How do I drill the 5/16" holes for string ferrules

axejock

Senior Stratmaster
Gold Supporting Member
Jul 26, 2018
2,324
Washington State
As stated in another thread below, I am building a hardtail Strat. On the body I have, the 1/8" string through body holes are predrilled in the proper locations. OK, now I have to locate the bridge (seems quite simple) and install the little 5/16" diameter string ferrules in the string holes from the back of the body. Sounds easy, but I decided to practice on an old 2 X 4 just to see how it would work...smart move! Using a brand new 5/16" drill bit to enlarge a 1/8" hole to 5/16", I got a hole big enough to drop the ferrule and its flange in the hole. Woah, oversize or unstable drilling. So, how do I do his properly? Do I just creep up on hole size by using bigger and bigger drill bits, or do I have to drill undersize and buy a precision 5/16" reamer to get properly sized holes for the ferrules? Or do I need to buy some of those "splined" ferrules that actually push tight grooves when installed? Funny how little things can become big problems. At least I had the sense to try this on some scrap wood first!! Help!!
 

Ruscio

Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Nov 14, 2016
2,606
Pennsylvania
As stated in another thread below, I am building a hardtail Strat. On the body I have, the 1/8" string through body holes are predrilled in the proper locations. OK, now I have to locate the bridge (seems quite simple) and install the little 5/16" diameter string ferrules in the string holes from the back of the body. Sounds easy, but I decided to practice on an old 2 X 4 just to see how it would work...smart move! Using a brand new 5/16" drill bit to enlarge a 1/8" hole to 5/16", I got a hole big enough to drop the ferrule and its flange in the hole. Woah, oversize or unstable drilling. So, how do I do his properly? Do I just creep up on hole size by using bigger and bigger drill bits, or do I have to drill undersize and buy a precision 5/16" reamer to get properly sized holes for the ferrules? Or do I need to buy some of those "splined" ferrules that actually push tight grooves when installed? Funny how little things can become big problems. At least I had the sense to try this on some scrap wood first!! Help!!

Yeah, good thing you tried that on scrap for sure! Can you measure the outer diameter of the ferrules, not the flange, precisely? I'd do that and see if you have a drill bit that will match it, and try again on the wood. Maybe these are listed as 5/16" but the shaft is a touch smaller? Or maybe 5/16" is the flange diameter?

I'm guessing @vid1900, @Believer7713, or other knowledgable builders can tell you how to do this right.
 

Baelzebub

Dr. Stratster
Nov 1, 2019
14,746
State of Disbelief
or..if you want a completely uninformed, inexperienced opinion, there's always me. :D

I have a homemade Fender XII someone made..or approximated to be more accurate. that was made by someone who didn't try it on some scrap wood first. The flanges didn't fall in the hole but the shafts has thin shims around them because the holes were drilled just a hair off.

What I'd try is to drill the exact same size hole in scrap as in the body. (and if the same hardness or softness all the better), and then try tapping a ferrule in the hole with a small wooden mallet. With a relatively soft wood the ferrule might just make a tight fit. But I'm guessing that's the same principle behind the splined ferrules?
 
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Believer7713

The Pink Bunnyman Frankenstein
Silver Member
Dec 27, 2016
16,928
KC
It can be done with a good sharp regular wood bit since you already have a pilot hole drilled. A bradpoint would also help you stay centered and give a good clean hole. I would recommend using a drill press and drilling the hole 1/64 smaller than the size of the outer diameter of the ferrule. Then tap it in place to seat it.
 

axejock

Senior Stratmaster
Gold Supporting Member
Jul 26, 2018
2,324
Washington State
use a drill press?

Yes, but it's not a good one! It's gotten old and loose!! I have access to a much better one.
The hardest part is keeping the holes in alignment.

I found this guide block for $43 bucks. Drill the two 2 outside, drop the pins in, and then drill the rest. Using transfer punches help a lot too.

View attachment 486130

Where did you find that, at Stew Mac? It looks like it could help me!
 

Guitarchaeologist

Master Spuddler
Silver Member
Dec 17, 2016
7,699
Behind the 8 ball
The hardest part is keeping the holes in alignment.

I found this guide block for $43 bucks. Drill the two 2 outside, drop the pins in, and then drill the rest. Using transfer punches help a lot too.

