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Blackguard plans available ???

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by neuroy, Nov 20, 2020.

  1. neuroy

    neuroy TDPRI Member

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    I have searched half the internet up and down, but .....
    There are many Tele plans available, but none states to be vintage ( 1950-54) correct tracings of an original instrument !
    Does anybody have seen such a plan ?
    Are there contemporary models with the original vintage shape ?

    I am interested to learn if the cutaway and horn has ever changed in shape.

    Any help is appreciated ! Thank you all !
     
  2. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Post 585:

    Quote from Tdowns from the thread:
    "
    For those of you that didn't read some of the other posts, I was given a drawing with the wonderful profile. Ed did a great job on this. It appears to be very accurate. I later connected all the arcs and circles together so the area/volume could be calculated as shown below."

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/d-size-tele-body-blueprint-files-here.74504/page-30

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/53-cnc-build.83286/


    Considering how bodies were built back then with a lot of people sanding them, I'd expect the shapes to be all over the place.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2020
  3. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    for those unaware, there exists no exact precise drawings for the specific years and/or versions of the Tele, Broadcaster, Esquire, NoCaster, etc.. the reason is the way they were made... by hand.... and with Leo's nature to not let anything be thrown away that was salvageable...

    so.. the outside perimeter, was sanded by hand, being held against power sanders... so one pass may remove 1/16th inch, the next another.. if there was a little tear-out. . . a few more passes removed it.. so while one may have been 12 ¾ wide at the hips. the next 12 5/8ths...

    so don't sweat it .. if it looks right it IS right..

    r
     
  4. neuroy

    neuroy TDPRI Member

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    Thank you very much so far !
    So the pick guards must have been shaped according to the body they would go on....?

    The pick guards were punched out, so they should have started with the same shape. I have checked pictures in the blackguard book, you can always detect the punch marks. they should disappear when the guard would have been sanded ?
     
  5. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    pretty much. but don't let OCD get in the way of the enjoyment of making one.. none were perfect...

    r
     
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  6. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

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    I highly doubt the pickguards were "punched". Watching some early videos of Leo's shop I never saw a punch. And in the use of Garolite for the old black guards and the plastic on the white guards my guess is they cut the pick guards on their overhead pin router using a template for a certain size piece of material.

    And as far as they always fitting the exterior body shape. Keep in mind that Leo was building and supplying a commodity to the public. Back then NO ONE CARED if the pickguard varied a little from the lower horn. The pickguard was only there to protect the wood and to hide the pickup leads.

    These are not the best pictures (old cell phone pics) but this is an authentic 1956 White guard with the original pickguard. As you can see the pick guard does not match the lower horn exactly. The person sanding this model either leaned a little harder on this unit or there was a little tear out that had to be sanded out. So if you want era correct looks, then DON'T make that pick guard match! LOL

    57telecaster2.jpg 57tele-deluxe.jpg
     
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  7. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

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    I watched this again and did not see a punch but saw a lot of pin routers sitting idle. I have built a couple of guitars using Garolite sheets for the black guard and I am not sure if that fiberous board could be punchable.

    As far as building it "vintage correct". There is a set of plans on this site based off of a '53. That is probably your best bet.
     
  8. neuroy

    neuroy TDPRI Member

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    Hi Preacher,
    thank you for the video. Really interesting !
    I don´t want to insist on the punching thing, but in some book ( must look for it) there's a picture showing a punch press where they produced their neck plates, bridge plates and so on.
    You are correct bakelite being very brittle, so punching out this material risks chipping.
    I can't find the plan you have mentioned. Do you have a key word or the link to it, please ?
    Cheers
     
  9. neuroy

    neuroy TDPRI Member

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  10. Marn99

    Marn99 Tele-Holic

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    It was punched. The material that Leo Fender specifies in his notes circa 1951 is Phenolite for the pickguard, side dots, and position markers. Phenolite was the National Vulcanized Fiber Co's trade name for their line of phenolic laminates. There were several grades of phenolite, such as paper based, linen based, canvas based, asbestos based, and I am not yet sure which one he used, but if you asked me to make a guess off the top of my head based on what I've learned so far, I would guess that it was a punching grade of paper phenolic like NEMA grade XXP.
     
  11. peterg

    peterg TDPRI Member

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    Hopefully the safety gear has improved. The only piece of PPE I saw was a pair of safety googles - on the top of a shirtless guy's head.
     
  12. old wrench

    old wrench Tele-Afflicted

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    While I can see fretboard and side markers being punched out of whatever trade name we choose to call the fiber reinforced phenolic Fender used, I just can't see Leo Fender punching out pick guards :).

    I'm thinking Leo was too much of a value-engineering type of an individual to waste a step like that in the manufacturing process ;).

