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Any DOWNSIDE to a Bakelite pickguard?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Boreas, Apr 10, 2021.

  1. Frisco 57

    Frisco 57 Tele-Meister

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    I don't think they come clear coated.
     
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  2. netgear69

    netgear69 Tele-Afflicted

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    Depends where you get it most will just be the raw pickgaurd if so just get yourself a 250ml rattle can
     
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  3. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    You can get it in cream color if you look around.

    The pickguard is also called a scratch plate because it is designed to get scratched--instead of the painted body. If scratches are a problem wear mittens and play fingerstyle ;)

    Regarding clear coats on phenolic sheet: bare sheet goes a lot longer before scratches start to show. Clearcoating it makes the scratches more apparent.
     
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  4. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

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    I’ve had a Bakelite guard on mine for years, and the only downside I’ve found is that I can no longer match the clicks of static electricity to my metronome to keep time. :D
     
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  5. old wrench

    old wrench Friend of Leo's

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    It's a similar product.

    Garolite and Micarta are brand names for a phenolic based material that is built up with layers of paper, or fabric infused infused with a phenolic resin.

    As I understand it, Bakelite is an un-reinforced type of cured phenolic resin - it doesn't have the paper or fabric layers to it.

    For Micarta and Garolite's reinforcing layers, different types of paper are used, or different fabrics like linen or canvas or even fiber glass (G10), depending on the exact product.


    Richlite is a trade name, and it's made in similar fashion from resin infused paper.


    Garolite XX is a paper based material very much like Richlite.

    Carbon fiber fabric is used in a similar way too.


    I started using Micarta about 30 years ago for high-performance knife handles - knives that can't fail ;)

    The stuff is basically bullet-proof :).


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    Last edited: Apr 11, 2021
  6. old wrench

    old wrench Friend of Leo's

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    This is what it looks like in the rough state -

    The black is 1/16" thick Garolite XX.

    The brown is various thicknesses of canvas Micarta.

    The light green is fiber-glass reinforced G 10.

    All of it is very durable.

    I've used the brown and green stuff in place of steel or aluminum in different fabrications :).

    You can also get this stuff in a pretty wide variety of colors and different reinforcing materials.

    IMG_1210.JPG

    edit:

    I think you can see from the picture that the black Garolite XX is not an absolute black - it has a slightly mottled color to it and a very slight texture.


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    Last edited: Apr 11, 2021
  7. edvard

    edvard Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks for the heads up; I was jonesing for black pearloid, but I dig the Bakelite look pretty well also.

    Poking around the MCMC website, I happened upon Conductive Garolite CE, with embedded Graphite. Would this make good nut material? Seems hard enough, and the Graphite would reduce friction/wear in the string slots. A 12" x 12" sheet would make a LOT of nuts. Hmmm...
     
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  8. old wrench

    old wrench Friend of Leo's

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    That McMaster-Carr website is like a rabbit-hole for me :).

    What a variety of building materials and parts!

    You could certainly cut a nut from Garolite, and it would work, but I don't know which type would be the best choice.

    There are other materials that M-C sells that might be a better choice.

    They also sell Nylon 66 which is what Gibson used to use for some of their nuts and saddles.


    .
     
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  9. edvard

    edvard Friend of Leo's

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    It was the Graphite part (https://www.mcmaster.com/plastics/shape~sheet-and-bar/slippery-conductive-garolite-ce/) that got me thinking, but I'll look at the Nylon too. Ovation solid-bodies back in the day used Nylon saddles and I was never impressed, but maybe it's better than I think...
     
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  10. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Well they are flammable, supposedly.
     
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  11. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

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    Garolite from McMaster Carr - sprayed with Sherwood Clear Lacquer.

    It is going on 15 years now, no cracks although the finish is slightly altered.

    IMG_3129.jpg
     
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  12. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Would you bother with the lacquer again?
     
  13. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

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    Absolutely. It took all of fifteen minutes when I was spraying the guitar body.

    It even has the paint can "halo" on the backside from where I had it setting.

    I did sand the pick guard down before shooting the top coat but it made the guitar look "right" when it was finished where the raw bakelite looked, well "raw".

    You can't get that nice wear if you don't clear it first!
     
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  14. Frisco 57

    Frisco 57 Tele-Meister

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    I was saying that they'll crack on the corners if you tighten the screws too much. I just took a close look at my old one and now I can add..."like this!" Oh well...

    Tele 003.jpg
     
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  15. Fretting out

    Fretting out Poster Extraordinaire

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    Fender tortoise picks are flammable too

    They look like sparklers if you light them on fire

    I guess the picks are actually some type of cellulose

    Pickguards I don’t know
     
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  16. SixgunElectric

    SixgunElectric TDPRI Member

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    Alternatively, one could also consider using the vulcanized fiberboard type material like in the earliest blackguard examples..
    Just sayin'....
     
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  17. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Are any available in that material??
     
  18. old wrench

    old wrench Friend of Leo's

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    If I'm not mistaken, that's the same stuff we've been talking about :).

    Some folks call it "bakelite"

    Some call it "garolite"

    And some call it "micarta"

    But it's all pretty much the same product - with different brand or trade names.

    It's phenolic resin infused paper subjected to heat and pressure to cure it.



    When we were discussing it last week I looked around for another source besides M-C and found this:

    Sheet .062" Thick Grade XXX Black Paper Phenolic 18" x 24" Knife Spacer Micarta | eBay

    For some unknown reason, I can't add any other links to this post, but that seller also has 12" x 12" x 1/16" pieces for $12 bucks including shipping ;).

    I'm sure there are other sources for it as well. I found these with a quick search, and don't know anything about the seller, good or bad.



    You can only get one pickguard out of a 12" x 12", but you can get three from a 12" x 24" piece and you might be able to five from a 18" x 24"

    You'll have some left-overs which can be used for other stuff like pickup surrounds or control covers.

    It cuts, files, and sands somewhat like wood - I usually use a scroll saw for cutting, but any finer toothed saw blade will usually do a good job.

    I've never used a router on it, but I'm sure a router would work OK.

    It's relatively thin at 1/16" so I don't put a true bevel on it, instead I cut the edge square and then just ease the edge - take the sharp corner off - it with a smooth file or sandpaper, which looks like the same way Fender it.


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    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021
  19. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Poster Extraordinaire

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    More expensive than ABS/PVC, when ordered from a pickguard maker.

    Looks bad unless clear coated...then clear coat wears off.

    A bit more difficult to work with during construction (but not your issue if you aren't making it).

    Can chip and be more brittle than ABS/PVC.

    These are not drawbacks that should keep you from using one. They in no way outweigh the great look, IMO. Lacquered Garolite (what you are calling "Bakelite") is one of the main guard materials that I use in my builds and assemblies.
     
  20. Texicaster

    Texicaster Friend of Leo's

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    It Varies.....

    Catalin is kind of colored bakelite but I don't recall seeing it in sheets.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalin
     
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