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Best Way To Make A Pickguard?


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I don't have a lot of experience doing this, but most likely you'll need to trace out the design on your material and cut it out with a bandsaw or sabresaw first. Then use the template with your beveling bit (v shaped) around the cut out to give you the finished look. Some of the Strat guards aren't beveled, though. Stew Mac has one for $23.88 and it has the bearing on the bottom, so in that case the template will be under your material. If you use a router table, it's reversed. You can hunt around and may find a bevel bit for less, but that's a pretty good price for a decent bit with bearing. Hope this helps.

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I don't use a router. The materials are too thin for template work, I find its hard to get around, just too much intricate work for me. I've cut stainless pickguards with a jigsaw and steel cutting blade. The actual pickguard material is glued to a 1/4" thick piece of backing material, mdf or whatever, so the piece doesn't bend. I prefer to cut plexi and plastic materials with my trusty jeweller's saw. Its great for those details, so long as its drawn precisely there is no need for a template. I then bevel edges with a file followed by smooth sanding and polishing. I know its slower and takes a little bit more finesse but I like to be in control. :D

Edited by Southpa
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I have made a few p/g's by tracing or drawing what I wanted on some poster board, then tracing that onto a piece of MDF to make a template. I prefer MDF b/c it is easier to shape any hard edges on the curves if you leave any when cutting it out. Then using a bandsaw, I cut the pattern close the the pencil line but not on it. This allows a little margin for sanding and reshaping. Once I've got the shape I want I use a CA on the template edges so it remains hard and sand it nice and flat after it has dried. Now you place your pickguard material on top of the template you've made and trace the shape onto the material. Leave the protective film on the p/g material the whole time.Bandsaw the p/g material close to the edge of the trace line. I put double stick tape to the back of the material and stick it to my template, drill the screw holes in anto the material and screw it down. Using a tracing laminate cutting bit in a table router I simply follow the template and get a perfect cut. If you want to get the 45 degree edge you can use the V shaped bit mentioned to finish it off. Just my way, may not be the best either but it works pretty well. Hope this helps.

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I have made a few p/g's by tracing or drawing what I wanted on some poster board, then tracing that onto a piece of MDF to make a template. I prefer MDF b/c it is easier to shape any hard edges on the curves if you leave any when cutting it out. Then using a bandsaw, I cut the pattern close the the pencil line but not on it. This allows a little margin for sanding and reshaping. Once I've got the shape I want I use a CA on the template edges so it remains hard and sand it nice and flat after it has dried. Now you place your pickguard material on top of the template you've made and trace the shape onto the material. Leave the protective film on the p/g material the whole time.Bandsaw the p/g material close to the edge of the trace line. I put double stick tape to the back of the material and stick it to my template, drill the screw holes in anto the material and screw it down. Using a tracing laminate cutting bit in a table router I simply follow the template and get a perfect cut. If you want to get the 45 degree edge you can use the V shaped bit mentioned to finish it off. Just my way, may not be the best either but it works pretty well. Hope this helps.

Hey thanks guys. Hi there Joe!!! I just got a router and then a couple days ago saw the Stew-Mac dorections for doing this using a router and template. I'm going to use the router on top at first to see how that works. I don't have a router table yet, but will eventually. After paying $65 or more for a pickguard, I know I can eventually do as well for just the cost of the materials and my labor. Should be fun to learn!

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I used a process very similar to JoeGlow's. I make a paper template and got it the way I wanted including pickup holes, pot holes, screw holes, etc. From that, I made template from 3/4" mdf and sanded it on the edges until I had the shape I wanted - taking care to keep the sides perpendicular to the top since the router bit bearing would ride on the sides. I impregnated the sides with CA to toughen them up. After that, I double stick taped the pickguard material on the template and cut it to rough shape with a jigsaw. I routed the material flush with the edge using a straight bearing bit. I also used that bit for the pickup holes after drilling a starter hole. After I had it flush, I came back with a bevel bit with a bearing. Then I drilled the pot holes and screw holes using my drill press while the material was still on the template. Finally, I used a countersink bit to countersink the screw holes. I scraped the edges lightly with a razor blade. Here are the tools I used.

It took a lot longer to make the template than the pickguard, but I enjoyed the whole process and the result was good.

th_pickguard14.jpg

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