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ruh roh, broken neck screws...

getbent
December 7th, 2008, 11:25 PM
I got a tele to work on... I went to remove the neck... grabbed my 18v drill and went to back out the screws.. 3 of 4 came out about a half in long! broken!

Never ever encountered this... How do I get the neck off? it is on there solid...with three of four screws...

oh holy men who call themselves tele techs... advice? drill them out?

Tim Armstrong
December 7th, 2008, 11:27 PM
Ouch!

No advice from me, just...

Ouch!

Tim

voodoostation
December 7th, 2008, 11:37 PM
That's a bugger. I guess you could try an easy out. Or make you a little hole saw from some copper tubing and try to cut the wood around the screws. I'd chicken out and try the easy out.

Jack Wells
December 8th, 2008, 12:00 AM
What sort (brand) of guitar is this? Normally the screw holes in the body should be sized to allow the screw to slide through freely. Doesn't sound like that's the case in your situation.

I like voodoostation's tubing idea if you can find tubing of the right diameter. I would probably use a 5/32 in. drill bit and drill down until I hit the screw then use the tubing to drill around the screw. You can get 5/32 in. brass tubing at Hobby Lobby. That should go around the screw.

5/32 = 0.15625. According to the Stratocaster blueprint found in the Duchossoir Stratocaster book the neck screw holes in the body should be 0.166 in. diameter so the 5/32 in. tubing wouldn't give you oversized holes.

Nothing fancy about making the tubing plug cutter. Just use a triangular file to file notches in the end.

......http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v208/jwells393/NewAlbum2/BrassTubingHoleSaw.jpg

Put tape on the tubing as a stop guide so you don't drill little circles in the neck.

getbent
December 8th, 2008, 12:07 AM
it is a squier from a friend's son. The screws are definitely not freely moving.. I'll get some tube tomorrow.... let no good deed go unpunished... what would have been a quick couple of mods will now be a hassle...


thanks fellers! I really appreciate it.

Colt W. Knight
December 8th, 2008, 12:12 AM
Did the forth one come out okay, and the other three just break off half way (or there abouts)?

I am with Jack, all the teles I've taken apart have had over sized holes in the body. Do you think someone put some kind of adhesive in the screw holes to get them stuck in there like that?

I've used the tubing idea on other projects, but never a guitar. I took a file and cut teeth in the end, and it worked just fine. Id say any pipe would work, not just copper, as long as it fit into the chuck of your drill.

What kind of body is it? Wood type? Finish and color?

Buckocaster51
December 8th, 2008, 12:21 AM
What would Norm do?

Run a Sawz-All blade between the body and the neck...

That's what Norm would do.

But I like the tubing idea better.

:wink:

Stuco
December 8th, 2008, 12:25 AM
... I went to remove the neck... grabbed my 18v drill...

:shock:

Colt W. Knight
December 8th, 2008, 12:35 AM
What would Norm do?

Run a Sawz-All blade between the body and the neck...

That's what Norm would do.

But I like the tubing idea better.

:wink:

I didn't think Norm would use something fancy and modern like sawzall blade.

getbent
December 8th, 2008, 12:35 AM
fair enough stuco, but I've done that same thing many times with no ill effects and I go slow.. they were spun before I got there... the fourth screw was a different make. My friend's kid is a tinkerer, he may have had the neck off before.... I'm gonna do the tube thing... I caught myself saying "just once I want things to go as planned," but didn't because I had about 5 things go well today..

boris bubbanov
December 8th, 2008, 12:45 AM
:shock:


My reaction as well, but I'm thinking the damage was already done.

We need to find out a little more about the "repair history" on this guitar.

In other words, Randy, you was set up! :wink:

I can think of a dozen things I'd do to my own guitar in this instance but, given the surprises so far, I can't recommend any of them on someone else's - else's guitar.

