Advice on building your own speaker cabinets

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Advice on building your own speaker cabinets

Postby rh2music » Fri Nov 10, 2006 11:32 pm

Hi, I want to build 2 12" speaker cabinets for guitar. I want to know if anyone has ideas on what type of wood to use and construction methods.
My idea is to build open back cabinets.

I have looked at some sites like Mesa Boogie and notice they use baltic burch, how does this compare to ash? Thanks, Rob
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Postby dhuebert » Wed Nov 15, 2006 9:40 am

Beware of bullshit. Look here for better advice

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Postby nyazzip » Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:04 pm

if the cabs are open backed then you don't have to worry much about design calculations. i built two 2x12 cabs.....i made them wide enough to allow my amp head sit on top perfectly. i also slanted the baffleboard about 10 degrees back, so they are effectively the top half of a 4x12 "slant cab".
i used 5/8" plywood, i think it was BC grade- the outside surface should be pretty decent or it will cause headaches when finishing/covering. 1/2" is getting a bit too thin for a larger box; you want a little meat to sink screws into and such, and the thinner wood is going to warp more readily.
i put in one vertical support, just so i could sit or stand on the things with abandon. on one of them i used metal right angle braces in all the corners, so its built like a tank.
recently i made/am making a couple of open backed single speaker boxes, using solid wood plank, both pine and cedar. its much, much easier to deal with in the long run: easy to transport from the store, easier to rip down to size, much lighter, and much more visually appealing than plywood. it even smells better, and is less absorbant(paint) than ply.
guitar speaker cab designs, especially open backed ones, are far less critical than hi-fi speaker boxes, so dimensions and materials are basically up to you....if the box is way too small you will lose low end; if it is way too large you might notice some boominess, but thats about it
once you finish it off with feet, corner caps, handles and grill covers they look pretty sharp
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Postby Junction » Sun Apr 20, 2008 6:07 am

Agree totally with "nyazzip", go for open back cabs and then there is very little science involved, the timber becomes not so important, but I would suggest that you do not use chipboard as it flakes apart after some time, go with solid wood or good quality plywood (I use marine ply as there are no air pockets inside liek there is with standard ply).

I've built a number of cabs, 4x12, 2x12, 1x12, all open back and I am very happy with the performance, the sound is more open, less boxy sounding and less nasty resonance, than in comparison to several closed back cabs tested against.

Just make sure the cab is solid, use lots of screws and/or dowels and wood glue to hold it all together, you do not want this thing to fall apart and start rattling, a lot of old cabs rattle like crazy and sound like crap.

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Postby BudP » Fri Dec 12, 2008 8:17 am

I concur with Junction - screw it and glue it! I recently "discovered" Gorilla glue, and this stuff is as good (or better) than that old two-part resorcinol glue. It's like a combination glue and expanding foam sealer and works absolutely great on wood. I highly recommend it!

Btw, I use 3/4" birch ply on the half-dozen or so 15", 12", and 1 10" cabinets I've built - butt-joined with the screw/glue combination and have never had one loosen up or come apart...even when I've used them for step-stools and stood on them.

Semi-open-backed; I cover them with padded Tolex, a la Standel-style.
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Postby cartoonweirdo » Fri Dec 12, 2008 11:49 pm

Classic Fenders are my favorite sounding open back cabs. They used solid pine for the sides and really thin plywood for the baffleboard. They attached the baffleboard on only the left and right as I recall. The whole thing is resonant as hell (good in my book) and complements the also resonant as hell speakers of the era.

This could be a bit flimsy unless you use finger joints, and pine may be too shallow front to back for a big head to sit on (did you really want the speakers vibrating the tubes around anyway?), but boy does it add cool overtones.

Tell us how it goes!!
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Advice on building speaker cabinets

Postby rh2music » Wed Dec 31, 2008 11:21 pm

Thanks to all for the advice. I haven't built anything yet, still deciding what to do.
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Postby nigelwright7557 » Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:51 pm

I make my cabinets out of 20mm plywood and brace it with 2 inch by 2inch softwood.

Maplin do loads of cabinet fixtures.
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Re: Advice on building your own speaker cabinets

Postby ChrisAlbertson » Tue Aug 11, 2009 12:33 pm

rh2music wrote:Hi, I want to build 2 12" speaker cabinets for guitar. I want to know if anyone has ideas on what type of wood to use and construction methods.
My idea is to build open back cabinets.

There is not much to designing an open back cab. Make it as large as you can stand, the larger the baffel the beter the bass will be but ballance that with the need to stor and transport the cab.

"open" cabs are really only about 30% open. 2/3rds of the back is covered. So there is a slot about 1/3rd the hight of the cab where the sound comes out. Place this slot lower then center, nerer to the bottom. This makes the distance from the slot to the front (over the top) larger, Same effect as making the baffel larger. The flor blocks the path under the cab to the front so a low slot causes no harm

Construction depends on your skills and equipment. Best is to use hardwood plywood and finger joints. This is very strong. But I'm sure that patical board and drywall screws will sound the same and might last for many weeks. A compromise is simple but joints reinforced with 1x1 battens in the corners and wood screws

I recently finally learned to make finger joints. It's easy. My first try worked. The trick is to make an accurate jig. After that no skill is involved. Google for on-line box joint turorials. There are many.

After making some test parts with finger joints and but joints I gave them the old "sledg hammer test" and knock them apart with a 5 pound hammer. Result? Finger joints are very strong in quality plywood. They make the joint much stronger than a simple butt However in white pine they are wasted as the wood itself fails first. With pine the strongest joint is made by gorilla glueing and screwing 1 inch square hardwood to the inside iof the joints..
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Postby davygrvy » Tue Aug 11, 2009 12:52 pm

David Gravereaux
<i>"Don't fear the iron" -- Chris Palmatier</i>
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Postby Gingertube » Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:49 pm

Everone does things a little different.
I had a 12" Alnico Weber VST P12 "British Bulldog" to house, to go with an amp I built using a quad of 6V6 as the output.

These speakers are intended to mounted in an open back cabinet - or as stated above these are actually usually partially open back.

I made solid cabinets from 19mm MDF sides and back and a 3/4" marine Ply Baffle for the front.

I did use strict HiFi principals to set the W x D x H dimensions. The front baffle was cut for 2 x 12" speakers and I fitted just the top speaker. This results in a VERY loose tuned response. That extra speaker hole is slightly acting like a port on a tuned cabinet. Gives a little stronger bottom end than a pure open back cab. All covered with Snakeskin tolex.
I can probably find the drawing I did for the cabinet maker - yell if interested.

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