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Strange break on string nut

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Oct 28, 2021 - 7:04:16 PM
4 posts since 12/7/2016

My squareneck got knocked over and the string nut broke. But only the top 1/4 inch broke off and its even break. Are the nuts made of two pieces? Seems like I could just glue it.

Oct 28, 2021 - 7:35:13 PM

badger

USA

593 posts since 8/10/2008

No, they're supposed to be one-piece. Try some CA (cyanoacrylate) glue and give it some time to set before restringing. You're lucky to have an even break - mine broke irreparably and it was a $400 repair - I didn't want to try to dig out the remainder myself, so sent it cross country to have the builder replace nut, check setup, and buff out the body.

Oct 28, 2021 - 8:28:14 PM

4 posts since 12/7/2016

Thank you, I will try that. It's been a couple days so I've had time to calm down about it.

Oct 29, 2021 - 6:08:39 AM

badger

USA

593 posts since 8/10/2008

These things happen - hopefully we learn from the experience (though my reso sits in the same corner, in the same stand, from whence it fell, so maybe not). The only pristine instruments are the ones that lie unplayed in their cases. You've got an easy fix and a nice wake-up call.

Oct 29, 2021 - 9:37:15 AM
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3970 posts since 7/27/2008

Philip - a $400 repair for a broken nut? I must be missing something here.  That's crazy. 
 

Oct 29, 2021 - 11:02:05 AM

159 posts since 11/9/2018

"so sent it cross country to have the builder replace nut, check setup, and buff out the body."

I guess shipping and stuff can really add up; even on a small repair!

Oct 29, 2021 - 1:32:30 PM

3970 posts since 7/27/2008

I see what you did there - but the way I interpreted Philip's comment was that that the nut repair here in NorCal on its own was $400. 

So that being the case he sent it cross country to the builder to repair it and do the the other items to freshen it up. That makes sense with the $400 charge,  but initially it struck me that a local nut repair on its own was four hundred bucks. 

Badger will return to the thead at some point  so I'm sure he'll clue us in.

Edited by - MarkinSonoma on 10/29/2021 13:33:03

Oct 30, 2021 - 7:06:12 AM
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badger

USA

593 posts since 8/10/2008

Sorry for any misunderstanding. I have no idea what it would have cost to have a nut replaced locally, but I'm sure it wouldn't be $400. The only trustworthy luthier we have retired recently and I wasn't about to hand it to just any yahoo. I usually do my own work, but Frank Harlow uses a lot of glue when setting a nut (I guess you could argue that it makes for a more solid installation and might have an effect on tone) and I couldn't see a good way to remove the remaining glued-in part safely despite having a well-equipped shop at my disposal. Rather than enduring the stress of trying to remove it without damaging the surrounding wood and finish (and having to live with the scar as a monument to my stupidity) I decided to send it back.
Shipping ran about $100 each way, nut $50, checking setup and buffing, $150.

Badger's tip of the day: the nut sits in a slot and isn't going anywhere, 'cause string tension. One drop of glue on the bottom of the slot is plenty to keep it from shifting laterally. If the nut breaks, it's then a simple job to clear out the remaining bits and replace.

Oct 30, 2021 - 7:31:41 AM

3970 posts since 7/27/2008

Thank you for clarifying. In other words if you live in Ohio and could drive to Frank's place and all you needed that day was the nut to be removed and a new one installed - you'd be out 50 bucks. 

Strange about Harlow and heavy glue usage for the nut. Even as a half a$$ed "shade tree" luthier I know the bit about a drop or two of glue is all you need. 

The shipping nowadays - $200 for the round trip. Man - that's nasty. 

Oct 30, 2021 - 1:10:25 PM

badger

USA

593 posts since 8/10/2008

Trying to argue with Frank about how he does something is an exercise in futility. He does 'em the way he wants to, and they turn out great. End of discussion. And, yeah, shipping has gotten insane - that rate was with my company's FedEx discount, albeit minimal.

Actually, a trip to Franks would likely cost a bit more. Figure $50 for the nut, and about $4k for the new reso you fell in love with while waiting for the repair.

