bone nut question

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Claude Misukiewicz
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Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 2:16 am

bone nut question

Post by Claude Misukiewicz »

Hello all,
Although I've never worked with bone I'm thinking about using a bone nut on a lap steel that I'm building. I see that I can get blanks that are a quarter inch thick. Would it be possible to drill a couple of holes through a bone blank to use fine screws to attach it to the neck? I have no idea weather bone is too brittle for that.

I'm concerned because I'm not going to have a fret board on this and would also like to avoid routing a slot. It looks to me as though most bridges get a little bit of support from being glued to the fret board as well as the slot. That's where the screws would come in.

Finally, I find the thought of filing the nut to be daunting. I wonder if anyone could tell me what a reasonable luthier/repair person might charge for doing something like that.
Thanks.

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Hans Bezemer
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Re: bone nut question

Post by Hans Bezemer »

Claude,

I've actually tried this a few weeks back and it worked fine.
Drilled a small hole and countersicked the hole with a bigger drill, screwed the bone on a piece of wood.
Take care not to overtight the screw.

Hans

Nick Middleton
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Re: bone nut question

Post by Nick Middleton »

Drilling though is fine. I wouldn't dare trying to tap screw-threads though.

Steve Senseney
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Re: bone nut question

Post by Steve Senseney »

Why not simply use a little PVA glue or hide glue? If you need, you can remove the nut by tapping it and it should fall off easily.

Then you can rework it, or reglue if needed.

As far as working bone, it can break, but it sands easily, and you can use a set of needle files or regular machine files to work the bone.

Use a hack saw, or jewelers saw to work the bone.

I have purchased bone blanks. The first one I bought split inappropriately. I then bought a sterilized dog bone and have made all of my other nuts from the pet shop material.

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Peter Wilcox
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Re: bone nut question

Post by Peter Wilcox »

Soup bones (beef tibia or femur) make good nut and saddle material once they've aged awhile. I steal them from the dog when he loses interest in them.
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Claude Misukiewicz
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Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 2:16 am

Re: bone nut question

Post by Claude Misukiewicz »

Hans Bezemer wrote:Claude,

I've actually tried this a few weeks back and it worked fine.
Drilled a small hole and countersicked the hole with a bigger drill, screwed the bone on a piece of wood.
Take care not to overtight the screw.

Hans
Many thanks Hans. That's exactly what I was thinking of doing.

Claude Misukiewicz
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 2:16 am

Re: bone nut question

Post by Claude Misukiewicz »

Nick Middleton wrote:Drilling though is fine. I wouldn't dare trying to tap screw-threads though.
Many thanks Nick.

Claude Misukiewicz
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 2:16 am

Re: bone nut question

Post by Claude Misukiewicz »

Steve Senseney wrote:Why not simply use a little PVA glue or hide glue? If you need, you can remove the nut by tapping it and it should fall off easily.

Then you can rework it, or reglue if needed.

As far as working bone, it can break, but it sands easily, and you can use a set of needle files or regular machine files to work the bone.

Use a hack saw, or jewelers saw to work the bone.

I have purchased bone blanks. The first one I bought split inappropriately. I then bought a sterilized dog bone and have made all of my other nuts from the pet shop material.
Steve, Do you think it would be sufficient to glue the bone to the neck without a slot? How much of a slot would I need? Those are the questions that prompted me to thinking about the screws.

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Barry Daniels
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Re: bone nut question

Post by Barry Daniels »

Glue is always stronger than screws.
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Jim Bonnell
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Re: bone nut question

Post by Jim Bonnell »

Have you considered using brass for the nut?

Steve Senseney
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Re: bone nut question

Post by Steve Senseney »

Barry answered well.

I presume that you will have the nut sitting on the neck, and sitting against the end of the fingerboard.

These two surfaces will provide plenty of glue line for either hide or PVA glue.

It won't work for a brass nut however!

Claude Misukiewicz
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Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 2:16 am

Re: bone nut question

Post by Claude Misukiewicz »

Thank you all, Barry, Jim, and Steve!

Thank all of you for the useful information. There is more than one way to skin a cat, as they say, and I decided to buy a prefabricated brass nut from a lap steel builder. This will improve my chances of producing something somewhat playable.

Next time (and I already think there will be a next time) I think I will try making the nut and bridge.

Warm regards,
Claude

David King
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Re: bone nut question

Post by David King »

Threading bone works beautifully, I recently made a set of strat saddles an had no problem drilling and tapping holes that were only .01" from the edges. Good bone machines really nicely but you will run across some porous stuff and some internal fractures occasionally.
If you are going to tap the stuff regularly it pays to use a spiral point or spiral fluted tap that's HSS or even TIN coated. I used a jewelers wax lube as well.
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Mark Swanson
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Re: bone nut question

Post by Mark Swanson »

Wow! Very nice David.
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Nick Middleton
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Re: bone nut question

Post by Nick Middleton »

I stand corrected! That is amazing work , David!

Jim Bonnell
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Location: Tampa Bay area Fl.

Re: bone nut question

Post by Jim Bonnell »

Nice work! I'm very impressed.

Steve Senseney
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Re: bone nut question

Post by Steve Senseney »

Very pretty!

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