How to Make a Mounting Adapter for Original Bakelite Switches

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In the 1930’s there were no standard sizes of light switches, so we have a plethora of unique fitting sizes to cater for. The following step-by-step instructions give an example of creating an adapter to meet todays standard sizes.
There are many ways to achieve the same result but this is by far the most flexible.
At the Art Dec Emporium we sell thousands of fully refurbished Bakelite switches and are asked constantly how best to mount them, this guide is specific to the flush mount style switch.
Step 1.
bakelite flush switch adapter 101

For this example we're using a UPVC profile 25mm x 5mm obtained locally from a well known DIY store for a few pounds.
This profile comes in one meter lengths.

 
Step 2.

Measure the inside diameter of the mount box.
For a single box it’s 69mm.
Transfer this to the profile strip.

 
Step 3.

Use a mitre block to give a clean cut, saw off a strip at your mark.
Deburr using a craft knife.
 

 
Step 4.

Check the size in your mount.
It should be snug but moveable.
 

 
Step 5.

Mark the position of the first set of screw holes.
In our example its 4mm from both ends.

 
Step 6.

Using a 3.5mm bit, drill your holes and deburr.
Keep the drill vertical and avoid elongating the hole.

 
Step 7.

Position your switch in the centre of the bar, using a braddle or suitable pointed tool mark the first hole.

 
Step 8.

As before drill and deburr a clean hole.

 
Step 9.

Using electrical machined screws, 3.5mm of suitable length, screw the switch to the bar cutting your thread as you go.
Do not over-tighten the screw and damage your new thread.
 

 
Step 10.

Careful not to damage the switch, drill your second hole or mark with braddle and drill as per the first.
 

 
Step 11.

As before, cut your thread using a screw.
Remove your screws before proceeding.
 

 
Step 12.

Position the bar into the mount and screw in place.
These two screws act as the main stop preventing the mounted switch from pulling out.
They are adjustable to suit your depth needs.

 
Step 13.

Now mount your switch but don’t screw the switch firmly to the bar.
The switch should move freely up and down the length of the screw.
This is your maximum height setting.

 
Step 14.

Using a combination of the four screws you are able to get the required tight fit when the switch face plate is fitted.
 

 
Step 15.

The switch face plate will pull the switch forward but the bar is held back by the two screws in the mount box.
This example is using a Britmac switch.

 
Step 16.

A Rolls manufactured switch with an exaggerated screw length for demonstrating the adjustment that can be achieved with this method.

 
Note that the above photographs switch between dry-wall plastic boxes and metal, 35mm and 25mmm depths thereby showing the flexibility of this method. The examples are done on unfitted back boxes to aid in the photographing.
This adapter can made and fitted in less than three minutes.
Holes can be cut in the bar for the wiring to pass through if needed.
Whatever you use, always ensure it’s at least 5mm so you can create a thread to hold the screws.
Do not use any metal or conductive material to build this.
 
 
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