Toothpick and glue method

willie45

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Hi

I want to repair a strapbutton hole which is a little bit insecure. It’s not very enlarged but enough to need attention I’m going to attempt the toothpick and glue method.

As I understand it, I use a toothpick or two ( probably one in this case) and smear something like gorilla wood glue on them and jam them in. I watched a video of a guy using this on door hinges and he left loads of pick sticking out and then cut and sanded them down once dry. Obviously I’m not keen to do this on my guitar so I propose to cut the pick to roughly the right length, smear on the glue, and then bung it in the hole.

I believe it might be better to screw the button back in while the glue is wet and thereby forcing the picks and glue to a tight bond.
Does this seem like a good approach?

I also wondered if, given the fact that the screw is only just loose and no more, whether I could just smear some gorilla glue on the screw and screw it in while wet and leave it to set for 24 hours?

Thanks for your help.

Willie
 

Rocco Crocco

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Glue up your toothpick(s) (with wood glue) , jam them in the hole all the way, pull out slightly then cut them with wire cutters, that way they will be recessed in the hole and not sticking out. Then screw in the strap button while the glue is wet. Wait 24 hours before using your strap.

Just glue without the toothpicks will not really help.... you need to reduce the space in the hole with wood.
 

jimi55lp

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Counter sinking the plug is a GOOD IDEA and I second using wood glue but not CA (super glue) or "gorilla glue! I always try to use mahogany if plugging the same, and try to never mix match wood types.
 
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I think it is always good to understand the "why" and not just the "how". My concern with Gorilla Glue is it expands considerably, but is not designed to be a gap filling glue. The expansion force can even be strong enough to turn small fractures into more serious cracks. The pressure of the expanding foam is great, but the bonding strength of the expanded area is weak. Take the time to construct a tight fitting plug and use wood glue.
 

CB91710

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+1 on all of the above.
Just use regular wood glue... white glue is fine if you don't have wood glue, it's just not waterproof like Titebond, but it is pretty similar.
Gorilla Glue and CA are not the proper products for this job.
 

Rocco Crocco

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The OP is not using typical "Gorilla Glue". He's using Gorilla wood glue, which is fine for this application.
 

L3rxst

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Agreed you need the wood in there as glue alone will not do it.

Cut the sticks slightly short of the depth of the hole first. Smear them with wood glue (not too much)

And screw the strap button in, wiping away any excess glue.

I don't like Gorilla as its difficult to wipe off, so standard wood glue/PVA.
 

Adinol

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The proper way to repair this is to first enlarge the hole to a diameter that matches a wooden dowel (should be hard wood). You can use 1/4 inch diameter, or thereabout.

The trick is how to properly drill the hole.

Don't just take a 1/4 inch bit and try to enlarge the hole that way. Go to Lowes and buy a cheap set of drill bits that has many fractional bits included. Also, buy a countersink bit.

Now, if you stick the larger drill bit into the hole you might crack the finish. Sometimes finish shatters like glass. So, you'll want to first use the countersink bit to make a "funnel" shaped entrance into the hole. Don't press to hard with the countersink bit. Make some fine dust around the hole.

Next, take whichever drill bit if slightly larger than the existing hole, and enlarge that hole. Switch to the next drill bit until you reach the drill bit diameter that matches your dowel.

You might have to use the countersink bit in between some of the drill sizes.

Make a couple of the same homes on a scrap piece of wood, in roughly the same direction of the wood grain on your guitar. That's your practice piece.

Now cut a few dowels to a size that's longer than the depth of your hole. You will first make a tip on those dowels. Just put each dowel into the drill chuck and spin like a drill bit, and touch the tip to some sand paper (or file) under a 45 degree angle.

Now try to fit the dowel into the hole. It should not be tight and should not be loose. If it's loose you need a better dowel, if it's tight you just need to reduce the diameter of the dowel.

Just spin the dowel in your drill and use sandpaper to reduce the diameter. Work in small steps, this process if quicker than you might intuitively expect.

Don't use Gorilla glue. Use Titebond wood glue. Dono't use Titebond III as it is more difficult to clean up the squeezeout if you let it dry. Keep it simple.

