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10. December 2014 · Comments Off on Unplated Pickup Covers…part 2 · Categories: General · Tags: , , ,



Hand polished unplated pickup cover

Last week I showed you how to achieve a brushed metal look using a Scotch Brite pad and a non-plated pickup cover. Next, we will hand polish a raw unplated pickup cover and then make it look like an aged pickup cover with faux string lines.

First, you will need a metal polishing compound and some old rags.  Any brand metal polishing compound will work fine.  You can use the metal polish impregnated cloth called “Miracle Cloth”. This is what I used to achieve the look you see here. It works great for polishing frets too. One warning about metal polish….don’t use it to polish any gold-plated parts.  It can strip the gold plating off very fast!

PLEASE READ:  We recommend you wear protective gloves while working with unplated pickup covers. The bottom edge can be very sharp and can easily cut your finger. Filing the bottom edge smooth before you start work is also an option.

We will begin by applying a small amount of metal polish to the rag and rubbing it into the surface of the pickup cover. Use circular motions until you have covered the entire surface. Periodically, wipe off the polishing compound to see how you are progressing. If you are happy with the result, you can continue buffing until the pickup cover is bright and shiny. Use a new cloth or a different area of the cloth when doing the final polish.

 

Hand polished unplated pickup coversNow that we have a nice hand polished pickup cover, lets add an aged look with faux string lines. You will need some painter’s masking tape cut into very thin 1/32″ strips and some very fine grit Micro Mesh soft touch sanding pads.  The three highest grits (6000, 8000, and 12000) will work best because you only want very light marks.

1.  Lay out the thin strips of painters tape over the screw holes to simulate the string location and then trim the extra tape.   Applying some pressure on the tape will help keep it in place during the sanding process.

String lines step 2String lines step 3

 

2,  Sand lightly with Micro Mesh soft touch sanding pad.   It will take some experimenting to get the right look.   Try pressing the sanding pad into the edge of each piece of tape.  This will help emphasize the string line.

String lines step 4Initial sanding of pickup coverString lines step 6 Close up of sanding

3.  To help soften the look, I like to rub the front of the pickup cover on an old piece of carpeting.   Here I am rubbing the pickup cover on the carpet on my workbench.

Using carpet to soften the sanding marks

4.  OK…it’s all done.  This is not my best work but you get the idea.   The nice thing about working with unplated pickup covers is you can easily re-polish the cover and start over if you don’t like the results!

Close up of completed string linesString Lines finished

 

If you have any questions you can send us an email at support.

18. November 2014 · Comments Off on Unplated Raw Pickup Covers…part 1 · Categories: General · Tags: , , , ,

Unplated Raw Pickup Cover 2Most of the guitar pickup covers we sell at Philadelphia Luthier Tools & Supplies are available in Chrome, Nickel, Gold, Jet/Smoked Black Nickel, and Unplated Raw. The unplated pickup cover is the most popular we sell. It’s either because they are cool looking, inexpensive or maybe both?  Besides being unplated, they are absolutely unfinished and haven’t had anything done to them. Because of this, they can arrive with minor scratches, scuffs and a little grease from the manufacturing process. If these are going to be plated by the manufacture, they will still need to be buffed to remove any defects prior to plating.

A very nice feature of the unplated pickup covers is that their look can easily be changed with very little work.  You could go with the raw look, as shown above.

Or maybe the brushed metal look: Brushed look unplated pickup finishA hand polished look:

Polished unplated pickup finishor the aged look with string line:

String Lines finishedEach one of these looks can easily be achieved with less than 30 minutes of work.

Lets start with the easiest one to make…the brushed metal look.  For this you will need a sheet of Scotch-Brite (or equivalent) abrasive pad. I like to use the 6″ x 9″ size since the larger pad will make it easier to achieve straighter brush lines.  You probably won’t find the 6″ x 9″ pad at your local hardware store. Your best place to find this size is at an industrial supply house like Grainger, MSC, MacMaster-Carr, etc or just do a Google search. They are usually less than $2.00 each  Get the ultra fine grade and a couple of other coarser grades. Each one will give a slightly different look to the pickup cover.

Scotch-Brite Large Ultra Fine Sanding PadPLEASE READ:  We recommend you wear protective leather gloves while working with unplated pickup covers. The bottom edge can be very sharp and can easily cut open your finger. Filing the bottom edge smooth before you start work is also an option. 

First, clean off any grease from the unplated pickup cover with a paper towel or rag. Place the Scotch-Brite pad on your work bench directly in front of you. Use one hand to keep the pad from moving and the other to slide the pickup cover, face down, in long straight lines. Do this a few times while taking a look at your work after each pass. It usually only take 2-3 pass to get a nice uniform look.  You might find it easier to make a straight line by pulling the pickup cover towards you. You will have to experiment to find out what will work best for you.

Sanding directionYou can do the same thing to the sides once the front is done. Make sure to follow the direction of the lines on the front to make a uniform look.

After SandingBe sure to check back next week as I will show you an easy way to polish a non-plated pickup cover without using any power tools.  We will follow that with how to make faux string lines for the aged pickup look

If you have any questions you can send us an email at support.