Planning to make a wooden TKL

I kinda know what i am going to do, i am going to use a router, bandsaw and orbital sander to get it done. It will be o-ring mounted, and try copy the bakeneko’s system of doing it. I will probably use maple for the case, and finish it with a charcoal or just normal finisher. Is there anything i should look out for, anything you guys would be interested in me doing?

Thanks in advance for any advice/help.

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Sure. I’ve tried this with a RK61 that my friend wanted to be modded. Some things to look out for is:

Make sure the PCB is soldered. You could do it with a hotswap but it’ll just fall out and be a pain to fix.

Don’t make a plate out of wood. Had to scrap this idea as soon as I saw the board, no way was the wood gonna stay in shape.

Make the USB port BIG. My friends keyboard doesn’t have a daughter board, so if yours is the same, make some room for the USB because you do not want to solder something as tiny as that…

Finish is up to you. I decided to go for a more deep/weathered finish on his request and looks pretty good. I already shipped it to him maybe last week, but if you need pics I’m sure he can send you some.

Good luck!


The pcb being soldered was always going to be what happened,i sort of prefer soldered to hotswap due to the fact that is the sockets work before you solder them, they will most probably work after. I had a rama kara that one day would recognize my R key, the next day give up on it.

I plan to copy the design of the mode80, but adapt it to a cannonkeys TKL plate if it needs to be done. Do different types of wood affect how the keyboard sounds a lot? I know that it does affect the sound, but how much, if you know.

What did you use to cut out the USB port hole? I’m not sure if a router would work.

Did you use brass inserts for the screws, so that the wood does not get torn up from multiple openings/closings of the keyboard?

After this i might plan to do something pretty ambitious. You know those tables which have resin cast into the middle with wood around it? I might try that for the back piece on a second model.

thanks for the help

Edit: just looked at prices for everything, do you think anybody would be interested in a wooden tkl GB? It would be pretty cheap.

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Good to know that you want to use a soldered PCB.

The mode 80 seems like a simple design and easy to do. Wood affects sound by making it a bit “bassier” and slightly muted because wood is more pliable than metal (or an aluminium case).

I made 2 portions, a top and bottom and on the bottom, used a router to cut of a small section, and use the top as a roof. Also used brass inserts like you said to clamp down both sections, but I dunno if this is the kind of style you are looking for.

I don’t have much knowledge of resin casting, and maybe some others may help with that. :slight_smile:

Thats nearly exactly how i plan to do it, apart from the fact that mine is tkl. The resin thing i’ll do my own research on, but i’m fairly sure of how to do it.

One last question, are some woods harder to work with than others? I have chosen sapele as my wood to use because of the colour, but i have no clue whether that will affect how hard it is.

Thanks again.

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I’m sure there are some difference in hardness between wood but I’m sure that it won’t really matter because the difference is pretty small.

Good luck!

Just a thought, but what if you made it out of a large wooden cutting board? I always thought that’d be cool because they come is an assortment of wood grains, are already rectangular and of comparable height, are made from dense wood, usually stain resistant, and industrially sanded smooth.

Either way, good luck with the build and keep us posted.

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That seems like a pretty cool idea. My router is yet to arrive, i’ll keep you updated for the first prototype.

Edit: fuck that router is apparently coming in 3 months. We wait.


It probably won’t be too much of a problem, sapele isn’t too hard, but I’d make sure you’re using a sharp router bit since wood-database notes the grain structure can be problematic with routing.

As far as running a group buy goes, I would just make sure to note where you’re shipping them from and seal them really thoroughly if you’re shipping internationally. Warping probably won’t be a big deal locally (though tbf it may still be an issue considering you’re probably importing the sapele from Africa) but wooden products are highly susceptible to warping when you send wood that has been dried in one climate to the other side of the world.

Hmm, since this would be my first proper woodworking project i think i might turn to hard maple instead. Are there any routers you’d recommend? Bought one recently but might try cancel it because it will apparently take 3-4 months to arrive.

I can’t really make any recommendations since I just use the tools from my local makerspace. I don’t have any room in my apartment for woodworking :sweat_smile:

My dad and I used on from Ryobi. Seemed to work well and he praises that thing very highly.