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Oct 31, 2021 - 9:18:12 AM

224 posts since 1/3/2011

quote:
Originally posted by MarkinSonoma

 

Strange about Harlow and heavy glue usage for the nut. Even as a half a$$ed "shade tree" luthier I know the bit about a drop or two of glue is all you need. 


Heh... I wish this "glue or not to glue" question could be settled with some sort of empirical methodology. Being a half a$$ed shade tree luthier myself this question remains open-ended.

On one hand, if you very lightly tap on on the headstock of a reso (or guitar) there is amplified "tap" sound that emanates from the body. I suppose (duh) the inference is that the neck is an integral part in carrying energy to the "amplifying" body. It could (would) follow then that the nut should be attached to the neck with as much integrity as possible, eliminating any possibility of some sort of attenuating buffer.

On the other hand if the nut is properly installed is string pressure on the nut enough to adequately transfer energy to the neck? In the set-ups I've performed on various reso's over the years it would seem there are a fair amount of builders that believe gluing the nut is not necessary. The "no glue" method seems to work, but there is always the possibility that the nut can shift in the slot.

In any case, gluing a nut can be dangerous in situations where the nut needs to be replaced. Excessive glue can find its way to the fretboard on one side and headstock to the other. Removing the nut, if not extremely careful, can cause a nasty "chip" on the edge of the fretboard or headstock veneer.

Anyway, I think you're spot on with the "little dab will do ya" method. I'm of the same mind, but use a toothpick to put a fine line of white glue on the bottom of the nut, careful not to get glue on the sides where it might contact the fretboard or headstock.  It's a compromise that seems to work well...

Oct 31, 2021 - 10:47:16 AM

badger

USA

593 posts since 8/10/2008

Everything breaks eventually - best to plan for it. White glue can be softened with vinegar if needed, but makes regluing more difficult. Hot hide glue would seem to be just the ticket - fast setting, good sound transmission, and easy to soften with just a little heat. The bass and fiddle world is based on the stuff.

Oct 31, 2021 - 1:45:54 PM

1711 posts since 4/27/2009

I like to put a very small drop of CA glue on the nut but not on the bottom where it contacts the neck. I like the drop to go on the face of the nut where it contacts the fretboard but under the plane of the top of the fretboard where the glue doesn't show. It just takes the slightest tap on the face of the nut to break it loose. Easy to clean off too
Hope this makes sense

Oct 31, 2021 - 5:02:02 PM

badger

USA

593 posts since 8/10/2008

Makes sense to me! I wonder how the CA bonds to the rosewood or ebony fretboard...

Nov 1, 2021 - 9:17:29 AM

1711 posts since 4/27/2009

It doesn't seem to make any difference what it contacts. Holds just enough.

Nov 1, 2021 - 10:10:28 AM

3970 posts since 7/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by badger

Hot hide glue would seem to be just the ticket - fast setting, good sound transmission, and easy to soften with just a little heat. The bass and fiddle world is based on the stuff.


My Martin dreadnought from their  Custom Shop is a hot hide glue guitar. It was a good value when built in 2011 as part of a limited run. 

I have read that if you were to order a one-off from them and wanted hide glue the up charge  is something like $1500 these days. That being the case, I don't see myself with a small "cauldron" of hot hide glue in my garage for simple repairs. wink

Edited by - MarkinSonoma on 11/01/2021 10:11:14

Nov 1, 2021 - 10:30:32 AM

badger

USA

593 posts since 8/10/2008

Hot hide glue's inexpensive and it's easy to prepare a small bit as needed. Impoverished luthiers use all kinds of repurposed small kitchen electrical heating appliances (the best idea I've seen used the heating unit for body wax removal, but missusbadger came down heavily against that, for some reason) rather than spending real money on a unit built for the purpose. Titebond offers a cold hide glue that works fine, but one has to check the expiration date as it goes bad. At temperature, HHG is very thin and drippy (making it great for crack repair), and one has to work quickly, but once one arrives at a decent point on the learning curve (which is a distance from where I am) it's not difficult.

