HELP! remove striped bridge screw

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by sergiomajluf, Jan 29, 2016.

  1. sergiomajluf

    sergiomajluf Tele-Meister

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    repeat after me: I shall not use the powered screwdriver on fast speed with unknown quality screws.

    I stripped one of the bridge screws. How do I fix this?

    I don't have that special tool to remove screws. Will I have to make a maple plug to fill the hole? I'm crying...
    ImageUploadedByTDPRI1454108819.985526.jpg
     
  2. jimdkc

    jimdkc Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Use a plug cutter in a drill to cut out the screw, then glue in a dowel.

    If you're gonna break a screw, a bridge screw is a good choice! Pretty easy to hide the fix!

    In a pinch, some have made their own plug cutter by filing teeth in the end of a piece of rigid brass or copper tubing...
     
  3. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Depending on how tight the screw fits in the hole, you might be able to chisel down 1/8" or so and grab the screw with vice grips to unscrew it.
    With a string through bridge you could even get away with only three screws, so if you have to remove more wood to get the screw out the bridge will still be secure.
    You don't want to bugger up the string through holes trying to get that screw out though!
     
  4. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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  5. sergiomajluf

    sergiomajluf Tele-Meister

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    good ideas!!!

    what about cutting a slot so I can fit a flat screw driver? Would that work? I have a Dremwl with citing discs, but no tube around to try the plug suggestion
     
  6. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .
    Try the dremel first, if you can get a slot in it and the screwdriver holds you'll be in the best shape.
    Second is that grip pliers suggestion, dig just enough wood out around the screw to get the pliers to grab it.
    If you have a sharp awl you might be able to get it dug in off-center on the screw shank and then tap it around to twist the screw up enough for the pliers.

    I used the last one to get the stub of a broken whammy bar out of the trem block on a used guitar I bought a few years ago. The reason it broke off was the previous owner mis-matched threads and twisted it until fracture. I had to re-tap the block.

    Do a search on youtube and you'll find a few good options.
     
  7. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    ""repeat after me: I shall not use the powered screwdriver on fast speed with unknown quality screws.""

    OK.....I shall not use the powered screwdriver on fast speed with unknown quality screws.

    once bitten, twice shy......:twisted:
     
  8. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yes!!! The plug cutter option should only be used if you've twisted the head off the screw and can't get it out any other way. And even then there are plenty of other options.

    In fact, it looks like the screw is above the surface a bit, I'd try a small pair of Vise-Grips clamped tightly on the head first.

    Bearing in mind, of course, that everyone has different ways to deal with this stuff. My personal credo is to start with the least aggressive option, then escalate as necessary. The big advantage is that should something slip, you'll have less damage to repair later.

    Now, how did you get into this spot? Did you drill pilot holes first? Always drill pilot holes when you're doing guitar work. Lube your screws with wax before driving them. When driving screws in new holes, work the screwdriver back and forth as you go as if tapping threads. And, of course, don't use a power driver on instruments. Bet you know at least one reason for this now...
     
  9. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I think he's referring to the second screw from the right. That appears to be the decapitated head of that screw sitting upside down behind the bridge.

    Trying to cut a slot in that one with a cutoff wheel on a Dremel will also cut a slot in the top of the guitar. A plug cutter is going to be the best option in this case.
     
  10. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Those bridge screws are pretty thin, I don't think there would be much left after you cut a slot in it, and you'd end up breaking it off even deeper.
    Vice grips would give you a better chance of getting it out with the least amount of wood removal. Like Dsutton said, clamp it tightly the first time- or you'll just round off the end bit of the screw.
    And again, if this is a string through body you don't even need that 4th screw to hold the bridge on.
     
  11. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Okay... I guess 'strip(p)ed head' has a different meaning than I'm accustomed to.

    To the OP: Do you have a drill press? If so, a plug cutter is good, bearing in mind that most plug cutters aren't very deep.

    If not, you're going to find a plug cutter to be very unmanageable. I'd drill a hole on the neck side of the broken screw, at least as deep as the screw. You want he new hole to be a little bigger than the diameter of the broken screw, and you want it close to it, skimming he edge of it. Use a small punch to drive the broken screw into the new hole, and lift it out. Drill a new hole that cleans up the first two holes, and plug it with a face grain plug, not a dowel.
     
  12. LeftFinger

    LeftFinger Friend of Leo's

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    That's a simple solution
     
  13. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I used dsutton's method to get these broken tuner screws out of a second hand neck I bought once.. it came with tuners, I didn't see any pics of the back with the screw heads missing..... great..:rolleyes:

    .....I tried to keep the hole/digging inside the tuner footprint so it would all be covered once plugged/finished.... worked out fine....:)

    I made a tool out of a sharpened/flattened nail to help push the screw into the new hole ...and to get down beside the threads to break the wood...

