Threaded wood inserts

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by 5string5fingers, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. I'm wanting to put threaded wood insert...things (technical term) into the neck of my P bass for a more solid hold. However, I'm unsure of what size I need to get,any help?
  2. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett

    Yeah, you want threaded inserts, they're available in brass and stainless steel.

    Typical machine bolts will be 1/4-20,
    1 1/4" long.

    Typical threaded inserts will be 1/2 inch long, 1/4 ” I.D., 7/16” O.D

    Like these, for example...
  3. any preference over brass or stainless steel? I imagine SS would be more durable,less likely to strip?
  4. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett
    Yes, brass is alot softer than SS, so a brass thread will wear down faster than SS. After saying this, the only question to ask is, How many times do you anticipate taking it off though, really?

    I've been using brass with no issue.
  5. True. The neck will only be taken off if needed. Thanks alot!
  6. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Banned

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
  7. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    I've been installing threaded inserts into necks since late 2006 ... having had a couple necks with unusually hard Maple, and having had multiple brass inserts disintegrate during the install procedure ... I only use hardened steel or stainless inserts when installing inserts into a neck. my reasoning has nothing to do with wearing out threads with repeated installing and reinstalling of the neck - it has everything to do with having an insert made of materials that allow me to have the snuggest fit into the mounting hole

    I also use hardened steel inserts with a 10-24 internal thread having found there is no benefit to an insert of a larger internal thread size

    I do use brass inserts for control cavity covers, mounting bridges, etc ... just never for necks

    all the best,

  8. runwfo


    Jul 20, 2008
    I did this recently on an SX Jazz bass. I think the thread size of the insert was 10-24. I used the brass ones from my local hardware. Be sure to use correct size drill bit. This is what I did:

    - setup drill press using smaller bit as a pilot hole. Removed two of the original wood screws. Used a wood screw length as a guide to wrap some masking tape around the drill bit so I wouldn't got too far.

    - drilled two pilot holes through neck into body.

    - removed neck and drilled pilot holes in body out to correct size. Lubed brass inserts with a bit of soap and installed using an allen head set screw I purchased along with the inserts. This was much easier to install than with a screwdriver

    - reinstalled the neck using new machine screws and performed same steps for the other two holes.

    I used stainless oval head screws that were 1 1/2 inches long.

    Worked GREAT. I also did my son's Telecaster using the same materials and procedure.

    Attached Files:

  9. This is another method that works well for me. The installation tool is simply a screw with the head cut off, and double-nutted to provide a stop. The drill press assures that the insert goes in straight every time. I use a rod in the chuck key holes to assist in turning the chuck. Note: This is a hand operation! Also, Safety Sam says to make sure you take the rod out of the chuck every time, just as you would the chuck key, to reinforce that good shop practice. Be sure the diameter of the hole that you drill is the same size, or perhaps just a couple thousandths larger, as the bottom or root of the thread (the smallest outside diameter of the insert). This will allow clearance for the body of the insert, and let the threads cut into the wood and secure it in place. If the hole is under size, insertion will be very difficult.
  10. that's a clean install!
  11. are threaded better than the press in?
  12. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett
    "press in" are more like "t nuts"..... they don't really work well in this application... That is.....unless you're installing the t nuts from the top of the neck, under the fretboard, then it will work better. However, t nuts on an "already" made neck, wouldn't make for a very good way.
  13. I would say yes. The threads biting into the surrounding wood makes them more secure.
  14. CH Design

    CH Design Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2007
    Ottawa, ON
    I realize this is a zombie thread, but I'm having a hard time getting some inserts in cleanly...
    I'm using SS inserts into a Wenge neck. Even with a good chamfer around the pilot hole using the drill press to line everything up and keep things straight I end up with big chips breaking off the surface of the wood. FWIW, I tried a piece of Ash and got the same result. These are what I'm trying to use:

    I also have some Zinc Alloy inserts ( that don't look as beefy, but I can get them to go in without any problems.

    I'd prefer to use the SS inserts, but I need to come up with a way of getting them in without damaging the neck. Any suggestions?
  15. Dean N

    Dean N Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Did you try putting a light coating of plain ol' dish soap on the inserts before installation to help lubricate? It actually does help quite a bit.

    I use the "high strength hex drive" 10-24 SS inserts from McMaster-Carr. Item # 90192A114
  16. TheJoshinator


    Sep 23, 2012
    Never tried it, but I've heard that candle wax on the thread can help get it into tight holes.
  17. St Drogo

    St Drogo

    Oct 9, 2009
    What benefits do threaded inserts actually have? Is it purely to prevent wear and tear on the screwholes? Or does it give you some other advantages?
  18. CH Design

    CH Design Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2007
    Ottawa, ON
    No, but I did rub the threads with bees wax.
  19. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett
    With Wenge, you would almost have to thread the damn thing too, with a coarse threading tool..........Your drilling size needs to be just a "hair" larger, so that it does not chip up around the hole, with any really hard wood.....
  20. CH Design

    CH Design Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2007
    Ottawa, ON
    Good luck finding a tap though. It's not a standard thread.
    I picked up a W and X drill bits so I'll try those tonight. If those don't work I might just use the zinc-alloy inserts. They won't be as strong, but still better than a wood screw.