    Fretboard and side markers come of the punch die set pretty much ready-to-use, you don't see their edges once they're installed.

    On the other hand, a pick guard with it's sharp corners along side the neck in particular, isn't a very promising candidate for a clean shearing operation in a punch press die set without breaking down those corners. In addition, all of the edges of the pick guard (with the exception of the bridge pickup cut out) would be subject to a secondary machining process, maybe just sanding - but an additional process, never the less.

    From what I've seen of Leo Fender's work, I believe the pick guards were cut out with a router, and then, maybe, the bridge pickup holes were punched out.

    I like my observation not just because I believe it's true, but because it gives everyone that has commented so far the opportunity to be at least half-way right :).

    To qualify my observation: I worked in a tool and die stamping plant for two years when I was a youngster and learned enough about operations to end up as a die setup hand, a pretty responsible position.

    You'd think there would be some existing photographic or written evidence of how Fender actually made their pick guards, no?

    I'm a hard sell, but a picture or the written word would certainly convince me :).
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020 at 5:10 PM
  13. Marn99

    Marn99 Tele-Holic

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    The punching dies were made by the Race & Olmsted Tool and Die Co., they made a lot of the tooling and templates for Fender in the 50s. Here's the cost breakdown for the neck, circa 1951. You can see the cost for the punching die for the "fibre" dots, as well as the cost for the Phenolite sheet stock it was punched from. I haven't found a cost breakdown that includes the pickguard, but believe me, they were punched out. They do the exact same process today in Corona. Here's also a picture of one of the punching presses, it looks like it's currently set up to blank out amp chassis'. If you look closely at the edge of original blackguards, as well as whiteguards, you can see the shear marks from punching.
    upload_2020-11-22_20-26-28.png
    upload_2020-11-22_20-29-36.png
     
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  14. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

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    You learn some things every day. That is an interesting press he has there and I would agree that dot markers, side markers and even the old Jazz blocks a press would be the best option to make those pieces. They are so small that trying to router them would be an issue.

    But in looking at that press, if Leo was pressing individual pickguards it would be doable. But lets look at the process he would have to go through to press one pickguard. The sheet stock would have to be cut down (I have no idea how big his sheets would be, typically I can see these being a 2x2 because a 4x8 sheet would be hard to handle without cracking, but this is all conjecture) from what ever size it is to the size of the guard. That process would happen on the table saw. So say he got his material in a 2x2 sheet and went to press it, he would have to make three cuts on the table saw (you could do it in two if you stacked them) and then take the pieces to the punch to be individually punched.

    Now if he were cutting these on the pin router, he takes the 2x2 sheet stock he gets, throws it into a pattern jig and goes to cutting. I would say a decent pin router operator would be able to route out all of the pickguards in under three minutes once the router was switched on. Knowing how Leo operated his shop I am not sure he would do any operation that cost more money than needed.

    Again this is all conjecture, unless we can get someone that was there to confirm we may never know.
     
  15. Marn99

    Marn99 Tele-Holic

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    Here's a picture of a 1953 blackguards pickguard. See the shear marks on the edge? you can even see some of the polishing compound in the crevasses of the shear marks. Here's a passage from the blackguard book:
    "Pickguards were made from these Phenolite sheets through a process of band sawing, die cutting, drilling and countersinking, hand sanding, lacquer coating, and final sanding and polishing."
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2020 at 12:04 PM
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  16. Marn99

    Marn99 Tele-Holic

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    At any rate, answering the poster's question, I see a few paths you could go down. You could A. look at several pickguard manufacturers and see which one, in general, looks the most like the originals, or B. you could ask someone who owns an original pre CBS tele if they would be willing to trace the pickguard for you. The second one is definitely the harder of the two, but it is a surefire way to get an accurate pickguard. See if there are any prolific vintage guitar collectors in your region or a dealer who specializes in vintage instruments.
     
  17. old wrench

    old wrench Tele-Afflicted

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    Marn, first off, no disrepect intended. I'm also kind of a nerd when it comes learning about how things were done when cool vintage guitars were first built, and so is Nacho, obviously :).

    From my time working in a tool and die and stamping joint, I can promise you that a die set that left a finished cut like that (like the the raggedy-ass edge in your picture, and that was after being cleaned up) would get tossed in the scrap bin. The impact strength of Garolite XX is real low which I think makes it a poor candidate for punching out a profile with those skinny points that project up around the neck, too.

    I think I'll go with Nacho's description of the process, just as you posted :) - bandsaw the profile (those look far more like bandsaw tooth marks than "shear marks" from a die set), die-cut the pickup hole, drilling and counter sinking, etc, etc, etc. I checked my copy of Nacho's book and he goes on to say that some of the early guards did exhibit cut marks on their sides (which would be consistent with band sawing).

