Jump to content

Aluminium for pickguard?

Recommended Posts

I'd like to make a new pickguard for my explorer-type axe, but i want to work with aluminium, you know the type that has 3 lines standing out and making a square........

how easy/hard is it to cut? can it be cut with regular circular bladed manual saw? or what about a bandsaw?

any special blades / equipment necessary? and how is it to drill?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

not sure of the thickness, but from making a trem thingy-ma-jig aluminium is a bugger to saw at most thicknesses, just use any saw that you have to hand, i'm sure some are better, and i'll probably get slated for that comment...you'll also need a metal file as you will get burrs...drilling should be fine if you use a centre punch first to make a dent for the drill bit to get into


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I made one out of stainless a while ago. Aluminum is much softer and easier to scratch. Actually, after a while your pickguard will start to look pretty bad, but each to his/her own. Here are a few tips for cutting:

1.You can use any fine toothed blade for shaping, I prefer a jigsaw with a hacksaw type blade mounted on it, VERY noisy. When you have the shape you want you might like to bevel the edges to a uniform 45 degree angle. Use a very fine file and then smooth out with 400 grit paper.

2.Aluminum is really easy to bend, warp, and it also expands and contracts a great deal due to temperature changes. When you start to cut your shape glue a piece of 1/4" thick wood to the back of your stock sheet and clamp it down firmly. This will allow the aluminum to remain rigid and flat while cutting and will prevent it from bouncing around.

3.Center punching is fine but don't hammer TOO hard. The punch will push in the metal around your hole-to-be. Those big dimples can be hard to remove. If you have to take out any imperfections do so gently. Aluminum is also very malleable. If you were to hammer it on a steel surface then you could also flatten it out making your sheet thinner and warping the piece.

4.Aluminum will tarnish and form a dull grey aluminum oxide on the surface over time, very ugly. You might want to spray some sort of hard, scratch resistant clearcoat on the surface to maintain that shine and slow down oxidation.

5.Lastly, aluminum conducts electricity very well. When wiring up your guitar, work out a way to incorporate a ground wire (earth) for your pickguard. I stripped about 2" off my bridge post ground wire, fed it into the post hole and then laid it across the body. The remaining bare wire then contacted the underside of the pickguard when mounted.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

thanks Guitar Ed..........

and its good to hear it shouldnt bee too hard to work with aluminium - i know its not the strongest, but then again its stronger than plastic pickguards, you know?

besides its for my metal gigging instrument - which has and will take the most abuse out of all of my guitars, besides if the aluminium is finished in matt black, it wont matter as much i tihnk

the kinda thing i have in mind is the James Hetfield explorer in black with aluminium plate.......... but i just want a pickguard thats black.

also any ideas where i could get such a sheet of aluminium? i dont want it too thick, like maybe 3mm would be ideal.......


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...