I want a chalkiest/scratchiest switch, please recommend

I have recently bought a board that was extremely cheap, and yet replaced all the fancy customs on my table (some of them were 1k retail).

It’s a tray mount, with stock mx reds on PC and no weight.

It’s a little chalky, a little stiff, and I love it so much I cannot literally get back to anything else. But there is still room for improvement – reds are a bit too clacky, and not as scratchy as I was hoping for.

I was listening to a lot of tests of boards that have no weights (prophet, noxary boards, etc) and use gateron inks and I think that bottom out sound signature is what I want. But, I have tried them on a meet in a Geon TKL, and they were super smooth (the ink v2 version). Owner said they were stock.

So I am now on a hunt for the chalkiest/scratchiest switch that I can buy or build, that would have an ink bottom.

I was thinking pre-retool browns maybe? People dump on pre-retools so much that I think this has to be what I am looking for, but my worry is that the rails/stem contact is what is causing the scratch, and that swapping to an ink bottom will make them too smooth.

Thoughts? Recommendations?

Thank you!


Oh, I love an unconventional request - whatever its motives.

I don’t have a definitive answer, but some things come to mind to poke around with:

  • Aristotle Yellows (near-maximum scratch)

  • Un-lubed V1 Creams (more like bones than milk)

  • As mentioned, old Cherry switches (pretty scratchy without tuning)

  • Old Kailh linears (texture!)

You might try putting the Ink bottoms in a sonic jewelry cleaner to remove any factory lube, and put some old Nylon Cherry tops & old-as-possible Kailh stems on them - but that’s just a guess. Making sure the springs are dry should help with accentuating the grain. >.>


Thanks, this is great. Interesting point about springs accentuating the grain, I need to do some tests!

I used some old Cherry switches for frankenswitching not long ago.
The springs in those were not only dry, they were matte grey instead of polished.
Their matte finish might add to the grainy feel as well.

Although I’m not sure that all old(er) Cherry switches have those matte springs.

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I’ll echo others who recommended pre retooled Cherry switches. The molds were worn pretty well & they used a really cheap spring that would add to the scratchiness. The only big drawback is the springs are super inconsistent, like + - 10gs. Those or Greetech switches (all black housing variants) would be another one to look at for scratchy/chalky feeling switches.

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If you could find an original OUTEMU Sky [not Silent Sky], that would do it.

The housings were very scratchy, and in desperate need of lube. The stem also had a fair degree of wobble.

The OUTEMU Ice Purple were also fairly scratchy, but not as bad as Sky.

Greetech Brown is definitely a contender.

Kailh Pro Purple is well-known for scratchiness.

I have to warn you about the pre-tooled Cherry switches, however. Although they are very scratchy in stock form, once they are heavily worn-in, they become kind of smooth. They become like scratchy caramel, and feel kind of like BOX Creams.

A good way to get fun scratchiness with MX Browns is to put the stem in a YOK Panda housing. That becomes hilariously scratchy and tactile.


Love it

Also, the original Everglide lineup had some pretty scratchy switches. Everglide Jade Green were pretty notorious, when unlubed and unfilmed.

[they turn decent if you work on them].

I think Everglide Crystal Purple was in a similar situation. And I think that the pre-tooled MX Clears (before official Ergo Clears) were not only scratchy, but seemed to retain their scratchiness and chalkiness for a long time. So definitely try that.

EDIT: For extra scratch, put a light spring in the MX Clears, such as a 55 G Spirit, or a 63.5 G Progressive Spirit. Truly glorious levels of scratch if left unlubed. [You’ll need 62 G on the spacebar.]

Then again, those springs might be a little light, and not in of themselves scratchy. So it may be best to use Cherry springs from MX Browns, Reds, Blues, or Blacks. Cherry springs themselves possess scratch. YOK 60 G springs are also pretty questionable, if you ask me, so they might be good in any of these builds.

got distracted, grabbed a spare PCB and threw some stock Creams on it, and it’s … kinda fun (and louder than I expected) – we’ve gotten so focused on perfectly smooth linears that I think we’ve forgotten that the retro and vintage keyboards that started us down this path were never perfect exemplars …