Stuco
December 8th, 2008, 12:48 AM
lol, just joshing. Screwing really isn't dangerous with a drill I suppose (that is with guitars I mean :smile:), if the drill is set on very low. Unscrewing with a drill is probably not dangerous at all unless you have a vintage piece that you can't risk any stripping with the original neck screws.

getbent
December 8th, 2008, 12:53 AM
My reaction as well, but I'm thinking the damage was already done.

We need to find out a little more about the "repair history" on this guitar.

In other words, Randy, you was set up! :wink:

I can think of a dozen things I'd do to my own guitar in this instance but, given the surprises so far, I can't recommend any of them on someone else's - else's guitar.

I'm not gonna sweat it... I have some meetings tomorrow and a big project starting tomorrow night.. I'll get the tubing and make it in traffic and maybe tuesday night I'll tackle it... for the record, your honor, the screws offered no resistance coming out... they was gone already... ain't no thing.. I'm waiting for some left handed tuners for another guitar and I'm ready for christmas! whoa yeah!

Stuco
December 8th, 2008, 01:03 AM
Oh, and if there is some screw still sticking out then I would take a dremel tool and cut a little flathead notch in the end of the screw and well you get the idea.

getbent
December 8th, 2008, 01:25 AM
they are down there about 1/4"... I can't quite see them..

I will admit to trying to tap them out.. but they weren't budging...

Stuco
December 8th, 2008, 01:30 AM
hmm, well it sounds like that straw thing Jack recommended might be your best shot. At least this won't happen again with that body.

getbent
December 8th, 2008, 01:32 AM
exactly... it'll be a couple of days before I can tackle it.

tdowns
December 8th, 2008, 01:49 AM
So let me get this straight. You attempted to remove the neck mounting screws. Some part of the screw associated with the head of the screw broke off. So it sounds like the holes in the body are not "clearance holes" i.e, they are NOT big enough for the screw to freely glide through the hole. Because of that, they are stuck (threaded) into the body AND the neck?

If that is the case, I would drill through the holes in the body with a diameter big enough to obliterate the screw, until the neck is separated from the body. Then use jwells tubing idea to break out the screw and plug the hole with a hard wood dowel. I generally put the hardwood (oak) dowell in the drill press first and use a file edge to put groves (like threads) on the dowel. When you glue it in, the glue finds holding strength in those groves.

Good luck my man!!!!

getbent
December 8th, 2008, 01:52 AM
Terry, you are correct. I have encountered several squiers that are very tight. When I've encountered them, I've always increased the diameter of the body holes... but, on this one.. it is as though the screws are threaded in the body...

I'm gonna give it a go.

tdowns
December 8th, 2008, 02:09 AM
For a clearance hole, a #19 drill bit should work (0.166" diameter). The next size up is a 11/64" (0.172") bit. The #8 screw is 0.164" nominal dia. Obliteration should occur.


Try to not drill all the way so the stub of a screw is sticking up out of the neck. This may allow for vise grip removal.


If you don't have anything to grab on, resolve to cutting the screw out. After you use the tubing to "break out" the screw in the neck, experiment with drilling a hole in a scrap piece of wood that is tight when driving the new hard wood dowel in it. Use that diameter for the neck. Grooves make the glue hold very good.

Am I being a jerk when I say "don't drill too deep and bust out on the front of the neck" !!! I've never done that, but it could happen so easily.

MickM
December 8th, 2008, 02:46 AM
Before trying the tubing cutter or trying to obliterate the screws with a drill bit (an end mill will do it but a drill bit will want to walk off to the side of the screw), my suggestion is to clamp the body tight to a solid surface. Then you can use the length of the neck for leverage and [B]very patiently[B] work it up and down. Once you can work a thin knife between the neck and the pocket, you should be able to work something stiffer like a small pry bar or wood chisel in there and pop the 2 pcs apart. Patience should reward you with a clean "break" or you could probably grab the head, yank and....lots more splinters!

Also when/if you get the gap to open, you can cut a 2" strip of plastic milk jug or something similar to put between the pocket and neck so's you don't mar the edge of the nice painted body with whatever tool you're using to spread the 2. Good luck with your method of choice.

