Martin D35 Pickguard Repair
Click on images below for larger version
Nov. 24 2011

I received a phone call from a customer who was getting back in to guitar playing after almost 20 years away from it. When he opened his prized Martin D35, he was disappointed to see the pickguard had lifted away from the body. A little research showed that this is a very common complaint among guitars of this era. The acetate used for the pick guard was not stable and would shrink over time. In worse cases it would cause soundboard cracks as well!


At least the pickguard came away clean
I took a rubbing of the outline in the lacguer to make a template
A test fit of the paper template shows I'm on the right track

After meeting to discuss what we could do to repair the old girl, we decided to take a slightly different approach and make a replacement guard out of some Exotic wood rather than plastic. In this case we chose Cocobolo


Here the rough cut Cocobolo pickguard is placed to see where I should start refining the shape
I placed the template over the guard again to see which way it was going to go.
After about an hour with a dremel tool with a drum sanding attachment we have a perfect fit.
From every angle I found there was no gap between the new guard and the original lacquer.
Another angle showing the fit of the new guard.
I put 4 coats of Tongue oil on it then used 3M transfer tape to hold it in place to the original wood.

This project was a good challenge and the customer is very happy with the results.