Drill press for guitar work

Discussion in 'Technical Side of Things' started by Jena, Mar 27, 2019.

    Anyone have experience with drill press models/designs used for our "luthier wanna-be" hobby/work . . . (?)

    Some professional (very expensive) drill presses have an arm overhead to reach
    far into the width of the work/piece - like 34 inches.

    But working on a downsized 340mm (13.375-inch) lower bout wide Junior version, the G2655 . . .

    [​IMG]

    I would only need about a 7 inch width reach to the rod end of the Bigsby.
    Thinkin' of modding to a string through, although really only for solid bodied axes,
    so more remodeling of the body needed than just drilling string ferrules is anticipated.

    So, any input on drill press experience appreciated -
    prolly pickin' up something of a drill press at maybe Home Depot, Lowe's or Wal-Mart this weekend for a new guitar work bench (assembled on top of old kitchen counter base btw - in a cold garage space - ouch !)
    Words of encouragement or critique or outright disdain also welcomed.

    Should I do it (?) . . . take a drill press to mod this 2018 Gretsch (?)

     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
  1. Sid Nitzerglobin

    Sid Nitzerglobin Country Gent

    Jun 8, 2015
    fROMOHIO
    If you can swing it, think you'll use it in the future, and have the space, I'd go for at least 14". Unfortunately nowhere around here carries much over 12", I wound up ordering a 17" Jet from Rockler for down at the shop as there have been a fair number of holes I've wanted to drill into stuff that my Lowe's sourced Skil wasn't even close to being able to reach. I've been super happy w/ it for drilling, the chuck arrangement doesn't allow for double duty as a router/dremel bit motor however. I wouldn't want to try to get the motor onto the stand solo either.
    [​IMG]
    As far as drilling into your Gretsch, I'd say go for. Just tape off the surfaces and make sure your geometry and measurements are good a few times before you make any holes.
     
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  2. radd

    radd Synchromatic

    957
    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    String through?, take the rod out of the Bigsbys and use a good vise or clamp with any drill press
     
    Jena likes this.
  3. thunder58

    thunder58 I Bleed Orange

    Age:
    60
    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Try Craigslist first . I'm sure someone is selling a good one cheap ...also check the " free " section on Craigslist . Best of luck with your project and don'r forget your safety glasses :)
     
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  4. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Country Gent

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    I put a string thru shaft in my tele, and it makes stringing my b5 a breeze!
    I didn’t drill it, but whether you buy it with holes or drill it yourself, you’ll definitely want to remove it from your guitar first. :)
     
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  5. DennisC

    DennisC Gretschie

    Age:
    36
    244
    May 11, 2017
    Germany
    Absolutely! Putting a shaft, or any other component, below the drill is easily done, and you can make sure you drill in the right direction and angle, exactly where you want to and all that - which is a real pain in a few regions of your body if done while mounted. While it's hard to bend a drill by hand, these easily run a bit out of line, leaving holes which are fuzzy, vary in diameter, and aren't straight at all, or even aligned well - on the side opposite to the drill, they'll just be somewhere kind of close to, if you do so in a mounted bigsby shaft or a similar situation. Too many chances to f'up the whole thing.

    I bought a drill press some 10 years ago, but I should have bought a slightly bigger one, as I can't reach every point on a guitar's body with it. I was a student back then ... other purposes ... it was surprisingly cheap, not even 100 €, and I don't have any further complaints about it. It's about 5" in width, enough for most things ... what I can't reach I'll have to do with the handheld drill or go to a friend with. In it's longest direction at least half the body size would be my advice on the drill's size (which is a rhyme, which is nice), I tell'ya, guys ... ice, rice, blabla ... mice, lice, twice, recognize. One flew east, one flew west ...

    Free-hand holes are usually not very precise, that's like for walls, to mount a shelf or a picture frame or stuff like that. Anything needing precision - drill press! Always!

    I've heard of pulling the string anchors out and drilling their holes through before ... is this a good idea? Isn't the string bent a bit harsh then? How does it look on the string-through shafts, are the hole simply holes, or is there ... like a ramp or so where the string leaves the shaft?
     
    Jena likes this.
  6. section2

    section2 Synchromatic

    784
    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    Just to clarify: when you say "string through," do you mean you're planning to drill holes in the Bigsby shaft so that the strings pull through the shaft rather than mounting on the pins? Or do you mean that you're planning to do away with the Bigsby entirely, and drill holes in your guitar so that you can mount the strings right through the body of the guitar, as in a non-Bigsby Tele?

    If you're thinking of Option A, I'd say go for it. Just remove the Bigsby from the guitar first, remove the shaft from the Bigsby, remove the pins from the shaft, drill and chamfer the holes in the shaft, and you're good to go.

    If you're thinking of Option B, I wouldn't recommend it. The center block on your guitar is chambered, so you'd have to check and see whether the chambering left enough solid wood through which to mount the strings. You'd also have unsightly mounting holes once you removed the Bigsby. If you're just looking to get rid of the Bigsby, you might consider selling this guitar and picking up a used G2655 hardtail model in its place.
     
