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Bridge Studs Bit Size?


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Here's one that doesn't seem to have been covered: what size drill bit are you (European builders especially) using to drill the holes for your TOM-style/wraparound bridges?

I have three sets of studs here --two come from a TOM/tailpiece set from an Asian-built guitar, the other is a set from a new Wilkinson wraparound bridge.

Stewmac's site indicates that I need an 11 mm bit to drill the holes.

All of the studs I have here measure 12 mm at the top (just below the collar).

But when I drill my practice holes with an 11 mm bit, there's no way at all to get any of the studs in.

If I drill the holes with the 12 bit, the studs go in fine--but they're way too loose, they'd slip right out.

So what size are you using? It was hard enough to find an 11 mm bit --no way I'll find a 11.5 mm bit (which seems to be what I need). I could possibly find an 11.5 mm metal bit, but it won't have the guide point.

The only idea I can come up with right now is to drill the holes with the 11 mm, then wrap the end of the bit in sand paper and manually enlarge the holes until I can press/hammer the studs all the way in.

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Have you tried a 7/16" bit, sounds like yours might not be metric after all.  Worth a try.

That works out to Stewmac's specs for the Wilkinson== they put it at 0.444 inches, which becomes 11.27 mm...

But I don't want to have send to the states for a damned bit, I want to get this guitar done already!

So what about my idea of wrapping the bit in sand paper to enlarge the holes?

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Have you tried a 7/16" bit, sounds like yours might not be metric after all.  Worth a try.

That works out to Stewmac's specs for the Wilkinson== they put it at 0.444 inches, which becomes 11.27 mm...

But I don't want to have send to the states for a damned bit, I want to get this guitar done already!

So what about my idea of wrapping the bit in sand paper to enlarge the holes?

The problem is that you'll have to use a smaller bit if your going to wrap it around with sandpaper, and it's hard to make the hole uniform doing it this way, but it will work, just not the easiest way. I tell you what bro, I will mail you a 7/16" bit for free if you want me to. I've got a bunch of them, so it's no problem. PM me if you do..

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Have you tried a 7/16" bit, sounds like yours might not be metric after all.  Worth a try.

11.11mm = 7/16"

I recently drilled my TOM posts with a 7/16" (11mm) drill bit. The bottom part of the posts, which is the smooth metal, fits too loosly in the holes but the upper corrugated part is a bit too large for the holes.

Once I push in the posts (or gently hammer or heat the posts with an soldering gun), the corrugated metal will dig in the wood/poly and sit in there nice and tight. That's what I hope will happen anyways :D The reason I haven't done it yet is because I only want to do it once so I don't make grooves on the sides of the holes. I'm currently laying down the clear coats, then polish, then put in all the accessories.

Araz

Edited by araz
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12mm is usually fine - I usually had to use a heavy instrument to 'encourage' the studs down the last few mm's. If you end up with a bit of slop, you can always coat the inside of the hole with epoxy, then bed the the bushing down into that. Any squeeze out can be wiped away with methylated spirits.

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I tend to do pilot holes with a 3mm (or similar) bit, and then drill the actual hole with a good, sharp, high-quality twist (non-brad point) bit. If the setup's solid, it won't wander anywhere.

Alternately, order a set of imperial bits from the UK (axminster has got to have 'em, surely?).

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Thanks for the replies guys...

Setch: I thought gluing in the studs was a no-no?

On the other hand, it occurs to me that once I get done with the finish (including sanding sealer and 6-8 cans of clear coat) the 12 mm will be sufficiently filled to provide all the grip the studs will need, right? (I plan on a good month of curing time, maybe more).

Mattia: your idea might work --I might be able to find an 11.5 mm metal bit...or will that chew up the wood? (I'd do tests on scrap first of course).

Guitarfrenzy: I'm really tempted, but I've got to get this done now!... I figure a day of sanding and I'm ready to start the finish before the weekend...I really have to move on to other parts of my life!

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I have recently installed a Schaller TOM, with 11 mm brad point bit for the stop bar, and 7 mm for the bridge. Since the bushing meassured only 0.26 mm larger than the nominal diameter, it was a good easy fit with a plastic mallet.

But beware, if any paint gets into the hole, it will be impossible to hammer the bushings in.

