Removing Broken Neck Screw

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Justin Figley
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Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2012 9:31 pm

Removing Broken Neck Screw

Post by Justin Figley »

I have had an old Series 10 "Professional Series" tele copy sitting around for a few years. I never felt particularly inspired by the guitar because of the neck on it. Lately I have been wanting to add a tele to the arsenal; so I took it apart and found that the previous owner had snapped a neck screw off, then it appears that they used a reciprocating saw (or similar) to get it apart and glued the screw head onto the neck plate.

When it was put together at the factory, they didn't seem to be of the opinion that the neck screws should pass through the body freely, they are threaded all the way through. The screw has been cut off flush with the body.

So far most of my thoughts on removing it have left me looking in the general direction of the drill press. I thought about trying to notch the screw with a Dremel and unscrewing it, but I don't want to dig into the body too much. I don't much care about the piece broken off in the neck because I have never liked it, so I am replacing it with a Mighty Mite.

I am looking for recommendations on how to remove it. What has worked for you more experienced people in the past?
Justin Figley - Engineer, Poser, Poor Speller

Steve Senseney
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Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:45 pm

Re: Removing Broken Neck Screw

Post by Steve Senseney »

As I envision this, you have a wood screw in the wood, with both ends broken off.

If you get a piece of small diameter pipe just a little larger than the screw, and notch the end some so that it will be a hollow drill bit, you can use this to drill a small hole out which will remove the broken screw.

After the screw is removed, make a plug that fills the hole and you can redrill. This area should be covered by the neck plate.

Clay Schaeffer
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Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:04 pm

Re: Removing Broken Neck Screw

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

Another approach is to drill through the center of the screw with a small drill bit and use a screw extractor to remove it. The big box and autoparts stores sell screw extractors in sets and sometimes singly.

Rodger Knox
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Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Re: Removing Broken Neck Screw

Post by Rodger Knox »

I'd try drilling it from the top, where the head broke off. Use a bit a little smaller than the threads. The drill will be turning the screw in the direction it needs to push out into the neck pocket. If you can get it to push through just a little, you can grab it with visegrips or plyers and twist it on through.
A man hears what he wants to hear, and disreguards the rest. Paul Simon

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Barry Daniels
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Location: The Woodlands, Texas

Re: Removing Broken Neck Screw

Post by Barry Daniels »

Screw extractors may work but these screws a so small in diameter that drilling a hole in them is difficult. I have had to resort to carving a recess around the screw and using a Vise-grip pliers to turn the screw out. Then I drilled a larger hole and installed a wood plug to replace the damaged area. The repaired area will be hidden once the neck is bolted to the body.
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David King
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Location: Portland, OR

Re: Removing Broken Neck Screw

Post by David King »

I think I like your first idea the best, just notch one or both ends of the screw and try to drive it out with a screw driver. If you start with an abrasive cut-off disk and wear it down until it's smaller in dia you can do the notching without getting into the surrounding wood.

Jeff Highland
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Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 5:48 pm

Re: Removing Broken Neck Screw

Post by Jeff Highland »

Pehhaps if you support the neck recess area on a block of wood with a hole under the screw, you might be able to drive the screw out with a nail punch far enough to grabit with some vice grips

Jeff Daugherty
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Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 8:49 pm

Re: Removing Broken Neck Screw

Post by Jeff Daugherty »

I just had a similar dilemma recently & yes it is almost impossible to use a screw extractor in this case. What I did, with success, was use a dremel tool with a diamond coated engraving bit with about 1/16 wide straight tip. Carefully ground a slot across the screw head so that my largest stubby screwdriver would fit. Took a few tries with even, steady turning pressure...& a li'l patience, got it out. Good Luck! You'll gitt'er out.

Justin Figley
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Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2012 9:31 pm

Re: Removing Broken Neck Screw

Post by Justin Figley »

Thanks for the help and ideas guys. I looked at the damage to the body from the previous "repair" and decided that notching it with an abrasive disk in the Dremel wouldn't be any worse than what is already there. I was able to notch the screw and remove it. Once I got it out, I was a little surprised at how cheap the screw felt.

Now to open up the holes a bit and proceed with putting this thing back together so I can scratch that tele itch.
Justin Figley - Engineer, Poser, Poor Speller

Doug Davis
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 3:29 pm

Re: Removing Broken Neck Screw

Post by Doug Davis »

I had a similar situation and had great success using a different type extractor that I got from my local chain woodworkers store (not sure if I can mention WoodCraft?).....

its basically a small tube that you chuck into a drill. each end is finished like a tiny hole saw....serrated. choose the size thats just bigger than the screw your trying to extract and just drill down, shrouding the broken screw. Once deep enough the broken screw will break loose and the whole plug/screw will come out with the bit.

then plug the hole with a tiny dowel of the same wood and touch-up or whatever.

the odd thing is, I stopped by the store to by a small piece of tubing to make such a tool and the guy pointed to the ones on the shelf.....

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Greg Robinson
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Location: Coburg North, Victoria, Australia

Re: Removing Broken Neck Screw

Post by Greg Robinson »

Hi Doug,
No problem mentioning retailers by name, but please review our policy if you're not sure.
MIMForum staff member - Melbourne, Australia

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