Photo 4

Let the glue dry overnight. If you get impatient and start drilling your new hole before the glue is fully dry, you’ll have a mess and need to start all over again. (Hmm, does that sound like the voice of experience?)

Trimming the dowel piece. After you’ve let the glue dry overnight, it’s time to trim off the section of the dowel that’s sticking up from the hole. There are two tools that will work for this task—flush-cut dykes or a small flush-cut pull saw. I prefer the latter because although the dykes will work, you run the risk of crushing the dowel. A flush-cut saw is very flexible, which allows you to cut the dowel level with the body. To avoid scarring the exposed finish, keep the blade pointed toward the area that will be covered by the pickguard (Photo 4).

Drilling the new hole. Once the dowel is trimmed flush, put the pickguard in place and line it up with the screw holes. Install the screws into any holes that were not doweled.

Photo 5

Next, using the pickguard as a guide, make a pilot hole for your 5/64" drill bit by lightly tapping the dowel with a medium Phillips screwdriver (Photo 5). Its tip leaves an imprint in the dowel—perfect for centering your drill bit and keeping everything aligned correctly (Photo 6).

Photo 6

Okay, you know what comes next: Re-drill the new hole using a 5/64" drill bit. But before you hit the on switch, measure the screw and mark the bit, so you know how deep to drill (Photo 7). Typically this will be about 3/8".

Photo 7

After drilling out each new screw hole, install the remaining screws. If the tops of any screws are worn, replace them with new ones. On a worn screw, the metal can corrode and weaken over time, especially when the screw begins to rust. The last thing you need is to strip out the head, or worse yet, break it off orphaning the shaft inside the body. Pickguard screws are inexpensive, and you’ll save time, money, and aggravation by replacing them before they fail.

Slowly tighten the pickguard screws. Don’t go all Tarzan on them, just make them snug. (Ever wonder how screw holes get stripped to begin with?) Once you’ve secured the pickguard, it’s time to clean up—you’re done with this project.