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How did Fender drill for truss rod in one piece neck?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by TenaciousP, Jan 26, 2021.

  1. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    Thread update....

    So I thought I had come up with a great idea for drilling into the ends of a fender skunk stripe style neck for truss rod installation. The idea was based on a scene in the 1950’s fender factory tour film in which a guy appeared to do something to the end of a strat neck on a drill press. So I spent some time building a jig to go in my drill press. I made numerous practice necks with truss rod channels to test this drilling method. And after much experimentation, it turned out to be a near total failure.

    Here was my basic set up. Board with pin is mounted to a piece of steel angle attached to the arm that supports the drill press table.

    FBC875CD-DB3C-43DB-BDF3-3A808DF35D36.jpeg

    neck goes on like this.
    FEEDC95E-D235-49FF-ABCE-F0AC88AC8A7C.jpeg
    Neck was positioned vertically with a level on the center line and then clamped in place. Then drilled.
    B98DB9FE-B738-43BD-A642-A87F11047BB5.jpeg

    Drill bushing inserted for the through hole to the channel.
    378F4F9C-E505-41AD-B134-3E7468E26D5D.jpeg

    Occasionally I would get lucky and it would come out perfect.

    CFDB241C-42AE-40BD-82A2-B222BC519660.jpeg

    But I would say about 80% of the time, it would not. Like so....

    5E9BEAF2-6AF7-4807-B211-4D6331C1E359.jpeg

    I’m not sure what goes wrong. I suspect it is a combination of inaccuracies. Some times I think the pin/backer board is misaligned with the drill bit. I tried to do all the alignment with the 3/16 drill, but after some use, it seems that it has developed a very slight bend. If I align the pin with the bit , then rotate the bit 189 degrees, it ends up being slightly misaligned. Also I think my 3/8 bit walks slightly sometimes. I even bought a fancy W.L. Fuller brad point bit to do the 3/8 counterbore, but I think if the brad hits a hard growth ring when it first starts, it will get pushed off axis a little as well. Overall, I think there is just too much sloppiness in drilling the initial counter bore when using such a long drill bit with no guide bushing to support the tip and middle. Once the counter bore is off a little, even with a bushing in the counterbore for the 3/16 bit, it’s already too late. The 3/16 hole will be off too. And I’ve found that it doesn’t have to be off by much before it’s going in to the side of the channel.

    So in conclusion, this experiment was a failure and I think I’m gonna go back to the “normal” method of drill guide blocks on each end of the neck and a hand held drill.

    I still can’t determine exactly how fender did it back in the day. I’m sure the guy in the factory film is drilling something in the end of the neck. He may have been drilling the through hole with a bushing in the counterbore. I don’t know... If so, that doesn’t tell us how the counterbore was drilled.

    So anyhow, if anyone has any other ingenious ideas of how this process can be done, feel free to share.
     
    old wrench likes this.
  2. pavel

    pavel Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    Very cool setup, it seems agonizingly close.

    Could you perhaps try one of these Kreg drill bits?

    25K6167-kreg-easy-set-step-drill-bit-f-0054.jpg
    https://www.rockler.com/kreg-easy-set-pocket-hole-drill-bit

    They are not long enough for the normal drill guide, but since you are drilling directly into the headstock, they might work.

    They leave a nice pilot hole for the 3/16".
     
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  3. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    I thought about the Kreg drill bit, I actually have one for other wood working projects. But I don’t think it’s long enough for the drill chuck to clear the headstock.
     
  4. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    I thought about using a drill bit extension as well. However the interface between the bit and the extension always seems a bit wiggly. I thought about the kind with set screws in the side, but then the barrel of the extension (part the bit goes up in to) is too large and may rub the face of the headstock. In an attempt to make the counterbore location more accurate and consistent, I bought one of these super expensive, good quality brad point bit:

    https://woodshopbits.com/products/b...xtra-long-12-inches-hss?variant=8861864656959

    but unfortunately, it still let me down. I think the brad can be pushed off axis by a hard growth ring in the wood and cause the bit to start slightly off the center line. I’m afraid that a 12” drill bit (or even a 10”) is just too flexible when it’s unsupported. Even with the larger 3/8 bit. And once it starts a little bit off, it’s almost impossible to get it to restart in the right place. At that point it’s just screwed up.
     
  5. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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  6. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    I think this method would work, if everything was aligned exactly and the drill bits were completely rigid and could not walk while starting or bow while drilling. But I’m afraid that in reality, those conditions just don’t exist. I was so curtain this set up would work, and it is painfully close. But I tried numerous varying techniques and made a large addition to the “pile of shame” with all my failed test necks, but could never get consistently good results.
     
  7. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    Yea, that’s what I started with. 3/8 and 3/16 regular spiral drill bits. 12” length. But even the 3/8 would walk a little when starting. From that point, it would just bow as it’s drilling in.
     
  8. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I tried the drill press method years ago with a fixture setting on the table. Didn't work out.
     
  9. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I think a custom ground brad point, long but not too long could do it. Extra Jobber length.
     
  10. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    that's weird... it looks like I replied to your message but not all of it was there.
     
  11. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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  12. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    yea, I think I’m gonna make a set of guide blocks with bushings in them somehow and have them mount on a baseboard with the neck clamped down to it. I don’t think I can make something that indexes off the tuner holes like Ed made on his cnc, but I think I can come up with something that will work.
     
  13. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I started to design a jig made with a 3/8" slot routed on the router table. K.I.S.S. Principal. Then cut the 3 degree angle on the base of it. Clamp to paddle head....drill to depth.
     
  14. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    So the drill bit just runs in the slot I assume? Sounds like a pretty good idea. I’ll think on that.
     
  15. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Well kind of. It'll work for a single use or two probably. You could glue a top on and then insert hardened cylindrical drill guides. That was the idea anyway.

    I have a cnc program to cut the ramp with a router bit right on the wood, but ideally I'd like to do something with a portable drill.


    GRAINGER APPROVED Press-Fit Drill Bushing (P), Standard Wall, Headless, Fractional Inch, 3/8 in - 11E406|P484JQ - Grainger
     
  16. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    The thing is...I don't even make Fender necks as a rule. It's just the elusiveness of doing a one piece that gets me....like carving a les paul top with a violin maker's plane.
     
  17. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    I hear ya! At some point, I’d like to get in to building some original designs. I haven’t built a fender style guitar in a long time. But a friend asked if I would build him a fairly authentic blackguard tele (with my own logo of course), so I thought if I’m building him one, then I surely need one for myself. Then my neighbor asked if I’d be interested in doing a vintage style custom color strat build. Once again, I don’t have one of those either, so while I’m at it, I might as well... I thought it might be interesting to build up a small batch of 4 guitars. I’d like to see how much more efficient it would be to do multiple in an assembly line style. But we all want maple one piece necks. And building a reasonably authentic one piece neck is really the one thing standing in my way. I really like the challenge of the one piece neck as well. It’s a tough design to pull off for an amateur like me.
     
  18. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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  19. old wrench

    old wrench Friend of Leo's

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    @TenaciousP said -" And after much experimentation, it turned out to be a near total failure."


    I appreciate your candor :).

    But, the important thing is it's not a total failure.

    You're mighty close, amigo :).


    I can smell the wood burning from here ;).

    .
     
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