Stiffening a Piece of Thin Oak

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Forum topic by donttry posted 10-24-2017 08:31 PM 1803 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 872 days

10-24-2017 08:31 PM

Hello all.

I have a very thin piece of oak that I’m working with, it’s about 6” long, 1.5” wide, and 1/16” thick. I’m using it for a control plate on a telecaster guitar. It’s this shape:

I made it to replace the steel one on the guitar. It has a few components mounted to it and I would like to make it a little stiffer. Can anyone suggest a finish that would accomplish that?

Thanks much!

17 replies so far

View Gilley23's profile


489 posts in 831 days

#1 posted 10-24-2017 08:40 PM

Danish Oil will penetrate and harden. CA will stiffen up the wood a lot, but if the piece flexes you might see some cracking in the CA.

View Woodknack's profile


12870 posts in 2829 days

#2 posted 10-24-2017 09:42 PM

I would veneer the steel piece.

-- Rick M,

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

4020 posts in 1031 days

#3 posted 10-24-2017 09:49 PM

Stabilize it with a vacuum system and cactus juice perhaps?

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View TheFridge's profile


10858 posts in 1935 days

#4 posted 10-25-2017 02:08 AM

I would veneer the steel piece.

- Rick_M

Ditto. 1/16” is way too thin and it won’t last.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View pontic's profile


697 posts in 1057 days

#5 posted 10-25-2017 03:55 AM

Take a piece of fiberglass cloth and glass it to the back. That’s what I did on a piece of cherry I used to replace a control plate on a Tele I did years ago. Made it plenty stiff.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

View richardchaos's profile


583 posts in 828 days

#6 posted 10-25-2017 08:59 AM


Take a piece of fiberglass cloth and glass it to the back. That s what I did on a piece of cherry I used to replace a control plate on a Tele I did years ago. Made it plenty stiff.

- pontic

-- β€œIn a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” ― George Orwell

View Carloz's profile


1147 posts in 1040 days

#7 posted 10-25-2017 10:52 AM

If you want it indestructible buy a carbon fiber kit. For a piece this small it will be cheap. That will look very cool and you even may not want to stick the wood on top but you always can,

View oldnovice's profile


7496 posts in 3817 days

#8 posted 10-25-2017 06:35 PM

Veneer it to aircraft plywood, available in thinknesses from 1/32” to 1/4” and has no voids.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View henigail's profile


12 posts in 2285 days

#9 posted 10-25-2017 07:38 PM

CPES will penetrate fairly deep and strengthen it considerably. Then use the top coat of your choosing.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4097 days

#10 posted 10-25-2017 08:58 PM

It would be possible to glue on cross braces
underneath to the extent they will fit into
the recess beneath. That would do something
to reduce the likelihood of splitting down the

Gluing the oak to a piece of ultra thin plywood
would be my choice. You can buy pieces down
to about 1/32” thick on ebay.

View bondogaposis's profile


5487 posts in 2800 days

#11 posted 10-25-2017 09:00 PM

Fiberglass, will really add a ton of stiffness.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View DS's profile


3226 posts in 2869 days

#12 posted 10-25-2017 09:14 PM

I would veneer the steel piece.

- Rick_M

+1 ^^^^^ This is how I would do it.

I had to look up what this looked like;

The steel has the strength that won’t fracture and the panel even looks a bit proud of the face so a minute amount thicker will not really be a big deal.

Scuff the face of the metal so the adhesive will stick.
Maybe color the edges to match, or,
Maybe recess the whole shebang to be flush on the guitar face.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View ColonelTravis's profile


1976 posts in 2343 days

#13 posted 10-25-2017 10:00 PM

These started to pop up a lot the last few years. Several ways to do it, I’ve seen them one single 1/4” thick piece of wood, glued to plastic, etc. If it were me I’d get 3-4 or 5 (depending on how thin they are) veneered cut outs and glue them up, alternating the grain like plywood. Also use washers on both sides of the wood when screwing in to help from splitting/breaking.

View donttry's profile


4 posts in 872 days

#14 posted 10-26-2017 12:59 PM

Thanks, some excellent suggestions.

Veneering the steel isn’t really possible, it’d be too proud of the guitar body. And I bet that switch tip wouldn’t fit right then. The fiberglass idea is great, and the cross-braces.

A friend suggested running dowels from the plate to the bottom of the cavity. Might be a bit tight in there with the wires and pots…

Thanks so much again.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

4020 posts in 1031 days

#15 posted 10-28-2017 10:33 AM

One thing I remember from when I wired up a Tele… some of the component sets require that the plate serve as ground, which means it has to conduct. If you find things not working, you might need a thin sheet of copper or aluminum on the back of your wooden switch plate.

-- Dave - Minneapolis

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