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The Spacklehoss Don't Do It Yourself Squire '51 Pickguard - Page 3

Drilling and Cutting of the Pickguard Blank

A quick but important note about the material used here. This is not official pickguard material. It is a cheap black acrylic that I picked up at a local plastics supplier. It is slightly thicker than normal pickguard material - .125" versus .090". I usually use a "scrap" piece plastic first before I cut my expensive pickguard material. This allows me to check the accuracy of the template on scrap rather than the good stuff. In the end, it does not look too bad with the scrap piece. It is actually the exact height of height control plate. And remember, making the template is what takes the most time. Cutting the pickguards goes pretty quick once you have the template.

At this point it would be good to clearly mark your pickgaurd blank front and back so that you don't cut or drill the blank in the wrong way by accident. And be sure to listen to Lenny on Stevie Ray Vaughan's Texas Flood, it's amazing.

Once you feel that you have an accurate template of your original, lay it top down on the backside of your pickguard blank with a piece of scrap wood under. Make sure you have excess blank material all the way around the outside of your template. Clamp the template to the blank and scrap wood. Don't over tighten and damage the blank. Use the same diameter drill bit that you used for the pilot holes to drill from the back side of the template and out through the blank.

So to repeat, you are going to be laying the pickguard blank, top/good side down, on a piece of scrap wood, lay your template top side down the pickguard blank. Clamp it and drill from the back side of the template through the blank using the same pilot holes and same drill bit you used for the pilot holes.

After unclamping you will end up with a square pickguard with the holes in the shape of a Squier51 pickguard.

IMPORTANT! Next drill out those holes with an 1/8" drill bit using the drill press. Be careful not to let the drill catch the plastic, spin and CUT YOU UP! Remember Spacklehoss.com is not, repeat not responsible for any damage that you do to your neighbor's cat, your brother's 1972 Powder Blue Plymouth Duster or your sister in-law. We are not responsible for anything you do. We are just not responsible.

While you have the drill out take a scrap piece of your pickguard material or the corner of your blank and drill bunch of 1/8" test holes. We will need to test the depth of the countersink bit in the next step.

Countersink the holes in the scrap piece to fit the stock pickguard screws. Use the drill press, the countersink bit. Practice on the scrap piece getting the depth of the counter sink correct. Note, leave the scratch guard paper or plastic on when you countersink and peel it back to test the counter sink depth.

Use the stops on the drill press to make the depth repeatable.

Check to see if depth is correct with the original pickguard mounting screws.

Once you have the right depth on the scrap piece, counter sink the holes on the TOP SIDE of the pickguard blank.

Using your #4 wood screws, attach the blank to the template. Again, topside of the template meets the bottom side of the blank. You can use five, six or all eleven screw holes.

Make sure that the #4 screws sink well below the surface of the blank.

Flip the template and blank over and accurately trace around the template with a pencil, scratch awl or sharpie marker. After you have traced the contour of the template onto the backside of the pickguard blank, remove the blank from the template.

Another Important note here. Like I said earlier this pickguard does non have a neck pick up hole. If you have decided to cut a pick up hole make sure to trace that too.

Again using the scroll saw, cut the blank to the contour of the template. Leave 1/16" or 1/8" material outside of the line. This will not be the final cut. The router does all of that. And if you are doing one, cut the hole for the neck pickup using the same steps used in making the template.

And yet, another note about the neck pickup. Since this pickguard does non have neck pick up hole you will need to do the next step in a slightly different way. The concept is the same, you just have to compensate for the neck pickup hole.

At this point you will need to need to secure the template for routing. I used a 4" chunk of 2"x2" drywall screwed to the bottom side of the template. I countersunk the holes in the top so not to interfere with the guard blank. I can now clamp the template to a vice using the 2"x2".

Next, I then screwed the rough sawn blank back on to the template using ALL 11 of the #4 screws.

Again the screws cannot profile above the surface of blank. You will using this surface in routing your blank.

Here's a shot of the backside.

Next: Routing the Blank