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Recessed Tuners


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Hey all, does anyone know what the best drill bit/step order would be for countersinking tuner holes from the front? I'm going to be putting a veneer on the front of my headstock, and want to countersink the holes from the top, so as not to affect break angle over the nut.


That's a picture of the first build. The staggered Sperzel posts on the high e and B were too short, and the string hole wasn't poking through over the washer and nut. I solved this by countersinking the tuners from the back with a Dremel so they sat higher.

When I add the veneer on to the headstock (a last-minute decision) it'll make the headstock too thick. To solve this, I was planning on countersinking the tuners from the front, adding clearance to the string holes but not affecting the break angle. None of the holes are drilled yet. I was thinking of gluing the veneer on, it's around 1/16" thick, then drilling with the correct size bit and afterwards going back with a bit the size of the washer and drilling until I just pass through the veneer.

Would a forstner bit be the best for the job? Or a spade? Is there a way of simplifying what I'm trying to do? I mean I could just route a channel on the back of the headstock for the tuners to sit in, to make the thickness I need, at the expense of the break angle. I'm trying to "tighten up" the feel of the strings from the last build, and one way of doing so was to increase the break angle over the nut, as well as use a tailpiece instead of a string-through.

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I'm no expert, but this is how I'd tackle it.

I'd glue the cap first, countersink the washer holes with a spade bit, then drill the tuner through holes.

That way your not fighting a wandering spade bit and your centers stay constant.

Spade bit over forstner because you will get a cleaner edge.

I disagree, the bottom of a hole cut by a forstener bit is flat, with the exception of the conical hole in the center where the bit's guide drilled deeper. A spade bit however leaves a hole that is deeper on both the sides and center, with really no truely flat place in between. A forstner bit for the recess followed by a brad point bit for the rest of the hole is deffinitely the way to go.



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I used a Forstner on the prototype headstock in the pic (I drilled the recesses first, then the holes). My problem was that it's practically impossible to drill the holes that break through the side of the thicker part of the headstock, to exactly the same level as the thinner part. And it's very difficult to sand the thinner part flat when it's broken by the recesses (not a problem if you have a uniform-thickness headstock though).


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I agree on the forstner bit. I have yet to have a sharp one cut a ragged hole or have any chip out on the top of the hole. Spade bits like to waner until they get into the wood some, and even then they still can wander easier. And I usually get pretty bad chip out on any time I use a spade bit. I pretty much limit spade bits to carpentry work around the house.

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I make my headstocks with a little more mass than necessary and recess the tuners mainly for aesthetic reasons.

Here's some I made earlier:


Vampyre bass recessed bushings

Thunderbird bass recessed bushings

I like a bit more interest on the headstock than a simple flat face. I love Hooglebug's latest build as it also breaks away from the norm.

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I used Forstner bits also, yes. I did need to sand around the recess to clean up the edges however but I wouldn't consider using a spade for the life of me.

The tuners are Wilkinsons but are good for the price. You're right...they do look tall! The thinnest part of the headstock is just a little more than the minimum that the tuner bushes will allow so perhaps that and the recess is deceiving. I do tend to wrap thicker strings (especially with it being an eight) four or so times around the post (one over, three under) so once it's strung up (still on a wenge hunt for the body) it won't look as odd.

I like the design of your headstock. It's like a nod in the direction of PRS and the ESP Horizon style all at once ;-)

Edited by Prostheta
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