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Making a wood pickguard

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by wraub, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. wraub

    wraub

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    Hi all. I have a guitar here on loan and the pickguard is warped, making playing it somewhat annoying. Thinking of making a wood one to replace it.

    What might be the best material for doing so? Veneer is obviously too thin for the job, and I have no thicknesser, planer, or a bandsaw for resawing.

    Pickguard is essentially Strat, but w/ a single humbucker and one knob.

    Any ideas?
    Thanks!

    wraub
  2. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging! Supporting Member

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    If I were going to make a pick guard out of wood, my primary concern would be the likelihood that it would self destruct as it expanded, contracted, split, and warped in response to changes in temperature and humidity.

    One solution would be plywood; thin layers of real wood glued together face-to-face, with each layer oriented with its grain 90-degrees to adjacent layers. I make my own, which is fairly easy if you have a suitable clamping caul or a vacuum bag.
  3. wraub

    wraub

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    OK then, I've got plenty of ply on hand.
    How best to thickness it?

    Also, wouldn't reducing it to a proper thickness likely remove some/all of the plies in the process?

    wraub
  4. T-Bird

    T-Bird

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    Hi.

    Yes and no.

    If You use regular plywood, yes, you'll be left with one or two layers, and depending on the original thickness and number of plies it'll probably warp more or less.

    The plywood to use though, if You have to buy it that is, is aircraft grade plywood that is made of very thin plies, so you may succeed in thinning it if you can't find 2-3mm thick material that can be used as-is.

    As You can imagine, the aircraft grade ain't particularily cheap, so it's advisable to obtain it as scap from a shop that specializes on airframe repairs.

    Regards
    Sam
  5. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging! Supporting Member

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    Trying to thickness existing plywood is an exercise that usually ends in failure. Better to buy, or make, plywood that's the correct thickness to begin with.

    If you want to use ready-made plywood, void-free Baltic birch is available in several thicknesses; 1/8" is easy to obtain via mail order. If you want to apply a decorative face veneer to Baltic birch, make sure you veneer both faces to prevent warping ("Balanced construction" using an odd number of plies).

    http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=846&site=ROCKLER

    Or, you can make your own plywood by gluing several layers of veneer together face-to-face, alternating the grain on each piece by 90-degrees.
  6. wraub

    wraub

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    Thanks, J-dogg, I think I might visit my local lumber supplier and do the veneer thing.

    I'll post pics if anyone wants.

    wraub

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