The classical guitar tuning machines slide into three holes bored through each side of the headstock. The holes need to be perfectly spaced for the tuning machines to slide into the headstock properly. I was nervous about this step since drilling six 10mm holes straight through the side of the headstock seemed like quite a dramatic thing to do.
After carefully marking the centre each hole I got ready to drill. I clamped the headstock to a guide, ensuring that the drill press would squarely enter the side of the headstock.
The first hole seemed to go fine. When I started to drill the second hole, disaster struck. The drill veered off course and damaged the wood. I turned off the drill and noticed that there was a worse problem: the first hole was at least a millimetre away from where it should have been. Panic!
After falsely blaming the drill bit I noticed that I hadn’t fastened the drill press properly, causing the drill to swivel horizontally to the side as it made contact with the wood. I was so fixed on my clamps and the guide that I had forgotten to tighten the drill press! After fixing this, I plucked up the courage to drill the other holes. This went smoothly:
The incorrectly drilled hole is the one on the left. The damage around the middle hole is annoying but will be covered by the tuning machine plate so won’t cause any further problems.
As I’ve discovered with woodworking, there’s (almost) always a solution when things go wrong. Luckily I still had some cedar off-cuts with which I could make a dowel to fill the hole. I asked my friendly local wood-turner Joost Kramer if he could help. He used his lathe to turn me a dowel by hand. This man is highly skilled: five minutes later I had a perfect dowel with an exact fit:
The picture below shows how off-centre I was: