Ok, now here's the thing, this is where some mathematics comes in. I like using a bolt as a nut and eye-bolt as saddles and bridges on some of my CBG's. And sometimes I get some fancy people who want something a little more, well, they call it, "Upscale" I call it fancy.

So anyway I'm needing some nut and saddle material that isn't an eye-bolt. So I go to stewart-macdonald (google it) and here's the math part. A Micarta (yes I know it's plastic, BUT hey, get this, they say, "specified by Martin for nuts and saddles" Whoowee, now we got us some fancy. So anyway, if you buy a nut it's like 1 7/8 long by 9/32 high and 1/8 wide and like just short of $3, OK, BUT, here's the good part. IF you buy the Micarta SADDLE, it's 4 1/8 in long (that's twice the nut) by 15/32 high (that's 6/32 or 3/16 taller than the nut) tall, and 1/8 wide and IT IS like $2.90 or $2.41 if you get 12.

Now, is that cool or what? YOu go buy the Micarta SADDLE and you can make 2 (count 'em) 2 nuts out of One saddle, oh yeah, you can use them for saddles too, double duty, it's all good.
Just cut that sucker in half, 4 1/8 divided by 2 is 2 1/16th and hey the size of my nut area is about 1 1/4, cool stuff huh?

I got NO interest in Stew-Mac, I went to Luthier Mercantile Intl and they did not have anything this "in-expensive" read that as 'cheap' lol.

If you got a Cheaper idea, pony up, pardner.

OH yeah, I read where someone is using Acrylic Pen Material from Woodcraft. Now that's some really good looking stuff (I used to make pens on my lathe from it, well not me, my son made 'perfume pens' and it is good looking stuff) and they got some acrylic that looks like bone, interesting huh? I'm going to go get me some tomorrow, got a Woodcraft gift card for my birthday, lol.

Now Don't get me wrong, this is for my people who don't want that cool looking, hard driving, eye-bolt Bridge, and that ultra-cool bolt nut  (it takes all kinds, we just love 'em all).

My buddy who owns a cigar store loves those bolts and eye-bolts, says it's 'grungy and real America,' I say, yep.

That's all i got for now. Keep the faith, keep makin 'em, and for heaven's sake Keep Playin' 'em.


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Replies to This Discussion

Were I live that is cheaper than the eye bolt, just goes to show it takes money to look grungy. good tip.
good tip. I've looked at both of those before, but never noticed the micarta one was so long. My thing on "upscale" banjos is to buy a long bone saddle and then cut it half and use it for the nut and bridge.
michael orr said:
I have two ideas for ya'll to consider. I buy a 1/2 in by 10 in bolt at home depot for about 2.50. u get 6 nuts cut off 1.5 in. cost about 40 cents each. Cheap enough !! don't like 1/2 in. ? chose ur own size to suit smaller is even cheaper. I chuck them in the drill press sand it down with varying grits of sand paper followed by 1000 wet/dry then 0000 steel wool treated with mothers chrome polish. total time to shine like a mirror ? 10 minutes !! hoo Awwww !! for the bridge. I make my own amps and the pot stems are 1.5 in too long. Solution ? wack u off a chunk and polish it just like the nut u just made u nut u !! lol cost FREEEEEEEE !!!! yee hawwwww !!!! I use tongue oil ( not from my tongue ! taste like #### !! I know , for u purests its spelled TUNG ) to finish my necks and boxes so i apply it to the nut and bridge and they shine forever ! Hope Ya'll can use this FREE info to ur advantage. Keep ur frets up Ya'll !! Peace Oh yeah PS. when ya chuck em in the press they dont like to be squueezed to hard so wrap a small piece of cloth or paper towel around em to avoid chuck marring. Ya know thats never a good thing !! OK SEE YA BUY BUY !!
Here's another idea that I have been considering. I have a bunch of old deer antlers laying around and they are not big enough to mount on the wall or anything, so, I got to thinking that maybe some of them sliced up with the bandsaw would make good nuts and bridges. They are basically bone, they have been drying for years and are completely stable, they are hard as trhe hubs of hell, and they are free for me to use. Do you guys think that would work? I know I won't want to get down into the porus center, but there should be plenty of wall thickness to do 1/8 inch thicknesses. If not, I also have some BIG chunks of Elk antler that I know is plenty heavy enough. Talk about a primative look! WOW!! Bob H.

Old thread, but I'll throw my two cents in...

I've used deer antler for the nuts on all 5 of my builds now.  The recent acquisition of a bandsaw has GREATLY diminished the prep time needed (20-30 minutes on bandsaw vs. 3-4 hours by hand with files).  I finish my gee-tars with tung oil and it gives the antler a nice look.  I got some sheds and broken antlers from a buddy who's a big-time hunter, so I should have enough for another dozen builds or so.  You have to play around a bit with the really curvy sections, and definitely wear a mask when cutting or sanding.  But the finished product is pretty cool.

Here's a picture from my first build...

With only two CBG's under my belt , I'm new at this . On my first CBG I was lucky enough to have an old bone nut from an acoustic I have that was chipped and I removed . Shortened it , renotched it , works great . So on CBG #2 ,I go to the local music store to buy a bone blank . YIKES !!! Over $ 7.00 . NO CAN DO ! So a couple weeks later I'm in a junk store up the street and I spotted a mix match box of the old white dominoes for $3.00 !!!. Don't know what they're made of but they're tuff . I have enough for dozens of guitars !!! Just "slice em as you need em" using a dremel type tool with a cutoff wheel .
i agree free samples at homedepot also. i now prob have a lifetime supply of material

michael orr said:

   Dog chews from a local store-not the rawhide ones, but big, hollowed out pork thighs, cleaned and bleached-


  (now personally if I were marketing natural bones for dogs i'd leave  bit of meat scrapings and the marrow but Oh Well)


  -and for $2 I have enough bone for dozens and dozens of nuts and bridges if I want! Bad news , you need a Dremel, patience and a mask or respirator, so it's a bit more labor-intensive than just buying the darn blanks..


  One of my latest works (Lutenstein, she of the oversized triple-box body, cookie tin resonator, 12.5 inch Ukulele neck and an eGCe tuning on lightweight banjo strings-yeah, I had leftovers and a lightning storm was on the way, sue me) has a broken violin bridge a neighbor threw away, cut to 1/3 height and shaved flat with tiny flat feet glued on. I  LOVE how the thin oak holds the full weight of my strings but I can make just the tiniest notch and there's JUST  enough give that the strings will work themselves into a perfect seat... Violin bridges are only about 5.00 around this area, or I can carve up and thin out some Oak trim i've got lying around...


  I've had really good luck with chopsticks on my Ukuleles, both for nut and bridge-and since I use light banjo strings on the Ukes (I like the Plink!) there's just enough chopstick left over to anchor the strings to my 'L-bracket' tailpiece.


  And of course there's the ubiquitous 6-32 bolt and nut combo, fastened with a drop of epoxy and tightened around the neck for a nut or around a bit of Oak flashing for a bridge..


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