Rob DiStefano
December 8th, 2008, 08:36 AM
tdowns sez - I would drill through the holes in the body with a diameter big enough to obliterate the screw, until the neck is separated from the body. Then use jwells tubing idea to break out the screw and plug the hole with a hard wood dowel. I generally put the hardwood (oak) dowell in the drill press first and use a file edge to put groves (like threads) on the dowel. When you glue it in, the glue finds holding strength in those groves.

Terry's got the fix that I'd use - been there, done that, it works just fine. The necks screws in question are basically pot metal and will get soundly eaten by any good HSS or carbide bit. You must use a drill press and the neck must be clamped firmly to the press table. I prefer to use a flat blade screwdriver to score some parallel flutes into the dowel plugs - this allows any excess slow set epoxy (and air) to escape as the plug is tapped down.

FWIW, this is why I only use stainless steel neck screws, and lube them with wax before inserting.

Jack Wells
December 8th, 2008, 09:45 AM
I'm not sure obliterating the screw is the best idea.

With the tubing plug cutter idea, as I thinking about it, you could release the neck from the body and have enough of the three screws sticking out of the neck that you could grab them with Vice-Grips (and hopefully not break them off in the neck). Let me explain my method in a little more detail.

The body wood at that point is about an inch thick. Use a 5/32 in. bit to drill and stop when it hits the screw. This 5/32 in. hole will guide the 5/32 in. tubing. The tubing should be marked with masking tape. The tape should be put at a point equal to the thickness of the body wood. Drill down around the screw stopping at the tape marker. Once this has been done to all three screws, the neck should release. Take the screws out with Vice-Grips.

If by chance any of the screws break off in the neck, use the tubing to drill down around the screw, then break off the plug containing the screw. Drill that hole larger, glue in a suitable dowel, cut it and sand it flush and redrill the neck hole. Soap or wax the new screws when putting it all back together.

......http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v208/jwells393/BrokenScrewRemoval.jpg

getbent
December 11th, 2008, 02:06 AM
Well, here is the report back....

First, thank you to everyone for your tips... I can't tell you how blessed I feel to have your skill sets helping someone with remedial skills at best. I work on guitars for fun and what I tell Greg Menacho (the guy I have do serious stuff that has to be right on my guitars) and Val King (who I have check out my amps from time to time) I am happy to spend some money on someone who really has skills.. my tinkering teaches me that it is only simple if you know what is UP!

Okay, so I don't have a drill press... so, I toyed with buying one and seeing how thrilled my wife was with a new tool that large at this time of the year (for the record she has never ever complained... not once.) I decided to try a hybrid approach of the three or four.... I clamped the guitar, and I enlarged the holes leading to the offending screws, when I found metal, I continued trying to drill and it did some chewing but, because I didn't have a drill press, I started to get squirrelly so I stopped.. this caused enough 'movement' that I took a bread knife and slid it into the new gap and did a little 'torking' (I kept thinking about a video of Redd V. bending his neck and feeling good about that.) Then I fashioned a tube like what JW suggested.. I drilled a bit until it bound, then I took a Nail set and tapped the screws with a couple of good pops... enough movement to take the bread knife and feed in some rectangular rubber feet (from some stomp boxes) that caused enough 'oomph' to pop it on out of there... I had done some wiggling as well... but it came out pretty clean. I took the offending screws out of the neck, cleaned that all up and the only negative are two very very small marks at one of the screw holes and at the point where the body meets the back of the neck there is a small indentation where on one of the flexes it caused the amazingly soft indonesian mystery wood to compress...

You guys saved the day. I thank you with the utmost sincerity. The guitar is cleaned up, I did the stuff the guy wanted, threw away any semblance of pot metal neck screws in my stocks and bought yesterday about 5 sets when I was over in santa cruz. Stainless Steel from now on anytime I pull anybodies off or put on new ones!

Thanks again!