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Trem Claw Screw Holes stripped. How to repair

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Steve Senes, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. Steve Senes

    Steve Senes Strat-Talker

    Age:
    47
    119
    Dec 8, 2015
    Surfside Beach, SC
    The guitar is a 1992 MIM Standard Strat. I had unscrewed the claw to release the tension on the springs to swap them with another Strat. When I went to screw the claw back (I keep my trems decked so the claws get screwed in all the way and 5-springed) whenever I'd get one screw in a bit and go to the other screw, the one I'd just screwed in just pulls right out. Both screws do this so both holes are stripped.

    Any idea how I can repair this? Being that this is for the trem claw I can't really go to a larger screw.....

    Thank you in advance.
     

  2. Steve Senes

    Steve Senes Strat-Talker

    Age:
    47
    119
    Dec 8, 2015
    Surfside Beach, SC
    Just found another thread - gonna try the ol' Toothpicks & Elmers method - I'll letcha know how it works....
     

  3. RegularJim

    RegularJim Strat-Talker

    Age:
    45
    101
    May 8, 2017
    Winthrop Harbor, IL
    It will work very well.
     
    Groovey and Ronnie12460 like this.

  4. bigbasscat

    bigbasscat Strat-Talk Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    91
    Sep 10, 2017
    San Francisco
    +1

    Sometimes you need to do complete fill and redrill jobs on necks, but I've never had to do it with trem claw secrew.
     

  5. jaybones

    jaybones Most Honored Senior Member

    If the hole is larger, a kitchen match will work where toothpick(s) wouldn't as well.

    Reminds me of a joke:

    How do we know an Appalachian mountain man invented the toothpick?

    Anyone else would have called it a teethpick.
     
    Groovey, john lavelle, Yves and 3 others like this.

  6. Steve Senes

    Steve Senes Strat-Talker

    Age:
    47
    119
    Dec 8, 2015
    Surfside Beach, SC
    The toothpicks I have are kinda squared. Two of 'em dipped in Elmers and jammed in seems to have filled the holes. Gonna let 'em dry overnight then see how she do.....
     
    Bodean likes this.

  7. bigbasscat

    bigbasscat Strat-Talk Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    91
    Sep 10, 2017
    San Francisco
    Old as the hills of Sicily and it still cracks me up every time I hear it.
     

  8. Dave Harmon

    Dave Harmon Strat-Talk Member

    86
    Feb 18, 2016
    Right Here
    If that won't hold, clean out the stripped holes and put in new toothpicks, then fill up the holes with epoxy.
    Then before the epoxy sets up, slather the screws with Vaseline and screw them in without the claw.
    After the glue sets up, back out the screws and reassemble....it will nevah come out agin!
     
    Groovey likes this.

  9. Steve Senes

    Steve Senes Strat-Talker

    Age:
    47
    119
    Dec 8, 2015
    Surfside Beach, SC
    I left the repair overnight to dry. Screwed in the screws with the claw and springs and they screwed in nice so the fix appears to have worked! 5 springs screwed all the way in with 10-52 gauge strings. Thank God for Elmer LOL!!!!!!
     
    Groovey and CigBurn like this.

  10. Diamond_Dave

    Diamond_Dave Strat-Talker

    261
    Jun 18, 2015
    Roanoke, VA
    I'm a fan of the toothpick method for strap pins, but I'm asking this because this seems like apples and oranges. A strap pin is only holding a few pounds...a trem claw screw is holding a few dozen (half of about 105 pounds or so of string tension), plus it's being tugged on if your term is floating and you're using the whammy. Wouldn't that make the old toothpick method more likely to fail? Wouldn't this be a time to use a dowel?

    Not taking sides, just asking. :)
     
    lonegroover likes this.

  11. Steve Senes

    Steve Senes Strat-Talker

    Age:
    47
    119
    Dec 8, 2015
    Surfside Beach, SC
    I'm not sure. I've seen it recommended pretty highly so it's a wait and see. This prticular guitar isn't used much but it's got 5 springs with the claw screwed all the way back so that's a fair amount of tension on 'em 100% of the time. We'll see how it holds. The Wood Glue being in there should help.
     
    Diamond_Dave likes this.

  12. maqcatt

    maqcatt Strat-Talker

    Age:
    69
    352
    Sep 25, 2008
    silverdale wa
    If you use a dowel you'll be screwing into end grain. The toothpick method is stronger.
    Screw in the screws while the glue is still wet. The screws themselves act as a clamp making for a strong bond.

