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Knob inserts

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by younggun, Feb 5, 2014.


  1. younggun

    younggun Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    I recently got a wood lathe and have been experimenting making my own wooden knobs. After making the knobs, I drill them out and put an insert of aluminum with a drilled and tapped set screw on the side. I found some aluminum tubing that fits normal pots, but I'm having trouble finding stuff for stacked pots. I have a bass with some pre-made wooden knobs and they have aluminum and brass inserts. I'm not sure if the luthier made those himself or bought them. I made some inserts from wenge for now for the stacked knobs, but I would much rather make the inserts from brass or aluminum to hold the threads for the set screws.

    For those of you who make your own knobs, what do you use for the inserts? Is there a supplier of aluminum or brass tubing, or pre-sized inserts, that are made to fit the pots exactly?

    A few pics of some of the knobs I've made so far (the multi-layered knobs on the bass do actually match the body, the lighting in the pics just makes it look like they don't...they are made from the leftovers of the body wood laminates of the bass):

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Some wenge and padauk knobs:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. younggun

    younggun Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
  3. OHSPyro89

    OHSPyro89

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2009
    If you can't find the exact size, brass is pretty soft. You could drill out the center to fit the potentiometers then make the knob fit the outer diameter. I think having a thicker wall would be better to support your threads.

    You might be able to find one with the dimensions. Google is a good start.
     
  4. younggun

    younggun Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    Thanks, I've actually already done some of that with aluminum, but it requires more time and effort than you'd think. Not that I'm opposed to doing it that way if its the only viable option...I was just figuring, with all the luthiers out there, that there'd be someplace that sells something standard that I just haven't found on my searches. I have found some tubing manufacturers, but the issue with the wall being a bit thin is actually my concern with most of the tubing I've found.

    My hope is to get into selling these a bit on the side as a part time hobby perhaps, so something that would save me time placing and precisely drilling metal inserts would leave me more time to concentrate on creating the actual knobs and woodwork.
     
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  6. Rowka

    Rowka

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2002
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
  7. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    Joined:
    May 20, 2005
    Location:
    Norman, OK
  8. younggun

    younggun Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    Hammerhed, have you used those before to make knob inserts? (and wouldn't that be 8.55mm ID?)

    Rowka, thanks for the link, not really practical for my purposes...however it did lead me to use the word "knob bushing" instead of "insert" which did turn up some products from Stewmac and Allparts. But even those aren't made for the larger stacked pots.
    Looks like I'll be doing it from scratch.

    Really surprised this hasn't come up before, or that more luthiers here don't have information on how they build their knobs. I'm getting the impression that its simply something most don't tackle.
     
  9. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    Joined:
    May 20, 2005
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    Younggun,

    I have not used those as knob inserts, but there's no reason they won't work. Knob inserts are just short lengths of metal tubing.

    It is not 8.55mm, because you have to count the wall thickness twice when you are thinking about the inner diameter of a tube based on its wall thickness and outer diameter. So, a 9mm OD tubing with 0.45mm wall thickness has an ID of 8.1mm.
     
  10. manupulated

    manupulated

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2014
    Location:
    sherbrooke, quebec ,canada
    very nice work ! they are beautiful !
     
  11. younggun

    younggun Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    Ah, hadn't considered that the thickness had to be counted twice, it only makes sense. Like I said, already been using metal tubing, and in fact the stuff I'm using is actually KS brand obtained at a local hobby store, they just didn't have the size you posted up.
    Thanks for the info!
     
  12. younggun

    younggun Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    Thanks manupulated. I've been having a lot of fun making them. I can see why some luthiers don't offer them as an option though. It is a bit time consuming to make them, and I can see that issue really cutting into build times.
     

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