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View Full Version : HOWTO: Creating a Custom Cavity Cover Template


CaptainClaw
08-19-2009, 09:44 PM
This HOWTO describes the steps necessary to create your very own electric guitar cavity covers. If you own one vintage guitar or twenty, you know that cavity covers for some models can be increasingly hard to come by, but armed with this knowledge you can create covers without concern of how low the supply might be!

We'd like to thank long-time Shred Guitars member Axebuilder (http://shredguitars.com/member.php?u=51) for the outline and photos for this tutorial!


MATERIALS & TOOLS REQUIRED:


Cavity Cover Material - While you might be able to find alternatives to this stuff elsewhere (such as eBay or maybe even locally), a great place to buy pickguard material is Stewart MacDonald. You can find their pickguard material selection here (http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Pickguards/Pickguard_materials.html). For instance, their basic black pickguard blanks (http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Pickguards/Pickguard_materials/Black_Pickguard_Material.html) would be perfect for a traditional cover plate (also available in white (http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Pickguards/Pickguard_materials/White_Pickguard_Material.html)).
Band Saw - Yep. A band saw. Kickass huh? If you don't have one, you might be able to make due with something else that's capable of cutting through your cavity cover material, but a band saw is the way to go.
Masking Tape - When it comes to the different types of tape available out there, masking tape is your best bet, as it won't damage your guitar's finish. It's also very easy to work with and remove when the job is done.
X-Acto Knife - The sharper the razor the better. X-Acto precision knives (http://www.xacto.com/ProductDetail.asp?id=165) are great because, like a pen, they offer precision control while trimming your tape.


CAUTION:
THIS JOB IS DANGEROUS. WHILE IT MAY SEEM LIKE A SIMPLE JOB TO COMPLETE, YOU'RE DEALING WITH NOT ONLY A RAZOR BLADE THAT'S CAPABLE OF TAKING PART OF YOUR FINGER OFF (IF NOT ALL OF IT), YOU WILL ALSO BE USING A BAND SAW. THIS MACHINE CAN EASILY REMOVE NOT ONLY A FINGER, BUT AN ARM. WE URGE YOU TO TAKE EXTREME CAUTION WHILE PERFORMING THE STEPS OUTLINED BELOW. THE SHRED GUITARS OWNERS AND STAFF IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DAMAGE YOU INFLICT ON YOURSELF BY NOT TAKING THE PROPER PRECAUTIONS.


STEP 1: If there is an existing control cavity cover in place, the first thing you will need to do is remove it. Once the cavity is open, cover the entire thing with masking tape (as illustrated in the image below). It's probably a good idea to have at an inch or more of tape in all directions around the cavity. This will make it easier to cut, as the tape has more surface area to "grab" onto.
http://shredguitars.com/images/articles/customcovers/1.jpg
STEP 2:Make sure the tape is pulled perfectly tight and flat across the cavity. At this time it's a good idea to mark with a pen or pencil the locations for each and every screw hole. They should be easy to find by rubbing your finger over them and either poking holes in the tape where they're located, or simply mark the tape in each screw location. This will come in handy during the final step of this tutorial.

Once you're comfortable the tape is ready, use the X-Acto precision knife to trim the tape around the cavity. Take great care to cut as precisely as you can, around the very edge of the cavity. Just keep in mind, as you cut, that the resulting plastic cover needs to nestle down into that cavity as tight as you can get it.
http://shredguitars.com/images/articles/customcovers/2.jpg
STEP 3:Once you've trimmed the tape around the entire cavity with the X-Acto precision knife, carefully peel the center piece of tape (your new cavity cover template) away from the cavity/guitar body. At this point, you should now have a perfect template to work with in Step 4...
http://shredguitars.com/images/articles/customcovers/3.jpg
STEP 4:This step is the most critical, for a couple of reasons. First of all, this is the step where you'll be working with the band saw. Carelessness at this point can equal some seriously bad mojo for you and your extremities. Also, you'll want to take care to get the cut right, because nobody wants to waste cavity cover material :)

In any event, all you need to do now is secure the tape "template" to your cavity cover material and cut it out on the band saw. Afterward, it might be a good idea to sand the edges down with some fine sandpaper to make it nice and smooth, but past that, all thats left is to drill screw holes and mount your new cover!
http://shredguitars.com/images/articles/customcovers/4.jpg