DIY Speaker Build





Introduction: DIY Speaker Build

In this tutorial I'm making a set of stereo speakers to look like vintage guitar amps. I show you how to wrap the speakers with vinyl tolex, stretch the grill cloth and use corner protectors for a classic guitar amp vibe.

For even more details on this build visit my website. My YouTube channel also contains many more builds such as this. Enjoy!

Step 1: Cut All Pieces

I'll start by cutting up all the backs, fronts, tops, bottoms and sides to the proper dimensions.

Step 2: Speaker Hole Placement

I'll mark the placement of the woofers, tweeters and air tube being sure to stick with the exact placements as in the instructions.

Step 3: Drill Speaker Holes

I'll drill out what I can over on the drill press.

Step 4: Saw Woofer Opening

For the woofer opening I'll need to use my jig saw.

Step 5: Glue-up

Now it's time to glue up the cabinets. I'm just going to use some simple butt joints. The Rockler assembly squares clamped to the corners makes the process much easier. I'll add glue to all the joints and a pin nailer to secure it in place.

Step 6: Corner Reinforcement

In the corners I'm going to add some thin strips of plywood. This will add some reinforcement but more importantly will help align the back panel so it sits flush and the front so it's inset to allow our removable grill cover.

Step 7: Front Panel Assembly

The front panel just slides right in and rests on the thin strips of plywood. I'll then secure it in place with some pins.

Step 8: Grill Cover Assembly

For the grill covers I'm going to assemble everything with glue and clamp the pieces in place with tape. In a later step I'll stretch grill cloth over top.

Step 9: Round Over Edges

The corners of the cabinet all need to be rounded over so the corner protectors will sit flush.

Step 10: Tolexing

To attach the tolex to the cabinet I'll just brush some contact cement right on the plywood. You can let it dry for 10 minutes or you can use a heat gun to speed it up. Once it gets tacky I'll add a second coat and once again use a heat gun to speed up the drying process. I'll then use some spray adhesive on the back of the tolex. This creates almost an instant bond when attaching it to the cabinet. Don't worry though as the bond is not too strong yet and allows you to pull it off and reposition it if necessary.

Step 11: Tolex Seam

For the seam I'll overlap the tolex and use a straight edge to cut through both layers. Then remove each waste piece and this should form a perfect seam.

Step 12: Tolex Corners

The corner may seem a bit tricky but just cover everything with some contact cement and cut 45deg miters. I was a little sloppy with mine but the corner protectors we're going to add will cover that right up.

Step 13: Grill Cloth

For the grill cloth I'll then run a clamping call down the middle to be sure the cloth doesn't move on me. I'll then run some staples down the sides and back.

Step 14: Stereo Speaker Assembly

Next is to screw the speakers down, hot glue the air tube and Velcro the grill in place.

Step 15: Stereo Speaker Wiring

Follow the wiring diagram that came with the speakers and crimp everything in place. It's a pretty simple process and doesn't require any soldering.

Step 16: Poly-fil Speaker Cabinet

On the back panel I'll hot glue some Poly-fil that came with the kit. The subject of polly fill can be complex. Just know that it helps diffuse the wave forms inside the box for a better and bigger sound.

Step 17: Add Corner Protectors

And for the cherry on top I'll add the corner protectors and some rubber feet.

Step 18: And That's It!

Plug them in and turn it up! For more tutorials like this you can visit my website and be subscribe to my YouTube channel. Thanks!



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    I don't know man, I think speaker building methods and materials are really a matter of personal taste.

    I have been collecting vintage radios and speakers for years, and some of my favorites are a couple tube consoles from the late 1950s. They have a very warm rich sound, and a lot of it is due to the varying thickness plywood cabinets and masonite back cover.

