Filling and redrilling a pickguard

effzee

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Hey there

I have a new B/W/B pickguard for my MIJ Rosewood, but some of the screw holes are a little off. They're a bit too far off too simply widen the holes, and I'm not going to drill into the body of the guitar. So my plan is to fill the three or four holes with black epoxy and redrill using the original PG as a template.

I'm open to alternative ideas but I'm going to try this regardless ☺️

I'm sure the patch work will be somewhat visible around the new screw holes, but I'm not that overly concerned about that.

I do however want to ask for any ideas on how to do this as cleanly as possible. That's why I'm writing 👍🏼

How to avoid getting epoxy on the PG, how to polish any rough bits?

I ordered an epoxy kit that's marketed for cell phone repairs, it comes with a very fine needle attachment for applying it accurately. It'll be delivered on Monday. I'll take some pics of the process when I do it.
 

effzee

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A lot more chance of success by filling the hole in the body and redrilling it to line up with the guard. You'll most likely end up with an ugly repair job in the guard if you attempt to patch it.
Yeah but I said I'm not drilling holes into this body and I'm not that worried about ruining the PG, which is easy enough to replace if I have to. I can simply get one made if all else fails.

But I have this PG and I want to try this out. I was just asking for ideas on how to maybe do this a little cleaner than what I have planned
 

effzee

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What they said.
What they said just shows me that they didn't read what I wrote, to be honest. It's a valuable guitar that I don't want to make any permanent changes to. I'm not filling and drilling holes into the body. If this idea doesn't work out (although I think it might end up pretty good) I can always get another PG or have one custom made.
 

Freeman Keller

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Two comments: I doubt that I would be satisfied with the looks of trying to fill holes in a plastic pick guard with anything, including epoxy and sand and buff it so it doesn't show. Its hard to buff scratches out anyway, trying to level the epoxy will be harder. (for what it is worth I have done colored epoxy repairs on bodies and can get it acceptable but not great).

If you are going to try it back up your p/g with some UHMW or waxed paper and slowly drop fill the holes. You'll want the epoxy to stand slightly proud of the plastic, scrape level, then sand up to about 2000 grit and then buff. Try it, nothing lost if it doesn't work./

A second comment is that it is much harder to transfer body holes to the inside of a piece of plastic than transferring holes in the plastic to the body. The first will require very careful measurement, the second just requires a transfer punch. As I said, I would make a template of exactly what you want and then make a new p/g from scratch.

ps - edit to add, I guess my decision might also depend on if this is a standard configuration guitar (say a tele or strat) is the p/g or the body drilled wrong. I would try to fix the one that was. If the pickguard was purchased and is wrong I would return it before removing the protective film or mounting it on the guitar. If the guitar and/or p/g are custom I would probably fill the holes and redrill. If the choice came down to using this guard and trying to fill the holes I would try, but be ready to make a new one when it didn't work. So bottom line, I would have to see the guitar and the guard
 
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Carcinogen

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I guess try to dab as little as possible to fill the holes and be ready with a clean putty knife to wipe off any excess. If it dries on, buff it out or just take the whole pickguard down to a matte with 0000 steel wool?
 

sammy1974

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I've done something similar with success. Tape the underside, use an epoxy with a bit of flow, nothing super viscose. There's a way to dilute if necessary, look it up online. Add a drop of epoxy at a time, it self levels. Wait an hour before moving the pg. You're done. If in doubt do a test run on a scrap piece of plastic with a hole drilled in it.
 

hopdybob

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it is hard to advise when we don't see what your question is about.
to make it more confusing for you, i would tape a piece of thick alu foil at the top over the wrong holes and fill from the back.
but first i would check if the glue will not stick to the foil.
hopefully the glue will stay flush

but like @Freeman Keller mention t, i would go for a new correct pickguard because when it is a expensive guitar that is looking good you want to total picture perfect and i think filling whole up will always show.
maybe tryout this first with another wordless pickguard to see if you can make it work
 

effzee

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Thanks for the replies above 👍🏼🙏

I should have been more clear about the guitar. It's a 1993 or thereabouts MIJ Rosewood Tele that I bought new back then. The original pickguard has been airbrushed and I just want an original looking black pickguard for it again. I still have the original to use as a template for the holes.

The Fender pickguard that I bought fits almost perfectly except some of the holes don't line up. But now I have the new PG and don't have anything else to use it for, so I thought I'd just give this a try. I know the repair will be slightly visible around the edges of the screws, but if I can do a neat job, then I think it'll be pretty minimal.

My plan before posting was to first test out the epoxy on something, to get a feel for it, then very carefully drip it into the holes, using good lighting and my best reading glasses 🤓 I'll thin the glue if it seems to be necessary. I'd like it to self -level as well as possible.

The guitar is mostly a wall decoration now. The frets are worn pretty heavily and I have another Tele that I play. I just don't like the airbrush job and since the original PG is basically ruined, I don't mind experimenting a bit.

