Wood Guitar Amp




About: I get a real kick out of completing projects with as low a budget as possible. It's usually pretty easy to collect almost all the parts necessary to make some pretty cool stuff. I also enjoy playing music an...

It all began when I found this little discarded guitar amp heading off to the landfill. That's when I realized I had to intervene. After getting the little fella home, I realized it took some weird tiny sized AC adapter. I tried like a thousand adapters to no avail, so I had to wire it up directly to an AC adapter. Then I had to fix a short in the volume knob. After investing all this time and energy into this little amp, I decided to make a new case for it, as the old one was cracked and pretty cheap looking (plastic).

I made this entirely from reclaimed materials with the intention of entering Instructables' contest for reclaimed wood, but I didn't get it done in time. A day late, as it turned out. But... better late than never.

Check out my video and tell me what you think!

Step 1: Disassembly

With this particular little amp, it was super easy to take apart. Just unscrew the bolts that hold in the volume and tone knobs, and the bolts holding the input jacks and the board will pull right out the back. Then it's four little screws that hold the speaker in place. I always try and put all of this hardware in one of those little magnetic parts holders, so I don't end up losing one of those tiny little screws before the project is complete.

Like I said before, this amp had a short in the connection to the volume knob, so I simply wiggled each wire until I found it, cut it back a bit and resoldered it in place.

Step 2: Build a Box

An amp cabinet is basically just a little box. Any type of box will do, so any woodworking joinery is entirely up to the maker. With that said, I always take the opportunity to hand cut dovetail joints. Why would I not?

I'm not going to go into great detail on this part, because this project is not about dovetails. Simply draw out the tails how you want them and cut them out. I use a file to finely sand down any imperfections. Then trace your tails onto the piece that it will join and cut out the mating piece.

Whatever type of joints you use, the ultimate goal is to build a little box to put your speaker and your board in. I used a piece of scrap 1/4" plywood I had for the front and back of the box. I cut a 1/4" groove in three of my four pieces of wood to slide the plywood into place during assembly.

But before any assembly can begin, we must cut out the sound hole and the holes for the knobs and input jacks.

Step 3: Scroll Saw Time!

I found a couple of patterns to use from the website craftsmanspace.com and they were free to use, so it sounded good to me. For scroll saw patterns, I use a light coat of spray adhesive to hold it down while I cut. Then I drill a pilot hole at the drill press where each interior cut will be made. This project had a lot of interior cuts, but I need the scroll saw practice so it was a good time for me.

After cutting out the pattern, I drilled the holes for all the knobs to come through, which proved to be a bit trickier than I had anticipated. Measure once and cut... wait a second, that's not how it goes. Measure TWICE, and cut once. That's more like it.

Once that is done, you can slide the plywood into the groove and glue up your box. When gluing up dovetail joints I always use lots of glue and throw lots of saw dust on in there to hopefully fill in the little gaps that are left after my sloppy work.

Step 4: Wood Burning Time!

My pattern for burning also came from craftsmanspace.com, so many thanks to them. Most wood burning kits will come with a pattern transfer tip. If you print a pattern with a laser printer, you can easily transfer it to wood this way. Tip: Have a piece of scrap wood handy to transfer some of the heat from your iron before touching it to paper. It's pretty easy to burn your piece of paper and ruin your transfer.

Another tip: don't forget to reverse any text prior to printing, so you will transfer the mirror image the way you want to.

Once you get the image onto the wood, it's a pretty simple trace job. Somewhat time consuming, but certainly worth the effort.

Step 5: Sanding, Sanding, Sanding...

There's no such thing as too much sanding. I started with a belt sander, taking off lots of material. Make sure and wear a mask when doing this with any materials, but certainly with reclaimed wood. I then worked my way up in grit with the orbital sander and finished it off by hand sanding.

For a finish, I chose the ever-so-easy to apply spray lacquer. There were so many tiny little places to try and reach that a spray finish was the obvious choice.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

All that's left to do is just push your board into place and let the knobs and inputs poke through front of the box. Then mount your speaker in place and screw it down. To cover up my knobs, I used an old cork from a wine bottle. I cut the ends off and drilled a little hole half way into it so it would slide on top of the knob.

I cut another piece of 1/4" plywood for the back, and just brad nailed it in place. I left the top open for the power cord to come out and to leave it accessible for any future repairs.

That's all I've got, just plug it in and rock out for a while. I hope you like this build, I sure had a good time building it. Have a good day!



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    8 Discussions

    kipli yess

    6 months ago

    Thanks for the writing, very useful
    Always success


    1 year ago

    Nice! Very nice work! You did it the hard way, I'm impressed!

    He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.


    2 years ago

    Great job Amigo, the fact you did not cut any corners in building shows up with your finished product. Impressive.


    2 years ago

    those electrolytic caps have to be replaced. they probably turned into resistors


    2 years ago

    I wonder how it would rate against my Pignose. :-)


    2 years ago

    When I first saw this I assumed it was all laser cut/etched, and am impressed to see you made it with a scroll saw and burned pattern! Love the aesthetic, really nice work.


    2 years ago

    This is awesome!


    2 years ago

    That is absolutely gorgeous. :D

    Fantastic work!