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Chisel or dremel?

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by ScribbleSomething, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. ScribbleSomething

    ScribbleSomething Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

    Age:
    48
    361
    Mar 12, 2016
    San Antonio
    Next Monday, I’m planning to update the guitar I use for experimenting.

    It’s a late 90’s MIM Squier. I’m going to put the HH loaded pickguard I acquired a while back. I thick it’s from an old blacktop strat with 5 way switching.

    What should I use to take out the wood & poly between the current pickups? Not having woodworking experience I’m guessing I should pick up a chisel from Home Depot and just go to it. Cutting/sanding with a Dremel just doesn’t seem right. But other the reading the safety precautions I don’t know much about that either.

    My Dad at least taught me how to solder.

    I know a few people will say leave it alone. I have a 2015 American Strat that handles all those duties. This guitar’s lot in life is that I change it quite often. It’s more valuable for messing with than its resale.

    Oh, yes I will be wearing safety glasses and clamping the body to a table outside to do the work.

    Thanks.
     
    C. Card likes this.

  2. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Dec 29, 2010
    Illinois
    Does your dad have a router? That'd be the best way to do it.

    If you're determined to do this without a router, a chisel will do the trick, but it will be ugly. Some people care about what the pickguard covers up, some don't. Up to you. What you want to do is use a drill and the biggest drill bit you can manage. Wrap a bit of masking tape around the drill bit to use as a depth gauge, you don't want to drill through the body. Remove as much material as you can with the drill bit, and use the chisel to tidy things up.

    Leave it alone? Perish the thought. Humbuckers are gooood in Telecasters :)
     

  3. Picton

    Picton Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Age:
    43
    Feb 7, 2009
    Reading, Massachusetts
    How good are you with a chisel? It’s the right tool for the job, but not if you’re incompetent with it.

    Same goes for a Dremel, or a router. As in, they’ll all work; they’ll work much better if you know what you’re doing.

    If you’re tool-illiterate, you’ll probably do the least collateral damage with the chisel.
     
    JL_LI, Ricky D. and ScribbleSomething like this.

  4. ScribbleSomething

    ScribbleSomething Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

    Age:
    48
    361
    Mar 12, 2016
    San Antonio
    I don’t think I know anyone with a router. And the solder lessons were 30 years ago and 3000 miles away.

    Thanks for the drill trick. I’ll try it out slow first to see if things are to slippery.

    My first love was a 73 deluxe I know the joys of tele humbuckers :)
     

  5. ScribbleSomething

    ScribbleSomething Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

    Age:
    48
    361
    Mar 12, 2016
    San Antonio
    Maybe functionally illiterate...I know enough to always point the sharp part away. I don’t know if this makes sense but I’m a homeowner I’m kind of used to encountering things I’ve never used before.

    The right tool for the job is exactly what I wanted to know. Now I can make sure I know the proper way to use the chisel and make a decision whether to do it. I’ve seen it done before, just have to see if there’s any details I need to pickup.

    I know to start things slow.
     

  6. Picton

    Picton Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Age:
    43
    Feb 7, 2009
    Reading, Massachusetts
    My advice would be to get a nice, sharp saw with small teeth; I’d use a pullsaw. Use the saw to make a kerf connecting the ends of the pup routs, and carefully saw as deeply as you can without marring the rest of the finish. Then, just knock out the waste with a chisel; the wood should pop right out between the sawcuts.

    That’s how you do 80% of this job. The rest is chiseling to depth, which I’d practice first using scrap.
     

  7. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    It's under the PG, right? Heck, you could use a fork. ;)

    I would drill out most of it with a forstner bit and then route the rest. If I didn't have a router, I'd buy one. :D I use one of these, but there are even cheaper options:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000ANT91S/?tag=tdpri-20

    If I couldn't buy one, I'd use a chisel to finish the job.
     
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  8. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    Forstner drill bit in a drill press to hog out the waste. A sharp chisel to clean up the edges. Safety Glasses to keep the crud out of your eyes. Clamp your work down to a solid bench. If it's under the pickguard then all you need to do is make a reasonable cavity. Down the road if you desire, you can get a laminate trimmer or router and clean it up more with a pattern bit. It's all about what you can live with. 20 DOLLAR Harbor Freight trim router and template bit will do the job, but really a nicer one like a Dewalt or Porter Cable is a better investment if you can afford it.
     
    ScribbleSomething likes this.

  9. Pappy Yokum

    Pappy Yokum Tele-Meister

    Age:
    64
    121
    Dec 12, 2017
    Chincoteague, VA
    Your bio / profile says you're 48-yrs old. Likely, you, or a colleague / friend knows someone that is a woodworker, even at the hobby-level. That person will have most of the basic woodworking tools, and might even want to do the work, or guide you in doing it yourself.

