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Filling In 2 Holes On Body

Curtis P

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Hi all,

I have made a slight mistake on a body, both will be easily fixed, I just have a few questions before i go ahead and do it,


The body is Basswood, I need to fill about, a 3/4 to 1 inch sized hole, i was thinking about getting a peice of hardwood dowel, drilling the hole out to the correct size and gluing in the peice of dowel, sand flush, is this ok to do, will the end grain of the dowel mess up my solid colour finish?


I want to fill my neck pick up, mainly because, i only have one pick up left and its a Duncan 59, suited to be in the bridge position, can I fill the pickup route with, say a peice of walnut, as i have a peice ready at hand that will only need to be planed down to fit in, or should i get another peice of basswood?

This is going to be a solid colour, so I am not too worried about the woods not having matching grain or anything, I just want to know if the end grain of the dowel will mess up my finishing, and if you folks reccomend using the walnut or another peice of basswood (i think i have a peice left over, it maybe too thin though)



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I'm not any help on the neck pickup, but when filling in the hole with the dowel, do not use a glue that creeps. I filled a couple holes as well on my first refinish and used titebond. You can spot where the holes were filled in the right light, I definitely should have used an epoxy.

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Remember also that common dowels are end grain. I would suggest making plugs with a plug cutter so you get face grain. Several months after the finish has cured you might otherwise see the plugs. Use thick C/A (if not a structural concern) or epoxy as suggested.

Tightbond may not shrink or expand the same as the base wood, thus a thicker glue line manifests itself under the finish at some point. This is a result of too much glue or not enough clamping most of the time. Not enough clamping can result in too much glue between the pieces.


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You'll need to use your imagination. Make as tight a fit as possible. There's no perfect way to get a really tight glue line with a plug that I know of which is one reason to us epoxy.

As for that neck pickup cavity use an inlay router bit setup.


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Several months after the finish has cured you might otherwise see the plugs.

I keep forgetting this little bit of advice. Since I have a plug cutter I don't think that others have to go out and buy dowels to fill holes with end-grain, when I can cut whichever direction I need. If you have a drill press and can afford a 1/2" and 3/4" plug cutter, they're rather helpful for many things wood-working related.

Creep is when the glue doesn't fully set and will move a little. I guess this is shrinking or expanding? I'm not sure, I just make sure I don't rush finishing anything with Titebond as the glue joint as the glue takes a while to settle.

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I did this same thing to a Warlock about a year ago. I filled the kahler route, the neck pickup and all but one control hole.

Here is how I did the hole.

Step one: I drilled the hole out to 0.475

Step two: I took a 0.500 dowel pin cut it to 0.500 length and coated it with Elmer’s woodworking glue and pounded it into the hole. I pushed the pin into the hole until it was slightly below the surface of the body.

Step Three: After giving the glue ample time to cure I mixed up a batch of bondo (wood filler or sealer would work too) and I used that to fill in the rest of the hole.

A year later and you still can’t tell that the holes were there.

Here is how I did the cavity plugs.

Step one: I made a cardboard template of the hole size and then cut a piece of scrap wood to match the outside diameter of the cavity. I went a little big so it would be press fitted into the hole. Measure the depth of the cavity and make your plug a little shallow.

Step two: I gave the inside of the cavity a nice coat of glue and then used my drill press as a press to push the plug into the cavity. I used the drill press instead of pounding it in to prevent the body from splitting accidentally. A slow press is always better than a quick blow.

Step three: yup you guessed it. I put on a layer of bondo and then smoothed everything out. Again, a year later and you still can’t tell the holes were there.

One hint though. If your bondo layer is thick you should put on several applications making sure you give extra time for drying. Bondo shrinks as it cures and if you don’t let it cure all the way before you sand it flat, it will sink. If the top hardens and it leaves an uncured center you could finish it and it will sink a few weeks later.

I was going to put up a tutorial of this when I did it but I forgot my camera and was to lazy to go get it. If you have any questions I’d be happy to help more.

The bondo eliminates the concerns about using an end grain plug.

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