The dowel of my choice would be maple, but oak is fine too. You can get that at Lowes or Home Depot.

Dip your dowel into the glue and drive it all the way into the hole. Wipe off the squeezeout with damp rag or tissue. Let sit for a few hours.

Next day (or whenever) you want to cut of the part of the dowel that sticks out. You'll want to mask off the guitar with masking tape. Use low tack tape, like painter's tape. Use a 2 layers at first. You can cut off with a saw or with wire cutters. Now use a file to file it down flush to the masking tape. Remove one layer of masking take and finish filing.

Now you will want to use a brad tip wood drill bit of the appropriate diameter (i.e. one size smaller than the diameter of the screw threads) and drill a new hole in the center of the plug. Do some holes on your practice pieces and try how your screw fits. Then do the drilling on your guitar.


So, if you are going to do a job, do it the right way and enjoy the process. When yo are done you can return all the drill bits or whatever tools you bought from Lowes, back to them. They have a fantastic free tool rental program that they call "90 day hassle free returns". Might as well take advantage of it.

Some people are spending more time at home these days. If you are in that situation might as well make a project out of it and practice new skills. You might have another guitar down the line that needs the same work done.

It really is not an intimidating project. If you enjoy doing it you'll like your guitar even more as you've had a hand in fixing it.

I happen to be fortunate to have a job I like. I build and fix musical instruments every day and I love doing it. It is a very rewarding experience to do the job right. But I've also done the toothpick method in a pinch. Both methods work. I just think you'll enjoy the process of doing it the "right" way.

Hope this helps.
 

Jead

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the right way to do it is a toothpick and wood glue. I have done it many times and it never has failed. The last thing I want to do is break out a power tool and start drilling.
 

dnabbet2

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Hi

I want to repair a strapbutton hole which is a little bit insecure. It’s not very enlarged but enough to need attention I’m going to attempt the toothpick and glue method.

As I understand it, I use a toothpick or two ( probably one in this case) and smear something like gorilla wood glue on them and jam them in. I watched a video of a guy using this on door hinges and he left loads of pick sticking out and then cut and sanded them down once dry. Obviously I’m not keen to do this on my guitar so I propose to cut the pick to roughly the right length, smear on the glue, and then bung it in the hole.

I believe it might be better to screw the button back in while the glue is wet and thereby forcing the picks and glue to a tight bond.
Does this seem like a good approach?

I also wondered if, given the fact that the screw is only just loose and no more, whether I could just smear some gorilla glue on the screw and screw it in while wet and leave it to set for 24 hours?

Thanks for your help.

Willie
A long time ago in a galaxy far away -- it was post-Townshend -- I smashed my LP butt-first on the stage, and drove the end pin up into the body, so that even when I pulled it out with pliers there was quite a hole.

I used a gun-smithing product, Acraglas, to fill the hole AND still allow the screw to be rotated out and in: you mask the area; mix Acraglas bedding compund with the brown or black dye provided; coat the screw in the special release agent provided; put it all together the way you want it and leave the guitar on the appropriate angle; and in twenty-four hours it's good to go.

It's been undetectable and solid as a rock for forty years. The pic doesn't really show the end pin but it's flattering to the guitar! And I know this is not how a luthier would fix it, but it might be a useful tool for someone else.

 

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Wise Guy

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the right way to do it is a toothpick and wood glue. I have done it many times and it never has failed. The last thing I want to do is break out a power tool and start drilling.
Bingo! Works every time.
 

blues4jesus

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Hi

I want to repair a strapbutton hole which is a little bit insecure. It’s not very enlarged but enough to need attention I’m going to attempt the toothpick and glue method.

As I understand it, I use a toothpick or two ( probably one in this case) and smear something like gorilla wood glue on them and jam them in. I watched a video of a guy using this on door hinges and he left loads of pick sticking out and then cut and sanded them down once dry. Obviously I’m not keen to do this on my guitar so I propose to cut the pick to roughly the right length, smear on the glue, and then bung it in the hole.

