Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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Bolting Into Place

Well, it's me, kids and I'm back for the new year. Picking up more-or-less where we left off, which is in the midst of the blond/blonde/white Telecaster re-neck project.

What I have here on the old (not just a 'spression, it is fairly old, hee hee) workbench is a drill bit taped up for depth and ready to drill some new holes in our new neck.

To the left of the bit is an actual neck as it would be used in a Fender-style "bolt on" neck.  I lined it up with the actual neck and geetar body and figured out how far it would go into the body and marked that with the legendarily irreplaceable and justifiably fammis Blue Tape.  Then I did the same with a 5/16" drill bit. The wood screw is just for a depth reference. We're putting the inserts in so's we can use machine screws (which look like bolts).

The bit came with the tap that I bought at the Despot.  The hole is 5/16", the threads are 5/16-18 I believe.  I will check on that and correct it if it's not right.

So now we go over to our trusty Delta drill press and line it all up and drill away.  If you actually attempt this yourself, I strongly advise being very careful about accuracy.  You can see that I put a level on the neck to make sure it was, well, level.  I also made sure that the drill bit was exactly 90 degrees perpendicular to the neck and that it exactly lined up with the center of the hole where I punched it.  If everything isn't lined up, your bolts may not go in properly. 

That need for accuracy may be why folks shy away from this project.  But really, if you're careful, you should be able to pull it off.  After all, if I can, you can too, to paraphrase Martin Yan.

So, ve drill ze holes in zee neck.  Only go up to your 'depth stop' you made with blue tape.  If you're really advanced, you could use the depth stop on your press, but I can't figure out how mine works!

I'd also advise drilling the hole and then starting the tap for each hole in turn as you have them lined up.  It'd be a major pain to drill the holes then double back and tap each of the holes.

Your mileage may vary on the next part - the actual tapping of the threads...this is the way I do it and it works for me.  As I said earlier, I was being careful and accurate.

After the holes are drilled, put the tap into the drill press.  DO NOT move the press table, the neck, nothing, not a thing.  Ve need zis all to line up!

Lower the tap and carefully turn it by hand.  I used one hand on the arm of the drill press to gently apply downward force (don't need much at all, just need to keep it steady) and the other hand to turn the drill chuck by hand.  DO NOT get any smart ideas and turn on the drill press!

I just ran four or five turns of the tap into the neck.  We'll finish the tap by hand...this is just to get an accurate (there's that word again...) start on the holes.

With all of the holes drilled and the tap started, we can move over to ze work of ze bench and finish the taps.  Just use your tap by hand as you usually would.

Make sure the tap is perfectly vertical.  This is where starting the threads on the press ensures everything will be peachy.

If you've been careful, you should wind up with four nice tapped holes that look something like the one below:

Now we can take the stainless inserts and screw them into the neck.  I used candle wax on the threads to make them turn a bit easier, but they went in easily enough.

Whatcha wind up with is four new threaded inserts like so:

Now the moment of truth, the part where we find out if all went well.  First I took four new 1 3/4 inch 8-32 bolts and threaded them in a bit into the neck.  I wanted to make sure they were all running 90 degrees square to the neck, and these are perfect.

And then we can bolt the whole thing into the guitar body with the neck plate in works!  I've done just a couple of these now and have confidence I can do it successfully now that I have a method.  I really like the idea of not using the wood screws straight into the wood where they can strip out.


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