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Nails. What to do with them and how?   You are logged in as Guest
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longboy

 

Posts: 3
Joined: Aug. 18 2011
 

Nails. What to do with them and how? 

Hi All, I am new here and new to learning flamenco, I have few video tutorials to learn from but none of these videos show what treatment we need to do with our nails and how, is there any guide out there? any help?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 25 2011 12:22:50
 
GerryR

 

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Joined: Jul. 18 2011
 

RE: Nails. What to do with them and how? (in reply to longboy

Get Juan Martin's Guitar Method (EL ARTE FLAMENCO DE LA GUITARRA). He covers that quite nicely in there.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 25 2011 13:08:25
 
kudo

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RE: Nails. What to do with them and how? (in reply to longboy

pumping nylon book covers them the best i think

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 25 2011 13:19:43
 
Elie

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RE: Nails. What to do with them and how? (in reply to longboy

search the forum you will find tons of threads about this topic

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 25 2011 17:48:16
 
davidheis_24

 

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 25 2011 23:34:25
 
Yojimbo

Posts: 176
Joined: Feb. 7 2011
From: Toronto, Canada

RE: Nails. What to do with them and how? (in reply to longboy

Anyone care to post pics of their nails? I'm having lots of problem with the a finger and I could do with some ideas.

Not that the other fingers are great - but they're a bit better.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 26 2011 0:40:16
 
Rain

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RE: Nails. What to do with them and how? (in reply to davidheis_24

I've been playing classical guitar for 20 years and have never used any product on my nails.

Yojimbo, photos of other peoples nails will not help you at all, since everyones finger nails are different. It's going to be a matter of trial and error to learn how to shape your specific nails.

Good luck

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 26 2011 1:19:57
 
jaggedsphere

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From: Ottawa/Toronto

RE: Nails. What to do with them and how? (in reply to longboy

This was a topic I had a hard time with...
What I finally developed was nails that are the same shape as your fingertips.
As far as length is concerned I have my pinky quite long(it's the shortest finger) ring finger is a little longer as well. The rest are quite short.

Did not like the ramp.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 26 2011 2:13:19
 
Elie

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Joined: Apr. 10 2010
 

RE: Nails. What to do with them and how? (in reply to longboy

quote:

I've been playing classical guitar for 20 years and have never used any product on my nails.

(talking about the thumb) is it the same for flamenco playing with all those alzapua s, aggressive rasgueados and pulgar movements ?
I mean I almost have daily problems with my thumb nail

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 26 2011 7:56:33
 
Escribano

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From: England, living in Italy

RE: Nails. What to do with them and how? (in reply to longboy

http://www.foroflamenco.com/searchpro.asp?topicreply=both&message=both&timeframe=%3E&timefilter=0&top=300&criteria=AND&minRank=10&language=single&phrase=nails

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 26 2011 9:42:35
 
Ricardo

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From: Washington DC

RE: Nails. What to do with them and how? (in reply to longboy

This was a good one:
http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=74717&appid=&p=&mpage=1&key=nails&tmode=&smode=&s=#74853

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 26 2011 14:35:32
 
Yojimbo

Posts: 176
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From: Toronto, Canada

RE: Nails. What to do with them and how? (in reply to Ricardo

I found that link Ricardo posted very informative. It's kind of encouraging to know that others have struggled with nail shape too.

I've found out pretty much what that thread seems to be suggesting by trial and error, although it's sure taking a long time to find the optimal shapes because they grow so slowly.

It's also very interesting for me to see that others are having 'negative' ramps on the a finger because that seems to be how mine is shaping up - so to speak.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 27 2011 0:12:52
 
Ruphus

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RE: Nails. What to do with them and how? (in reply to longboy

I wished my nails would be growing slower. If wanted to keep them in best shape I would need to file them every 3 days or so.

Unquestionably, blessed are those whose nails keep growing nicely straight ( even at age above ~30 ).
However, posture and planting matter quite some in regard of ( straight or ) crooked nails catching.

I think considering certain preconditions helps considerably with rendering the nail issue to a minor one.

#
Plucking perpendicular will expose nails the most and allow least of "flesh ramp" / control on execution and sound shaping.

#
Centering execution on final extremities ( fingers & thumb ) will introduce pretty much all of common hurdles, including a consequently encreased dependency of nail shape.
Please see guitarist David Leisner´s perfect hit on the nails head of the matter in this video:


( Dear Escribano, I like to suggest a permanent link to this vid, as it covers the core of issues with instrument playing [ & ergonomical movement in general ], and should present an invaluable bit of information [ spared detours and frustration journey ] to everyone.)

#
Plucking with contracted / hence stiff final digits also results in proneness to hooked nails.

Having fingers powered from their base instead, with the tips remaining lose not only allows great control on how the string be touched ( dosing share of flesh and nail, ramping extend etc.) but helps omitting getting hooked nearly completely.

