Hey Everyone!

In my never-ending (and silly) quest to build everything myself from found items, here's a quick tutorial on making your own nuts and bridges from plastic dominos.

I read somewhere that really old dominos were sometimes made from bone, so I hit all the local flea markets and thrift stores, but no joy. So, during one of my daily visits to the World's Largest Retailer, I bought a $5 tin of standard plastic dominos.

I don't know exactly what these are made of, but it's not your typical cheap plastic. This stuff is HARD. In fact, short of a power tool, hand-sawing these things was a chore. Dovetail saw worked nicely, though.

These dominos measure roughly 1 inch x 2 inches, so it's easy to get a couple of items from each. Don't worry about the dots on top, we'll get rid of those eventually.

These would both become nuts, so now the dots must go. I recommend a power tool here, but I guess you could sand them by hand. The dust is really fine - a lot like the bone they'll replace. If you sand them just barely clean, you'll end up with a blank that's a hair under 1/4 inch, which is just about perfect for a guitar nut.

A little more creative sanding, and you have something that looks exactly like a guitar nut - because it is! Trim the width as needed, file and sand, file and sand. A little steel wool evens out the sanding marks. I haven't polished any of mine, but I'm sure you could if you like a glossy look.

You can also laminate a domino on a piece of hardwood to cut into bridges. I've used wood glue for mine and, so far, no failures. I'm sure epoxy would work too, maybe even CA glue. Can't say, but I love the look of a laminated bridge. I think they dress things up a bit and it's really not much more trouble than a wood bridge.


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Comment by Bluesheart on February 3, 2017 at 11:16am

Very nice work! I really love the laminated bridge idea!!

Comment by William Wright on January 23, 2017 at 2:33pm

Great idea! Never ever would of thought of domino's. That's thinking outside the box. I will be trying to make some of these for sure. Great  tutorial also!

Comment by Ronald Hanes on January 22, 2017 at 6:57am

Thanks for the great tutorial.

If you decide to make and sell nut and bridge sets

let me know

Comment by Jerry Jordan on January 19, 2017 at 7:33am

Great .,.,nice post.,.,and i'll use it.,,.don't forget chopsticks come in many colors and materials and can be used much the same way.,,. Thanks.,.,.,Cheers.,.,

Comment by Stoney King on January 14, 2017 at 6:22pm

Marvelous IDEA!!! THX 4 Sharing!!!

Comment by Hal Robertson on January 14, 2017 at 3:20pm

Thanks Kigar! I don't really remember any odor and I know they didn't gum up blades. Mostly just dust. You can see the saw marks in the bridge blank pic. Will pay more attention when I cut the next batch.

Comment by Kigar on January 14, 2017 at 10:08am
Nice work, I really like the bridge. The webs say modern dominos are just ABS plastic, if so you should of had a bit of odor when sawing. Maybe it has some talc mixed in to make it harder as regular ABS usually cuts pretty easily. It can melt and wad up with duller power tools too.
Comment by Hal Robertson on January 13, 2017 at 2:19pm

Thanks Moritz! Good info.

Comment by Uncle John on January 12, 2017 at 7:14pm

Very nice post.  I need some dominoes.

Comment by Moritz Voegeli on January 12, 2017 at 3:19pm

Old dominos were not entirely made from bone or horn, but were only a thin white sheet of these materials above ebony; the eyes of the dominos were just holes through the sheet of horn or bone.

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