Epic Knobs for Andy (Brainy).

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by mPacT, Aug 2, 2016.

  1. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

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    Awesome! Thank you again!
     
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  2. Barncaster

    Barncaster Doctor of Teleocity

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    Excellent!
     
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  3. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Great tutorial, Mike, as usual. Glad Christmas-time brought you lots of good work and some nice loot, also. Belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
     
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  4. mPacT

    mPacT Tele-Holic

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    I'd like to point out that I am using specific products for these demo's but as long as you use the same type of product, most of the times it will still work. Sometimes you only need to test compatibility. So if you are looking up the stuff I'm using and are horrified at the price, go to your local craft store and try to find an equivalent. You very well may be able to.
    The point to all this is to understand the why of it more so than the what. Does that make sense?

    And we're back.

    I got up and opened the mold first thing. This is how it looked this morning.

    IMG_5949.jpg

    You can see all the little bubbles are gone. I tore off the foamcore and attempted to remove the pickguard but it snapped in two. Ah well, it was ten years old! Sometimes I will use acetone to remove hot glue. Works very well to release the mechanical bond, but you need to be careful what material you put acetone on as it can melt certain plastics. I was going to clean up the acrylic sheet I used for the mold and then said "screw it" after a couple minutes, remembering that I had the other acrylic sheet half still.

    So here is the mold all ready to go. Sorry for the slightly blurry pic, I'm channeling my inner Preeb!
    IMG_5951.jpg
     
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  5. mPacT

    mPacT Tele-Holic

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    Full disclosure, I was going to demo this technique using Solarez light cured resin. That is why I said at the beginning that this was "inspired" by the Wayne and EJ Henderson technique for making pickguards because they use epoxy.
    The problem is, the Solarez didn't work as well as I would have liked. The surface cured but it stayed liquid against the mold surface far longer than I was willing to wait. It might have cured eventually if left out in the sun, but its an overcast day in Southern California, so I scrapped the idea and switched to epoxy.

    Epoxy works well because it is self curing, stable if it includes UV inhibitors like surfboard epoxies and it can be tinted and cast in several different ways.

    I use this System Three epoxy because it is water clear (almost!) and UV resistant. It isn't cheap but it is good stuff.

    IMG_5972.jpg

    Now, you could use just about any clear epoxy system for this, including clear craft epoxies. Just remember that UV exposure may degrade them over time.

    I mixed about an ounce of the epoxy. With this system, you mix two parts of part A at to one of part B.

    IMG_5973.jpg

    Next I added some Vintage Amber ColorTone stain about three drops, and mixed it well. This is the base color.

    IMG_5974.jpg
    Pull the mix up onto the side of the cup to gauge the color intensity. A quick word about these stain bottles. Don't cut off the tips so that you can't control each drop. You want to be able to measure one drop at a time. If there is a big hole, the water thin stains will quickly saturate your mix in a second with too many drops. If your bottle is already cut, use a torch or candle and carefully heat up the tip of a screwdriver until you can press it against the nozzle of the bottle and melt the hole closed somewhat. Careful you don't start a fire!

    You have about 40 minutes of work time with the System Three SB-112 product. They recommend that if it is cold out, you can warm the bottles in a pan of warm water first. This will help the epoxy flow a bit better and release more bubbles. I didn't do it and so had a bunch of bubbles initially.

    Pour some of the mix into the mold.

    IMG_5975.jpg

    Then use a spatula to spread the mix to the outer edges. If you need more product, add more.

    IMG_5976.jpg
     
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  6. mPacT

    mPacT Tele-Holic

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    Here it is ready for the detail colors.

    IMG_5977.jpg

    Once you have the base colored epoxy in the mold, you can very quickly pass a torch over the surface to break some of the bubbles. As you will see, when we are finished with the detail colors, you won't need it too much as most bubbles pop on their own.

    I took the remaining base colored epoxy and poured some in two separate 3/4 oz deli cups. About 1/4 ounce in each. I then added some Tobacco Brown to both cups. Three drops in one and two in the other. I then added one drop of the Red Mahogany to the cup with only two drops of the brown.