View attachment 486130
Good suggestion. I saw that a week or so ago and thought it might be useful.
 
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axejock

Senior Stratmaster
Gold Supporting Member
Jul 26, 2018
2,324
Washington State
The hardest part is keeping the holes in alignment.

I found this guide block for $43 bucks. Drill the two 2 outside, drop the pins in, and then drill the rest. Using transfer punches help a lot too.

View attachment 486130

Has anybody actually used this tool? It looks and sounds good, but are there instructions with it to tell how to use it properly. Does it require a special drill bit?
 

CB91710

No GAS shortage here
Double Platinum Supporting Member
Feb 24, 2019
10,851
SoCal
Has anybody actually used this tool? It looks and sounds good, but are there instructions with it to tell how to use it properly. Does it require a special drill bit?
It will work with any drill bit (other than a step drill).
It is literally just a block that aids in keeping the drill bit perpendicular to the body, and helps to prevent wandering.
If the body has pre-drilled holes for the strings to pass through, drop the two pins into the end holes, slip the block over them, and drill the inner 4 holes to clear the ferrules.
Then move the pins to the #2 and #5 string holes and drill the outer two.

The two sides are stamped "T" and "S" for the wide and narrow spacing used on the Strat and Tele.
 

axejock

Senior Stratmaster
Gold Supporting Member
Jul 26, 2018
2,324
Washington State
I went back today to physically measure the "string through body holes" that came on this body. The holes are properly positioned, but the trough hole is actually a 3/16" diameter and the backside of those holes (where the ferrules go) were opened up to 1/4" diameter for about a 1/2" length. So, the tool mentioned above probably won't work and I will have to enlarge the 1/4" holes to 5/16". Not much material to remove, but it will have to be the proper diameter. Maybe I should use a reamers for this? I sure don't want to muff this up!!
 

Bowmap

X
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 23, 2017
11,556
X
Has anybody actually used this tool? It looks and sounds good, but are there instructions with it to tell how to use it properly. Does it require a special drill bit?

I had order mine with extra pins. The link @CB91710 is the vendor on Reverb where I purchased it.

Extra Pins: https://reverb.com/item/18698639-guide-pin-for-stratocaster-or-telecaster-ferrule-installation-guide

I just checked my guitar tool bin and did not see that it included instructions. I do not drill directly using the block. I use the proper sized transfer punch to make an indent and then use my drill press without the guide block.

temp3.jpg Transfer punches. Really, really useful.
 

axejock

Senior Stratmaster
Gold Supporting Member
Jul 26, 2018
2,324
Washington State
Boy, I'm really "smokin" through this project. If you look at the pictures below, you'll see that I have the neck attached, the bridge mounting holes drilled, and placed the whole thing in it's new case while I await tools and parts!! The angled 1/8" diameter hole for the bridge ground wire is ready to be drilled (I've been practicing) but the string ferrule holes are still waiting for the proper tools. I also forgot to put the strap buttons on the body upper bout before I attached the neck, so I guess I have to take the neck off again anyway. Oh, what the heck, it's a hobby! One cool thing I did was to order a very professionally done "control package" so that the only thing I have to do is to attach the pickup leads and a couple of ground wires and that's done. And, I finally found a Mint Green pickguard that was quite a bit darker than most and really looks good on the body. So, in another month or two I may actually get this thing done (lol)!

CIMG1757.JPG CIMG1758.JPG
 

tubetone1956

Strat-O-Master
May 1, 2009
657
north carolina
At your drill press, that is set up for woodworking...

install a 1/8" drill and drill a hole in the table of the drill press (yes, the drill press has a wooden table, cause it's been set up for woodworking) and put a 1/8" pin into the hole you just drilled. Let this index pin extend about 3/16" above the surface of the table. The chuck and drill are now centered perfectly above the index pin, don't touch anything!
Maybe I have a picture of this.

With out changing the set up, install the 5/16" drill. Use a brad point or forstner bit for a flat bottom hole. Provide enough room between the index pin and the bit to pass the body through side ways. Press the 1/8" hole on the front of the body on to the index pin. The 5/16" bit is now centered exactly over the 1/8" hole on the front of the body. Set drill to proper depth and drill away! Repeat five more times. IMG_0331.JPG IMG_0731.JPG
 


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