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Filling Holes In A Guitar Neck


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what do you think is a better way of filling the holes left by the big screws on a bolt-on.

1: Drill and dowel them and finish flat

2: Fill with epoxy and finish flat

3: or is there a better way?

I'm using an old neck on a prototype that I'm building but I want the neck to be really secure and I want to redrill these holes....possibly in a different position.

Many thanks in advance,

Steve :D

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when my guitars neck screws got stripped out i used wood putty and a tooth pick... just use the toothpick to push the wood putty all the way to the bottom and fill the entire hole. let it sit overnight and then your good. mine has not had any problems yet.

just my opinon

p.s. if you put too much in be sure to sand it flat

Edited by jimhndrx3
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Just my opinion bu wood ptty has no strength to it. Always plug and refill.

in my experience it holds up well but thats just one guitar. its held up for about 2 years now no problem so idk just my experience. might be the brand. also it depends on what gauge strings you use... this has been holding 11's for the 2 years now

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Get some good quality wood of the same species as the neck (maple I guess). If I you cannot get your hands on ready made dowels you can do them yourself, even without a lathe. Chuck the wood up in a pillar drill (or handheld drill) and grind it round starting with a flat file switching to a larger hard block covered with sand paper. Grind it down to a reasonably diameter (6.5 to 8 mm will do, depending on screw holes) and cut it into dowels. Measure the dowels and drill NEW holes in the neck. This will give a clean gluing surface. The best way to drill those holes is to lay the neck flat on the pillar drill table and use a cam clamp to stabilise the neck (to stop it from rocking from side to side, laying on the fret board). Get a drill the same size as the dowels (or only a tad oversized). Drill new holes and glue the dowels in the holes. Trim everything when the glue is dried and drill new holes for the screws. This is the best method of fixing this problem. The “toothpick and glue method” is the second best, but the way described above is a dead sure fix that will hold for ever (or until someone really over tight the screws). PLS stay away from wood putty or epoxy. It might work, but it might as well fail really badly.

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PLS stay away from wood putty or epoxy. It might work, but it might as well fail really badly.

my mistake. i'lltake your word for it. think i should drill out the wood putty and use dowels or something?

If it ain't broke dont fix it. But I wouldnt put a lot of faith in it.

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Agree. You only have to do this if you feel that the screw doesn't pull the neck into the pocket with suficient stength

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  • 4 months later...

I don’t know because I don’t have experience with that brand. Generally any wood filler are made to do one thing. Fill a hole. They are not created to have the strength to hold a screw firmly.

If you feel that you don’t have the skill and equipment to do the drill out/refill with wood fix I think it is better to make a few splinters from high quality hardwood and do the toothpick fix mentioned above.

But drill and fill is THE way to go if you have the tools and skill

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A really important warning about drilling and doweling! If the dowel fits very well in the hole, do not put glue on the side of the dowel or else it will be an air-tight seal and no matter how hard you hammer the dowel in it won't go in because the air can't escape from the bottom of the hole. You could use a plug cutter with a matching drill bit to get a very good fit and the grain will be oriented the same way as it is in the neck. I don't have much experience with how much wood moves, but wood does expand and contract and having the same grain orientation wouldn't hurt.

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I can do the drill and dowel method, once I find some hardwood dowel

You don’t need ready made dowels. Read post 6 in this thread

A really important warning about drilling and doweling! If the dowel fits very well in the hole, do not put glue on the side of the dowel or else it will be an air-tight seal and no matter how hard you hammer the dowel in it won't go in because the air can't escape from the bottom of the hole. You could use a plug cutter with a matching drill bit to get a very good fit and the grain will be oriented the same way as it is in the neck. I don't have much experience with how much wood moves, but wood does expand and contract and having the same grain orientation wouldn't hurt.

I have done quite a few of those operations and I have never had any problems with too tight dowel-hole matching. Actually I have had the opposite experience. A dowel that almost had a too tight fit (having to push really hard to get it in/out when dry-testing) slid right in with a few drops of glue. The glue acted as a lubricant.

Regarding grain orientation you are completely right. The screws also have much better “bite” in sideway oriented grain compared to digging into end grain. The only “but” is that the described method (post 6 again) works without a plug cutter. But I might actually try that the next time.

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