    I don't think I'd surprise anyone by saying that's the same way I make make my black pick guards out of the Garolite XX sheets (what I've always called paper micarta) which I purchase from McMaster/Carr, but there is one exception - I sure don't have a punch press and the proper die set to cut the pickup hole, so I perform that operation with a router and dead-simple template. The first black paper micarta pick guard I made I drilled the pickup hole with a 9/16 brad point at each end and then connected them by sawing on the line with a scroll saw and then sanded to size, but that was a lot (too much :)) of screwing around.

    I'm in complete agreement with you about the more modern Fender pick guards being die-cut. Modern plastics have a much different consistency and texture that lend themselves to the die cutting process.

    Like I said, those elusive vintage photos or written words that actually state how or picture those black guards having their outer perimeters punched out with a die set would convince me, but until then I guess I'll stick with the bandsaw .



    I hope the O.P. @neuroy is getting some thing from all this back and forth stuff about the pick guard. I feel like a thread hi-jacker when this happens. Sorry @neuroy :).
     
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  18. Marn99

    Marn99 Tele-Holic

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    Apologies to the OP as well, if they object, we can take this friendly debate elsewhere. No offence taken old wrench, just two differing takes :). Back in the day, there were more NEMA grades of paper phenolic (again, I am not certain the NVF Co. Phenolite Leo used was paper based phenolic, but it would've been the cheapest), including punching grades. There were the warm punching grades such as XP, XXP, and XXXP, which can be punched at room temperature under .063 inches, incidentally, the blackguard pg thicknesses range anywhere from .059 - .062 inches on average. There were also cold punching NEMA grades, such as XPC, XXPC, and XXXPC, which could be punched at room temperature at much greater thicknesses. These grades are still sometimes made, but they're much rarer, as they've been made mostly obsolete by more modern laminates. I postulate that the blackguard Phenolite as well as the position markers and side dots were XXP. With all due respect, those look like shear marks, if they were bandsaw marks, then the raggedness would be vertical/perpendicular to the face of the pg, not horizontal/parallel. Here's a closeup of the edge of the pg on Broadcaster #0032, which came with a factory white guard, using the same (presumably leftover) material from the earlier pine bodied double esquires, that sure looks like a shear mark made by a vertical, heavy, pressing force like the kind made by a press. It is also consistent in appearance with how punching and shearing looks, and how the edges form. Apologies about the watermark, by the way, I cannot find a version without it. In addition, here's the 1953 Centralab catalog page for the CRL 1452 switch, stating clearly that the wafer material is blanked out XXP phenolic. The stuff can definitely be punched. The reason why NEMA XX phenolic cannot be punched is because above, I don't know, maybe .032 inches, it is too brittle, but punching grades, however, could be.
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG]
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    Last edited: Nov 24, 2020 at 3:56 PM
  19. neuroy

    neuroy TDPRI Member

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    @ marn and old wrench :

    There's really no "hijacking" of my thread at all.
    It´s an very interesting point in discovering the old methods. And materials.

    The point is the following : die cut or punched pick guards would not have fit ( because one is almost identically to the other ) most of the bodies because of more or less "oversanding" their perimeter...
    So they would not have to be interchangeable from one instrument to the next.
    Nobody is running a factory like that.

    The best advise was to find a real early guitar to check for details, but there's none to be found here at the moment. Unfortunately.

    My question still remains the same : what is wrong : the Musikraft body or the aftermarket pick guards ?
    I would not have any trouble to create my own body ( template) or pickguard. But I´d like to discover where to start.

    I don't get that anybody ever did not compare a 50´s Tele to a later one.
    Or even draw a plan from it.
    All those aftermarket producers of "vintage correct pickguards" must have had an original as a template ? Where do they get their "vintage correctness " from ?

    In other words : I have a 1953 Telecaster, guard was changed in the early ´80´s for a then "state of the art" brass pickguard ( what about some DiMarzios as well ?). I want to bring the old girl back to birth, so I´d buy a "original vintage " pickguard from ´53 from a known parts dealer for $ 1500.-. It won't fit ! But it would fit any MIM Tele or any post 1975 Telecaster...
    How could I argue with the dealer ?
    He is sure the PG is a vintage piece...!

    I cannot believe the pick guards and bodies were such inconsistent, that they were not interchangeable to a certain degree....

    Is there anybody who would send me a scan of a vintage PG ?

    Cheers
     
  20. Marn99

    Marn99 Tele-Holic

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    I think you are underestimating just how crude some of these instruments could be sometimes, especially those early 50s ones. Just look at the crooked ferrules on this '54 esquire and '52 telecaster.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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