Hello everyone!  I've acquired several round tins (Danish cookie tins, nut tins, etc.) that I would like to use for round, dowel rod neck, diddley bow builds.  Till now, I have only made wood box builds, which of course was rather easy drilling for the round 1" dia. necks using my 1" spade drill bit.  However, I have never drilled tin before.

I would greatly appreciate some advice, tips, and know-how's on how to get a 1" hole cleanly into the thin tin walls of the tins I have.  I fear of bending the thin tin walls with the pressure of drilling, not alone not knowing what kind of drill bits and/or tooling to use.  Any and all advice is appreciated - thanks!!!

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Hello Bryan, lets start with the dowel rod neck. a 1 inch Dia will just about do it, but may I suggest a 1 1/8, more space for the machine head. Speaking of the machine head, make sure you drill the hole for it carefully, otherwise you will find positioning it properly to be a real pain.

As for cutting the tin. you need a power drill with a 10mm bit and a dremel with a cutting disc bit. Drill 3 holes in a trianglular pattern in the side of the tin where you want the neck to go with the drill then use the dremel to cutting out the rest. Make it so that the cut edges of the tin grip onto the neck slightly as its slid into the tin.

Assuming the tin is not large the structure of the tin will hold itself together as you drill, plus keeping the lid on the tin as you cut helps it hold its shape.

I hope you find this useful. Also, is the look of your going for for your Diddley bow, somehing like this:

I think you could use a metal cutting hole saw on a drill and just back up the tin inside with a wood block(may have to grind it to the shape of the tin) to keep it from crushing and get a nice clean cut. Wear gloves!

Either a metal hole saw, but a UniBit or step drill is better... 

These work really well on sheet metal:  https://www.harborfreight.com/2-piece-titanium-nitride-coated-high-...

I use a drill press... Take a black sharpie and mark the step you want... it erases with alcohol..

Thanks for the replies and tips, gang!  I will look into the mentioned tooling.

Great photo and excellent looking builds, JP!  I mentioned the 1" dia dowel rod as that is what I started with from my C.B. Gitty diddley bow kit from my first build.  It seems to work fine for the one geared tuner.  However, I do think a slightly larger diameter dowel rod might feel nicer in the hand when playing guitar style and not lap style.  I've also been wanting to build a two string - in which case I will use a 1" x 2" for the neck.


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