inlay that bit into the slot with CA glue, and once you do some filing the result is a solid layer of material for the string to slide over, same as if the nut were 100% that material.
 

dumbell78

Member
Messages
4,950
Assuming you've already checked the string wraps around the tuning post to ensure the proper break angle behind the nut, there are 3 quick checks you can do:
  1. Capo the first fret and see if the problem goes away.
  2. Hold down the 3rd fret and look to see if there's clearance between the string and the 1st fret. If it's touching that's a fair indication the slot is low.
  3. Measure the distance between the string and 1st fret (no frets depressed) using feeler gauges to check that it's not less than .020"/.5mm.
The dust/glue method works well enough, but oftentimes the end result looks rather ugly and would stand out on an otherwise new neck. A shim underneath the nut would be less obvious if fitted properly.

That said if you can prove with measurements that Musikraft cut the nut slot(s) too low, they should credit you for what they charged so you could have the nut replaced locally.
Locking tuners, hipshot brand. Everything is ok there.

1) Did that and no buzz when capo on 1st fret.
2) Basically no clearance at all.
3- I measure about .018-.019 on my feeler gauges.

I also lightly dampened the string just behind the nut and put a small slip of paper in the slot, both times buzz goes away. Positive its the nut. At first I thought the hipshot tuners needed string trees even though they are staggered but why wouldn't the other string buzz just the same? Its a reverse headstock btw.

Contacting MK is actually a good idea, I can measure and take photos to prove to them. Thanks for the suggestion.
 

Masa

Member
Messages
576
I have a little bag of bone dust for that purpose. I just keep some of the dust, when I make a nut. It does work as a quick fix. I do that, when I'm too lazy to make a new nut.
 

Terry McInturff

40th Anniversary of guitar building!
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,863
done it a million times;

it works but it mostly sucks, the result is just more "grabby" than the actual virgin nut material. it won't stay in tune as well

the better "cheat" is to just pop the nut out, shim it from underneath with a thin layer of whatever (thick paper, thin wood) then re-cut all the slots to be the right height.

the other cheat i've rescued myself with many times now is to get a hunk of tusq or graph tech nut or saddle (depending on needed color, it's the same stuff) then take a super-sharp chisel and carve off a thin sliver. then you inlay that bit into the slot with CA glue, and once you do some filing the result is a solid layer of material for the string to slide over, same as if the nut were 100% that material.
I agree with our @walterw completely for, with great respect, IMO dust/glue/nut slot only qualifies for "emergency pre-show dressing room" temporary use. And his suggestion of "inlaying" matching material/recutting the slot results in a slot that will play and wear as per original.
 

Tony Done

Member
Messages
5,713
A standard mix is baking powder and superglue, which sets very hard and durable. I use an easier fix for a single slot that is only a tiny bit low:

Clean the slot with a fine abrasive paper if necessary.

Neatly lay a single layer of cotton threads in the bottom of the slot and hold them taut and in place with tape or poster putty on the fretboard and headstock.

Flood them with a little superglue off a toothpick to just wet the threads in the slot, and have a little wick out on either side of the slot.

Add another layer if needed.

Trim neatly with a sharp knife.

I've had some like this for 10 years or more.
 

dumbell78

Member
Messages
4,950
A standard mix is baking powder and superglue, which sets very hard and durable. I use an easier fix for a single slot that is only a tiny bit low:

Clean the slot with a fine abrasive paper if necessary.

Neatly lay a single layer of cotton threads in the bottom of the slot and hold them taut and in place with tape or poster putty on the fretboard and headstock.

Flood them with a little superglue off a toothpick to just wet the threads in the slot, and have a little wick out on either side of the slot.

Add another layer if needed.

Trim neatly with a sharp knife.

I've had some like this for 10 years or more.
This is interesting. So just standard thread you would use for sewing?
 

Ayrton

Member
Messages
1,907
One thing I would like to offer is add the drop of CA glue first, then add your dust or powder. Dropping the glue onto the powder kicks it off too quickly and makes a poor repair.
 

John Coloccia

Cold Supporting Member
Messages
9,580
the better "cheat" is to just pop the nut out, shim it from underneath with a thin layer of whatever (thick paper, thin wood) then re-cut all the slots to be the right height.
Way better than any other alternative.

That said, I can't tell you how many nuts I've thrown out that I've botched up in the process of making them. Nuts are one of those things that separate the amateurs from pros. It's often the difference between a great playing guitar and a dog. For most players, a perfectly cut nut is WAY more noticeable than a perfect fret job. There are reasons to "save" nuts, but shimming and re-cutting is clearly the best option in most cases if you don't want to replace.
 

Mr Fingers

Member
Messages
2,495
None of the quick fixes are as good as a new nut. The powder/glue approach doesn't last, and can fail at bad times, and shimming is hardly how good guitars are made though on many, you can't hear the difference. I don't do it because... why do a crap fix instead of a better one? Sadly, unless you're practiced and patient, making a new bone nut is beyond what most players, and many techs, can do very well. And many do damage removing the old one, and install the new one poorly. So it's a big problem. I have a method through which I can replace a chunk of bone (about 1/16" wide) including the offending slot, of a nut invisibly, leaving a great, all-bone result. So I do that most times now, leaving the existing nut in place.
 

Ayrton

Member
Messages
1,907
I shim the nut from the bottom using like material if I need/want to retain the original. The dust method is supposed to be a temporary fix yes, but I have had some last much longer than I could have asked for.
 




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