Hardwood dowels

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Geniustoogs, Dec 20, 2018.

  1. Brokenpick

    Brokenpick Tele-Afflicted

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    So... I ain't no wooditologist or machinist or jig/tool/diemaker like some are..... but
    Ima go way out on a limb here and say that just to fill a somewhat nearby vacant hole, with neither new threads and structural aspects or grain-matching as a goal........................... it matters very little what you stick in there. G'on down to LOWE'S, pick the dowel of your dreams outta their "craft wood" cubby, scribe a groove or two in it, and jam it in there with some Titebond. The empty hole's will be very supported.
     
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  2. Geniustoogs

    Geniustoogs Tele-Meister

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    That’s good enough for me! Lol thanks
     
  3. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Meister

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    Poplar's hardness is very similar to alder, and it's very light.

    I'm building a Partscaster from poplar and I'm really excited about it.

    Typing this, I don't recall if the OP said what the body is made of, and I don't want to retype this!
     
  4. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Friend of Leo's

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    If fender was in the east instead of the west, there would probably be a lot of poplar telecasters instead of alder telecasters.

    The only thing that prevents more of its use is the funny green hue, sometimes drastically green in the heart, but you can't see that under paint.
     
  5. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Meister

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    The body I got is a beautiful 2 piece alder. It would have been perfect for a translucent finish, but for a little green heart wood in the back.

    So it's going to be Dakota Red instead. 20180622_174229.jpeg
     
  6. DuckDodgers

    DuckDodgers Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Or... buy some steel or brass threaded inserts, and use machine screws to fasten the neck. They don’t wear out, even after thousands of cycles. I’ve seen this done by individuals, but I’ve never seen it on a production guitar.
     
  7. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I have some 1/8" poplar dowels on hand but they are too small to fill the screw holes in a body.
    I think the OP mentioned using 1/8" dowels?
    Are the body holes that small?
    I also have what must be 3/16" poplar dowels but the tag is gone.
    IME dowels vary in dimension, probably dry and warp a little after milling.
    If I was filling those holes I'd make plugs by hand- with utility knife and sandpaper- rather than taking a trip to the hardware store to procure some slivers of wood.
    Or I might use what's on hand if I had dowels that fit well, or had dowels a little bigger and then drilled out the offending holes.
    For relocating pickguard screws I keep poplar dowels in the shop, but in reality much of the time I end up whittling something that suits the situation.
    The softer the wood the more over size I make the plug, and if it's a softer wood like pine or poplar I ensure the hole and plug are both saturated with glue first, since the glue is pushed out by the tight fit.
    Depending on whether it's a through hole or a blind hole, where you need a slot in the dowel to let the glue escape
    A 1/8" hole may be a loose fit for a 1/8" dowel, because they are not very accurately sized. Or it may be a tight fit. Drill bits are more consistent than dowels!
    If you can push in the dowel/ plug and the glues escapes around it, the fit is probably too loose, and when the dowel dries and shrinks, it will pull away from some portion of the glue joint.
    If it's a nice tight fit, sometimes the plug will swell and bind before being driven in far enough, so I usually mark the required depth on the plug if it may be an issue.
    Or if there is no groove to let the glue out of a blind hole, the plug cannot go to the bottom of a hole filled with glue.

    Some of this may sound obsessive but I've gotten guitars for repair many times with glued in dowels that were falling out because they either fit poorly or were not glued properly.
    Some may also have dried and shrunk over some years after being glued in, hard to say when only seeing the eventual result.

    I do have plug cutters so I can make plugs of the same wood with correct grain orientation, but while they may cut a plug up to 1" or more long, the plug is usually warped/ curved, and may still not be long enough to fill a deep hole like the OP has.
    I've not seen plug cutters smaller than 1/4", but they may be out there.
    Not sure you could drive a 1" long 3/16" diameter cross grain plug anyhow, even a 1/4" plug will break when driven to much depth.
     
  8. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yeah inserts are preferable to plugged redrilled holes in the neck IMO, but the OP eventually clarified that he is re drilling holes in the body, not the neck.
    I have one '89 Fender neck that i put inserts in a few years ago and have since had on and off a few guitars. Working great!

    If I see a good price on a nice used neck but the screw holes have been plugged and drilled again, I consider it a huge loss of value and generally am not interested in it at all. Dowels in neck heels almost makes them worthless IMO.
     
  9. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Dowels are seldom round too, especially the way wood shrinks and swells. Try to find one that is straight at Lowes....:).
     
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  10. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    The hard wood from most hardware stores should be fine. Tight fit and you can use ISO glue, if not use epoxy. I would never use a plug cutter on the board face for those. The wood just peels right out if you do it with that grain orientation because the grain is running across the hole, it just splits at each layer and comes right out!. I've put thousands of plugs in sailboat decks.
     
  11. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Friend of Leo's

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    If you guys think cut dowels are bad, you should see the ones sent through a die like the LN die. They aren't even straight, but when you bang them home, they're straight.

    I agree with the comment above about them being full length and full fill (and slightly compressed is preferable) in a fill hole. If need be, thicken glue with sawdust or something of the sort and try to aim to get them slightly compressed going in.

    As far as them being too large or too small, bigger dowels if they're too small (or a filled glue with them, like epoxy with a fill in it) or what's easier than drilling the holes to perfect size, cut the dowels to a reasonable length and then put them in a cordless drill and pinch sandpaper around them.

    If I need a specific size (which is rare, but sometimes I cut dowels to use as dot markers), then I will turn that size on a lathe. If you want exotic dowels, it's often easier to find a piece of straight exotic that's too hard to go through a dowel making plate and turn it - that's a big ask if you don't have a lathe, but you can do a little bit in a drill chuck for short pieces.

    A dowel plate is a nice thing to have nonetheless if you're going to do this often. Even if you want long grain from a plug cutter, you can just punch the dowel in past the surface of the wood and drop the plug in. The only reason I can think of to do that is to try to keep a dowel from coming proud out of a hole on flatsawn wood - it's hard to get plugs not to telegraph a line of some sort.

    Long story short, dowel in the entire hole tight or under some compression if possible. Budget 15 minutes to do the job if it takes it rather than trying to find prefit stuff that will be perfect and that you can stuff in the holes in a minute.
     
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  12. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yeah I started with hand cutting plugs in boat building, and one shop we had to match the grain and color well enough that the practice was to install and trim before the glue dried, but if the match wasn't perfect, we had to drill a small hole in the plug, drive a screw, pull out the plug and try again.
    Plug cutters are I'd agree really best for shallow use (maybe up to 1/2"), and they do break pretty easily when being driven.
    Plus the beginning of the plug cutter cut is usually not as accurate as the middle of the cut depth once the cutter is stabilized in the work. And if the cutter is not nice and sharp, it will have lots of tear out on the end grain portions.
    For boats you probably had to keep sharpening your plug cutter, or grabbing new cutters if you both cut them and installed them.
    The single flute is easy to sharpen but the four flute is harder to get perfect.
     
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