I have had requests for a beveled edge red tortoise pick guard for a Martin that did not come with one. My problem is that in making the beveled edge I always end up with rather deep scratches that are impossible to rub out.
The last one I did I started with 320 grit silicon carbide paper. After getting the bevel so therewas no line where it meets the flt surface of the pick guard I used gradually higher grit silicon carbide paper with water. Then, a buffing wheel with Tripoli followed by a buffing compound for restoring gloss to plastics. I get a nice high gloss but on close inspection there are a lot of scratches. If I were to start with a higher # grit it would take an unreasonable length of time to make the bevel.
I made one by using an Exacto knife or razor blade.r first but that made it impossible to not have a line where the bevel meets the flat surface.
I know Martin has a Delmare pickguard available at a much higher price, but it does not come with the beveled edge. So I would still have the same problem with it.
I'm not sure why you can't eliminate your sanding scratches. My procedure is first to scrape the edge w/ razorblade to establish a bevel. Then I sand by hand with 320 Frecut paper, dry, to round off the corner. Next I use 1200 wet/dry to get through the 320 scratches and refine the rounded contour (even 1200 cuts through soft plastic pretty fast). Last is a trip to the buffer. I use the same Menzerna polish I use for lacquer.
The Delmar guards I have gotten from Martin all have nice polished bevels.
When I di the job the way you suggest I ended up with a visible "edge" where the bevel meet the flat surface of the pick guard. I just could not seem to make a "seamless" transition. So, I had to spend a very very long time sanding to try to get rid of the "edge". Even then there were still places where a slight "edge" was still present.
Is frecut a brand name of sanding paper?
The Delmar pick guard I got from Martin did not have the "invisible " bevel. I was told that that is the way they sell them..something about the bevel being done when they install the pick guard. That did not make sense to me....but the customer wanted the Delmar 'guard because it is not made up of"pixels". I will ask Martin again...maybe I didn't talk to the rigt person at Martin?
Do you recall how much Martin charged for the Delmar pick guard with the nice bevel?
Frecut is 3M's name for their stearated aluminum oxide paper. These days I'm actually using Klingspor's version of the same thing.
Now that I look closely at the Martin Delmar guard, there are small scratches in the bevel. Also the material has a clear bottom layer, so the color fades to clear at the thin edge. Now if you want to see a perfect beveled guard, look at a Collings.
"If I were to start with a higher # grit it would take an unreasonable length of time to make the bevel.". Sometime it takes a long time to do a near-perfect job.
I'm a bit confused at exactly "what" you're shooting for. It sounds (possibly only to me) like you're going for a rounded edge on the PG as opposed to a sharp bevel.
In any event, have you tried using Micro-Mesh products?
Best of luck,
What I'm going for is the look of the pick guard having been glued to the bare wood as Martin use to do. The bevel I want is a gradual thinning toward the edge. No visible line where the bevel begins from the flat surface of the pick guard. When installed the pick guard looks like it is in the finish, not on top of it. The vintage reissue model Martins come with the Delmar pick guard, beveled and polished.
I have the small squares of what I think is Micro-Mesh. Grits are color coded and on both sides of a flexible center pad. Even the fine grits caused scratches...
I do it like-a this:
One thing I often do is support the back of the pickguard when I'm buffing - I use a piece of 1/4" material the same shape. That way I can lean really hard on the buffer to make the job go quickly.