I made a new tortoise pickguard for an archtop and added a single layer of white binding. I waited several days before leveling and polishing and another week before mounting it. A few days later I noticed a fracture running through the scew hole. I removed the pickguard and flexed it to see the crack's extent and the pickguard broke cleanly in half.

I used the StewMac 1701 tortoise pickguard material, the 5777 white plastic binding and joined them with Weld-On cement. I pre-bent the binding, taped it in place, heated it with a hair dryer, and let it cool before gluing. I used a board and finishing nails to glue the binding and a Les Paul bracket to mount which I bent to reduce torque on the guard.

I was able to glue it back together with Weld-On but a witness line remained after sanding and structural integrity is suspect. I tried melting bits of tortoise both in pure acetone and in a Weld-On/acetone mixture to use as a filler. The stuff became gummy but wouldn't melt. I had hoped to erase the witness line this way.

I'm at a loss to understand what went wrong. Any and all suggestions or insights wound be greatly appreciated. I made a second pickguard but am reluctant to bind it using the same method and materials.

Tags: Binding, pickguard, weld-on

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I don't have any experience binding or working on acrylic for pick guards, so I can't say for sure, but that stuff does have very different working characteristics from the traditional celluloid I'm used to handling.  I have noticed a greater tendency for acrylic to crack at screw holes when I've used it for clamping cauls or templates.

Thanks for the info, Frank!  

I think I'll order some celluloid and make a pickguard to compare. Do you use celluloid nitrate or celluloid acetate and do you pair it with any particular type of plastic binding (ABS, PVC, etc)?

I sent an email to Delmar whom you mention as a source on

I wonder if Lexan would crack like Lucite if used for templates and cauls?

LMI and Axiom also supply celluloid. . .


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