    It shouldn't be necessary to screw the claw all the way back. That just adds extra unneeded force pulling the bridge plate extra hard against the body and tugging extra hard on the claw screws.
    Tighten it just enough so the bridge plate doesn't raise up when bending strings. That's enough.

    S Mac
     
    Miotch and Diamond_Dave like this.

  13. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Strat-Talker

    Age:
    52
    251
    Jun 30, 2016
    Heart O' Dixie
    The magic of classical mechanics.

    The two screws are holding the tension, but the block acts like a fulcrum at the pivot screws. The distance between the strings and the pivot screws is about 3/8", while the distance from the pivot screws to the springs/tension on the claw screws is about 1.6". So, the force on the claw screws and the springs is about .375/1.6 = 4.3 times less than the string tension. If the 6 tuned strings produce tension around 150 lb, then the tension on the claw screws is 34 lb, or 17 lb per screw. Withdrawal strength in hardwoods for a #10 wood screw is probably 150 lb/in, so just a 1/2" of claw screw penetration gives you 4-5 times the strength needed.

    And, I believe the shear stength of wood glue is stronger than most wood, so its possible toothpicks (hardwood) and glue might actually be stronger.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017 at 6:53 AM

  14. Diamond_Dave

    Diamond_Dave Strat-Talker

    261
    Jun 18, 2015
    Roanoke, VA
    Cool. Good answers! :cool: Thanks

    I'm also cool with using drywall anchors on guitar hangers for science reasons as well--the force is almost entirely vertical and not horizontal, divided among two screws holding maybe 8 pounds total.

    That said, I check for a firm hold periodically...;)
     

  15. Miotch

    Miotch Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    56
    Jun 28, 2011
    ok
    I'm with maqcatt here. I've had plenty with decked bridges and even with three or four springs, I've never had to screw the claw all the way in. Once you've screwed it in enough to overcome the tension of the strings and put the bridge on the deck, you've gone far enough. Otherwise, you are simply putting needless, potentially damaging pressure on the body and the bridge/trem block.

    But sounds like you're on right track for successful repair.
     

  16. Steve Senes

    Steve Senes Strat-Talker

    Age:
    47
    119
    Dec 8, 2015
    Surfside Beach, SC
    I wish I didn't have to screw the claw all the way back but over the 20+ years I've been playing Strats I've found that the only for me to ensure that bridge isn't pulling up at all (short of blocking which I should do) is 5 heavier springs with the claw all the way. I play pretty aggressively...
     

  17. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Strat-Talker

    Age:
    52
    251
    Jun 30, 2016
    Heart O' Dixie
    You must be doing something different. I never pull up the claw, use three springs, and I've got one guitar setup with 13/56s, another with 9/39s. Never block either?
     

  18. Steve Senes

    Steve Senes Strat-Talker

    Age:
    47
    119
    Dec 8, 2015
    Surfside Beach, SC
    Really? With me if it's not screwed waaaay back with 5 springs then when I bend the other strings loosen. When I put together my first custom Strat it has the trem from a Custom Shop Strat which came with the dark trem springs - I guess these are somehow better than the silver ones that come with a Mexi Strat? Anyhow, with three of these springs and two silver springs when I'd do a hearty bend of the G or B string the other bridge would lift slightly and they weren't returning quite to perfect tuning. I swapped the dark springs with three silver springs from my backup guitar (also a mexi Strat) and Bingo - rock solid.

    Your strings are slightly heavier than mine - I use 10-52 but I do play and sometimes bend very aggressively. I dunno.
     

  19. sam_in_cali

    sam_in_cali Scream for me Strat-Talk! Strat-Talk Supporter

    Feb 21, 2014
    Santa Maria, CA

    I gotta throw up a caution here about using drywall screws with the trem claws. If you set it and forget it, they should work fine but it you are constantly adjusting them (for different tunings), the course threads on those screws really chew up the wood and speed up the threads stripping. I know this from experience :(
     

  20. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Strat-Talker

    Age:
    52
    251
    Jun 30, 2016
    Heart O' Dixie
    Maybe you are getting better performance. To return to zero, I do have to wiggle the trem and release just right so all six are back to pitch. I've gotten pretty good at doing that between changes and quickly while I block the strings so you can't hear it. So its true, if I bend and release, it won't go back to pitch without help. Sorry if I confused the expectations. But NOTE: 13/56s work great - the tension is so great, I actually can bend and release, and it goes right back to zero. Of course I'm not bending individual strings much - 13/56's are really really stiff.