While the glue was drying on the repair cleats, I took the old pickguard off and made a new one.
Seems like whenever I work on an old guitar, I keep finding things to fix. I'd rather get them all done in one shot, rather than put it back together and find something I missed.
To remove it, we use moderate heat. Note that I've put artist's tape all around the pickguard so I don't scratch the finish during removal.
Once the pickguard is warmed up a bit, we can slide some removal spatulas under it. Note that I'm using one on top of the other. I get going with one and then slide the second one on top of the first and move along that way.
Note the amber-colored lacquer chips lying on the tape. You can see how that paint is peeling off the pickguard.
I try to go slowly and carefully, but for sure some of the top wood will come up with the guard, it's almost unavoidable.
I hate it when that happens.
The guard is pretty brittle - it's 85 years old so it's not too surprising.
One thing I've learned over time is not to react quickly when something like this happens. Step away and ponder the best way to fix what happened. Better to do that than just try to make a quick fix right away.
In this case, I can reglue these chips.
This goes for bigger pieces like broken necks - the less handling the better. Don't try too many test fittings - each time you may lose tiny pieces of wood. In some instances you may only get one shot to do the repair.
Here's how I glued the pieces down still attached to the pickguard. Note the waxed paper under the guard - there's glue under the chips and I don't want the guard to get glued down also. (Look a couple pictures down and you'll see how I clamped this piece down).
After the glue dried, I cut the pieces away from the pickguard.
You can see that one of the fragile pieces popped off. Drat.
I'll touch it up with toning lacquer. There are a lot of dents on the top already, so this won't look too bad.
I just hate to lose chips like that.
Note the paint ridge is between the bare wood and the finish on the top. I should have measured it! It's a bit less than the thickness of the original pickguard, but quite noticeable with the guard off.
But I'm always leery of using too much heat near a vintage finish. I'd rather have some hunks like this to fill rather than blister the original finish.
I lifted them carefully with those wonderful Japanese tooth/sushi picks. Be careful not to break pieces off!
We need to get the surface as flat as possible so the new pickguard will lay flat.
Glue it down with CA (super) glue.
Then scrape and sand until it's flat.
You'll have blotchy marks, but they'll be covered by the pickguard.
It's always interesting to see the color of the bare wood versus the old aged finish. This guitar is particularly dark.
The new piece of tortoloid is on the right. It's the closest thing I've seen to the old color and pattern.
I may experiment with the old guard and see if it can be restored.
Use a silver marker so the marking will show up.
So I put the heat gun on the bench so it will stand up, and heat the material. It will get soft and start to flex. Then you can cut it - I use scissors.
Cut a couple inches, heat, cut, etc. This stuff costs a small fortune and I don't want to ruin it.
It's hard to photograph, but you can see the curve here.
All of this is to make it lie flat on the guitar.
Then place the new pickguard on the guitar, and make a couple of hinges with artist's tape so the guard can 'swing' up and the paper on the tape can be removed.
It came out well - it's flat and looks good I think. I have that tiny area near the tip to touch up, but it's ready to go otherwise.
NOW I'll glue the neck back on.