I was looking for a vintage speaker housing to hide my pc speakers in and saw one on an auction site that I liked, but unfortuately its price was $189..... and climbing! So, I decided to make one myself.
My goal was not to make an "audiophile" quality speaker, so if you're an audio purist, this speaker housing is probably not for you (in other words, no Monster Cable was harmed in the making of this speaker cabinet). My goal was to take a couple of average sounding, somewhat ugly pc speakers and make them somewhat vintage looking --- without breaking the bank. I think my total cost for this project was around $12, not counting the cost of the pc speakers, which I already had.
Step 1: Materials and Tools Used
- 11" round chipboard box (from a Michael's store)
- white glue
- Gorilla glue
- hot glue
- scrap piece of oak venier plywood
- scrap piece of 2x4 lumber
- wood screws
- loose woven felt with sparkly stuff imbedded in it (from a fabric store)
- black paint
- bronze spray paint
- electric drill & various bits
- scroll saw
- utility knife
- misc. hand tools (screwdrivers, etc.)
Step 2: Prepare the Round Container
The first thing I did was to cut the round chipboard container down to the height I needed for the pc speakers. My speakers needed 5.5 inches of front-to-back clearance, so I cut a couple of inches off the height of the container.
I took the piece that I cut from the container and glued it inside of the container (Photo 2) for reinforcement. To do this I had to split the "hoop" I had cut off from the top, remove about 1/2 inch from its dameter so it would fit inside. I glued it in place using white glue. I probably could have omitted this step, but I hate to waste good chipboard.... The piece of wood you see in the photo is simply a temporary wedge to hold this in place while the glue dried.
Because I needed a portion of the side of the container to be even (for mounting a piece of wood reinforcement in a later step), I used a piece of chipboard cut from the lid (later step) to make this section of the side of the container even in thickness. This piece was also attached using white glue.
Step 3: Preparing the Front of the Housing
I first made a cardboard pattern of the grill, making it about a half-inch smaller than the diameter of the lid of the chipboard box (Photo 1). Next I transfered this pattern to a piece of 1/4 oak venier plywood. I needed two pieces -- one for the speaker housing grill, and one simpler, slightly larger piece to go inside the lid of the chipboard box (to give me to something solid to screw into when I mounted the grill). These two parts were cut out using a scroll saw (Photo 3). During this process I also cut out the center of the lid to exactly the same diameter as the inside diameter of the grill.
Photos 4 & 5 show the test fit of these two parts in and on the lid.
After test fitting, I glued the reinforcement piece into the lid using white glue.
Step 4: Building the Base
The base is simple, consisting of a piece of 2x4 and a scrap piece of plywood. I just traced the outside curve of the box onto a piece of wood and cut it out.
Step 5: The Inside Job.....
I trimmed a piece of scrap lumber to match the curve of the box and hot glued it in the spot where I had added the extra chipboard. This piece will be what attaches the housing to the little stand which I'll show in the next step.
On top of this I basically made a little shelf on which the pc speakers will be mounted, carefully measuring to make sure I would have sufficient height for the speakers. Hot glue was used to fasten the shelf in place. I love hot glue....
Once the glue was set, I painted the inside and outside of the main part of the box with flat black paint. I also painted the outside part of the lid and stained and varnished the grill.
Step 6: Mounting the Base to the Box
The base is glued to the box with Gorilla glue and reinforced with two wood screws. Notice I had to cut out a small section from the lid to allow for clearance for the base. You may also notice that I actually did this before painting the box! Also note that the shelf is actually level -- my photo angle makes it look a bit slanted.
Step 7: Make the Paint Look Old
After painting the box, lid, and base with flat black paint, I lightly "dusted" it with bronze spray paint to give it more of a vintage appearance.
Step 8: Install the Speakers
The speakers were installed on the shelf and hot glued in place. I drilled a hole at the back of the box so the wires could pass through. I decided not to provide access to the controls on the speakers, since I always control the volume through the computer. Basically I just turned the volume up all the way. That's the way I always used them before mounting them inside a box.
Step 9: Mounting the Speaker Grill
I glued the speaker cloth to the back of the grill I had made, trimmed the cloth even with the grill, and screwed it in place on the lid. I didn't think shiny screws would look good here, so I blackend them first using gun blue.
Step 10: Finished!
This is the finished project installed in my study. This was a relatively easy and inexpensive project, and at first appearance people cannot believe it is not a real vintage speaker! I have quite a bit of vintage stuff in my study (note the 50 year old desk, the 50 year old radio, the 50 year old "web cam," and the 50 year old clock), and this speaker housing fits right in.
The most difficult part of this project was drawing and cutting out the thin, plywood grill. Of course, an Epilog laser would have simplified that task a lot!