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Thread: Headstock drilling jig.

  1. #1
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Headstock drilling jig.

    I have a couple sets of Riner tuners F style and wonder if the Stew Mac drilling jig is the go to jig? The numbers line up properly for spacing. Anyone using it with Rubners.
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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headstock drilling jig.

    Almost all modern mandolin tuners require the exact same hole spacing. That includes Rubner.
    The Stewmac jig is fine when used correctly. I have used one, but I prefer my pin drill jig made using Bob Benedetto's idea from his archtop guitar book. I can drill any size hole, for any size bushing with the pin drill jig. (I don't counter-bore for bushings and I don't fully know why anyone does.)

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  4. #3
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headstock drilling jig.

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    Almost all modern mandolin tuners require the exact same hole spacing. That includes Rubner.
    The Stewmac jig is fine when used correctly. I have used one, but I prefer my pin drill jig made using Bob Benedetto's idea from his archtop guitar book. I can drill any size hole, for any size bushing with the pin drill jig. (I don't counter-bore for bushings and I don't fully know why anyone does.)
    I might have that book I need to check. The Rubner tuners came with a counter sink I need to look closer to see why. Thanks!
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  5. #4

    Default Re: Headstock drilling jig.

    John, the Rubner website indicates that there’s a significant taper on their knurled ferrules - the mandolin ones anyway. If they’re shipping a tapered counterbore it might just be German-stereotypical fussing. I can’t see any practical reason. Other folks might like to have a microscopic amount more wood left at the holes by counterboring, but that’s also a psychological issue - very much like aligning the slots on all screw heads.
    Yesterday, still in shop exile, with a new thriftstore mandolin that had lost an e-string, and thereby allowed the associated ferrule to escape, I made one from a random brass plumbing fixture, just to see if I could do it without a lathe. Worked out ok, so my new mystery meme is seven chrome and one brass.

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headstock drilling jig.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard500 View Post
    ...the Rubner website indicates that thereís a significant taper on their knurled ferrules - the mandolin ones anyway. If theyíre shipping a tapered counterbore it might just be German-stereotypical fussing...
    The bushings have a taper visually very similar to those of most other manufacturers of heavy type knurled bushings, but I don't use them anyway so it matters not to me.
    I don't think I got a countersink/tapered reamer/counter-bore with any of the Rubner sets that I have (?).

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    Default Re: Headstock drilling jig.

    I have only had a couple sets of Rubners, but I didn't get a countersink/tapered reamer/counter-bore with mine either.
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    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headstock drilling jig.

    Here it is. And honestly, I don't remember if it was included as part of the order or if I paid extra for it. I bought two of the more expensive tuners for my own builds. Being unknown I would never get the money back on them if I tried to sell one. I have never sold an instrument.
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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headstock drilling jig.

    I don't think that came with the tuners, I suspect it was bought separately, and probably not too cheap.
    Some tuners (these days) have an obstacle (I call it) where the posts leave the plate. A little ring of metal that keeps the tuner from fitting flush against the headstock if the holes are sized for the posts and bushings. According to the instructions in your picture, that tool is to counter-bore to make room for the obstacle. The same can be done with the pin drill jig using a properly sized bit.

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  11. #9

    Default Re: Headstock drilling jig.

    That's one fancy (nice) countersink tool. Stew-Mac sells simliar bits but not one for the Grover 309s I was using in earlier days, so I just use a violin peg reamer and marked the depth on it with a sharpie. I like to set my bushings to where they are a mm or so shy of flush with thumb pressure, then tap them home with a dowel and mallet. I hate it when bushings start pulling up down the road.

  12. #10
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headstock drilling jig.

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    Almost all modern mandolin tuners require the exact same hole spacing. That includes Rubner.
    The Stewmac jig is fine when used correctly. I have used one, but I prefer my pin drill jig made using Bob Benedetto's idea from his archtop guitar book. I can drill any size hole, for any size bushing with the pin drill jig. (I don't counter-bore for bushings and I don't fully know why anyone does.)
    I can't find my book. Can you or would you share a picture of your drilling jig? Thanks
    I really don't remember ordering the jig but it was also late and I was in a mood to get some tuners so anything is possible at 0300. I work long and don't sleep much and tackle a lot of admin stuff early am to save daylight for work. Being well into my 50's I have no idea why I keep pushing myself so hard.
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  13. #11

    Default Re: Headstock drilling jig.

    Another look at Rubnerís site discloses this same tool, but itís for the other end of the hole; not for the ferrules. It seems that, in a quest to overdo this mechanism, they added a thick flange and washer to the back of the plate. This makes flush mounting of the plate impossible without making a recess to fit it. Since nobody with any sense of class would like their tuner plates to stand off from the headstock, you need to do something. The tool is really a counterbore, I think, and looks expensive too.
    If anyone encounters a problem like this: no specialty tool and need for a fairly concentric step bore, the usual woodworking method is to fill the hole flush with a suitable dowel, and then use a plain spade bit to make the cut. A Forstner with a center point would even be better. No great precision required, so make the bore oversized. The spade bits I have tend to be kinda wobbly, so they can be made more controllable by cutting the shanks down. Be careful if hand-holding a drill for this operation. For a depth stop (also no precision) a little White-Out or tape on the bit will serve.
    Frankly, I think they over-complicated the design.

