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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.

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Did you try to make a support/template out of plywood, and use a router to cut the bevel? I usually do it for electric instruments' pickguards, but with fine adjustements, it should work for acoustics' too.

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.

I have not tried using a support/template and making the bevel with a router. The bevels on the electric guitar pick guards typically have an very visible "edge" where the bevel meets the flat surface. Getting rid of that edge ( so that the bevel goes from almost no thickness at the edge of the pick guard to full thickness of the material) would be very difficult. I don't want to start out by creating something that I have to get rid of.
I spent some time in the Martin customer service department a few years ago and Dave Doll showed me how he did it. It was a pretty slick method and required very little sanding to make it just right. As I recall, he worked against the side of a big old bench, seated. With his left hand, he pressed the p/g flat on the bench and moved it right up to the edge. He held a cabinet scraper in his right hand and drew it towards him for around 5-8 inches against the side of the bench at a very small angle, maybe 80 degrees from the plane of the p/g. The bench had been subjected to this treatment many times and had quite the depression from countless scrapings. He planted the p/g in position just barely over the edge, then pulled the scraper across, cutting maybe a sixteenth. He rotated the p/g all the way around it's perimeter, scraping all the while. Then he steepened the angle of the scraper and did it again. He repeated this process maybe 3-5 times until he was scraping very lightly almost parallel with the plane of the p/g. A quick hit on the scraped edge with 320 or 400 or so, then a trip to the buffer was all it took. It looked as good as anything I've seen anywhere.
That technique sounds good and won't take too long. Thanks

"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,

Paul

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...

Apparently Martin is no longer making the beveled edges on the Delmar pick guards in Nazareth. The CS21-11 guitar I just received from Martin has a non-installed beveled edge Delmare pickguard. On the back of the pickguard is a sticker that says"Made in Mexico"!!!

I do it like-a this:

 

http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Luthier/Technique/Guitar/Pickguards...

 

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.

Thanks Frank. A great procedure with excellent photos. The sad thing now, is that I suspect with the beveled edge pick guards being made in Mexico for Martin that it will be cheaper to buy from Martin than to make, at least for the common sizes of Martin models. However, I have not asked Martin for the price yet.

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