    Jena likes this.
  7. DennisC

    DennisC Gretschie

    Age:
    36
    244
    May 11, 2017
    Germany
    I think everyone refers to string-through-shafts in Bigsbys here.

    Really, the 2655 has a chambered centerblock? I may be wrong, but I thought that's only some of the more expensive ones. At least, there's no visible chambering in a 2622's centerblock.
     
    Jena likes this.
  8. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    Craigslist is the best idea, as long as you do some research on the models first. I really want a Jet or similar but I have a Craftsman that is barely adequate for something like a ferrule counter-bore. I don't even counterbore anymore, I use the straight barrels instead, and I have to check everything, shim the table a little here and there etc. I did get a high quality arbor and chuck, and I measured the runout--not great but good enough for most woodwork.
     
  9. Scooter127

    Scooter127 Gretschie

    265
    Feb 25, 2019
    USA
    I'll echo checking CraigsList, I've scored some great tools from there. DO NOT FORGET PAWN SHOPS!

    I have a drill press I bought at (probably) Lowes back in 2004 or so and I'm pretty sure it will handle anything I would reasonably need it for. It's a Ryobi 10", and you can fiddle with the bit depth in the chuck to make it do at least 12"

    Pretty sure this is the same one, these days it looks like they all come with plastic belt/pully covers (shrug). Looking at pictures of what's out there on the low end I'm glad i got mine when I did:

    [​IMG]

    When looking at old tools like a drill press, realize that a lot of people throw them away due to things that are simple to fix like brushes and bearings. OK, brushes are easy to replace, bearings means more work, but none of it is rocket surgery
     
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  10. stevo

    stevo Country Gent

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    Sorry - the imp in me went out and found this:

    [​IMG]

    I LOVE big machines.

    Okay, back to reality. I'm interested in this thread for myself too.
     
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  11. DennisC

    DennisC Gretschie

    Age:
    36
    244
    May 11, 2017
    Germany
    ... looks pretty similar to mine, @Scooter127 . Aside from the switch panel and the colour. Mine was sold as being made by Güde, but I doubt there are as many manufactorers as brands, I know two or three types of drilling presses of that size, sold by some 20 brands.

    Th size of mine does most things well ... but I'd chose a slightly bigger one if I was to decide again, so I could reach any point on a guitar body.
     
  12. Lizardkinged

    Lizardkinged Friend of Fred

    Age:
    32
    Oct 5, 2009
    Michigan
    Starting and running relays on large dual stage air compressors for instance...
     
  13. swivel

    swivel Synchromatic

    604
    May 13, 2018
    PNW
    The main thing is depth from spindle center to the support post. Many nice little presses will not allow you to reach in far enough. I would probably want to reach in to a bridge post or so. 9" imaybe?
     
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  14. DennisC

    DennisC Gretschie

    Age:
    36
    244
    May 11, 2017
    Germany
    Just measured - mine is 4" from spindle axis to post's surface, and I can reach most, but not all, things.

    9" should do well.
     
    Jena likes this.
  15. Sid Nitzerglobin

    Sid Nitzerglobin Country Gent

    Jun 8, 2015
    fROMOHIO
    Yeah, usually I see them marketed as the total depth which is 2x the clearance from bit to the support (ie: my 17" press has 8.5" of clearance)
     
    Jena likes this.
  16. radd

    radd Synchromatic

    957
    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    I grew up in my dad’s small prototype machine shop and we made parts for the Mercury and Apollo space programs. Our main materials were Magnesium, Titanium and very high grade aluminum. I was young so I did no lathe work, instead I operated the big Bridgeport mill and fly cut the raw materials down to size so the two expert machinists and my dad would make the parts, no CNC machines or computers back then. I also inspected all the parts prior to delivery to make sure they met the very ridged NASA specs.

    I developed a great love of quality machines, yet I own not a one. My shop just has an old Craftsman bench top drill press, grinder and belt disc bench sander. I did spring for a Grizzly wood band saw last year.

    I do love just being in my little shop working on stuff.
     
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  17. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    This guy is asking for trouble. No eye and ear protection? One hand free? :)

    Sorry, when I was young I operated large Bruderer stamping presses. A big machine...
     
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  18. Lizardkinged

    Lizardkinged Friend of Fred

    Age:
    32
    Oct 5, 2009
    Michigan
    There's also no guy with an oil-can... it's just a promo-photo lol "look how easy we do this crap"... we both know that bit's not turning.

    The 14" one I got for cheap at a discount tool store near you works out just fine for the majorty of the crap I do.
     
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  19. afire

    afire Country Gent

    Another drill press enthusiast here. It's my all-purpose power tool. Drilling, grinding, shaping, cutting, circular saw. It's a miracle my misuse and abuse of my drill press hasn't cost me a finger (yet) or maybe a jugular.
     
    Jena likes this.
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