  14. #12
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headstock drilling jig.

    I have several of the Stew Mac counterbores for both the front and the backside of the peghead, across several different instruments. I like them- a lot. I find them to be efficient and accurate.

    After you chip out and or destroy a dozen or two finished headstocks trying mediocre improvisation, you'll gladly accept how well they take the guesswork and jitters out of the process for a reasonable price.

  15. #13
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headstock drilling jig.

    Let's see if these will all fit in one post. I'll give a brief description if they do.
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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headstock drilling jig.

    In order, the photos show:
    - a plywood table clamped to the drill press table
    - a piece of round metal stock being used to center the drill over the hole in the table
    - a pin placed in the hole
    - the underside of the drill jig showing the holes that fit over the pin in the table
    - the peghead clamped into the jig
    - the resulting drilled holes

    Actually, it looks like I was drilling counter-bores for those little obstacles on tuner plates when I took this picture. After drilling those, all I have to do is switch to a smaller bit to drill the actual holes.
    It is the same principle as a pin router. It's pretty easy to find info on those.

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    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headstock drilling jig.

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    In order, the photos show:
    - a plywood table clamped to the drill press table
    - a piece of round metal stock being used to center the drill over the hole in the table
    - a pin placed in the hole
    - the underside of the drill jig showing the holes that fit over the pin in the table
    - the peghead clamped into the jig
    - the resulting drilled holes

    Actually, it looks like I was drilling counter-bores for those little obstacles on tuner plates when I took this picture. After drilling those, all I have to do is switch to a smaller bit to drill the actual holes.
    It is the same principle as a pin router. It's pretty easy to find info on those.
    Sadly my cheap little tabletop craftsman drill press is so wobbly I can't use it. I plan to salvage the motor and scrap the rest of it. I drill everything by hand which is why I look for drilling jigs when they make sense. I will google the pin router. I have cobble something like that together in the past for routing edges, never holes. Thanks!
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  20. #16

    Default Re: Headstock drilling jig.

    Sorry, didn’t want to suggest expedient measures to actual craftsmen! However, there seem to be one-shot and newbies here too, and sometimes they don’t just buy all the tools, or can afford them. My little shop may have 100 counterbores, many times that many drills, around ten lathes, one vertical mill and a bunch of other stuff, but a) I don’t build instruments and b) I like hand woodworking as a hobby.
    @ Mr. Bertotti, your drill press probably can be set up to be less than wobbly without doing too much unless it actually has no bearings. A decent chuck may be what you need, but even a good one is not the same as a collet for runout accuracy. Hand drilling does have limits, and Hamlett’s jig is worth making even for a single use. If you add centered disks for that lower pin for other diameters, you’ll find other uses for the centering and location ability.

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  22. #17
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headstock drilling jig.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard500 View Post
    Sorry, didnít want to suggest expedient measures to actual craftsmen! However, there seem to be one-shot and newbies here too, and sometimes they donít just buy all the tools, or can afford them. My little shop may have 100 counterbores, many times that many drills, around ten lathes, one vertical mill and a bunch of other stuff, but a) I donít build instruments and b) I like hand woodworking as a hobby.
    @ Mr. Bertotti, your drill press probably can be set up to be less than wobbly without doing too much unless it actually has no bearings. A decent chuck may be what you need, but even a good one is not the same as a collet for runout accuracy. Hand drilling does have limits, and Hamlettís jig is worth making even for a single use. If you add centered disks for that lower pin for other diameters, youíll find other uses for the centering and location ability.
    Iíve talked to a machine shop to correct the little worthless drill press. It is a press on chuck which is the issue. I wanted to remove it thread the shaft and put on a good chuck but by the time the work would be done a new drill press would be a better solution. I removed the chuck and fitted the largest round stock it would hold affixed it vertically then aligned the shaft and did a spin down to mount it but that did little to nothing to improve the accuracy. I suppose I could jig it and weld it but by this point I just donít care to. I burned myself out trying to improve it. I have kicked around the idea of a small used mill. I would have other uses for it.
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    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headstock drilling jig.

    A good drill press is a priceless tool in the workshop and worth every penny! They last a half century and are readily available on the secondhand market for very reasonable prices- both of mine cost less than what I pay for a nice set of tuning machines.

    It may hurt your wallet the day you pay for it, but for the rest of your life you will have consistent, easily repeatable accuracy and throw away all of those current worries you are dealing with. A POS drill press is worse than no drill press....

    Nice looking macassar ebony backstrap John!

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  25. #19
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headstock drilling jig.

    Any one care to suggest a good make of drill press or mill. I can start looking at used to get an idea of local costs.
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  26. #20

    Default Re: Headstock drilling jig.

