Help! Strap button screw sheared off!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by vin*tone, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. Hey Guys.
    I was playing my '83 Fender P the other day and the screw holding the strap button on the bridge end just sheared clean off. :atoz: Now I have to work out the least damaging way of getting the rest of the screw out so I can replace it. :(

    Anyone got suggestions? I can post a pic if you ned it but there's not much to see. the screw is flush with the body- can't get at it with pliers.
  2. Greenman


    Dec 17, 2005
    Ontario Canada
    You will probably do more harm than good trying to remove the screw. Just drill a new hole 3mm above the existing one. No one but yourself will ever know.
  3. Rav


    Dec 29, 2004
    Aurora, IL
    If it is close to the surface use a dremmel tool with a small cutting head to put a notch in the screw shaft then take it out with a flat bladed small screwdriver.

  4. vbasscustom


    Sep 8, 2008
    ah yes, good idea. ive had to do that before actually
  5. Nice idea thanks.
    I don't have a dremmel but its been on my shopping list for a while now.
  6. musicelectronix


    Jul 8, 2007
    Hüstın, TX
    Lead Designer, Zeibek Boutique Pedals
    There is a tool that extract screws, not sure what the name is. It is pretty easy to use really. somebody will mention it eventually lol.

    Does the screw have at least 4mm protruded part, visible from the outside? If so, the easiest way is to cut a groove right in the middle and use a flat screwdriver to get it out. (edit: already mentioned, sorry)
  7. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
  8. musicelectronix


    Jul 8, 2007
    Hüstın, TX
    Lead Designer, Zeibek Boutique Pedals
    That is one system, but somewhat intrusive. There is another screw puller kinda stuff. You drill a hole inside the screw and using "reverse drill bit" kinda stuff which grabs the screw from the inside. But this one looks like it would work better.
  9. blendermassacre

    blendermassacre Supporting Member

    May 28, 2009
    kansas city, mo
    also rockler makes great woodworking equipment, so no fear there.
  10. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    These can also work if the remaining screw stub is big enough:
  11. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Cutting a slot with a Dremel is a great idea if the stem is sticking up far enough to not damage any wood.

    But as far as drilling (not damaging/removing any wood being the key here) I don't like that Rockler idea. At work we use a smaller drill bit and drill down the center of the old screw or bolt, and use a reverse drill bit extractor to unscrew it.

    Either way, this is going to be a tedious PIA that requires a extremely careful hand.
  12. vejesse


    Apr 8, 2006
    Madison, Wi
    Double Bass Workshop
    Check this out. Go to the hardware store and get a small stainless steel tube where the inside diameter is just larger than the screw. You can use brass too but you might have to put a dowel on the inside to keep it from collapsing. Then cut off a piece two inches long and file a bunch of 'teeth' on one end. Then chuck the thing in an electric drill and use it as cutting tool to to cut around the screw. The whole screw will pull right out. dowel and install again.

    Furniture restoration trick.
  13. Foamy


    Jun 26, 2006
    Sac Area
    Here's what I did for a similar problem (after a couple above ideas would not work since the screw was slightly buried):

    With a Dremel and a 1/8" bit, I drilled two holes, the length of the screw body - on opposite sides of the screw body.
    I drilled them right up next to the screw so that I was actually hitting the screw with the bit.
    So now I had somewhat of a straight line.
    I used needle-nose pliers to start working the screw back and forth in the slot and was able to get it out and not leave a large hole.
    Then, I filled the hole with JB Weld - that stuff is strong as nails. Re-drilled, and Put the new screw in.
    So, there's yet another idea should it suit the situation.
  14. (OT) hhmm this stuff seems interesting - thinking of putting a little in my screw hole that keeps coming loose. no fun using a precious bass on a gig and having to check if the locks are coming loose every time I put it on :mad:
  15. Foamy


    Jun 26, 2006
    Sac Area
    Use caution. It is harder than most body woods. So, if you fill a hole with it, be sure to predrill appropriately. You can actually thread this stuff. For your specific problem, some folks say to just shove pieces of toothpicks in there with a bit of wood glue. I have no anecdotal evidence, but I would not trust the toothpick parts of it. I think the toothpick wood would give way and get the same problem.
    The JB Weld though, that's the stuff there!
  16. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA

    Use the JB Weld to fill the hole then jam a thin toothpick (or the like) into the hole dead-center. When you drill the pilot hole for the new screw, the drill bit will follow the path of the softer "sacrificial" toothpick.

  17. actually it works well.....depends on how much abuse the bass gets.....i see a lot of gaff tape strap locks these days.......

    as far as the op 's problem goes,try the dremel method first,as it seems least likely to damage your bass......i would try to find a heavier duty strap button screw/lock if possible
  18. basscheez


    Nov 6, 2008
    Cleveland, Oh
    I've been thinking of drilling out my straplock screw holes and putting in a threaded brass insert from a trem bridge, then using a machine screw. Anybody tried this? Have to drill out the button, of course.
  19. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    If you have a lot of experience installing threaded inserts this can be done, but it's not always easy.

    The most difficult part of installing threaded inserts is getting them to go in straight, especially when you're installing them in hardwood. Selecting the correct insert, drilling a correctly-sized hole, and lubricating the insert can make a big difference.

    I usually use an unplugged drill press, with the drive belt disconnected, as a jig to assure the insert is installed perpendicular to the board's surface - a task that can be difficult when installing an insert in an irregularly-shaped object like the upper horn of a bass.

    In a pinch, you can drill the hole a little sloppy, protect the inner threads with a dallop of Vaseline, and install the threaded insert with slow-set epoxy.

    Good luck. :)
  20. Foamy


    Jun 26, 2006
    Sac Area

    I think you are still underplaying the difficulty of this. At best, with a flat bass with parallel front and back this's a real pain in the but.