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Cutting your own pickguards-Any hints?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by tekhna, Mar 30, 2005.

  1. tekhna


    Nov 7, 2004
    I am going to attempt to make my own pickguard (more for the attempt of it than to save money or anything.) I am going to use a pickguard blank from warmoth. I am wondering the best way to cut it out from a template other than using something like an acrylic cutter. I am also wondering if anyone knows what kind of drill bit I should used to get that pickguard type hole where it is wider on the top. I am sure there is a good name for this, I just don't know it.

  2. Make a template of your old pg from MDF and do all of your fine tuning to that. Trace off your pattern on the new material and cut it out close to the line with a jigsaw or bandsaw. Mount the pg blank onto the MDF pattern with doublesided tape (face down) aligned with your marks and and sand or file the pg back to your pattern. If you do it carefully, you can make it fit the pattern perfectly or as perfectly as your pattern is. That's why it's important to spend the time up front on the template itself. Precise beveling can only be done with a beveling bit in a router. The holes are drilled and "countersunk" with a device that has a beveled cutter that fits around the shank of the bit. As you drill through the material the cutter engages the material and scoops out the countersink. You can also get countersink bits in different sizes to do this after the hole has been drilled.
  3. another way to countersink would be to drill all your holes in the bit of the right size for your screws and once you have done tht find a bit tht is larger than the first bit but not soo large tht the hole you would make would be larger than your screws. once you find your corecct bit line it up with your first holes and SLOWLY only take out a small amount. this will give u a countersunk hole. after each drill with the larger bit check put your screw in to make sure u didnt take out to much.
  4. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    This won't work the way you think. A inch-series flat or oval head screw has an 82 degree cone underneath; a metric will be 90 degree; but a standard drill is 112 degrees. So if you try to "countersink" drill with a standard drill bit, until the diameter of the countersink is the OD of the screw, the screw still hangs up at the base of the cone, leaving a nice gap all around the screw head.
  5. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    I do it pretty much like Hambone said, except once I have a template made, I double stick the rough cut plastic to that and then use a trim router with a pattern following bit.

    I follow that up with a bevel pattern bit to put the bevel on. I use a counter sink for the holes. I use that in a drill press set to just the right depth.

    I make my patterns from 3/4" MDF or plywood.

    Here's a finished template being checked against the body:


    And the finished product:


    On this bass I actually routed the opening for the pickups into both the pick guard and body at the same time. This was because there was an existing pickup rout of course, and I wouldn't be able to match the pick guard up later as easily as if I did them both at the same time..