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I try to make a uniform, straight bevel all around the edge:
I want the bevel to extend 1/8" to 3/16" in from the edge, and I'll cut deeply enough so that the very edge is about 1/4 original thickness.
I believe that a nice wide bevel like this not only looks better, but definitely helps keep the very edge from tending to curl as the pickguard ages.
All the time while I work on the pickguard I do nothing to keep from scuffing the surface because my next step is to sand the entire surface including the beveled edge with 800 grit waterproof paper and a soft rubber sanding block:
I sand the surface until it's uniformly dull and the straight bevel becomes slightly rounded.
Now it's time to introduce the pickguard to Mr. Buffer:
With the same buffer and compound I use for finishes, I buff the pickguard using firm pressure until the whole thing is shiny like this:
You can't beat the look of freshly buffed celluloid!
I like the same 3M product #467 tape adhesive that most of the manufacturers use:
It's available in different widths, but I like the one inch wide roll, because it's a lot cheaper and works just as well if I lay it down in strips. Because I'm not a manufacturer, my four inch wide roll dried out and became useless even though I kept it in an airtight container. I threw most of it away! (Stewart-MacDonald sells small quantities that are fresh.)
Now, doesn't that look nice after it's all done?
The buffing operation further rounds the edges so the pickguard seems to flow smoothly from the polished surface of the guitar top.
To adhere the pickguard I could simply place it on the finish and squish it down by hand.
Because I want it to stick as firmly as possible, I always clamp the new pickguard in place, using the same setup I use when I'm regluing an old pickguard. I leave the clamps on for only a minute or so to get great results. I presume that the high pressure causes the glue to flow a bit to improve contact.
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