Strap button installation woes: think before drilling


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Jun 11, 2015
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Just have to stress the importance of measuring twice and drilling once when installing strap buttons.
I got the back one in no problem, that was pretty straight forward, just measure the center and drill straight in. The problem I had was the heel of the neck. I drilled into the bottom of it first, that little part on the very bottom, and found out that is not where I wanted it. Still pretty straight forward though if you want it there.
Then I found my second spot on the back of the heel, and took my time, drilled into the neck and after installing I thought I had drilled it too low, (I really didn't, but it was 4 in the morning) so I made a rash and premature decision to quickly drill ANOTHER hole just above it, this time not being careful and drilling the wrong angle. Now what I have is a very functional strap button that has dented the wood on one side (covered up by a leather washer thank goodness)and TWO filled in pock marks on my uke.

I could look at it as a learning experience, but I should have been more careful and know better and I hope no one else has to go through the same agony.
Hi Gbh32
Welcome to UU. I feel your pain. Even professionally installed buttons can be less than perfect. I had my tenor drilled for a neck button, and the head of the uke was too heavy for it to stay in position. The neck kept dropping down, and I had to connect at the headstock with a strap instead. It seemed as if the uke was balanced when testing it like a teeter totter, but it really was a bit off. 2 button strap set-ups are best on bottom heavy ukes. I have left the button installed rather than patch a hole. Maybe a high friction material on the strap would work better, but I don't want my hair to get pulled by it.

I have also seen 2 button set ups where the uke does a barrel roll if you lean forward too much. That would drive me crazy! That usually happens on small ukes with underside neck buttons. That was probably what you discovered with your first neck hole position. Each uke is different, so some of this is trial and error. Don't beat yourself up too much... it is trickier that it appears.

Always told my teen aged sons "Most trouble happens after mignight". Aparently the same holds true with adult luitherie
Exactly right with the first button position I tried Lori. It kept rolling forward. The second try would have been perfect except for my own brain getting in the way. Should have just stopped there and gone to bed. Very true about nothing good happening after midnight DownUpDave, I grew up hearing that as well. Probably a good idea to remember that next time I have a drill or a dremel in my hand. I feel better now, just have to enjoy playing and keep the tools away from my uke from now on.
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I was a woodworker for a good part of my life. We use to say "If you cut enough pieces and drill enough holes you will evently make a mistake". A small shop that I worked in required a lot of overtime and long days, most mistakes happened late into the shift when we were tired.

The good thing is you have the strap installed, the uke is now a player. You won't worry about a small scratch or dent in the future.
If you go to bed with the same number of fingers you woke up with, it's a good day.
To stop the uke 'barrel rolling' wrap an elastic band over the end of the strap pin, over the top of the leather tab, provides friction to stop the tab spinning on the pin.
Works for me.
Thanks guys, I'm feeling, well not better about what I did to my uke, but accepting that it is functional and sounds great. Gonna use it as a learning experience and play away.
Only one button on the bottom is usefull. On the other end, a lace on the head is perfect. I drilled 7 ukes and they are all perfectly equilibrated.
Installed my own on my Pono MT, found this diagram very useful.
Buttons came from:
Very pleased!

I have a guitar with a strap-button originally installed like this, I found it got in the way when I was playing up to the 12th fret. Stopped the hole with beeswax and tied the strap to the headstock ... no problem :)

My jumbo guitar, a j200 look-a-like, has a button on the underside of the heel. That's far enough away from the frets not to be a problem on a large instrument and the body of the guitar is heavy enough to be balanced in that configuration, but all my smaller instruments have the strap tied off at the headstock.

As always ... YMMV ;)
Always told my teen aged sons "Most trouble happens after mignight". Aparently the same holds true with adult luitherie

Same can apply to posting. I learned that on another forum when I read a previous late-night posting and had no idea what I had been trying to say.
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