Tightening up
Loose Tuner Bushings
© Frank Ford, 6/21/98; Photos by FF, 6/21/98

These tuner bushings are really loose! It's not an old guitar, but the bushings actually fall right out if the string isn't there to help keep them in place:

I take off all the tuner hardware and prepare the holes by adding a very slight bevel of about 45 degrees to the top edge of the holes. I could use a countersink, but I've found that it can chip the lacquer a bit more easily than my sharp knife:

being careful to watch the grain direction, I make the small bevel so that the tuner bushings won't be able to strain and loosen the lacquer film when I press them back in place.

Next, I carefully swab out the holes with some cyanoacrylate (super glue)

I can wait for the glue to dry, or I can swab with catalyst (accelerator) to get an instant curing action. By alternately swabbing with cyanoacrylate and catalyst I can build up as thick a film as I want on the bushing holes.

I hope it goes without saying that this is a potentially risky procedure.  The smallest or touch of cyanoacrylate on the finished surface of the peghead could leave me with the need to level and rub out the entire surface, or, worse yet, drop fill and touch up.  Water soluble glue, such as Titebond, could be used in the same way, but it would require appropriate drying time, and it would be somewhat less rigid than the cured cyanoacrylate.

After each application of cyanoacrylate, I check the fit:

This one is just right. Halfway in, it starts to become tight.

If I used too much cyanoacrylate, I can enlarge the hole a bit with a reamer and check it again.

Here, I'm pressing the bushing back in place using my Versa Vise, with a resilient padded jaw against the back of the peghead, and the smooth hard jaw pressing the bushing:

I get all the control I need to press the bushing right where it belongs, straight and level. Now the bushings are back in place, tight and solid, without being glued. If I need to remove them later, the slight bevel at the top of the hole will help prevent chipping of the peghead finish.

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