Strap pin hole with woodglue and toothpick repair

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by maxpayneatlarge, Jul 8, 2013.

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  1. maxpayneatlarge


    Mar 9, 2012
    I am aware that there is like a 9 page thread on how to do this repair, so that is NOT what I am asking here.

    One acceptable method of fixing a strap pin hole is using toothpicks and wood glue. This method also calls for screwing the screw in before the glue dries.

    My question: Has anyone ever had to unscrew that screw that was glued in? Was it incredibly hard to unscrew?

    I'm putting some strap locks in, but the strap lock screws are slightly smaller in guage than the original screws. I'd like to think that after I used the toothpick and glue method that one day I'd be able to unscrew those smaller screws and replace the original strap pins with the original screws.

    Before someone says it, I tried to use the original screws with the strap locks, but the head is too large to go down into the straplock pin.

  2. PipeRain

    PipeRain Operator Of Pointy Basses

    Dec 4, 2012
    A lot of it is gonna depend on what glue you use. If you use Elmers White glue (Which will work adequately) Yes, the screws will come out rather easily. If you use Franklin Tite-Bond, they will come out less easily. If you use Gorilla Glue or epoxy or some such, they won't (For all practical purposes anyway) come back out.

    I have done this a number of times and my favorite method is the use a Dremel to grind the head of a 2 or 3 inch drywall screw small enough to fit in the strap button, wet it thoroughly with Franklin Tite-Bond II then spin it in with a high speed, low-torgue screwgun. The rotation speed and friction of the screw going in causes the glue to set almost instantly and hold very well. I have only removed one using this method and it was not easy to remove, but it did come out. Eventually.
  3. maxpayneatlarge


    Mar 9, 2012
    What if you just waited until the glue dried, then screwed the screw in? Is that fix just as good as screwing it in while wet? Seems like it would make it where you could unscrew easier later if needed.

  4. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    The idea of putting the screw in when the glue is wet is to press the toothpicks into close contact with the wood of the bass. That's when glue works the best. If there are gaps the glue doesn't hold very well.

    If you are worried about the screw getting glued in place and thus being hard to remove, put some wax on the threads before inserting the screw. The glue won't stick to the wax and it will ensure easy removal.
  5. maxpayneatlarge


    Mar 9, 2012
    Ah, thank you. Sounds like a good idea to me!


  6. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    I've done the toothpick repair a number of times, and I've never bothered with the glue. I just stuff a couple toothpicks into the hole, snap them off flush with the body, and carefully turn the screw into it, making sure the screw is angled correctly. Sometimes I've needed to put a little pressure on the screwdriver to get it started biting into the toothpick wood.

    That's worked just fine, every time. No need for glue, IME.
  7. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC

    I've been using toothpicks to repair loose screws since the early 90's, never bothered with glue. If you're using the old style flat toothpicks (not the fancy polished ones) the wood compresses and holds nice and tight. No glue needed.
  8. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Although I would usually go the extra step and use glue, this method addresses the ops possible desire to change the buttons out later. If he was to use glue, the larger screws might be tight to put back. This way he can just fish the bits of toothpick out later.
  9. edpal

    edpal Inactive

    Oct 3, 2007
    I have 2 different suggestions:
    1. just grind the head of your screw down that little bit it needs - I've had this same issue because I neurotically install Dunlop strap locks on all my axes before I start playing them. A fast & furious way is to just chuck the screw in a drill and hit it with a file or such and check aginst the button hole as your go. or
    2. THe strap lock button (if this is a Dunlop style) is just plated brass - the hole itself is easy to widen.

    The screw won't stick to the glue really at all if you use the other method. Reason being that glue only sticks to metal through static adhesion - tight alignment with no air space. The screw is tapered, as soon as it screws at all outward a smaller diameter of it's threads are in contact with the hole - literally contracting as it moves/screws out.
  10. edpal

    edpal Inactive

    Oct 3, 2007
    Small aside on this topic. If for some reason you want to put a DUnlop lock on AND you need a horn extension AND don't mind permanently enlarging the hole in the body: a 3/16" hex head lag screw will fit from flat2flat of the hex perfectly into the strap half of a Dunlop lock. I did that on a T-bird of mine, even ground the top of the hex smooth so I could center-punch a starter and drilled the right size hole so the lock still worked. Did another like that where I hid the screw inside a wooden chess piece...the rook I believe.

    Obviously pre-drill the hole if installing a larger/longer screw.
  11. You could wax the screw before installing it into the glue.

    I smashed two dry toothpicks into my Gibson Explorer in 1984. No glue - still holding strong nearly 30 years later.
  12. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    in answer to the OP, when done right (toothpicks and wood glue, screw in while wet) the screw can still come out just fine later. like edpal said, wood glue doesn't really stick to metal.

    if for some reason the screw was hard to back out, touching it with a soldering iron for a few seconds would take care of that.
  13. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown

    Feb 16, 2011
    If you want to use plain old white glue no prob. If it gives you any trouble taking it out, heat up your soldering iron and stick it against the screw head for 30 seconds or so and the screw will come right out.

    If you want to use some of the modern expanding wood glues or epoxies no prob. Take a Q tip and a little vaseline and put just enough vaseline on the screw to make it shine, then run it in and let everything set.
  14. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I've done the same with a dowel or even a chopstick (in the case of one emergency repair at a venue).
  15. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Yes, I've knocked the shoulder off the stock mounting screws with my Dremel grinder. A little bit goes a long way and the screw head will fit inside the Dunlop recess. If you look closely at a Dunlop mounting kit, the screws included have been doctored in the same can even see the grinder marks.

  16. georgestrings

    georgestrings Inactive

    Nov 5, 2005

    - georgestrings
  17. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    Or, you could just skip the glue. My bass, bought in 1996, has had the same toothpicks in the holes since I bought the straplocks shortly after I bought the bass, and has been played at hundreds of gigs and about a million rehearsals. Never loosened up once. Stuff 'em in there good and tight, then drop in the screw - the wood compresses, doesn't slip, is very solid. Simple. Effective. Cheap. Not messy. No worries about pulling them out later. No screw greasing.
  18. maxpayneatlarge


    Mar 9, 2012

    I tried putting one toothpick in, split in half. I got the screw in there, but it didn't tighten up like I hoped it would. It seems solid enough, but should it have gotten tight (stopped turning without excessive force)?

    I guess I'm paranoid about putting too much toothpick in there danger of splitting the wood on the bass?

    May seem like a stupid question, but I'd rather ask and get the opinions than to not ask and not know from people who've been there before :)

  19. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    +1 for skipping the glue unless the hole is particularly problematic. I used a toothpick or two to firm up a strap pin about a decade ago, and it's given me no trouble since then -- to the point that now I don't even remember which strap pin on which bass is the one I worked on.
  20. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    sorry, but when using the wood glue is trivial to do and way stronger and more reliable, telling folks to skip it is just bad advice.
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