Just one more turn dumbass

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by morsecode, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. morsecode

    morsecode Member

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    Yes that's me! :bonk

    Need some help. I overtightened the screw for my strap button on my Les Paul and broke the head off the screw leaving the rest of the screw lodged in the guitar.

    I cannot get at it with pliers so that option is out. Any suggestions to help remove this?

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  2. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    aarghh!

    you get a bit of brass tubing from the hobby shop that's just bigger around than the screw shaft, use a hacksaw or file to put teeth into one end, chuck it into your drill set to unscrew, then start drilling down around the screw shaft. with any luck, it'll grab the screw and back it out before you drill all the way down around it.

    if the resulting hole is too deep, you can fix it with toothpicks and wood glue, and crank in a new screw while the glue is still wet. (this time make sure that what's left of the original hole is deep enough for the replacement.)
     
  3. morsecode

    morsecode Member

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    Okay...thanks...sounds like a job that I can do.
     
  4. Baxtercat

    Baxtercat Member

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    On one of these screwups I bored a new hole alongside. The old hole was hidden by the strap button anyway.
     
  5. Rockledge

    Rockledge Member

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    When there is some of the screw protruding, I use a dremel and a disc to cut a slot in it and use a small flathead to back it out, if I cannot get small vise grips to grasp it.
    If that doesn't do it, I cut a small channel around the screw
    with a fine dremel bit. Then reach into it with small needle nose.
    Normally if you are careful the work doesn't show after the hole is filled, just be careful to keep the repair area smaller than the felt bushing.
     
  6. Brazen

    Brazen Member

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    Just what I was going to suggest. I've done it.
     
  7. morsecode

    morsecode Member

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    Super...thanks a lot guys!
     
  8. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    do you really want a mis-placed strap button covering a busted-off screw in your les paul?

    do it right, drill it out with the tubing :nono

    it's not the easy way, but it is the cowboy way ;)
     
  9. mikeylikesit

    mikeylikesit Member

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    I learned this trick many years ago. It works!
     
  10. doc

    doc Member

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    I may not be understanding something, but can't you use one of those screw extractor bits that you just drill into the end of the broken screw? (basically its kind of a blunt screw with large ridges that turn the opposite direction from a normal screw - you drill into the broken screw going in the "unscrew" direction and it pulls it out)
     
  11. Rockledge

    Rockledge Member

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    The screws are too small. Extractor bits are at best a crap shoot even with larger bolts. But the smaller they get the more brittle they are and the less torque they can take. I have never seen one small enough to fit in a hole in a strap screw, even if you could drill a hole in the center of it, which is near impossible.
     
  12. morsecode

    morsecode Member

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    Hey Walter, I'll be going the "cowboy" way....better to do it right. With respect to the brass tube....when you say that I can find it at a "hobby" shop....what type of shop would you be referring to? Or would I be able to find a drill bit that could channel around the screw at Home Depot.
     
  13. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    around here, "hobby shops" refer to places that sell stuff like model airplane engines, railroad tracks for model trains, batteries for remote control cars, little woodworking tools, stuff like that.

    hobbytown USA, for example.

    also, mcmaster-carr will have various kinds of tubing and oddball stuff.
     
  14. Schafrocks

    Schafrocks Member

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    I had the same thing happen and tried to extract the screw (actually it was my machinist buddy of mine). I guess the wood had somehow gotten hot and expanded around the screw. It wouldn't come out for anything. He ended up making a jig and drilling the thing out. He was cussing me for days. I was personally going to give up and drill the hole beside it and cover it with the strap button but it was a Gibson CS LPS quilt top so I let him give it a try. This is the guitar.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. antiquodian

    antiquodian Member

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    That makes me feel so nasty.
     
  16. bunny

    bunny Member

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    Drill around the screw with a brass tubing (cut a few small "teeth" with a needle file into the tubing edge) and make it about 5\16" in diameter. Start at low speed and make sure the tubing won't slip and mare the finish around. Gently break and extract the wood piece with the broken screw inside, use smth sharp and sturdy like a scribe. Plug the hole with a hardwood dovel and use a little white glue (or hide glue), hammer it in with minimal tention. LP's are heavy and mahogany is soft. Drill a small hole for your new srew. Pre-thread it with a spare screw in a drill at very low speed, use some wax or parafine to lube it - not necessary but it helps to save the new screw.
    That's the way to make it hold forever.
     

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