Toothpick to fill tuner hole, glue no glue? pilot hole no pilot hole?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by omlove, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. omlove

    omlove TDPRI Member

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    So some of my tuner screws are no longer tight but keep spinning when screwed in.

    I learned that toothpicks are perfect fill for the holes and will create a good bite for the screw.

    My first world problem and question is: should I used glue and/or drill pilot hole before installing the screw?

    1. I see many do neither, and the logic is toothpicks are made of very soft wood.

    2. I could argue the contrary that soft wood needs strenthening and thus glue would be a good companion.

    3. Besides, since it's a snug fill, would that extra material be too much for the hole and therefore need pilot hole to be drilled just like normal plug and bigger screw would require?

    Many thanks for your thoughts.
     
  2. Recce

    Recce Tele-Afflicted

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    Drop of wood glue on toothpick. Place toothpick in hole and cut off flat with body. Install screw.

    Someone did the toothpick deal on the strap screw on one of my guitars and it eventually backed out. I redid it with glue and it is good.
     
  3. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

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    Actually toothpicks are pretty dang hard wood. Match sticks are very soft though.
    I always clip off the real pointy tip of the toothpick, smidge of glue and tap it in.
    Oh, and yes I drill a 1/16th pilot hole later.
     
  4. Mike SS

    Mike SS Poster Extraordinaire

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    I just dip a round toothpick in wood glue, place it in the hole, snap it off flush, and install the screw. Do not overtighten. When it dries fully (I wait 24 hours) it is as good as the original wood.
     
  5. hippychip

    hippychip Tele-Meister

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    Tiny little tuner screw holes will barely fit the point of a toothpick, and I have fixed dozens of them without using glue.
     
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  6. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

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    OP, you're overthinking it.

    I use the round toothpicks. Cut the point off one end. Stick it in the screw hole. Cut the part that extends from the hole. Cut enough additional pieces to fill the hole. Insert the screw. Voila!

    Works perfectly. :)
     
  7. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    I always use glue ... tuner holes, pickguard holes, backplate holes. The reason is, later on if I go to switch the tuners again or change the pickguard, the little toothpick fragments fall back out, and I need to do it all over again.
     
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  8. mherrcat

    mherrcat Tele-Holic

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    Wood glue.
    Toothpick.
    Level with razor blade or sharp 1/4” chisel.
    Let dry.
    Pilot hole.

    I just did this replacing tuners on a Gibson SJ-200. The toothpicks were actually a bit too thick, so I put them in a drill chuck and held a piece of 120 sandpaper around them while running the drill for a few seconds until they were the right size to fit the original hole. (Be careful with the sandpaper, the toothpick can snap off easily. A couple of mine did.) Worked fine.

    Doing it this way you can get the toothpick the right size to bottom out in the original hole, so you know the hole is completely filled. Test fit the toothpick in the hole before applying glue. The glue will expand the toothpick and make a final tight fit when it dries. Leveling the toothpick before drilling the pilot hole helps keep the bit from wandering. I also pre-started the pilot by hand using the tuner screw hole as a guide. This will also keep the bit from wandering. I left the tuner in place to complete the pilot with the portable drill.
     
  9. omlove

    omlove TDPRI Member

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    see post #8 :) :)
     
  10. omlove

    omlove TDPRI Member

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    Just within a few posts, I see each person has his own method and thinking lol

    too many ways to skin a cat!
     
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  11. telex76

    telex76 Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I use glue, no pilot hole. ever ha problem.
     
  12. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    Drop of CA glue. But realistically, a drop of thick style CA glue and no toothpick should do it for you. Then no drilling necessary. Remember, those tiny screws don't take much stress at all, just keep things in rotation mostly.
     
  13. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

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    I prefer to use small craft dowels instead of toothpicks since I have them on hand most of the time, although I suppose a decent round toothpick would work just as well. I've seen a number of messes where people took 'toothpick' to mean the flat ones. I usually use a tiny amount of glue and a pilot hole.

    I've also used a mixture of sawdust and glue and plastic wood type products. That hasn't worked out as well for me. That's the fun of building cigar box guitars, you find out what works in a more forgiving environment.
     
  14. tessting1two

    tessting1two Tele-Meister

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    The Dan Erlewine method is inventive:

     
  15. RolandG

    RolandG Tele-Meister

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    Toothpick and wood glue. Use bradawl or scriber to mark the centre of the hole, then drill a pilot.
     
  16. DavidP

    DavidP Friend of Leo's

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    Yep, that's my method!!
     
  17. ScribbleSomething

    ScribbleSomething Tele-Holic Platinum Supporter

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    I haven’t done a tuner screw yet. But for pick guard and strap button screws I use match stick and that tan Elmer’s wood glue. Don’t let it dry and screw it in.

    My thinking is then the glue can do some of the work too.
     
  18. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    There may be many ways to skin a cat....but one common rule, "Make sure cat is dead first".......
     
  19. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Poster Extraordinaire

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    With a small screw like a tuner screw, I would always pilot drill. Too easy to strip out the head or twist it off if there's too much force needed, who needs that hassle? Easy enough to take a minute and drill the hole, you won't regret it.
     
  20. jimdgreat1

    jimdgreat1 TDPRI Member

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    No experience on guitars but I repair a lot of gun stocks at the buttplate screws with tooth picks or bamboo chop sticks depending on size. One thing my dad taught me was to use a small nail instead of a drill on small screws. Doesn't remove wood just makes a hole and compresses the wood out of the way. Cut the head off and chuck in a drill. It will spin into the wood making a hole with denser compressed sides.
     
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