Fretboard Dots - Brad Point??

tkmclaughlin

TDPRI Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2013
Posts
56
Location
Armonk, NY
Hi all. I’ve built a few fretboards so far and am still in learning territory. I also don’t have the most precise drill press (I’ve got a Harbor Freight model which a guy once made me laugh when he called it a “boat anchor”). Anyway, I’ve struggled getting the process right for drilling fretboard markers. I buy the ones from StewMac and they are pretty thin (1.27mm). You don’t have much room for error before you go too deep with the hole, and when I sand flush sometimes it hollows out a part of the dot. My question is whether I’ve been using the wrong drill bit. My 1/4” Brad point bit does not leave a flat cavity. Obviously it leaves a dot in the center, but more importantly the shape of the flutes leaves kind of like a concave frisbee sort of shape (with a hole in the middle) where there is like a raised disk in the center of cavity sloping down toward the outside of the hole. So even though I set my drill press to drill the right depth, it’s actually raised up a bit in the middle and the dot sits too high in the cavity. So then I try to go a little lower, and inevitably go too low.

Is there, maybe, a flat-bottomed drill bit I should be using that would more accurately let me measure my holes?

EDIT - maybe I should use an end mill bit?

Sorry for the dumb question but any advice would be helpful!
 
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tkmclaughlin

TDPRI Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2013
Posts
56
Location
Armonk, NY
Thank you for the Brad point bit recommendation. I kind of suspected that mine might be of poorer quality in that they leave that dome shape. I will look into improving my bit set.
 

Dan Miller

Tele-Meister
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Mar 22, 2011
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139
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Thousand Islands, New York
Trivia time :cool: - a lot of folks don't realize how long they've been around. The original patent for them is from 1886. Here is a set I have meant to be used in a bit brace.
 

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oldunc

Friend of Leo's
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Jan 31, 2014
Posts
2,043
Location
California
Forstner bits are guided by their rim once they're started, so it would actually be possible to start a hole with a regular bit and finish it with a pointless one, I wonder if anyone's done anything with that? Never had a problem with the point, myself, but it could happen.
 

novakane

TDPRI Member
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May 31, 2019
Posts
60
Location
Canada
Trivia time :cool: - a lot of folks don't realize how long they've been around. The original patent for them is from 1886. Here is a set I have meant to be used in a bit brace.
I have an adapter and use some more modern forstner bits in a very old Stanley 923 for routing out cavities in guitar bodies.
 




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