Technically, I recommend not conceiving a plucking of strings, but stroking.
Like say a birds wing tip stroking strings. Hence in the end, instead of a hook a bow releasing the string.

The moment your fingertips practically ressemble a wings tip your nails can be of almost any shape without yet getting hooked on the string.

Just my 2cents.

Ruphus
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 27 2011 13:28:07
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14966
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Nails. What to do with them and how? (in reply to Ruphus

quote:

I wished my nails would be growing slower. If wanted to keep them in best shape I would need to file them every 3 days or so.


Well, in order to maintain the shape and tone I am demoing in the link I posted above, I file EVERY DAY, and sometimes between songs. You really probably have not experimented yourself so much with the importance of nail shape, as it really makes a huge impact vs. what your post implied.

Years ago I experimented with Shear's relaxed tip/middle joint movement of rest strokes. The effect I realized is like for a fast picker to use a very thin gage pick vs a thicker one. You just can't reset fast enough to control speed and rhythm. Picado for example needs those tip joints stiff, at least the split second before you release the string.

anyway I had round nails before like most. I put glue and this stiffened the nails and when I took the glue off, I had a more crisp sound because the nail flexes over the string, like a bow or "bird wing" vs a stiff tortoise shell ( ). But I could not keep the nails protected from breaks because the rasgueados I was doing for dancers, and as often I was playing an practicing, wears em down. So I had to have the glue, and suffered for a while a brittle sound (to me at least). In addition, I have some minor arthritic pain in the m finger from perhaps some old injury. (rain and snow storms bring a minor ache at times on the tip joint). So playing with those contoured nail shape I would get some discomfort in the tip joint after some hours of playing or arps especially. Not really "hooking" but it was an uncomfortable feeling.

Fortunately I noticed in fotos and vids of some players such as Tomatito, Chicuelo, Paco, Manolo and Nuñez (in person), so all the guys with a crisp clean tone, that showed nails sort of flat lined with edges, not contoured like mine. I revisited the Pumping Nylon Video I had gotten in college and started filing flat, even though it took time to grow the edges out.

Literally OVER NIGHT the resistance and brittle tone I had been experiencing for a few years already was GONE. It really is THAT significant. Crisp tone, smooth release of strings, no more discomfort in poor m finger (except for snow storms ), no pushing or pulling through the string for volume, etc etc. In one day that was it. I could imagine a potential for developing some FD symptoms had I not changed that nail shape.

The only 2 draw backs from what I had before is you have to be more accurate at maintaining your hand position for arps (you dont play off various edges anymore cuz you dont need nails to flex or hook, the string glides off the straight line, so you have to be in the same position you choose to file you nails at), and in order to maintain the shape you have to file everyday. One day goes by and your nail grows and the shape changes too. The file flat method slices through any weird ways a nail can grow, and the amount of glue or stiffness of nail has little bearing anymore on crispness or roundness of tone. So if I loose my nail file, I get worried.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 28 2011 17:04:38
 
longboy

 

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RE: Nails. What to do with them and how? (in reply to longboy

Thank you all for replying, Every single reply is guiding me to get good results for playing guitar, I posted this question cause I was not feeling comfortable while trying to play ( since I cannot play that's why I can try only), I have seen many other posts, and before asking the question I searched if I can found good tutorials for trimming.

I should make my question more clear if any one can guide me or few pics of nails, My question is how and to what shape we need to trim our Nails in order to play good flamenco without feeling resistance.

Thank you all for replying many other related but not asked questions, I was not aware from many of these problems.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 29 2011 13:02:56
 
Ruphus

Posts: 3782
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RE: Nails. What to do with them and how? (in reply to longboy

Thank you for the interesting read, Ricardo. :O)

True, if I wanted them to be optimal my nails would need a daily filing.
The reason I don´t however is not, because of disregarding the matter. ( There was a time when I believed one of the biggest hurdles with my playing to be nail shape.)

While nail shape appears to matter a lot in how it will acommodate or hinder one´s playing; to my observation there remains the circumstance that the less ergonomic a playing technique the more nail shape will come into play.
( After all I recall 2 or 3 examples of virtuoso players who had surprisingly neglected finger nails.)
And I also see it with my own hands. The more progress with me improving my technique the less nails do come in the way.

The othe reasons why I don´t file daily are my lazyness and the fact that I am all occupied with repairing technique from scratch ( and overcoming FD ), whilst to a degree taking imperfect nails as a challenge to overcome through improved technique. ( Can play with relatively nasty nails now that would had hardly allowed me a single arpeggio in the past without getting hooked right away.)

What your discovery of flat filed nails is concerned: My congratulations to the relief you have been experiencing, in the first place!

