Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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Inserting Inserts

As you probably are aware, virtually all Fender guitars since the dawn of Leo history (aka 1949) have had a neck attachment to the body via fasteners. This has become known as a "bolt-on" neck. Without digressing too far from our mission to build the Surfcaster, I would like to point out the irony that technically, the fasteners used are actually wood screws. I suppose the colloquialism "screw-on" neck just doesn't sound as good as "bolt-on."

At any rate.

What can happen over time is the holes wood on the neck heel can strip, resulting in muchas problemas para attachar el neck, or the use of some new four-letter technical terms. Obviously, the holes can be plugged, but that's a pain. Add to this the fact that on vintage-style necks, one must remove or at least loosen the neck to adjust the truss rod nut at the heel of the neck.

So, ve have solution?

Some folks have turned to putting threaded inserts into the neck. This allows one to then use machine screws (which look like bolts to me but that's what they're called, yet more irony) into the inserts, eliminating the problem of wood screws once and for all. These same folks claim the guitar will have more sustain, since the neck-to-body joint will be tighter.

So after pondering all of this, I have chosen to try out some inserts. In the image above, you see me drilling out the standard-size neck holes to 1/4 inch, which is what we need for our inserts. You also see de Buckocaster-approved depth gauge highlighted by the arrow. My Delta drill press has some sort of arrangement to adjust depth, but it's way to complicated for me to suss out.

After drilling ze holes, ve zen put een ze inserts, yes?
I got these from McMaster-Carr - they go into the 1/4 inch hole and accept a 8-32 bolt...er...screw. Both brass and stainless steel are available. I went with the stainless. They also sell a driver device to install them; I bought it and used it but I wouldn't say it's absolutely necessary. You can just a screwdriver and it will work just as well.

At least one person who has done this says the wood chips more with the stainless and that's what I found. Next time I'll try the brass. I have some images of the final results upcoming.

If you do try this, I would suggest you not drill the pilot holes with a hand drill unless you can make sure it's absolutely square to the neck. The inserts have to go in square or you will be using some new technical terms when you find out the whole thing won't bolt up. A drill press is the best way to go.

After all of that, I made a test run to ensure all was well. It looks like it will bolt up perfectly - ain't dat purty? More on the sustain question after it's all together...

 
 
 
 

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