    Deltas from the 1930s-60s are the benchmark in small ones; there are a lot of them, and as mentioned, they last. Since many went into home workshops, the wear can be minimal. Last one I got was from a local tag sale, for $10, pretty well mint. Older Craftsman can be decent. I have a floor model that’s quite solid. The innovation was skinny v-belts to allow more speeds.
    Like most powered tools, mass helps, and more recent ones attempt to skimp in that area, so look for cast iron. The best way to attach a chuck is on a machine taper, not a thread, so look for two knurled flat nuts above the chuck as an indication. Most all old tapers (there are a dozen ‘standards’ or more) are available. The name brand in chucks is still Jacobs, but there are even better ones. Since a drill press isn’t meant for milling, there is always runout and you can’t use one where it matters. There is also vertical play so drilling to exact depth is delicate. As far as size, tabletop should take care of most things; standing ones have larger distance between the chuck and the column, and some offer tilting tables which is either a nuisance or a feature.
    Of course, there are also real shop machines to be had, like Clausings, often very inexpensive or even free.
    About mills: the most common light use ones are variations on the Taiwan half-size mill, around $1000 new. Many brand names affixed. These offer lots of power, no tilting of the head, and limited capacity tables. Most have R-8 spindles, which is a common standard. You buy collets, chucks and tooling to fit. If you were going with all new and Asian, tooling will cost as much as the mill for the basics, so best to find all this second-hand. Be aware that most commercial-duty machines, even small drill presses, are three-phase and sometimes higher voltages, so if you don’t want to get involved with that, check nameplates on the motors. Three phase is ‘better’ for several reasons, but not necessary for average uses. If you have the space, and level access to the world, you can pick up a used full-size, Bridgeport-type mill easily since manual (non-CNC) ones can’t earn money anymore and end their days as drill presses. They are just about one ton. Horizontal mills are historic only.
    I have no experience with small CNC for woodworking, but I know some builders profitably use them. Woodworking ones are lightly built and not terribly expensive, and are even found at shops that make wooden signs. Software evolves quickly, so newer is probably easier. Download a Loar, push go and walk away, if that appeals.

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  28. #21
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headstock drilling jig.

    The used market is definitely where to look for drill presses. They are abundant and last a century.

    Delta & Walker Turner are the two most common older styles; I have both. The Walker Turner is the smoothest, most precise one I have ever owned; purchased from the original owner & in continuous daily service since the day it left the factory in 1947. I also have a Buffalo 18- an amazing heavy beast that weighs as much as a tablesaw. Drill presses rarely wear out, but when they do, the Deltas are the easiest to find parts for. You have to put in a bit more work to find bearings for Walker Turners. The last tine I did that was 1991; they tend to be a once in a lifetime replacement, so it is not a big deal.

    I'd suggest starting with something in the 14-15" size range or a 17" if you find a nice deal. Powermatic & Clausing also made very nice drill presses.

    Finding one with the original foot feed mechanism is very useful, especially when using the drill press as a fret press- hands free. As a whole, the drill press may be the most valuable tool in my shop. They make nice holes, but I also use it as a fret press, a sander, and a small mill with a safety plane. I consider them the gateway tool when getting into old machines. John is a pretty solid old too nerd, so I'd bet he has a few....

    I think three phase machines kick @$$ and specifically buy them that way. You can buy a digital converter (VFD) for about $100 that will work great on your drill press to solve any power issue and it will give you infinite speed and torque options as well as electronic braking. They are one of the greatest tech adaptations to come into the vintage tool world in the last 100 years. Most of my machines have been bought as three phase intentionally for this option. Imagine your drill press or sander or big bandsaw with a throttle control that goes from 0-100 mph at the touch of a knob!

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  30. #22
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headstock drilling jig.

    Quote Originally Posted by j. condino View Post
    ... John is a pretty solid old too[l] nerd, so I'd bet he has a few....
    Only 2, actually. One old Delta with the foot pedal and one newer one from the late part of the last century (mid 80s?), made in India and bought new from a friend who was closing his tool dealership business. Both fairly small floor models but with plenty of cast iron.

  31. #23

    Default Re: Headstock drilling jig.

    Yet another few bits. Speed. Drill presses and mills run at speeds way below routers, circular saw (tooth velocity) and other tools used on wood, so don’t expect fast enough operation, especially on small-diameter tools. One can (and I did at one point) make a bracket to use a Dremel on a mill. Can’t remember why, but once you have an x-y table you can do things that otherwise would need jigs. You can also add a small x-y table to a drill press, but I’ve never found it useful. I’ve also mentioned before, the use of inexpensive high speed (control) motors and VFDs because you would get high speed and high power at the same time, plus the option to run in reverse.

  32. #24
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headstock drilling jig.

    Missed out on a good shop fox mini lathe mill. Are they any good? New about 2k used was around 1400 but I missed it.

    I would love to be able to turn some hard to get screws for some
    Old gunsmiths I know.
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    Default Re: Headstock drilling jig.

    ShopFox is a brand name owned by Grizzly. My Grizzly table saw that I bought in 1989 went south on me in December and I'm still mourning the loss.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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