Top thickness for 5 position switch?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by gitlvr, Sep 25, 2020.

  1. gitlvr

    gitlvr Friend of Leo's

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  2. old wrench

    old wrench Tele-Afflicted

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    I don't have a Strat handy to check, but with a conventional Tele metal control plate (~ 1/16" thick) the switch slot is about 1-1/16" long, and the lever only projects up about 9/16" maximum, so I think you'll need to keep the area where the switch mounts fairly thin so your switch nob doesn't bottom out.

    I'm wiring up a Tele with a 4-way switch right now, and I find that to get full engagement on the 1 and 4 switch positions I need to either lengthen the slot or file a little notch on either side of the switch lever. I usually file a little on the switch lever because it's easier and cleaner looking than trying to lengthen the slot.

    I think I'd make a full-size sketch using the dimensions of the switch you are going to use with your choice of knob mounted on it to find out exactly how thick you can go, but I think it's going to need to be pretty thin in the switch mounting area, like maybe 1/8".
     
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  3. gitlvr

    gitlvr Friend of Leo's

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    1/8? Egads.
    Hmmmm, might have to inlay a wooden plate for controls. I do not like getting anywhere closer than about 3/16" -1/4". Always afraid I'll mess up and rout through, lol.
    Thanks.
     
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  4. old wrench

    old wrench Tele-Afflicted

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    That's just how it looks (1/8") in my head :).

    A full-size sketch would be far more accurate ;).

    Some switch tips sit a little higher than others.

    And to clarify, that 1/8" thickness would only be in the switch area.
     
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  5. Telecentric

    Telecentric Tele-Holic

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    You should be able to go thicker than 1/8" as long as you angle the ends of the slot to allow the arm to fully engage at 1/5 positions. Worst case you might need to modify the switch tip a bit.
     
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  6. gitlvr

    gitlvr Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks, gentlemen. Looks like I need to do a mock up.
    Much appreciated.
     
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  7. pinchegil

    pinchegil Tele-Meister Platinum Supporter

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    put the switch tip on the stem, put it in either position 1 or 5 measure the smallest distance between the tip and the mounting ear, that will be max depth where button touches wood. so reduce that number where you are comfortable
     
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  8. gitlvr

    gitlvr Friend of Leo's

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    Excellent. Thanks
     
  9. bullfrogblues

    bullfrogblues Friend of Leo's

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    Depending on your vol/tone pots shaft length, you can leave most of the cavity approx. 3/16" to 1/4" but only rout where the the actual switch plate with be down to 1/8" to see if that works. 1/16" if you need to. With all the wood around it, it will still be very strong. You'd probably have to smack the switch hard with a hammer to break the wood, if then.
    I've made quite a few guitars like this and only left 1/16" for the switch plate and never had a problem.
     
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  10. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Afflicted

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    I actually went a little thinner than 1/8" on the guitar in my avatar. Yes, you'll have to angle the slot fore and aft, but the complication lies in the switch tip. On said tele the switch tip (a strat tip on a 4-way switch) almost hits the screw heads on both ends.
    HOWEVER, with the 5 way on my strat there's plenty of room, so you should be OK with an 1/8" thickness. The lever must be longer on a 5-way switch) Now, routing that skinny little slot… that's another story.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2020
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  11. bullfrogblues

    bullfrogblues Friend of Leo's

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    I just use a telecaster control plate as a template. Screw it to the body with the switch screw holes so they are in perfect position.
     
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  12. AAT65

    AAT65 Friend of Leo's

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    A 4-way swings further than a 5-way (because a standard 5-way is actually a 3-way with notches so it can stop at the in-between positions).
    On my Shergold Masquerader, which has a rear-routed control cavity and the blade switch mounted in the wood, I changed the switch tip from Strat style to barrel Tele style: that has enough extra plastic to make the switch cap foul on the mounting screw in the forward position if I push the cap right on. (I’m planning to carve a wee bit off the bottom edge of the switch cap to fix this, before the top flies off into the ether one day...) But it does illustrated how little clearance there can be at the ends of the switch’s travel.
    As near as I can judge the wood thickness at the switch is no more than 2mm... one you Americans can convert that the Nths of an inch if you like!
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2020
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  13. RolandG

    RolandG Tele-Meister

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    5 way switches vary slightly, and the switch tip can strike the fixing screw head rather than the top of the guitar. I route a trench in the top from behind to take the body of the switch, thicknessing down to 6mm. That’s about 1/4”. 1/8” seems a little thin to me.

    The slot for the switch arm is then cut in this trench, and needs to be a little longer than a control plate slot because the wood is thicker than a 2mm plate. The fixing screw holes are countersunk between 1 and 2mm. If the switch doesn’t work freely you might then need to take another millimetre or so off the thickness.

    After finishing, but before assembly, I harden the trench with cyano acrylic glue.
     
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