aluminum pickguards

Discussion in 'Guitar Building' started by defspace, Mar 31, 2015.

  1. defspace

    defspace New Member

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    I was curious if anyone here has any experience working with aluminum for pickguards.

    I'm a big fan of the brush Al look of the MotorAve guitars and the old anodized pickguards on jazzmasters.

    I've made pickguards out of plastic on a router table. Is the process much different with aluminum? Do i need special bits?

    Any info would be great, thanks!
     
  2. Adam

    Adam Well-Known Member

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    Aluminum routes quite well, just take your time and wear the proper safety equipment. You may need to monitor your router bit a little bit for any aluminum buildup as well.
     
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  3. Heretic

    Heretic Well-Known Member

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    Make sure you use nice carbide bits, like Freud or Whiteside. That will help them cut cleanly.
     
  4. defspace

    defspace New Member

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    Great! Thanks. Sounds like it won't be too different.

    One thing I'm worried about is creating raised burrs on the edges and on the countersink holes. I'd be worried that knocking them down would ruin the brushed finish.

    I suppose I could do the brushed treatment with sandpaper after cutting the pickguard.

    Once you're finished, do you seal with clear lacquer or just use the raw aluminum?

    Thanks!
     
  5. jkes01

    jkes01 Active Member

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    I would use red or gray scotchbbright instead of sandpaper. Uncleared makes it easy to touch up later on.
     
  6. GreaseBox

    GreaseBox New Member

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    Very easy to work with and makes an awesome pg!

    I did this alum pg and control plate...

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. crazygtr

    crazygtr Member

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    Nothing wrong with the old fashion way either, drill, files etc.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  8. TKOjams

    TKOjams Well-Known Member

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    I've never made a PG but have made a control cover or two. Used a band saw, belt sander and wet sanded up the grits and then buffed. They look great and are nice and light weight.:yesway:

    [​IMG]
     
  9. aeleus

    aeleus Active Member

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    What aluminum alloy have you guys used? 6061 seems like the most common for this type of work. It seems to polish well.

    I actually just ordered a 12" x 12" x .04" sheet of nickel silver to make a pickguard, control cover and fretboard inlays. This is the same metal used to make most frets.
     
  10. defspace

    defspace New Member

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    I'm sure an engineer could give you a more technical answer, but I don't think it would matter much for these applications.

    All I know about aluminum comes from an interest in bicycles (the kind you pedal with your feet). At least in that world, the big differences in the Al you'd use (typically 6061 or 7005) are related to heat treating and other manufacturing techniques.

    I doubt it matters much what you use for a something as simple as a pickguard.

    If you say you've had good luck with 6061, I think I might just have to check it out!
     
  11. TKOjams

    TKOjams Well-Known Member

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    If I tell you, you'll laugh:D
     
  12. GreaseBox

    GreaseBox New Member

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    You would laugh at my source as well!!!!!

    TKO, I am now interested in your answer! :D
     
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  13. 87hdrush

    87hdrush Member

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  14. TKOjams

    TKOjams Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  15. TKOjams

    TKOjams Well-Known Member

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    aluminum rulers. ;)
     
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