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6 point vintage trem - broken mounting screw... advice?

sting7777

slinger of notes
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
566
So the trem on a custom shop relic I traded into was all sorts of frozen up. Saddle screws rusted into place (drilled out the intonation screws to remove) and worst of all - one of the mounting screws had broken off inside the body. So the top half of the screw was sitting loose and the lower half is down (not flush) inside.

Any advice?

At this point I am thinking of just leaving that one screw out. The other 5 are fine and I usually only have the outer two making full contact.

Any foolproof way to extract without making things worse?

Thanks!
 

Laurent Brondel

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,324
If a screw extractor does not work, and it may not given the small size of the screw, you have to drill around the screw with a plug cutter, the smallest going around the screw, take the screw off, plug the hole and re-drill. Something like this.
 

swiveltung

Senior Member
Messages
14,485
It'll work fine with 5. You could silicone the screw head back in place to make it look better!
 

sting7777

slinger of notes
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
566
If a screw extractor does not work, and it may not given the small size of the screw, you have to drill around the screw with a plug cutter, the smallest going around the screw, take the screw off, plug the hole and re-drill. Something like this.
thanks. I was looking for something like this but a little larger. I'll keep searching - probably my best bet
 

cardinal

Member
Messages
5,433
I don't know how small they make Dremel engraving bits, but maybe you could cut a notch into what's left of the screw and get it out with a screw driver.
 

sting7777

slinger of notes
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
566
I don't know how small they make Dremel engraving bits, but maybe you could cut a notch into what's left of the screw and get it out with a screw driver.
The screw is about half an inch below the surface of the wood - it twisted apart
 

AdmiralB

Member
Messages
3,060
The screw is about half an inch below the surface of the wood - it twisted apart
Someone here - Walter I think - recommends brass tubing, just big enough to fit over the screw shank. Chuck it in a drill press, then cut 'teeth' on the end with a file, and use it as a drill to remove a wood plug with the screw inside.

Then dowel and redrill.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
39,359
thanks! I will try that
yep, cheap and reasonably easy. you can find the brass tubing at the hobby store. you want the tubing inner diameter to just fit around the screw shaft.

the key trick is to set the drill to unscrew when you start drilling down onto the screw shaft. chances are once the tubing gets down around the screw shaft it will grab the screw and back it right out, as opposed to having to drill all the way down around it.
 

sting7777

slinger of notes
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
566
I was able to drill out to 3/8", remove the remains of the screw, and have a 3/8" plug cutter. Any issue with using another hardwood for the plug? I don't have spare alder and this will be covered by the trem completely so aesthetics aren't important.

Thanks again for the advice on this one...
 

sting7777

slinger of notes
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
566
specifically how do we feel about a red oak plug with titebond, chiseled flush, dried, re-drilled with 7/64" bit, screw run through, and then some star bond super thin/fast CA after the fact to fill the pores and ensure any little crevices are filled, dried, then final assembly?
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
39,359
the real problem is if the screw ends up the slightest bit off-center it will bind up the trem movement. you might even want to go with a softer wood, use titebond, skip the CA, and string it right up so that the wood around the screw can be slightly "squished" enough to let the screw get aligned with the rest before the glue dries.

so were you able to save any of the old hole or did you have to drill it all out?
 

sting7777

slinger of notes
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
566
I had to drill it all out. I think if I had a larger drill press I would have been able to get fancier, but I was able to get all the old screw out and plug it cleanly.

I tried poplar and it kept delaminating along the grain lines too easily either when I made the plug or when i tapped it into place.

I ended up using the red oak and then using a punch to get the screw hole centered. I took your advice and loose fit the trem with the titebond still wet and everything seems good.

Once its dry I'll back the screw out and hit the plug with the CA and sand any rough edges before calling it done.

Thanks for the help! It is greatly appreciated. This was a repair I was 100% not expecting but it has turned out as well as one could hope so far.

Next up is a level, crown, and polish. Looking forward to using my new Stew Mac Z file.
 






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