Pickup ring mounting screw(s) broken off flush with top

FF_Pedals

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:shock:

I had a long conversation with a friend who works in a metal shop about trying to drill out (at least) two pickup ring mounting screws I broke off in my Studio after my refinish. I didn't pre-drill the holes. The first thing I mounted was the neck pickup and two of the screws broke off flush with the top. I guess the laquer filled in the holes...

Everything after was pre-drilled to remove any laquer that got in the holes and no problems at all. Luckily the two that broke are kitty-corner so the remaining screws are enough to hold the pickup solid.

I want to replace the neck pickup soon so I know I will have to deal with this one way or another.

I have some pretty small bits. I'm assuming I need to get the guitar well sturdy on a high speed drill press and drill out those broken screws and then maybe fill up the holes and re-drill.

Has anyone had to deal with this before?
 

FF_Pedals

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Thanks for the response. I was looking into those. My friend was saying the problem is that the surface of the screw is so small that the little bit will want to skate to the side into the wood or just snap. He said if I can get a dimple started in the middle of the screw I might have a chance. He also suggested heating it will a soldering iron to try to melt the laquer that's holding it in.
 

Jason

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Hmm... This is a tough one. Those screws are just so tiny, you know? I've taken out thousands of stuck screws with extractors (from metal, mostly), but never anything that small without a head on it. I don't think an extractor is really a viable option for something like that... Unless they make them small enough... I'm not so sure, but yeah, you would also want to file the top of the screw down flat first. Then, of course, you'd drill the sucker dead center with a real small bit (whatever the tiny extractor recommends)

How far did it get in before it snapped?
 

pinefd

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I'm not sure whether this fix will work here, but here is a post by BCRGreg from another thread on removing a broken screw. Of course, the dimensions in this case would be different...

Take a piece of brass tubing(hobby shops have it) that is 3/16ths outside diameter. Cut a piece 4 inches long, and cut teeth in one end. This will give you a hollow bit. Going SLOWLY, drill in to the hole, so that the tube goes around the screw. You will have to stop after a short bit to clear the debris, so plan on taking a good 3-4 minutes to slowly bore around the screw. When you have gone deep enough, tap a finishing nail in between the center part(with the screw inside) and the wall of the tunnel. That will break it loose, and you can pull it out.

Now, cut a slot along the edge of some 3/16 dowel(to clear the glue), and round one end. Blow any dust out put some Titebond into the hole. Press the dowel in until it will not go any farther, then give it a nice tap with a hammer to set it. Cut flush with the surface of the body and wait overnight.

Next morning, drill in a new pilot hole, reinstall and GO, GO, GO!!!!

Perhaps I will do a bench report with pics for this operation, since it is a common one.

Thanks for asking!


Frank
 

FF_Pedals

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A hollow bit would be awesome since the filled hole would be covered by the pickup ring anyways.

I'm not sure exactly how far it went in, I threw away the broken pieces. The neck pickup screws aren't that long and I'd say the pieces that broke off were between 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch.

I have a 1mm bit but my friend was saying it might just skate and snap off.

I'll look into this hollow bit idea for sure.

Thanks guys.
 

Ole'Lefty

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This is about a once-a-month question. That does not mean that it isn't important. What it should do is convince folks that metal screws, often of unknown material, are no real match for dense hardwoods and a good pilot hole IS NOT OPTIONAL . Otherwise, people keep getting to go to the hobby store-then the beckoning scent of balsa and Testor's will suck the former LP player, setter-upper into the bowels of radio controlled whatevers, thereafter forsaking the beloved Les Paul to his ultimate ruination.O'L:naughty:----I forgot---"Thus spake Zarathustra!"
 

FF_Pedals

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This is about a once-a-month question. That does not mean that it isn't important. What it should do is convince folks that metal screws, often of unknown material, are no real match for dense hardwoods and a good pilot hole IS NOT OPTIONAL . Otherwise, people keep getting to go to the hobby store-then the beckoning scent of balsa and Testor's will suck the former LP player, setter-upper into the bowels of radio controlled whatevers, thereafter forsaking the beloved Les Paul to his ultimate ruination.O'L:naughty:----I forgot---"Thus spake Zarathustra!"

I'll take one of whatever you're having :laugh2:
 

xsouldriverx

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when drilling metal dont you use lower speed drills? or an i thinking once you get to bigger sized bits you use a slower speed.
 

Sgt.Pepper

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OK here is the right way to remove a screw with the head broken off on a guitar.
Find a piece of small size brass tube a couple of inches long from a model or hobby shop. The hole in the tube should be a tight fit over the screw. grind or file the outside of the tube to a point. Heat the end of the tube so it won't crack the finish or anything then tap it lightly over the broken screw.
Use a hand drill to slowly turn the tube backwards whilst pushing lightly down and it will grip around the outside of the screw and back it out. Once the screw is removed, a drop of boiling water will swell the wood back and once dry, a drop of superglue will seal it then your ready for the new screw.

Lastly, always remember to use the right size drill for the screw and lubricate screws with dry soap to stop them breaking.
 

oldaxeman

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Great info! I just broke off a screw in a headstock mounting a new set of tuners, had a pilot hole drilled but it was just a weak screw, luckily was enough sticking up to grasp with small pliars and remove. If not I woulda been in the same situation.
 

link55

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I would add that unless you have a really steady hand, definitely use a drill press when drilling it out to prevent any more issues.
 

maicolp

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what about tapping further in than use the toothpick trick and a new screw?
 

Paragon

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*snip*
Sorry Sgt. Pepper. :(..

Check your hardware stores (usually not home depot or lowes.. like Ace type) or Hobby shop will usually have them. Also get a solid rod that fits inside so the tube doesn't crush when you chuck it in a drill.
 

Sgt.Pepper

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Apparently you didn't see the post above you.. Take a look at the link.



Check your hardware stores (usually not home depot or lowes.. like Ace type) or Hobby shop will usually have them. Also get a solid rod that fits inside so the tube doesn't crush when you chuck it in a drill.

Apparently you can't see the difference with the method I was taught during my instument repairing apprenticeship and which removes very little if any original wood, and the method in the link you refer to. In my method, the tube is turned backwards and grabs the outside of the screw and backs it out without the need of larger holes, dowels etc...
You have achieved one thing anyway, and that is you've taught me to keep good information to myself.
 

Paragon

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No.. you are right. Interesting method. I was out of line. It was 5AM and I had not been to bed yet and apparently tired and had not read your technique all the way through or something. :Ohno: Please forgive me. :(
 

Sgt.Pepper

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Sorry for my overreaction too. Us luthiers have to work long hours to make ends meet and it can cause stress!
 

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