Natural IPhone Speaker





Introduction: Natural IPhone Speaker

So who likes playing music on their iphone/ipod but just wants that extra little ampliciation so you won't blow a speaker; well here is my solution. It is a natural amplifier which requires no cords, wires, batteries, etc. The only thing it requires is a phone or ipod that plays music, which nowadays everyone has!

It is made up of a walnut board glued between two pieces of cherry. The walnut board has tunnels inside that lead to the output holes. This then creates natural acoustics and then portrays the sound outward. It gives it that extra edge and is fairly simple to make for most woodworkers, or even those testing the woodworking field. It is completely custom made and is size specific to the maker, so it can be tweaked to fit your own needs!

Step 1: Cutting the Wood

First off, if you have the resources to many woodworking tools, this project is perfect for you. However certain things may need to be done differently if one does not have all the proper machines.

You need to obtain a resonant wood first. These include: walnut, cherry, ash, mahogany, maple, etc. Although, you need to pay attention to price, because better sounding woods cost big bucks! I personally decided to go with 2 outer layers of cherry, and a middle layer of walnut.

Step 2: Making Your Measurements and Drilling

Square your boards up, using whatever tools you have access to. A tablesaw, jointer, and planer make. Take the top and middle layer boards and get ready to make some measurements. Figure out what size hole you would like to make for the sound chambers. Make sure the holes are measured evenly with enough space to make the dock part to in the center of the boards.

I used a 3" diameter forstner bit to cut the holes because they drill holes cleaner than a holesaw, in my opinion. Both work in this application. I used a drill press that i had access to, and spent a lot of time carefully spacing and measuring where the holes would be. You must do this on the top and middle layer.

Step 3: The Tunnels and Chambers

After the cuts and drilled holes are made to the boards, take the middle board. Draw a straight tunnel approximately 1/2" wide from one end of the hole to the other. Then take that same tunnel and make it so it connects to the right side of the dock where the speaker is on most Iphones. This pathway allows the music to travel from the speaker down the tunnel, then splits off out to each hole/ sound chamber, which will then amplify the sound.

After drawn precisely cut this with a scroll saw, or any other tool available to you. This cut will only be to the middle board!

Once you are done cutting you can go back and round any harsh corners off and make it as smooth as you want. You want the path of sound to flow easily, producing better sound.

You are now ready to glue your top board and middle board together. You want the dock part and the holes to line up as close as you can get them because the ends are going to be cut at the end anyways. Use as many clamps as you want, you need there to be as minimal gaps as possible. The top board should act as a wall for the tunnel in the middle board. Do not over-glue either because it'll just be hard to sand off later. Let it sit for 24 hours.

Once dry, check to see if the holes line up. If they need some work, sand them flush so they act as one hole. Do the same for the dock part of the boards.

Step 4: Sanding

Throughout the entire process of this, be sure to sand each board before gluing anything together, or finishing it! It makes life way easier when you sand as you go. When sanding, I generally start with a power sander using 80 grit then wet it, sand again, move to 120, wet it, sand again, then repeat until i get to 220. This will be as far as I'd go with the power sander, and for some this is smooth enough, but if you want to go crazy, then go crazy! The higher grit won't hurt. And remember to always sand with the grain to avoid scratching.

Step 5: More Glue

Take your back or bottom board which should be a rectangle still with no holes, and glue it to the other two boards. This should act as a back wall for the other end of the tunnel you made, and a wall for the holes. This keeps the sound in, until the holes and then portrays it outward. Remember clamp it tightly and don't use too much glue! Wait 24 hours.

Step 6: Re-cutting for the Final Shape

I wanted to cut mine at an angle so it sat backward slightly, however if you do not have access to the right tools you can just cut it square which will work also.

I set the blade on the table saw at about 7 degrees, initially I used 10 but that was too severe and it would not stand upward. Run all four sides of the natural amplifier. This is fairly straight forward just stay safe when using any machines.

Step 7: After It's Cut

Just some more images to show what it should look like at this point.

Step 8: Sanding and Clearing

Do the last of your sanding on the speaker, and make sure all dust is off of it. Get wipe-poly for clearing the wood. I like the gloss finish but that is personal preference. You probably will have to do several coats, waiting atleast 30 minutes to an hour in between coats. Wait until it is fully dry.

Step 9: Finished Product

Sit back, play some of your favorite music, and pat yourself on the back. You are done!!

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37 Discussions

Great work you did there : I took your original idea and changed it a bit to fit any smartphone with bottom located speakers :D
The main idea is having a triangle where the phone fits so its sides are in contact with the wood and the sound can only go downside !
Also decided to make it out of bamboo (the sound is surprisingly good) and to engrave it with a laser cutter.


this is great I'm going to give a try as soon as I can. Why do you sand then wet the wood? Is it to clean off the dust and do you let it fully dry before sanding again?

3 replies

I would imagine its to get the dust off, I've never seen anyone wet wood between sandings before. If its to get the dust off, the more common way to do it is use something called a Tack Cloth, which is pretty much like cheesecloth, only impregnated with a substance that makes it pick up dust extremely well. They sell them in the paint/stain section of wood/hardware stores. I recommend wearing a glove of some kind while using them, because the stuff in them make your hands feel clammy and weird, but they get sanding dust off of your work very well.

I've recently read in fine woodworking mag the same thing about raising the grain with a damp rag. So maybe you need to hang out with the finer woodworkers.

wetting the wood raises the grain and allows for an even smoother finish after sanding. A moist, not sopping wet, rag will work as you only want the surface of the wood to get wet.

Forgetting about price for the moment, which kinds of wood amplify the best?

3 replies

That really highlights the confusing nature of common names. Jacarandá is actually a genus of plants, there is even a species called Jacarandá brasiliana, that is native to Brazil, but it's not the same as Brazilian Rosewood.
Rosewoods are Dalbergias. The wood we call Brazilian Rosewood comes form a tree known as D.Nigra. But there is also East Indian Rosewood, d. latifolia.

Cocobola is also a dalbergia and it is sometimes called a rosewood but not always, Usually it is just called Cocobola. It also has a strong fragrance when you work it but it smells more like candy than floral.

Then of course there is Pernambuco!! Which I believe you guys call Bois de It only grows in the Brazilian State of Pernambuco. It is THE Primary wood for Violin Bows.
(I used to date a girl from Recife)

I laser cut this one for my Note 3 from 9 layers of 0.125 in thick black walnut. It works surprisingly well!

1 reply

Additionally, I included a slot for a power cable so my phone can charge while it plays.


hi what dimensions are you using? what size wood would i need to get?

This sounds like an amazing idea (please excuse the unfortunate pun). Any chance you could give a recording of the amplification difference between just the phone and the phone in the dock?

Great woodworking, you've some quality machinery and the finish is brilliant but you should have acknowledged Koostik's design, I'm sure they wouldn't mind your Instructable.

iPhone wood dock.jpg

Great! I have been trying to make one with ceramics, but haven't mastered good amplification, yet. Love your idea--would be great to hang on the wall.