I'm working on a Danelectro DC-2 reissue for a friend. Should be a fairly quick job - I'm going to change out the stock wooden non-intonatable bridge for a Telecaster-style bridge and setting it up. And I'm also putting threaded inserts into the neck as I would on a Fender-style neck.
Remove the strings, and then remove the neck mounting screws. Easy.
Did I mention the guitar is pink?
I use threaded inserts on all my bolt-on builds now. They will tighten the neck-to-body joint more securely, and most importantly, they can't strip the wood like wood screws. It takes some precision to put them in, but it's well worth it.
Now we go over to the drill press where the jig gets clamped down to drill new holes for the inserts to go into.
You can see how the jig holds the heel of the neck. I'm using a wood clamp to help keep it tight.
I use standard cabinet shims under the jig and on the neck to level it. Here you see the neck heel itself is level.
In order to align the drill press, I have a 1/8 inch bit in the chuck. I used that to go into the existing hole squarely. I'm not drilling anything yet, just using the bit as an alignment pin so everything will go in straight. If the new holes aren't aligned, the inserts will be off and the neck won't bolt up properly.
These particular inserts are brass and accept a 8-32 bolt. They fit into a 1/4 inch pilot hole. I've made a depth stop/mark with a piece of tape. We don't want to drill through the fingerboard!
The focal length of the lens (about 24mm) makes everything look tilted in these pictures, but it's all square.
I also use a bit of Pro-Cut on the threads to help ease them in. Wax works also.
I've done these in the past by tapping the holes in the neck, but I think that's overkill. These inserts have enough of a 'bite' with their threads that they hold very securely.
Here we're driving in the first insert with a hex driver. I get the inserts, screws and the driver from McMaster-Carr. You can see the hex end on the bottom of the driver. It mates with the insert.
I turn the drill press chuck by hand to install the inserts. Don't be tempted to turn the press on! You won't be able to control it.
The press hasn't been moved at all since it was initially aligned with the small bit. So the process is: align with the small bit, drill the larger hole, then manually drive the insert into the neck by hand using the hex driver.
By keeping the press in the same position throughout, we ensure the alignment doesn't shift.
They fit perfectly - we have a super secure neck joint. Now to change out the bridge.