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I'd like to order some nut and saddle supplies from Chrislin. This is my first order from them and I'd like to order as few sizes as possible that will cover the majority of electric and acoustic guitars. Fewer types/sizes means I can order more of each but probably means more work and lost material. Any thoughts?

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I don't see an order form on their page, making it hard to figure out the price.

What I do for bone is make a trip to the pet store, buy a few huge bones, chop them up on the bandsaw, then soak them in acetone for a couple months. This give a variety of sizes, and the smaller chunk allow you to do ukulele and mandolin nuts without ordering other parts or sacrificing nicer large bones. If you have a busy shop, this may not be efficient, but for small-time garage guys like me, it is a perfect solution.

Mark...I thought about Petsmart but heard on several boards that bones processed for pets tended to be softer due to boiling and seasoning. They also aren't degreased but you have that covered by soaking them in solvent.  I've heard of people using denatured alcohol, white gas (naptha), MEK and acetone. I'd like to understand the chemistry better.

I'm sure it depends on the bone, and what has been done to it. I've had really greasy bones, really dry bones, and one that was so thin-walled that it wouldn't have made a saddle blank, much less a nut.

I'm really curious about the Crislin prices now. I'll have to give a holler to them. Or, make an excuse to drive up to Santa Rosa, which means an excuse to drive up to Windsor and see LMI as well.

Chrislin Trading has excellent bone offerings and the prices are great too.  I have ordered from them a bunch of times and will be pulling the trigger on a large order today in fact.

My experience has been that it's possible to get less than ideal bone blanks from all of the usual suspects in our trade and this can include porous stuff from some of the alternatives too.  To me porous bone is not up to snuff and can ruin your day when on a deadline and the last few swipes of my files reveals a void in the blank making it now useless...

We also have been processing our own bone but from quality butchers where we know that the cattle are free ranging.  Why free ranging?  Because a cow that has to use it's legs, just like a human...., and is not raised in a cage or pen is more likely to have healthier bones again just like a human who stays fit, eats right, etc.

When we process our own the femurs are thrown in the back yard or a window well for a year or so letting the microorganisms eat away much of the slimy stuff that will foul your soaking solution.  Then we soak in white gas for a month or so.

But.... recently we have been happy enough with Chrislin's bone blanks AND when you consider your time, lots of time in our case... to process the raw bone I believe that it saves us money to start with quality, pre-processed blanks unless, of course, someone wants something more exotic such as fossilized Mastiff turd for their nuts and saddles.... ;)

Some of the saddle blanks that I have received from Chrislin were a bit warped but much of the stuff that I have received elsewhere was warped too and to a greater degree.  

So I order over sized blanks and when I use one I simply true it up on the sander and then the surface plate.

Instead of attempting to purchase a multitude of sizes a bit of thought in terms of potential applications and one can easily come to the conclusion that simply ordering a few over sized sizes and you are good to go.

The woman who deals with us at Chrislin is Christy Song and she has always been great with me, fast to process my orders and ship and no surprises either.

Lastly now that we are using blanks from Chrislin and not only processing our own bone in addition to the time and costs of processing your own bone also consider that bone hates bandsaw blades too....  When we cut our own blanks our blades suffer for it and have to be replaced early...  That's an additional cost.

So at the end of the day for a few bucks you get a quality bone blank, your time is not sucked up processing bone, and your bandsaw blade budget will thank you too.

Chrislin - highly recommended!

Disclaimer - I have no affiliation with Chrislin - I simply have received good product and great service and wanted to say so. 

Thanks for the info, Hesh!

I've searched far and wide for a butcher/processor that can supply cow femurs without luck. I've read dozens of articles about cleaning and degreasing. I'm happy to prepare my own bones at least once. I could then see if its worth the trouble in terms of savings and guaranteeing quality. I might also be better able to evaluate quality.

Frank F. recommended Chrislin in his "suppliers" page so I contacted Christy about an order and was asked about sizes.  My first thought was to just order a single oversized blank - one for nuts and one for saddles - just to minimize the hassles of inventory maintenance.

Do you mind if I ask which sizes you'll be ordering?

Hi Robbie!

Sure - we are going to order bone blanks for nuts in bleached and unbleached that are 2 3/16 X 7/16 X 1/4.

We are a very... busy... shop and make many bone nuts a month so our quantities will be pretty high.  I don't have a price from Christie yet but I just sent the email asking for pricing and delivery.

Nonetheless on my last saddle purchase from Christlin I paid less than half what things would cost elsewhere AND didn't get dinged either with a rather pricy, flat-rate shipping charge.

Hope this helps!

Hello,

Make life simple and use Stewmac. Just a thought!

Mike

Michael - you're certainly right that StewMac is a dependable source. I've ordered nuts and saddles from them and, in fact, put in a $200 order yesterday.

However, their retail prices can be high and their quantity prices higher than elsewhere, at least for some things. Chrislin, even for small orders, is a buck lower in price than StewMac's 24+ discounted price.  Profit = (revenue - costs) so I try to minimize costs whenever possible.

I love Stewmac, don't get me wrong, but I could easily make a list of stuff they sell that would be 4 or 5 times the price that it is sold for on a site like Luthiers Mercantile, orInternational Violin.  I am constantly floored at some of their pricing. 

 Bone parts? For me, I only deal with Depauls Inlay. That dude is amazing, and his bulk prices are SO cheep, and as easy to deal with as a phone call. 

Well said Kerry and Robbie.

Stew-Mac must get around because I love them too but I am also rather enamored to a greater degree with our businesses bottom line.  So we go where the value is best represented on an item by item basis.  Stew-Mac is the world's best at many things in my view but just like many of us make the tools that we wish to make some of the things that Stew-Mac sells are not the best pricing out there.  Not dissing them by any means, again I love Stew-Mac, but I am also involved in providing the greatest degree of "value" that we can to our clients and this, to me, means sourcing things for 1)  the best quality available and 2) at the best price we can find.

If you are a big enough shop to be ordering things frequently shipping charges will get your attention too...  In my experience Chrislin is way.... cheaper on the shipping charges than any of the other usual suspects.

I order the largest size saddle and nut blanks. Pretty sure LMI calls them NO and SO but other companies sell good bone too. Cupping is not an issue because about 20 seconds with the disc sander and I get 2 reasonably flat and square surfaces, true those up by hand then use an oscillating spindle sander to quickly sand the blank to rough thickness (about .003" too thick) then hand sand to final thickness. In most cases, I have a polished nut shaped, glued into the neck and ready for slot-layout in about 20 minutes (add another 10 minutes +/- for a tricky extraction). Makes managing inventory simpler and I get better pricing without tying up over $1k in bone blanks. More procedural info here:

http://fingerlakesguitarrepair.com/making-a-through-saddle/

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