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Mounting A Blade (strat-type) Switch In A Carved Top?

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I'm working on a carved top build. Originally, the plan was to use a Gisbon-style toggle for the pickup selection, but I'm now leaning towards a blade switch for the added options it gives, and particularly because it will allow me to have the pickup blend pot only active when both pickups are selected. (I haven't been able to find a true triple-throw switch in similar form factor to a Gibson type toggle - if anyone knows of one, that would make my life much easier!)

So now mounting this switch in a carved top becomes an interesting task. I know blade switches mounted to the wood is possible, (Warmoth sells bodies routed for this) and I've seen PRS guitars with a carved wood top with the switch mounted to the wood. I'm just not sure how to go about doing it.

I've searched, as I thought I saw something here once, but no luck. Google's not being helpful.

The top is already carved.

My plan was to take the router, and put in a small flat area on the top of the guitar where the switch would be, so I'm dealing with surfaces parallel to the bottom and not trying to mount the whole thing at some wierd angle (I would imagine this would complicate things.) This area should be small enough to be easy to blend in easily.

Then I'd figure I'd drill the mounting holes, and two small holes for the far limits of the slot. I'm thinking I can rig up something for my dremel router base to ride on/against, (so it too is resting parallel to the bottom of the guitar and not riding on the angled carve) or maybe even some sort of glorified over-arm router base for my dremel, (which may be necessary if the dremel router base gets fouled by the carved top) Then obtain an appropriate bit (I believe I may have one for routing inlay) and route the slot between the two holes. Obviously something for the dremel to ride against (to keep a straight line) would be a good idea.

I figure if I route the slot to the same depth as required for mounting the switch, I can then flip the body over, and carefully route an area just large enough for the switch to to rest in, and go a hair at a time; I'd know when to stop when the slot shows through.

The whole process is a little intimidating - I'd hate to butcher my work up to this point for a switch, so perhaps I'd be better served by a rotary switch which I'd be a little more comfortable installing, but I'd rather have some sort of a toggle.

The other option I suppose is some sort of a plate, but I feel like if I went that route, I'd want a chromed one rather than something I could make myself outof pickguard material, and I haven't seen anything like that available unless I want to hack up a tele plate.

I don't know, maybe I'm making something out of nothing - and sorry this rambles as I'm apt to do. Any advice would be appreciated.

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After the slot was done, I went back to the test piece and used the groove for the centerline for my screw holes by placing the switch on top of the guitar and putting the blade down in the groove from the front and used the switch screw holes as a template of where to drill the holes. I drilled the first one, put the screw in it before drilling the second one. After drilling the second hole and putting the screw in that end down too, I had to make the wood thinner for it to accept the switch.

I used the body of the switch as a template, went to my drill press and used a 1/2" forstner bit to hog out the wood to the right depth and then cleaned it up with a router and a rabbit bit.

Once I was sure it was right, I did the same thing on the body. You can kind of see from this picture the little pocket I had to cut inside the control cavity sor the switch to sit in. The maple cap under this pocket is only about 1/8" thick so you want to make sure the pocket you make is just big enough for the switch so the top of the guitar around it won't be too thin and weak.


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To clean up the groove for the blade, I used sandpaper. I wanted to use 80 grit to start off with, but the paper was too thick to fit in the groove. I started with 120 I think. I cut a piece that was acout 3/4" wide and about 4" long and just did it by hand, pulling back and forth until it was smooth. It didn't take very long, but it had to be done. The coping saw blade I used was thin and the switch blade dragged across the groove cut in the wood. Once it stopped dragging, I stopped sanding.

When it was done, this is what I had...


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Wow. Photos and everything. Thanks! Seems like the way to go. (And yes, practicing on scrap was in my plan! But always good to mention that.)

How did you get the coping saw blade through the original holes? The coping saw blades I have have got little "nubs" to hold them into the blade handle - did you break those off and cut with the blade by hand? Or was this a jewelers saw?

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