I made my own tortoiseshell pickguard... And it took me one year!

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fritzypatzy
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I made my own tortoiseshell pickguard... And it took me one year!

Post by fritzypatzy » Sat Oct 31, 2020 8:02 am

Hi everybody!

Long time reader of this forum, first time poster! I'd like to thank you first for all the great projects shared here that eventually inspired me to build my own jazzblaster. But more on that in a future post!

For now, I'd like to share with you the outcome of something that has been obsessing me for almost one year:
The making of my own tortoiseshell pickguard.

I couldn't stand my Mij jaguar fake-ass printed tortoise pickguard, and was lurking at spitfire guards, but couldn't afford one. So I took the challenge to make it myself... that was almost a year ago!

I will spare you all the countless prototypes, the stories of chemical hazard at home and the ruined pickguards because of cheap tools... Ultimately two things allowed me to get out of the dead end. First, I had the chance to meet a now retired professional who used to be in the manufacturing of faux tortoiseshell here in Paris in the sixties! He gave me some priceless pieces of advice. Second, I was also able to move in my own workshop where I could conduct my experiments without annoying anyone around, and install some quality equipment.

Long story short, it set my research on the right path... So here I am today, very happy to share with you guys my own take on a vintage jaguar tortoiseshell pickguard! Everything was handmade from the 3-ply material to the tortoiseshell. I would love to hear what you think!

Best,

François

ps: more pics on the jag coming up soon!

Image

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marqueemoon
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Re: I made my own tortoiseshell pickguard... And it took me one year!

Post by marqueemoon » Sat Oct 31, 2020 8:42 am

Very nice!

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Re: I made my own tortoiseshell pickguard... And it took me one year!

Post by mordecainyc » Sat Oct 31, 2020 9:03 am

Looks amazing man! Spitfire better watch out, it seems there’s some competition coming..

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Re: I made my own tortoiseshell pickguard... And it took me one year!

Post by maxbra » Sat Oct 31, 2020 9:33 am

Great work! Thumb’s up..
Any info on the process?

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Re: I made my own tortoiseshell pickguard... And it took me one year!

Post by RIORIO » Sat Oct 31, 2020 10:44 am

That looks amazing!

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Re: I made my own tortoiseshell pickguard... And it took me one year!

Post by fortytwo » Sat Oct 31, 2020 10:49 am

Wow sir.. Wow.

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Re: I made my own tortoiseshell pickguard... And it took me one year!

Post by UC3 » Sat Oct 31, 2020 11:02 am

Excellent work!


Love the fade to yellow at the upper horn. Very nice and very random.

I've watched a few videos of eyeglass frame makers from the old days crafting frames out of celluloid blank. Very cool. Lot's of knowledge there.

Don't expect you to reveal your secrets, but are all your layers celluloid and if so, did you layer/laminate them yourself?

Keep on trucking... nothing beat a trial, but a failure.

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Re: I made my own tortoiseshell pickguard... And it took me one year!

Post by PorkyPrimeCut » Sat Oct 31, 2020 11:06 am

Yeah, this looks really, really good. Well done!!

It's the softness of the swirls that makes it. Really nice blend of yellow & orangey red hues too.

If I didn't know I'd think it was original.
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Re: I made my own tortoiseshell pickguard... And it took me one year!

Post by antisymmetric » Sat Oct 31, 2020 12:15 pm

Very nice, it must be immensely satisfying to be able to hold that in your hands! 8)
Watching the corners turn corners

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Re: I made my own tortoiseshell pickguard... And it took me one year!

Post by fritzypatzy » Sat Oct 31, 2020 12:29 pm

Thanks for the nice comments! :) I'm happy that you noticed that upper horn, I find it so cool...
This detail is not entirely random though: while the making of the tortoiseshell is something very organic and full of happy accidents, the final shape of the pickguard is something I get to decide. Arranging the different patterns and finding this ideal shape is to me the most joyful step in the process. Then comes the cutting of the pickguard, which requires a lot of care, especially that 60° bevel. It's better to take a deep breath right before!
Now about the composition, I cannot reveal here what took me a year of research, but yes, everything is laminated layer by layer and then cut with a router. The template was made with a laser cutter for maximum accuracy.

I'll try to post a few pics of the Jaguar tomorrow, before and after the new guard!

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Re: I made my own tortoiseshell pickguard... And it took me one year!

Post by lamp » Sat Oct 31, 2020 1:12 pm

Looks fantastic! Great to have someone in Europe doing this - will follow progress closely!

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Re: I made my own tortoiseshell pickguard... And it took me one year!

Post by Horsefeather » Sat Oct 31, 2020 6:47 pm

Wow. Beautiful work. Exciting to hear there's possibly a second player in the game now! Legit tort for the masses becomes incrementally closer to reality!

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Re: I made my own tortoiseshell pickguard... And it took me one year!

Post by Unicorn Warrior » Sat Oct 31, 2020 7:59 pm

I say you did a good job. This seems better than the first batch of spitfire guards that came out. With that said, Spitfire has really improved his game over the last year or 2. Some of his guards are beginning to look convincingly authentic 60s.

As it sits, a guard as the on you just created is a pretty good attempt. I challenge you to refine your craft and I’d say there’s a large market you can fill. If you came shooting better than spitfire then I’d say you’ll get there in no time. I’d love nothing than a more reasonably priced tort guard. You could start a “Good tort for everyone campaign”

Edit: after looking at your guard again..it is very close. My only complaint is where the color fades out in the upper section to the left of the neck. Do not in any way take this as a complaint. I admire your work and believe you’re onto something

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Re: I made my own tortoiseshell pickguard... And it took me one year!

Post by Mechanical Birds » Sat Oct 31, 2020 8:32 pm

antisymmetric wrote:
Sat Oct 31, 2020 12:15 pm
Very nice, it must be immensely satisfying to be able to hold that in your hands! 8)
Yeah really! You’re an inspiration, as I’ve felt probably just how you did for like 5 years now, but have never come close to taking the initiative to try it myself. This is a awesome, it looks great, and I cross my fingers in the hope that it’s something you like doing enough to make guards that I’ll be able to buy :)

A million times over, congratulations, this is awesome!

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Re: I made my own tortoiseshell pickguard... And it took me one year!

Post by toomuchsoup » Sat Oct 31, 2020 10:45 pm

Sir, that looks amazing. I’ve wanted a proper tortoiseshell pickguards for my MIJ Jazzmaster and MIM Strat for some time now. I just can’t bring myself to fork out the amount of money spitfire is asking. I live in Australia and with the conversion rate and the shipping it ends up nearly costing $500AUD for one pickguard!

If you end up making pickguards for sale I’d be VERY interested

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