    IMG_5978.jpg

    The reason for this is, I will use the red-brown mix for the majority of the pickguard detailing. The more intense, three drop mix is for adding "deeper" more intense color to specific places and will help add more color variation.

    I use my handy dandy #7 dental spatula (Fleabay) and drop the red-brown color into the base amber. There isn't really a technique other then to place some with a dabbing motion followed by zig zags and swirls. You could do stripes, or dots or whatever you like, but I wanted a more "organic" randomness to the pattern.

    IMG_5979.jpg

    So basically I applied the red-brown all over, then went back and made more intense areas of the color. I also added spots of the darker brown within some of the red-brown. It is a lot easier then you may think.

    IMG_5980.jpg
    If I felt an area was blending together too much, I would use my spatula to scoop out a section of the epoxy and then fill it in with some of the left over base color. As the epoxy sits it will continue to blend and change so remember that. Last thing to do is a light pass with a torch over the surface to break any bubbles. Go fast and don't leave the flame in one spot for more than a split second.

    IMG_5983.jpg

    Now you can let it sit for twelve hours, covered, so dust and dirt doesn't get in the surface or you can use a heatlamp or 100 watt lightbulb and a desk lamp to speed up the cure. You could put it in a toaster oven on very low heat to speed cure it as well. Wayne and EJ Henderson have a box with a 100 watt light in it they put the pickguards in that cures them in about three hours. Don't start any fires!!!
    It is possible to make the pickguards without a silicone mold. Just cut out your desired shape pickguard out of PTFE plastic. That's teflon by the way. Mix and apply your colors to the top of the teflon and cure it. Then remove the cured epoxy from the shape and sand and polish any areas that need it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2016
  7. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    how much this thread rocks is now impossible to measure
     
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  8. mPacT

    mPacT Tele-Holic

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    Thanks buddy! I hope it was worth the wait.
     
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  9. nosmo

    nosmo Friend of Leo's

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    That's pretty interesting Mike. Could you pour out a sheet, and then cut the pick guard out of that?
     
  10. mPacT

    mPacT Tele-Holic

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    Yes.
     
  11. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire

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    Awesome, Mike! I'd venture to say the hardest part is having the artist's eye to know how to blend the colors. It could very easily turn out poorly if you over saturate with one color or make it too splotchy, etc. This is a fantastic tutorial, though!

    One quick question, the top here is actually the back side of the pickguard, yes? Is this side completely flat and level with the edges of the mold, or does it sit just proud of the edge because of surface tension?
     
  12. mPacT

    mPacT Tele-Holic

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    It is easier than you might think to get good results. It's pretty forgiving.
     
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  13. Chordophonic

    Chordophonic Tele-Meister

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    Nice work! Thanks for this epic tutorial!
     
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  14. Barncaster

    Barncaster Doctor of Teleocity

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    Mike,
    This is so great. Substandard tort pickguards, especially for electrics has been a hole in the market for decades. Every time I see an old thick tort pickguard on a 40s jazz hollow body my brain just says "That's It!" Thanks for doing this!
    Rob
     
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  15. Barncaster

    Barncaster Doctor of Teleocity

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    Mike,
    For the tort pickguard to pop on a flat top, would you recommend spraying a coat of white, silver or gold paint?
    Rob
     
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  16. jimdkc

    jimdkc Friend of Leo's

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    Wow! That looks amazing! And you make it look so easy!
     
  17. mPacT

    mPacT Tele-Holic

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    Well, to make one "pop" more than normal, I would suggest gold foil like gold leaf. (See previous demo using "size" adhesive etc.) I say that because the warmer color of the gold should work better with the warm tones of the tortoise shel. I actually use that trick often with my eye making.
     
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  18. mPacT

    mPacT Tele-Holic

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    It really is nothing more than dabs and squiggles. If you follow the ratio suggestions in the post for number of drops and quantities, very easy.
     
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  19. mPacT

    mPacT Tele-Holic

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    Sorry Roger, I just realized I missed your question! Yes, the top you see would be the bottom of the pickguard and I did fill it level with the edges of the mold. If it ended up being a little proud, I would just sand it back on a level surface.
     
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  20. Davecam48

    Davecam48 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Great instructional! I'd have a lot of fun in your workshop (and make a lot of mess.);)

    DC
     
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