I have a 1968 Les Paul Custom in the shop with an aftermarket Nashville bridge. The owner wants me to pull the Nashville studs and replace them with ABR posts. I'll need to plug the stud holes but the only maple I have on hand are bridge plate blanks. Any suggestions as to where I can get come maple cutoffs showing a variety of figures from plain to flamed? I want to match the current guitar and think ahead to future repairs.
While I'm at it...what do you use to pull bushings? I've tried putting a 1/2" long cylindrical piece of steel down the bushing hole and then tightening the stud. The bushing came out about 1/4" but won't budge further.
Surly you could pull these bushes by using a piece of flat metal drilled to take the bolt, then using couple of scrap pieces of timber make a bridge with the metal over the top; you then screw down into the bush which will rise, if you run out of thread just pack out with a bit more timber. I've used a similar method to remove bushes before, admittedly these bushes were on the shafts of RN warships, but the principle is the same.
Thanks, Steve...that's a good idea. I'd like to have seen you pulling bushings for the Royal Navy. I grew up in Savannah GA (which is a big port) and I'm interested in anything that floats on water.
It was a few years ago Robbie, I used to work mainly on Type 42 destroyers, if that means anything to you, Happy days, but in the UK skills are not well paid so I left for more profitable work in education. My method would be easier to demonstrate then to describe so I hope you understand it. For smaller bushes we often used a bolt inside a suitably sized socket.
I've was in higher education a long while myself.
Quote: "Any suggestions as to where I can get come maple cutoffs showing a variety of figures from plain to flamed?"
I had a Gibson Les Paul Black Beauty that had come out of the Factory with a chunk of maple missing from the top.
The damage was hidden underneath the Pickup Selector Switch so not apparent until you removed the Pickup Selector Name Plate.
I have a Relative who works with Violin Family Instruments, and Violin Repairmen are usually found to have various sizes of chunks of maple about.
To repair the Gibson a clean section of the maple top (hidden under the switch area) was cut out and a perfect section of good wood cut to fit, drilled and shaped for the top arch.
Refinished to match, then the hardware put back in place, hunky dory.
So I would make a friendly visit to someone in your area that repairs Violin Family Instruments.
They are sure to have various sized bits of maple around. It just depends how fussy you are about the matching up.
Personal Charm and Winning Ways might need to be deployed to get the wood for nothing, otherwise, pay them for the part and charge it on.
As for the Bushings.
If it is really frozen and risky.
Can you not use a proper bench vertical drill?
Use a diameter of drill bit a tiny fraction smaller than the bushing diameter and simply drill them out, so any miniscule residue remaining of the broken up bushings simply falls away easily with a little scrape?
Be sure to tape around the hole to protect the finish.
It has to be done perfectly vertical.
Tracking down a violin guy is a great idea. Unfortunately, Macon is pretty economically depressed and hasn't much in the way of specialized service providers. I'm sure there is someone here who can set a bridge and soundpost.
I've contacted LMII and three other companies that saw maple into neck blacks and tops without luck. I remembered that my kids had wooden maple blocks when there were small so I searched eBay for "maple blocks" and found this:
Shipping is outrageous for six blocks...$18. Be hard to charge the guy a total of $30 for a maple plug. I may or may not find a use for them in the future.
I might have to follow your suggestion and drill out one of the tailpiece studs. It was frozen in place. I squirted it with WD-40 and waited a day, then tried a StewMac Stop Tailpiece Wrench, then a Vise-Grip and finally a pipe wrench and twisted the top right off. I've drilled a 3/32" hole and will give the StewMac bushing a try when it arrives otherwise I'll have to turn the drill press loose on it.
I use a piece of wood with a hole in the bottom big enough for the bushing to pass and a hole at the top that is just big enough for the threaded part of the stud to go through. Then you just turn it out with a screw driver.
If I was plugging it, I have a set of leather punches and if you have the right size it's a great way to cut the finish around the bushing. You just turn it by hand and it scores the finish nicely. If your trying to make it as invisible as possible you could consider a plug that fills to just below the surface and a tapered plug that finishes the top. With a good grain match a tapered plug can be virtually invisble
Thanks for the suggestion, John. I'm not sure I understand...are you suggesting 2 plugs...the first a filler and the second a kind of veneer? If I used a tapered plug would that necessitate using a flush cut saw or would I cut to size?
I haven't used a tapered plug in this situation but I've used them when rebushing a headstock. I cut them a tiny bit tall and then tap them into place. Put a hole in the middle so the glue has somewhere to go. You could glue the tapered part of the plug onto the filler plug first. Frank would probably make a plug shaped like that on his lathe.
I have taken a caliper to measure the exact diameter of the offending bushing, and then located a drill bit that's an exact fit, preferably a brad point, to drill a hole in a 4/4 or 5/4 thick scrap of hardwood. Glue a thin layer of cork on the bottom before you drill the hole, to get a clean cut. Then locate a bolt the same thread as the bushing, and after stacking some washers between it and the block, place this over the bushing and begin threading it in. Having the hole the exact diameter as the bushing allows a snug fit around the hole, theoretically preventing any chips. As you twist the bolt in, it will bottom out in the hole, and jack the bushing straight out.
As far as wood goes, a good source is a thrift store that stocks old furniture. I seem to recall a guy named Smith stealing drawers from his mom's furniture to make at least one top. Many of that old colonial style furniture that you saw on Leave It to Beaver winds up in Goodwills, and some had really nice pieces of maple. While walking through a local grocery store today, I noticed shrink-wrapped bundles of firewood containing pieces roughly 3 X 4 and larger, and some were obviously maple, and there was also some walnut mixed in. Shipping pallets also are good sources of mixed woods and the price is right, a couple bucks or free for the hauling.
Plug cutters are made in large sizes. Search on Amazon for "Milbro 414161 Set." Thats just an example; I've not used that brand, but others that cut super smooth with a little honing. Just my two cents worth. Hope it goes well.
Great ideas! I like your resourcefulness in scavenging resources.