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Stewart-MacDonald has been sending me emails recently about a device which allows guitar makers to adjust the height of a guitar nut or saddle while keeping the underside both square and straight (item # 4047 in the StewMac catalogue). Here’s a picture.
I thought that this was rather a good idea. Although it’s not especially difficult to adjust a nut or a saddle by hand with a file, it’s a tedious job and often takes a while. And the reviews on the StewMac website were positive, saying how quick and accurate the device was.
The drawback is that it’s quite expensive. By the time I’d paid shipping and import duty, buying one would probably cost around $200. So, I decided to make one for myself.
The body is a length of aluminium bar, 15mm x 30mm, drilled at each end to take an axle that carries miniature ball bearings.
Used with a sheet of P280 sandpaper on a flat surface, it worked quickly and accurately.
As I hope you will be able to see from the photographs, it’s not difficult to make, although you will need access to a drill press and a small lathe. The materials needed (aluminium bar and four miniature ball bearings) are easily available and cheap.
Mine took a bit longer to construct than it should have done because I drilled the holes for the axles too low, which meant that the body of the device ended up too far above the sanding surface. So I had to bush the holes and re-drill. If you’re making one, I’d recommend positioning the axle to give a gap of no more than 2mm between the bottom of the device and the sanding surface.