    I've been in construction a long time. Built everything, from bridges, to condos, "McMansions", to even a tree-house for a wealthy father out in The Hamptons of Long Island. I went to a union woodworking and cabinet-making school, although I never worked as one. I wanted to learn how to use hand tools, such as all the various hand-planes and gouges (like chisels). I was appalled to find that the instructors NO LONGER were promoting the idea of using older hand tools. They wanted to teach how to use $25,000+ shop equipment / machines.
    Needless-to-say, I left the course-of-study in disgust, and taught myself.
    BTW -- don't ask me my opinion of unions.

    In-any-event; try to find one of these woodworking hobbyists. They are usually pretty adept at what you're trying to do ... and, will assist, or provide instructive advice. Likely, for a nominal charge ... such as a 6-pack of beer. Good fellowship ! (and, a useful future connection).

    ~ Pappy ~
    deplorable pick'r :cool:
     
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  10. Octorfunk

    Octorfunk Tele-Meister

    254
    Jan 20, 2014
    Midwest
    I've done this same job with a Dremel, and although it will work, it is time-consuming and very difficult to get a nice even hole/cavity. As others have said, a router is the way to go, but that's adding another major tool to the budget.

    I would opt for the Dremel before I would try it with a chisel, but both are going to be fairly time-consuming. It will be covered up though, so honestly who cares what it looks like. On the offchance you own a drill press, a forstner bit is good for removing material and leaving a flat bottom.
     
    ScribbleSomething likes this.

  11. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    67
    Oct 22, 2006
    Garner, North Carolina
    Whatever you end up using, invest in a 2x8 and practice cutting slots in it.
     
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  12. Picton

    Picton Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Age:
    43
    Feb 7, 2009
    Reading, Massachusetts
    Disagree.

    With enough practice, this is a five-minute hand tool job. Maybe three. Plus, the practice will make the OP a better woodworker next time.
     

  13. ScribbleSomething

    ScribbleSomething Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

    Age:
    48
    361
    Mar 12, 2016
    San Antonio
    Lots of good advice here. Thank you all.

    As with everything, I see it’s going to take a little planning (and practice won’t hurt).

    Hey Pappy, I hear what you’re saying about education/training programs. There is the same problem in my industry (internet design nerds). Schools seem to be teaching very specific tools. So that it seems the students will only know one aspect only the job without the proper foundation. I blame the for-profit education companies... I’ll stop before it become too big of a rant.

    I don’t have the good local network that would usually go with someone of my age. I’ve worked at home ever since we moved here. And we have young kids so I don’t get out much. Such is life. It’s good.

    I don’t know anyone with the skills. That’s why I reached out here :)

    As usual every one has been very helpful. Thanks again.
     

  14. SweetClyde99

    SweetClyde99 Tele-Holic

    604
    Feb 1, 2016
    Jefferson City, MO
    I routed out the bridge of my tele to fit a humbucker not too long ago. I used a big forstner drill bit to hog out what material I could, then made a template out of MDF and routed out the rest. The router was a $40 Craigslist buy. The thread is below I’m case you find it helpful.

    I’m sure you could make it work with a drill and chisel too. I guess it just depends on how good you want it to look under the pickguard.

    http://www.tdpri.com/threads/mangling-a-perfectly-serviceable-tele-caution-humbucker-content.770437/
     
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  15. Octorfunk

    Octorfunk Tele-Meister

    254
    Jan 20, 2014
    Midwest
    I guess I can only speak from personal experience. Although the Dremel is a rotary tool like a router, they just don't have the power of a router, which means they can't remove the material as quickly/easily. Dremel's are finishing tools, which will become very evident when you try to remove large amounts of material with them. Dremel's work best with smaller-diameter bits, which will take a long time to remove anything significant. Up it to a larger bit, and the power deficiency quickly becomes obvious.

    I'm not a master woodworker though, so maybe others have had better success.
     
    ScribbleSomething likes this.

  16. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County


    I think Picton is talking about a chisel here. He said hand tool...
     
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  17. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    Yep I reckon a chisel's faster than a dremel.
     
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  18. Octorfunk

    Octorfunk Tele-Meister

    254
    Jan 20, 2014
    Midwest
    My mistake, that sounds right.
     
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  19. 4 Cat Slim

    4 Cat Slim Friend of Leo's

    Oct 17, 2012
    Nelson City TX
    You might check with the local Woodcraft store in your area (there's a location on 281 near Bitters Rd.) to sign up for
    router classes.
     
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