I imagine Martin uses the upcharge to discourage HHG - in a production setting, a thicker glue with longer open time is preferable, and they're not likely to be the ones repairing anything that goes wrong later.

One of the great HHG advantages is that it's not terribly strong, and will fail before the adjoining wood does, unlike PVA (generic name for white glues, Titebond, etc). It's way easier to reglue an open seam than it is to fix a crack caused by the same stress if the joint held.

Nov 1, 2021 - 10:46:22 AM

1329 posts since 1/14/2011

quote:
Originally posted by MarkinSonoma

The shipping nowadays - $200 for the round trip. Man - that's nasty. 


9 or 10 years ago, I sent my old Wechter-Scheerhorn to Bobby Wright for setup, and seems to me I paid the same amount even back then.

Nov 1, 2021 - 10:46:26 AM
Players Union Member

daver

USA

724 posts since 9/2/2008

To mix hot hide glue,I've used little condiment "to go" cups. Add distilled water to the hide glue granules in the right proportion, let it sit for a while for the granules to gel up, and then heat in the microwave a bit at a time, stirring and checking until the temperature gets to about 145 degrees F. You can complete the process before your SO finds out you're putting boiled animal skin derivatives in your food warmer. Sorry I can't put numbers on the process now, but it's been a while since I mixed up a batch. BTW, you don't want to do the HHG repair in the middle of winter in a cold room on cold parts (DAMHIKT). Keep everything comfortably warm ahead of time, work fast, clamp well and you're good to go. YMMV.

Nov 1, 2021 - 12:27:37 PM

badger

USA

593 posts since 8/10/2008

Great tips! We've hijacked the bejesus out of this thread....

Nov 1, 2021 - 12:57:47 PM

159 posts since 11/9/2018

About $$$ shipping: Fedex is instituting a surcharge of around 6% after the holidays.

Nov 1, 2021 - 12:58:58 PM

3970 posts since 7/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by badger

Great tips! We've hijacked the bejesus out of this thread....


I can imagine the Dopyera brothers reading this thread somewhere: "it's just gluing a freakin' guitar nut boys - don't drive it into the ground!" wink

Nov 1, 2021 - 1:26:12 PM

badger

USA

593 posts since 8/10/2008

They probably had geeks back in their day too.

Nov 1, 2021 - 1:30:34 PM

3970 posts since 7/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Oboe Cadobro
quote:
Originally posted by MarkinSonoma

The shipping nowadays - $200 for the round trip. Man - that's nasty. 


9 or 10 years ago, I sent my old Wechter-Scheerhorn to Bobby Wright for setup, and seems to me I paid the same amount even back then.


To add to the thread hijack, there are many factors to consider when shipping a guitar, like booking flight tickets first class vs. coach. A new thread would be a good idea on the subject.  

When you sent it to Bobby 9-10 years ago, the setup and shipping had to be  $400-$450 total. And all the packing involved. 

That had to be at least 50% of the cost of a new frugal'horn itself (non Ickes model) back then. 
 

Nov 1, 2021 - 2:25:06 PM

1329 posts since 1/14/2011

quote:
Originally posted by MarkinSonoma
quote:
Originally posted by Oboe Cadobro
quote:
Originally posted by MarkinSonoma

The shipping nowadays - $200 for the round trip. Man - that's nasty. 


9 or 10 years ago, I sent my old Wechter-Scheerhorn to Bobby Wright for setup, and seems to me I paid the same amount even back then.


To add to the thread hijack, there are many factors to consider when shipping a guitar, like booking flight tickets first class vs. coach. A new thread would be a good idea on the subject.  

When you sent it to Bobby 9-10 years ago, the setup and shipping had to be  $400-$450 total. And all the packing involved. 

That had to be at least 50% of the cost of a new frugal'horn itself (non Ickes model) back then. 


My (fuzzy) recollection is that the setup itself was only $100, and the shipping was more. I packed it myself using a box from Guitar Center and instructions from Bobby.

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