Wall plates and switch covers

has anyone done any outlet covers or switch plates

I haven’t seen any here yet, but that’s a great idea! I spent a fortune on oak plates on my last house at the big box store. We were discussing light switch complicators last year when the gear generator was released. Making at least one of those is on my to-do list.

I looked into doing custom switch covers some years ago with my scrollsaw.

I had some really nice designs including some that looked just like the commercial plastic everyday covers but made out of wood. Then I was informed that they would need to have a minimum 22 gauge metal plate on the backside of each one to meet code requirements.

I never looked into if it was true or not since if it was, my cost to produce just went beyond what i could sell them for. One more feather in the cap of the monster manufacturers keeping he little guy down.

I have this one in my “ToDo” list

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This thread talks about outlet covers and switch plates. It has plenty of attachments (V-Carve) to get you going.

http://www.cncsharktalk.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=3223

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This was one of the very first projects I did with my X-Carve:

Ahh, if I knew then what I know now. It took 10 hours to carve, and was the result of several failed attempts with other designs.

It’s 12x8x1/4" IIRC, red oak, made with 2 pieces edge-glued.

I do have a goal of doing some of the switchplates in my basement to match this, because you can’t buy multi-gang switchplates with one of them being blank and I don’t like using blanking plates. It also gives me the chance to engrave what the switches do above each one, as we have several multi-gang switch plates with 3 and 4 way switches in them.

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I’ve been wanting to make some switch and plate covers, just not sure whether I should also mill thin aluminum or steel to glue on the inside. Probably a good idea since one that I bought has a thin piece of steel inside.

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I think the metal plate has to do with protecting the wooden plate from igniting if there happens to be a short within the box throwing sparks. The plastic plates are less prone to this I suppose.

I Have a few that I made in the most basic style that dont have the metal “liner”. Most building codes are intended for worst case scenarios and as such seem a bit overbearing at times. But think of the situation if we didn’t have 'em!

Would have posted this sooner, but I figured everyone has all ready made them. It was one of the first projects I did. I’ve made one for every switch in my house with my X-Carve. 15 in total. Single and double switch plates and a couple of outlet plates. All out of exotic hardwoods. Koa, Monkey Pod, Mango, Purple Heart, Walnut, Sapele, Mahogany and others. I cut these out with a ribbed recess for strength and so they fit tight to the walls.







Here’s switch plate Easel files if anyone is interested.


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These look great! Can you post the decorator one? Where are you getting your wood stock from?

Don’t have the file for the decorator ones. Got lost somehow. I’ll look some more or make another. I get mostly all my wood materials from local wood mill’s and suppliers here in Kona Hawaii so we have access to lots of exotic woods. I have even hiked thru the woods and gotten my own logs (from dead trees). I re-saw and finish plane as needed in my shop.

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That there just aint fair! :laughing:

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Yes, we can get it, but high grade curly Koa can still run upwards of $80. bf. That’s why I trek through the woods.

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I have wanted to do this for some time, but hadn’t gotten around to it yet. Your’s look great! Did you put metal on the backside? It seems to me people are doing that for structural support more than as fire deterrent, but you said you put ribs on yours. Was that for strength or to fill a gap?

Do you have your outlet cover project still where you could share that?

I do not have metal on the back side. I have shared my switch plate Easel files on the bottom of my original post. I do not have a file for the outlet ones. The ribs I have incorporated in mine are for support and let you tighten the screws without cracking the plate.

You will find those ribs on the back of the plastic/nylon coposite plates at the home center too, good call @JeffParish.

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Thanks Jeff. Yeah, I opened the switch files already and checked them out. They are very helpful to see.

I have created an outlet project already, I just haven’t tested it yet, but I’m sure I can get it figured out pretty quick and I will add a rib over the single screw as well.

In the project the material is set at .27" is that the actual re-sawed thickness you began with?

Material was .25. I set doc to .27 so it would make sure to cut thru. I then also then set tabs height to .100.