    I recently built a few extension cabinets from old organs so I could listen to several 12 inch alnico organ speakers I have acquired. I built the cabinets to hold two 12 inch speakers and 2-4 vintage alnico paper tweeters. Each cabinet is wired to be split into stereo, basically the same speaker drivers that were used in juke boxes and console stereos back when there were just speakers. Guitar amps ,organs, hi fi consoles all used the same speakers back in those days. They were essentially musical instrument speakers, and they seemed to rely more on the resonance of the wood cabinets they were housed in than a specific cabinet design made just for that driver. The cabinets I built , together with the speakers in them sound just like a typical late 50s- mide 60s juke box, or large console.

    I use two 90s Yamaha natural sound amplifiers to power the speakers, I like the these Yamaha amplifiers because they have a loudness control knob. It more or less allows you to raise or lower the level of gain, when the gain is turned all the way up, these amplifiers sound very much like old tube equipment. The vintage speakers combined with the very simple wood cabinets give exactly the sound I was looking for, they sound amazing when any music recorded before the very late 60s is played through them. Reverb surf rock, the Beatles , The Doors, The Kinks, Them, jazz......

    As far as crossovers ???? I just use the vintage 2 - 5 mf ones that are still attached to the vintage tweeters I have.

    My projects are very similar to open baffle projects that seem to be gaining a lot of popularity , which are very diy friendly as well.

    All of your work is awesome. Please create an Instructable based on your "How to price your work" video. It's valuable and relevant info! Cheers.

    I'm curious on if someone could use 3/4 inch Fossilized Carbonized bamboo plywood for speaking or would the quality not be as good?

    Nice to see someone going to the trouble of making speakers, a bit of a lost art now.

    The birch ply will be pretty tough (18-mm?). MDF would do, but doesn't have the acoustics. A bit more trouble would be to laminate thin (8 to 10-mm) prepared softwood with opposing grains to stop warping. Solid softwood has the best sound, as used in string instruments. A lot of guff goes into what to fill it with, but in my experience, if everything is nice and tight, it doesn't make a big difference. Alternatives would be something like egg boxes to break up standing waves, sculpted rigid foam (not polystyrene) or Dedsheet.

    For speakers you want the wood not to effect the sound. A speaker is the opposite of an instrument, so do not use soft- or hard woods. Therefor one uses "dead" wood as my dad calls it for the best speaker results. Dead woods are those that are resembled/ glued like plywood or even better MDF and also carton sheets. But one also want to use highly rigid materials, as rigidity affects the resonance frequency (imagine it as the spring constant in Newton's equation, sry physicist). So sand and concrete are also options. In fact I am building speaker with sand-filled walls.

    The fill is optional and not just for standing waves. As fare as I've seen it in the video, I would not call it a fill. If you want to cut-off standing waves, you might will want to look for the cut-frequency of your bass- or mid-bass speaker, then calculate the corresponding wavelength divided by 2. The resulting length is the maximal spacing between opposite walls. The fill makes the box effectively more voluminous, which allows for smaller speaker bodies.
    I include a few images of my current speaker project: a 3D rendering and 2 picutres of the intern rips.


    MDF is ideal for making speakers. Real wood is a poor choice for speaker enclosures because it is not as uniform and can have issues with warping with changes in humidity and temperature, ruining the airtightness of the box.

    I must admit I'm not a huge fan of MDF.
    Most of my speakers have been small (monitor) size.
    I do go to a lot of trouble to select slow-grown timber, defect-free.
    The thin layers of timber are glued together so that "rings" oppose and no joints line up - it produces a stable plank that does not warp. Air-tightness has never been a problem and with decent joints and if a panel does need to be removable, I rout a groove for a length of "O" ring rubber seal.
    The sound I get is pleasant enough (all types of music) and the boxes are nice to look at.
    Keks's speakers look sophisticated and with such intricate inards, MDF would be ideal. Horses for courses.

    A beautiful build mate, and very nicely presented instructions in your video. Gave me some great tips and advice. I love some of your tools you use ..

    Cheers from Australia mate.