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Telecaster Control Plate Machining

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Beam Tetrode, May 17, 2011.

  1. Beam Tetrode

    Beam Tetrode Member

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    What sort of tools did Fender use back in the 50s to cut the slot in the metal Tele control plate for the pickup selector switch?
     
  2. Sweetfinger

    Sweetfinger Supporting Member

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    I believe Fender had a local machine shop that did their plates and parts. IIRC Fender bought full size Kluson tuners and sent them out to the shop to have the ears chopped off for 6 inline use. Good bet for the machine used for tele plates is a horizontal milling machine:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milling_machine

    EDIT: wondering why you ask. Any machine shop should be able to do this work. If you're DIY minded and patient, you could cut your own slot in most materials with a steel drill bit for the slot ends and use a Dremel cut-off wheel to lay in and widen the slot.
     
  3. Beam Tetrode

    Beam Tetrode Member

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    Thanks for the response! I'll experiment with the drill/dremel technique. I'm in the process of building a vintage style tube mixer and would like to use the 3-way tele switches to re-route audio signals through various low voltage and low current circuits.
     
  4. Brett Faust

    Brett Faust Member

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    They were punched not milled, as far as I know.
     
  5. Ronsonic

    Ronsonic Member

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    Fender's first big capital purchase was a punch press and if you look at his product line you can see he used it a lot. I'm pretty darn sure he stamped those control plates.
     
  6. Sweetfinger

    Sweetfinger Supporting Member

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    Makes sense. Those tele plates are a bit thinner than a lot of modern versions, too. I know a guy with one of those high pressure water/abrasive cutters who could whiz a bunch of plates out of just about anything- even 1/4" thick stainless steel!
     

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