Ideally, Fender would offer non-drilled pickguards. That's what I wanted in the first place because I suspected from the beginning that the holes wouldn't match my MIJ from 1993. But I couldn't find anything like that. Cutting an entire pickguard from a blank would be way beyond my skills level.

And if this bombs out, I'll just get a custom made PG
 

effzee

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it is hard to advise when we don't see what your question is about.
to make it more confusing for you, i would tape a piece of thick alu foil at the top over the wrong holes and fill from the back.
but first i would check if the glue will not stick to the foil.
hopefully the glue will stay flush

but like @Freeman Keller mention t, i would go for a new correct pickguard because when it is a expensive guitar that is looking good you want to total picture perfect and i think filling whole up will always show.
maybe tryout this first with another wordless pickguard to see if you can make it work
I think if the day ever comes that I want to sell it, I'll probably get a good custom pickguard made. But now, I just want it black again. I'd paint the original or cover it in vinyl, except my friend who airbrushed it would flip out on me 😅

I'll experiment with the glue on something before starting. I hadn't thought of filling from the back but I'll do a simulation 👍🏼
 

effzee

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I've done something similar with success. Tape the underside, use an epoxy with a bit of flow, nothing super viscose. There's a way to dilute if necessary, look it up online. Add a drop of epoxy at a time, it self levels. Wait an hour before moving the pg. You're done. If in doubt do a test run on a scrap piece of plastic with a hole drilled in it.
Thanks 👍🏼 I was actually thinking along these lines, including thinning the glue and simulating the repair on something. So it seems my thoughts are in the right direction ☺️
 

effzee

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Two comments: I doubt that I would be satisfied with the looks of trying to fill holes in a plastic pick guard with anything, including epoxy and sand and buff it so it doesn't show. Its hard to buff scratches out anyway, trying to level the epoxy will be harder. (for what it is worth I have done colored epoxy repairs on bodies and can get it acceptable but not great).

If you are going to try it back up your p/g with some UHMW or waxed paper and slowly drop fill the holes. You'll want the epoxy to stand slightly proud of the plastic, scrape level, then sand up to about 2000 grit and then buff. Try it, nothing lost if it doesn't work./

A second comment is that it is much harder to transfer body holes to the inside of a piece of plastic than transferring holes in the plastic to the body. The first will require very careful measurement, the second just requires a transfer punch. As I said, I would make a template of exactly what you want and then make a new p/g from scratch.

ps - edit to add, I guess my decision might also depend on if this is a standard configuration guitar (say a tele or strat) is the p/g or the body drilled wrong. I would try to fix the one that was. If the pickguard was purchased and is wrong I would return it before removing the protective film or mounting it on the guitar. If the guitar and/or p/g are custom I would probably fill the holes and redrill. If the choice came down to using this guard and trying to fill the holes I would try, but be ready to make a new one when it didn't work. So bottom line, I would have to see the guitar and the guard
Thank you 👍🏼👍🏼 I do have the original pickguard to use as a template and I'll make a jig to keep them firmly in place when marking for the drilling. I'll use a hand drill and go slowly. I'm not really under any pressure to do a perfect job and plan B would be to just pay for a custom pickguard.
 

sammy1974

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Thanks 👍🏼 I was actually thinking along these lines, including thinning the glue and simulating the repair on something. So it seems my thoughts are in the right direction ☺️
As long as the epoxy flows slowly, it's thin enough on it's own. I picked up drops with a toothpick and added them to the hole one by one. Make sure your work surface is level. And let it dry overnight if possible.

Someone had the idea of taping the front and then back-filling the hole, that's interesting. If you use scotch tape with a super thin coat of oil where the hole is before applying the tape, that should make clean removal possible. But I would think some of the epoxy would sneak under the tape and then you have a finishing problem. A flat razor slid over the surface works pretty well if that's the case.

Personally I liked the shine of the self leveled side.

Good luck, post pics of how it turns out.
 
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effzee

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My tube of epoxy got delivered. I tried it on a scrap piece of vinyl flooring first, to get a feel for the stuff. Then I tried one hole on the pickguard. I went with the tape over the outside of the hole, apply glue from the back. I worked it around to fill in the taper. Now I'll let it set until this evening and carefully remove the tape. I'll remove it from the vinyl first. There doesn't seem to be any leakage, it looks quite flush and full.

The product is as described, with a very fine metal application needle. The viscosity is fine. The black looks like a good match for the pickguard, but well, it's black so, yeah.

The macro pics make everything look worse than the reality

IMG_20220801_141303.jpg
IMG_20220801_141555.jpg
IMG_20220801_141508.jpg
 

CoryB

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When you drill, reverse the drill so it will turn the bit backwards. It sounds weird, but it will be less aggressive and still give a nice round hole.
 




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