Drilling into a finished guitar?

pshupe

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Good morning all. Happy New Year's Eve! I will be adding a stop tail to my Firebird build as the Tremolo I purchased sits too high to give a decent break angle over the bridge. I also do not like the way this tremolo works. I will keep the base plate and cover like Derek Trucks and may even add some weight in there at some point if I want to offset the neck dive a little more.

What is the best way to drill into a finished guitar? My tailpiece studs are 7/16" diameter and I have a brad point drill bit that size. I am worried about chipping the finish. Please advise. Thanks.

Regards Peter.
 

Ripthorn

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I like to run the bit in reverse very slowly (like turn by hand slowly) until the spurs have completely gone through the finish. Then I would likely bevel the edges of the hole as Freddy described somewhere, then finish drilling normally. I think freddy uses a dremel and a conical bit for the bevel.
 

larryguitar

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Depending on the finish, I'd also hit it with a hairdryer to warm it up and cover the spot with masking tape.

Larry
 

pshupe

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Thanks. I actually just talked to Freddy about that. Sharp brad point bit. Tape off the area and burnish the tape so that it has good adhesion. Enter slowly and once the finish is broken, drill normally. He does use a dremel tool to bevel the edges. I have a very large counter sink that I spin with my hand, which seems to work well. Thanks again.

Cheers PEter.
 
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zoso623

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also another handy tool is a Pin vise to get you started ...You cant go wrong when you do it by hand..
 

pshupe

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agreed. By hand is great. I use a very good ruler with magnifying glasses. Mark the lines very exactingly and then mark with a very fine awl. Then a slightly larger awl. I line up on my drill press with carpet underneath and adjust the stops and again with the magnifying glass press the drill bit, with the drill off, into the all hole. All of these things I would consider "by hand" or "by eye". The machinery isn't worth a damn if you do not setup the process with a very fine level of detail first. I never rush, lately. ;-) It's probably one of the most important things about building.

Cheers Peter.
 

pshupe

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Use this kind of drill. It cuts a circle before it drills the main hole.

https://www.axminster.co.uk/fisch-8-piece-sp-wood-twist-drill-bit-set-502125

That's pretty much the drill set I used. Worked really well actually. The tip about burnishing the tape was great as I think that really helped to only cut finish once through the tape.

layout -
IMG_5833.JPG


drilling -
IMG_5834.JPG


Drilled and used a large countersink bit to chamfer the edges of the holes to remove the finish so it doesn't crack when I press in the bushings.
IMG_5835.JPG


Ran out and bought a 1/8" diameter - 12" long drill bit last night before heading off to a New Year's eve wedding. Was very surpised to find this bit. Drilled for the ground wire from the tailpiece stud hole.
IMG_5836.JPG

Press in the bushings after adding the ground wire -
IMG_5838.JPG


Pressed in - they pressed in quite easily I might use a slightly smaller diameter bit next time. Although my drill press isn't the best and may have some run-out.
IMG_5841.JPG


all strung up and ready to solder the wiring.
IMG_5842.JPG


Thanks to all for the suggestions. It worked out perfectly. I might add this as an addendum to my build thread. I still have to solder the wiring up as well.

Cheers Peter.
 

cain61

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Will we get to hear this? I think Johnny Winter stuff would sound great. What do you mean by burnishing the tape?

I am so impressed with this build, by the way.
 

LtDave32

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Hey Peter, I have a question for you. I've been commissioned for a non reverse Firebird, to use with the lyre style vibrato. Would it behoove me to have a steeper neck angle, such as 3.3 3.5 degrees in order to make that Lyre style vibrato work better?

And as an answer to your inquiry, Roman Rist once told me that along with drilling, your drill bit backward ( which creates friction heat in order to soften the lacquer), heat the area rather warm with a hand-held blow dryer. I've done this several times although on smaller holes , but it does Aid in not chipping the surface.
 

pshupe

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Hey Peter, I have a question for you. I've been commissioned for a non reverse Firebird, to use with the lyre style vibrato. Would it behoove me to have a steeper neck angle, such as 3.3 3.5 degrees in order to make that Lyre style vibrato work better?

And as an answer to your inquiry, Roman Rist once told me that along with drilling, your drill bit backward ( which creates friction heat in order to soften the lacquer), heat the area rather warm with a hand-held blow dryer. I've done this several times although on smaller holes , but it does Aid in not chipping the surface.
I would have the vibrolo in your hand and take some measurements before settling on a neck angle. I think my build was about 2.7 degrees and it made the break angle very slight over the bridge. But... I think the chinese knock-off I bought have a very high spring steel piece so I wish I would have had it first. I did manage to bend it flatter but never got it at the right angle or low enough for my liking.

Thanks for the advice on the drilling as well.

Cheers Peter.
 

The Ballzz

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agreed. By hand is great. I use a very good ruler with magnifying glasses. Mark the lines very exactingly and then mark with a very fine awl. Then a slightly larger awl. I line up on my drill press with carpet underneath and adjust the stops and again with the magnifying glass press the drill bit, with the drill off, into the all hole. All of these things I would consider "by hand" or "by eye". The machinery isn't worth a damn if you do not setup the process with a very fine level of detail first. I never rush, lately. ;-) It's probably one of the most important things about building.

Cheers Peter.
Several mouthfuls of indisputable truths, right there, obviously gleaned from lots of experience, some good and some, likely so much! :doh: ;)

Oh, and what a truly gorgeous build there sir! If I had a hat, I would tip it off to you! :cheers:

Nice Work!
Gene
 

The Ballzz

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@pshupe
While the above pics are nice for us who like the "meat & potatoes" a couple of real "beauty shots" of the whole, finished guitar would be awesome. I love the aged look of the fingerboard inlays! The finish looks fabulous!
Just Sayin'
Gene
 




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