-macimalac

Edited by Macimalac
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Right, I've been playing around with my caliper...

The problem I'm having comes from my bits-- the 11 mm bit is actually shy of 11 mm. And the 12 inch bit I have is about 11.5 mm!

And these aren't cheapo bits either.

Meanwhile, the studs I have are all slightly different as well--we're talking about .5 mm or more in difference.

At least with all this fussing around I'm getting pretty good at drilling holes that fit my bridge exactly....

So with the 11 mm bit I should be able to get the bushing in there ---but in order to do that I'm really going to have pound away with a rubber mallet.

Is that the way it's supposed to be done? Seems to me that it shouldn't require that much force?

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Right, I've been playing around with my caliper...

The problem I'm having comes from my bits-- the 11 mm bit is actually shy of 11 mm. And the 12 inch bit I have is about 11.5 mm!

And these aren't cheapo bits either.

Meanwhile, the studs I have are all slightly different as well--we're talking about .5 mm or more in difference.

At least with all this fussing around I'm getting pretty good at drilling holes that fit my bridge exactly....

So with the 11 mm bit I should be able to get the bushing in there ---but in order to do that I'm really going to have pound away with a rubber mallet.

Is that the way it's supposed to be done? Seems to me that it shouldn't require that much force?

I think theorethically you should use a bit which is larger than the core diameter, but smaller than the extended size caused by the small ribs pressed to the surface of th bushing.

In my case the core diameter was a bit less than 11 mm, so only the small ribs cut into the wood. At the case of the 7 mm drill at the bridge, the difference was less, about 0.2mm, and I was able to press the bushing in with the end of the rubber mallet. I am well over 100kgs, so i suppose somebody else with less weight might use blows with the rubber hammer.

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I resorted to using the 11mm bit I have (well, it's more like 10.8 mm or so). The guy at the hardware store suggested using the drum sander attachment of my mini drill to widen the holes a bit.

Even with that, I still had to pound the studs in pretty well (and managed to splinter a sliver of wood off the surface when removing them again :D )...

But I put the strings on there and....the neck did not snap off!...in fact, things came out just right, the strings are lined up perfectly and intonation is spot on.

The only problem is that I'm using a Badass bridge --but since that's really tall, I can't get it low enough to make the strings touch the frets. Not that I'd play like that anyway but still, I want to be able to adjust it more than I can. Right now the string height is pretty good, but it could be slightly lower and I wouldn't complain.

So my choice is either using a bridge with a lower profile (I have a Wilkinson Gotoh wraparound here too) or I can recess the studs a bit.

I'm tempted to go with recessing.

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I'm tempted to go with recessing.

I vote for recessing the studs, simple to do and may even look cool :D

Araz

Yeah, I'm thinking the same thing...especially because my pickups are slightly recessed too, it'll end up looking even cooler...

time to hit the search function figure out the best way to do this....think i've got a forstner bit that should fit the bill...

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I'm tempted to go with recessing.

I vote for recessing the studs, simple to do and may even look cool :D

Araz

Yeah, I'm thinking the same thing...especially because my pickups are slightly recessed too, it'll end up looking even cooler...

time to hit the search function figure out the best way to do this....think i've got a forstner bit that should fit the bill...

One problem with recessing the studs on the Leo Quan bridge is that you will bottom out quickly, so you won't get much clearance that way. You'll probably have to recess the whole bridge like PRS used to do on their earlier guitars.

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One problem with recessing the studs on the Leo Quan bridge is that you will bottom out quickly, so you won't get much clearance that way.  You'll probably have to recess the whole bridge like PRS used to do on their earlier guitars.

That's not going to be a problem here, we're talking a minor adjustment here --I only need to drop it by about the width of the top part of the studs (the part that normall rests above the surface --I'm sure there's a technical word for that!), maybe a little more, figure no more than 2-3 mm.

On the Badass I have (it's an original Pat Pending bridge from the 70s--took it off my Melody Maker) there's plenty of clearance (at least 5 mm)--I don't want to get it too close though, it'll be a pain loading the strings.

Should I just get a larger drill bit for that? I was also thinking of just punching it with the router?

(edit: I just read through the "how to drill sunken holes" thread --that about covers it!)

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