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Drilling The String Through Holes On A Body


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Hey folks, I know I'm still knew here, but I promised I tried to search for an existing thread on this topic and in the tutorials, but I'm just not finding it. I'm still in the tentative stages of planning a build for a Telecasteresque body. I'm really tempted to just buy a body, but there are a few minor things that I want to do different from a standard T-shape. Anyway, I've figured out how to get most of the body from a blank, but what I'm stuck on is drilling the string through holes in the front and making them larger and reaming them so the ferrules are flush with the body. I'm kicking myself because I used to have a book that covered this topic a bit. My concern is the 1/8" bit wandering and not being straight on the way out. Do you measure the location on the holes on the front and back and drill halfway from both sides?

If anyone can point me to a reference that discusses this, I would be much appreciative. The alternative is buying a routed/drilled body blank from Warmoth, and I'd much rather save the money by doing it myself. Thanks!

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Well, I can tell you how I do it.

I don't have a drill press so I had to use my handheld drill. The first time I did it, I just tried to drill as straight as possible from the front (for the string-through part). It turned out pretty good, but the larger bit I used for the ferrules followed the holes from the smaller bit, so the ferrules didn't end up perfectly aligned.

On my second guitar, I first marked the location of the ferrule holes and drilled them. THEN I drilled the holes from the front. It ended up with the ferrules perfectly aligned and the holes in the right location on top. The holes drilled from the top still weren't perfectly aligned (once they reached the back), but they were covered by the ferrules anyway.

To get the ferrules flush with the body, I just took a bit with the same diameter as the little "lip" type thing on the ferrules, and slowly drilled just deep enough to get the little lip thing flush.

So in the end, I was left with holes of three diameters that were all connected.

Sorry that this is a little hard to describe, so if you don't understand, just ask and I'll try to explain in a different way.

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I think I see what you mean. The last part where you used a bit the same size as the lip on the ferrule scares me. I was thinking there was some sort of reaming bit that does this. Maybe a step down bit would work? I don't personally have a drill press, so I will be taking it to my grandfather's shop. I suppose I can practice plenty on scrap first.

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I think I see what you mean. The last part where you used a bit the same size as the lip on the ferrule scares me. I was thinking there was some sort of reaming bit that does this. Maybe a step down bit would work? I don't personally have a drill press, so I will be taking it to my grandfather's shop. I suppose I can practice plenty on scrap first.

For the string ferrules, you'll need a counter boring bit. I got a couple from Fastenal but there are other sources for them.

There's a picture in the page linked below (look for how John drills the string ferrule holes on the back)

http://www.modernguitars.com/page/archives/003706.html

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When I did recessed ferules, I used a brad point bit to drill the flange recesses, then the mark left by the tip of the brad point to align a smaller brad points tip when drilling the smaller portion of the whole for the body of the ferrule. It worked okay, but I'd recommend a counterbore for better results.

I think I originally located the first hole by drilling a tiny (1/16" perhaps?) pilot hole for one string from the front, then did the rest of the ferrule holes from the back, and went back and did the rest of the string holes from the front. They weren't perfect, but again, the imperfect exit holes where hidden by the larger ferrules - as long as they lined up decently, I was okay.

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Yeah, you might have better luck with a counter-boring bit.

I'm not sure, but I might have used an old hand drill (like the really old non-electric egg beater style) for the lip recess.

I know I drilled too deep on some of them, but the bit I used was slightly smaller (by 1/64" or something--I used a 25/64" bit) or maybe the same size as the little lip. Either way, it ended up so I had to use a small (wooden) hammer to tap them in, so I couldn't get them beyond flush (without using some other tool).

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A counter bore bit works best for countersinking. A drill press is highly recommended.

For drilling the body, I first drill the 2 outer holes from the top through to the back first. Go slow and keep the bit clean on the 2 through holes.

The remaining middle holes I only drill about 3/4 of the way through.

Flip the body and layout the remaining holes on the back using the 2 outer holes as reference.

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Hi u6, and welcome here.

If you have, or have access to a drill press this works pretty slick....you'll need a piece of wood attached to drill press table, drill the holes from the front about one half inch deep (as suggested, a brad point works best) when they all are drilled, take your body off and drill an one eighth inch hole into the wood you put on the table and insert a one eighth inch dowel.

You then flip the body over and put the dowel into each of the holes you drilled to line up the rear holes.

I got this from another forum so I can't take credit.(Thanks, Ron Kirn)

Hope this helps. Good luck

Steve

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You then flip the body over and put the dowel into each of the holes you drilled to line up the rear holes.

I got this from another forum so I can't take credit.(Thanks, Ron Kirn)

Not only that, but it's great for drilling an existing hole bigger and being right on center, and on variations on that, you can get your bigger holes for the ferrules, and also the ferrule lip.

I like that method a lot, when I've got an existing hole, then want to open part of it up with a forstner bit.

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A counter bore bit works best for countersinking. A drill press is highly recommended.

For drilling the body, I first drill the 2 outer holes from the top through to the back first. Go slow and keep the bit clean on the 2 through holes.

The remaining middle holes I only drill about 3/4 of the way through.

Flip the body and layout the remaining holes on the back using the 2 outer holes as reference.

By drilling the two outer holes first the 2 "e's" you then draw a line joining the two, the other 4 holes are then drilled on that line this makes sure that the ferrules are straight.

You could drill pilot holes first and sit the point of a brad bit into the pilot holes, drill half way from front and back

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