I replaced the nut on my friend’s strat. This was the final part of this project so it is now done!
The first step was removing the old plastic nut. I first ran a razor blade along the top and bottom of the nut to cut through any glue. I was careful not to damage the wood. I then used a rubber mallet and a small jeweler’s flat head screw driver to slowly break the old nut free of the glue underneath it and work it out of the nut groove. I switched back and forth between each side to do this as evenly as possible. It worked like a charm.
Then I used the razor blade to get all the old glue out and make the nut groove as smooth as possible (all without gouging the wood or expanding it. The new TUSQ nut requested by my friend fit perfectly.
Then it was just a matter of checking the string height at the nut (I used my trusty old feeler gauges. It is a bit high at .028 inches, but my friend likes a higher action. Based on my readings, Fender sets their nut height at about .020 inches.
After I was comfortable with the set up, I took it off, layed a line of glue down the nut groove and placed the new nut in. I then used a damp rag to wipe away excess glue. Then I put the strings back on and tuned to standard pitch, wiping away excess glue as it squeezed out of the edges.
I finished by checking neck relief, string height, pick up height, and letting the glue dry for the next 24 hours while I sleep and go to work.