I speculate however that the relevance with the difference to be special to cases of straight growing nails ( which can flex when contured, as you describe.)

Mine grow curved ( unfortunately ), which leaves them statically stiff yet when contured. Eventhough having adapted to conturing them since a couple of years my touch has remained as lush and strong as before.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo

Years ago I experimented with Shear's relaxed tip/middle joint movement of rest strokes. The effect I realized is like for a fast picker to use a very thin gage pick vs a thicker one. You just can't reset fast enough to control speed and rhythm. Picado for example needs those tip joints stiff, at least the split second before you release the string.


Certainly makes sense.

Yet, this might possibly depend on how far back one´s tip flexes back when relaxed. ( Which differs individually, just like with thumbs [ some´s bending through / some´s staying straight when stretched out.)
As my fingertips will only very minimally flex beyond flat, they reach inflexibility the minute the final joint is straightened / resist like a thick gauge pick then.
From there I achieve very fast picado with the relaxed rest strokes ( - when I do; every other time during exercise, got to yet establish the "birds wing" as routine ).

With respect to your experience however, I can imagine that during extremes of speed a subtle tensioning up of the final digit could be adding to the still mainly finger base-triggered execution. - ( If generally needed [?]) providing a final resistance before release of the string.

Grisha to my observation is a master of the "birds wing".
I am sure that he could help us out in the crook versus bow evaluation with special aspect of picado.

Interesting detail!

Ruphus
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 29 2011 13:44:03
 
Rmn

Posts: 308
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RE: Nails. What to do with them and how? (in reply to longboy

my nails are really really strong. I need to buy one file in a week (4 euros a piece!!) because my nails are so hard that all the structure in the file wipes out after a couple of days.
I file flat then with a small curve to the left (I am right handed)

nails have always been my worst enemy. If I forget to file for two days the arpeggios will be horrible as my nails get stuck on the strings

how ever I really can not play without any nails. without nails the flesh of my fingers gets stuck even more on the strings when playing arpeggios. Gets me totally out of timing
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 30 2011 15:35:24
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1809
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From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: Nails. What to do with them and how? (in reply to Ruphus

quote:

Plucking with contracted / hence stiff final digits also results in proneness to hooked nails.


If anyone wants to know how to deal with hooked nails, I will post an article I wrote a few years back. My nails are extremely hooked, but I’ve had no problem with them since I learned this technique from the late Peter Sensier.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 30 2011 15:47:36
 
Rmn

Posts: 308
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RE: Nails. What to do with them and how? (in reply to longboy

quote:

If anyone wants to know how to deal with hooked nails, I will post an article I wrote a few years back. My nails are extremely hooked, but I’ve had no problem with them since I learned this technique from the late Peter Sensier.


that would be awsome. this is my biggest problem probably. thanks
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 30 2011 15:54:29
 
Paul Magnussen

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From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: Nails. What to do with them and how? (in reply to Rmn

Does anyone have a solution to nails that curve downward? If my nails grow to where you can just see the nail from palms up, they curve down and no amount of filing seems to avoid hooking. This has been a major problem for many years and any help would be greatly appreciated.

The solution to this is easy, but almost nobody seems to know it. I owe my knowledge to an article by the late Peter Sensier, in the old BMG magazine. My nails are very hooked indeed, but, using this method I have had no problem for 30+ years. Unfortunately, it is easier to demonstrate than describe.

Hold your hand horizontally, palm down. Then the usual way to hold the file is vertically. But instead, hold the file horizontally too, so that it's parallel to your hand. The basic idea is to file your nails this way, from underneath; then the resulting cross-section must be flat, because the nail-file is flat.

There are a few wrinkles:

1) You will need to tilt the file towards you a bit, i.e. about 15º towards the conventional position.

2) You will also need (if you play off the left side of your nails, as most people do, Presti/Lagoya excepted) to tilt your hand to the left a bit, so that nails are shorter on the left side than the right.

3) When finished, round off the nails with the file in the conventional position to remove the resulting knife-edge.

4) Be careful not to cut the quick of your nails with the file -- and especially, don't use an emery-board!

Hope this helps.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 30 2011 16:34:57
 
odinz

Posts: 407
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From: Sarpsborg,Norway

RE: Nails. What to do with them and how? (in reply to Paul Magnussen

I have an extremely hooked nail on my A finger.. since i lost the tip of that finger, also i dont have a pillow on that finger and underneath the nail is just painful tissue and some weird threads sticking out, even gentle arpeggios hurt like the devil..

I saw this topic and figured someone might have something to say, so i post a sideway pic of the finger, and can post more if you want to see the underside etc..

It is really troublesome!