I believe it might be better to screw the button back in while the glue is wet and thereby forcing the picks and glue to a tight bond.
Does this seem like a good approach?

I also wondered if, given the fact that the screw is only just loose and no more, whether I could just smear some gorilla glue on the screw and screw it in while wet and leave it to set for 24 hours?

Thanks for your help.

Willie
Use Tite Bond not Gorilla glue, You don't want he screw permenant in place. Use good toothpicks glue the pick stick in in the hole maybe use two depending then either drill or just screw in again, I've done that repair several time never had to redo it.
 

dasherf17

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Hi

I want to repair a strapbutton hole which is a little bit insecure. It’s not very enlarged but enough to need attention I’m going to attempt the toothpick and glue method.

As I understand it, I use a toothpick or two ( probably one in this case) and smear something like gorilla wood glue on them and jam them in. I watched a video of a guy using this on door hinges and he left loads of pick sticking out and then cut and sanded them down once dry. Obviously I’m not keen to do this on my guitar so I propose to cut the pick to roughly the right length, smear on the glue, and then bung it in the hole.

I believe it might be better to screw the button back in while the glue is wet and thereby forcing the picks and glue to a tight bond.
Does this seem like a good approach?

I also wondered if, given the fact that the screw is only just loose and no more, whether I could just smear some gorilla glue on the screw and screw it in while wet and leave it to set for 24 hours?

Thanks for your help.

Willie
I've DONE this without the toothpicks...kind of a "till death do us part" idea, yet effective...it is NOT going anywhere.
 

cutaway

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Hi

I want to repair a strapbutton hole which is a little bit insecure. It’s not very enlarged but enough to need attention I’m going to attempt the toothpick and glue method.

As I understand it, I use a toothpick or two ( probably one in this case) and smear something like gorilla wood glue on them and jam them in. I watched a video of a guy using this on door hinges and he left loads of pick sticking out and then cut and sanded them down once dry. Obviously I’m not keen to do this on my guitar so I propose to cut the pick to roughly the right length, smear on the glue, and then bung it in the hole.

I believe it might be better to screw the button back in while the glue is wet and thereby forcing the picks and glue to a tight bond.
Does this seem like a good approach?

I also wondered if, given the fact that the screw is only just loose and no more, whether I could just smear some gorilla glue on the screw and screw it in while wet and leave it to set for 24 hours?

Thanks for your help.

Willie
In 1972, I took the loose pin all the way out, broke a couple tooth picks a little short of the length of the hole and put them in there with a little Elmer's glue. Then I put the pin back in and let it dry. It's been fine ever since. It's the 1971 Les Paul Deluxe on the left.
2014_1009Piano0007.JPG
 

jdiego

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bamboo cocktail picks and titebond works great, bamboo is very hard. I think toothpicks are too thin.
works better if you fill the whole hole and redrill it with a drill bit of the same size of the inner diameter of the screw

anyway it's a very easy fix, you could even fix it filling the hole with toilet paper
 

willie45

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Well Thank you for your helps guys. I have been a bit under the weather lately and not been very organised so apologies for my tardy response. I really appreciate your help and advice. The power tool thing isn't something I'd feel comfortable doing and if I was going down that route I'd get my friendly luthier to sort it for me. He's closed for the Covid season though.

Anyway, the toothpick and glue thing is the option I'm comfortable with and so I'm doing that. Seems I bought the wrong glue with the Gorilla stuff though so I might have to do some more shopping. It shays wood glue and for carpentry jobs. I don't know anything about glues ( never even sniffed the stuff! ) so I will grab some time bond as suggested and get on with it. Can someone explain the difference between them for future reference please?

Anyway thank you all so much and one more apologies for the late replies.
 

GitFiddle

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Just to chime in. I had a loose tail button on my 99 R7. I just took a couple round toothpicks, pushed them down as far as they would go, then just snap them to length. Put the screw back in and good to go. Didn't even use any glue at all. That was about 5-6 years ago. Been gigging with it quite a bit and no issues with my Schaller locks at all. Just keep your straplocks clean and lubed and all will last a lifetime.
 


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