    I make big pilot holes for these small screws... they only have to hold themselves into the wood and only stop the tuner turning.... they don't need any bite... you could glue them in if need be....:rolleyes:
     

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  14. Ripthorn

    Ripthorn Tele-Afflicted

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    The tubing really is the best way to do it. If you try to use a dremel disc, you will create a slit on the wood around it that really can't be fixed. Using the tubing you can do a complete repair. Just look for brass hobby tubing. You should be able to get enough to make a dozen cutters or more for $5-10. I know it sucks and that you would rather spend that elsewhere, but in the scheme of building one of these things, another $5-10 to fix it the right way is worth it. Take it from me, I'm plenty cheap, so if I think something is worth spending the extra money, it most likely is :)
     
  15. Lost_N_Austin

    Lost_N_Austin Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Last edited: Jan 30, 2016
  16. Michael A.

    Michael A. Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    I have heard of using a roll pin for this task. Measure the shank diameter of one of the undamaged screws and find a roll pin with a matching inside diameter. File a cutting edge on the bottom of the pin and drill slowly in reverse over the shank of the broken screw. With luck, the roll pin will surround the shank and unscrew the threaded remnant of the old screw.

    Here is what a roll pin looks like, most hardware stores have them, very inexpensive. Practice drilling first on a scrap piece of similar wood.
     

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  17. sergiomajluf

    sergiomajluf Tele-Meister

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    Amazing discussion and suggestions, I've gone through all, followed the links and the links from the links, and I think there are a few things going on here, which I'll try to clean up as follows:

    1, "stripped screw" might not be the best description to my problem, I reckon... Most ideas and solutions are directed towards my problem though. Thank you guys!

    2, If I had thought a little longer how to describe that in English, I would have certainly be able to find most of the posts linked here that address the same problem. Again, my fault for a less than thorough search. For some forum admins, users revisiting old problems with new threads is wrong. In my view it's an opportunity for new ideas to come up :)

    3, even having drilled a pilot hole, and lubricating the screw before insertion didn't avoid the problem. This is not a material fault, it's a user induced problem with the power tool. My fault again. A suggestion of going forward and backwards while inserting the screw was made. I would add that we should take some time while doing that, because the screw will heat up, and heat debilitated the metal.

    4, for the record (and future users looking for how to remove a screw with a broken off head) this are the ideas you have contributed to:
    - remove surrounding wood using an aluminum or brass cylinder with sharped teeth in one end, installed in a (ideally press) drill, turning counterclockwise while
    pressing. Fill hole with dowel.
    - drill another pilot hole parallel and close to the original, then prying the broken screw into the now larger hole. Remove screw. Clean up and fill hole with dowel.
    - grab the screw with a vise and slowly rotate back and forth to loose the screw, then unscrew.
    - if screw is wide enough and you don't care much for the wood surface, cut a slot into the screw and remove it with a flat head screwdriver.
    - if the strings go through the body (as opposed to a top loaded bridge) it might even not be necessary to replace the screw. Three might hold the bridge in place just fine.

    I might not be able to fix this for a couple of weeks - shop at work is closed for summer vacations now - but when I do I'll come back and post the results.

    Thanks to everybody who has contributed!!!!
     
  18. whiteop

    whiteop Tele-Afflicted

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    I never use a powered screwdriver on any guitars or musical equipment because it's too easy to slip and bugger the head.
     
  19. sergiomajluf

    sergiomajluf Tele-Meister

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    Broken screw removed :)

    Finally had time to try several approaches. Will I get it out?

    First, I reamed around the hole using a Dremel. I wanted to have enough space to hold the screw with a vise and take it out.

    [​IMG]

    Somewhat clean, and not difficult to keep a round circle area, that although would be covered by the bridgeplate I would still knew it was there
    [​IMG]

    I could hold the screw with pliers, but maple is hard, and could not unscrew it.

    Then, moved onto trying to slot the screw. Only a tiny minor part of the wood was affected. But the screw is soft, so the flat screwdriver striped the head again
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Then I moved back to routing or drilling a bigger hole with the Dremel. The idea was to try to pry the scrwe sideways. This didn't work either. Maple is really hard and that screw was really tight.
    [​IMG]

    I have some aluminum tubing around, so I tried cutting some ugly teeth and crafting a plug remover
    [​IMG]

    But alas... aluminum is really soft, so I ended up with with a rivet manufacturing process, yet no screw remover still.
    [​IMG]

    But you know what... the hole is now big enough, and the screw is exposed enough to fit my IKEA powered screwdriver and hold it with the chuck
    [​IMG]

    Victory!
    Same tool (and user) that caused the problem, fixed it. And the hole is still clean enough so that my new, thicker screws will hold the bridge in place.
    [​IMG]
     
  20. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Good rescue!!!, this looks a very beautiful guitar!
     
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