Attachment (1)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 30 2011 16:37:07
 
bursche

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From: Frankfurt, Germany

RE: Nails. What to do with them and how? (in reply to odinz

iOstias! You are like Django Reinhardt!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 30 2011 18:14:01
 
odinz

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From: Sarpsborg,Norway

RE: Nails. What to do with them and how? (in reply to bursche

my fretting hand is even worse off!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 30 2011 21:15:32
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14966
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Nails. What to do with them and how? (in reply to longboy

quote:

I should make my question more clear if any one can guide me or few pics of nails, My question is how and to what shape we need to trim our Nails in order to play good flamenco without feeling resistance.


GUESS I SHOULD HAVE MADE MY RESPONSE MORE CLEAR
Here are my nails seen at 3 angles. Straight on they look curved:

Actually, they are not so curved naturally. The ring finger especially you can see here. That is due partly to the fact I put glue on the nails. It ends up being a good thing.

From above also look roundish:


But from the angle I FILE at, you can see a straight line edge:


That is what the string sees too, and glides smooth right off the nails.

Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 30 2011 22:51:04
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14966
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Nails. What to do with them and how? (in reply to odinz

quote:

ORIGINAL: odinz

I have an extremely hooked nail on my A finger.. since i lost the tip of that finger, also i dont have a pillow on that finger and underneath the nail is just painful tissue and some weird threads sticking out, even gentle arpeggios hurt like the devil..

I saw this topic and figured someone might have something to say, so i post a sideway pic of the finger, and can post more if you want to see the underside etc..

It is really troublesome!


Man your nails are super long and CONTOURED. That means you have too much white part in the middle. Let the SIDES grow out more so you can file flat across so the white part in the middle is less then the sides. Despite your skin problems, your tone and feel of resistance will improve.

Paul's Post is also the same like I am doing, but without a 3D image, the words don't make much sense. In fact it is almost impossible to do this thing without seeing it done in 3D. Hope these pics help a little.

Ricardo

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 30 2011 22:54:46
 
odinz

Posts: 407
Joined: May 26 2010
From: Sarpsborg,Norway

RE: Nails. What to do with them and how? (in reply to Ricardo

Actually it is just the Ring finger that is the problem, since i lost the tip in an accident.

If i did grow the sides out it would just make the hook effect worse because the nail is growing in a circular shape and if it grows a bit too long it grows back into the finger, and the "meat" inside my finger and under my nail is sticking out, the stringy stuff that hurts like insane.

I wonder if anyone here think reconstructive surgery is a bit much

Its a huge problem and it stagnates my ability to play stuff, that i should be playing now.

since i am now pursuing this as a career...

i hope these pictures will clarify a bit



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

Attachment (1)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 30 2011 23:24:35
 
odinz

Posts: 407
Joined: May 26 2010
From: Sarpsborg,Norway

RE: Nails. What to do with them and how? (in reply to odinz

The first pic shows my hand, just so you see, the rest of them are not the same way, the second is underneath the nail, but actually the flesh is at the tip of the nail, right at the edge, not deeper inside like it looks like.



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

Attachment (1)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 30 2011 23:26:39
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14966
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Nails. What to do with them and how? (in reply to odinz

I see what you mean, but I still know that the file flat will cut that hook or beak with no resistance.

About the real problem though, the skin sticking up that far under and the pain, well when I sometimes get a blister under there that breaks from too much playing, or sometimes if the nail and nail bed separate, it is very painful to play. My friends that play all the time figured out that you can put Krazy glue on your skin and under your nail and it takes the brunt of most of that pain so you can play hard. It sure works for me when I need it. Perhaps you could try that before going reconstructive surgury route. Just cover that whole area with some glue, THEN file after so you have smooth nail edge still.

Only thing is, playing will quickly wear the glue off so you have to put more on....just like we do for rasgueado with the top of the nail.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 30 2011 23:40:58
 
odinz

Posts: 407
Joined: May 26 2010
From: Sarpsborg,Norway

RE: Nails. What to do with them and how? (in reply to Ricardo

the glue thing sounds interesting, ill try it

and if it works, it will wear, but its better than not being able to play a good tremolo or arpeggio atleast!

I have also been training and recovering my left hand from some torn tendons, but this nail and finger, it just puts me back so much, amazing how a tiny thing like this can do that...


Thanks for the tips Ricardo! Youre like a corner cutman too

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 31 2011 0:01:22
 
britguy

Posts: 712
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From: Ontario, Canada

RE: Nails. What to do with them and how? (in reply to Paul Magnussen

quote:

Be careful not to cut the quick of your nails with the file -- and especially, don't use an emery-board!


O.K. what's wrong with using an emery board? Or, put it another way, what SHOULD one be using to file the nails? Are there special files for this?

I've been using fine 400, 600 and 1200 grit emery paper from the hardware store, and making my own 'boards' with small strips of wood . Seems to work O.K. Am I ruining my nails using this aproach?

What's your recommendation?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 5 2011 21:21:27
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