We would like to make some custom wood light switch covers. Has anyone here
done this, and do you have any tips you can share?
I was thinking of planing down some wood with my planer, tracing a plastic
light switch cover onto the wood as a template, then using our scroll saw
to cut out the final design.
Also, what wood types would be good for this application? I'd like to use
Western Red Cedar as that's what we'll be using for trim in our house, but
I'm concerned it might be too soft to use as a light switch cover?
I don't see why you couldn't use just about any wood you want - just put a
durable finish on it and let it fully cure.
And there's a multitude of designs other than the simple rectangular shape,
all you have to do is have the slot for the switch and the screw mounting
holes aligned. Not much to that.
There are no stupid questions.
There are a LOT of inquisitive idiots.
The code is somewhat ambiguious on this using words like "suitable for the
lowest temterature rated conductor entering the box" (90c/194f in the case of
modern Romex) NEC 314.17(C)
... and "Suitable for conditions of use".
The catch all that inspectors use is that all materials used must be listed by
a recognized testing lab (like U/L) Art 110.3
That is a killer for any home built boxes or covers.
I have done this at our very old church when we had to put surface mounted
boxes on the baseboards. I built a box around the metal box and then made
outlet covers (electrical and sound) to go over them. The process works
fine as you described it. However, you will also need to hog out some area
on the back in order to get it to sit flat against the wall because of where
the screw mounts the receptacle to the box. A rotary tool works well for
this. Just slow going.
I used red oak. Even so, I have cracked a couple. I suspect you will have
problems with the cedar. Give it a try though, it might work.
It is possible to design a "slip" cover for the plate.
I have made them out of Corian and Avonite. Wasn't the greatest but they
were an experiment done with little overhead or tools.
You create a jig the shape of a cover to hold a certain size. Using a
pattern bushing big enough to leave an edge, hollow out the center (leave
about 1/8" thickness) Cut out the holes with another jig or one
incorporated into the first.
They did this at work with a Pin router which worked much better.
"Violin playing and Woodworking are similar, it takes plenty of money,
Recently did this for a neighbor. I used hard maple about 1/4" thick.
Routed back by hand leaving about 1/4" at edge, traced and cut holes
with scrollsaw, crooked so suggest practicing prior. If there's a
next time I'll mark prior to routing. Be careful when countersinking
for machine screws.
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