Bluetooth Speaker

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Project by TWegs posted 09-19-2016 12:18 PM 1297 views 6 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I wanted to listen to music in my workshop and saw a similar design on the internet. I’m in the middle of building a gun cleaning kit that is taking me forever and I decided to take a short break and build this so I can demonstrate to myself that I can actually start and complete a project.

The speaker is made of 3/4 pine from Home Depot and the panel is cherry leftover from the other project. I joined the box using hand cut dovetails and hand chiseled the stopped grooves for the cherry panel, so it effectively floats. You can see the hand cut dovetails are pretty sloppy. I love the look of dovetails, and I’m not good at them, so I’m constantly looking for opportunities to practice. I saw a trick in a how-to video of filling in the gaps in the dovetails with saw dust when gluing them up. Fortunately, the casual observer can’t see how really bad I am at hand cut dovetails using this trick. The cherry panel was dimensioned to size using a handplane (great practice for dimensioning stock four square). For the speaker cutouts in the cherry panel I used a cheap compass to draw two circles. I used a coping saw to cut out the inner circle and then used a 4-in-hand rasp and file to bevel the cutout. Big problem here that I didn’t anticipate is that it’s really hard to get a consistent angle with the rasp when holding the panel in the front vise on my bench. You can see that the bevels have sort of an oval shape, but with the orientation of the grain, they seem to work.

I found the bluetooth amplifier on Amazon for about $18, as well as the 3.5 inch speakers for $13 which came with speaker cable. I used an old piece of plywood to mount the speakers to the panel. That ugly dot in the lower left hand corner of the left speaker bevel is where I went through the front of the panel drilling the pilot hole for the speaker mount screw. Ughh! I seriously wanted to cry. The power supply is a 12V laptop power supply, also from Amazon for $7. The amplifier works great and synchs with my phone and my Kindle Fire tablet via bluetooth connection. I didn’t wire in an on/off switch, so to turn it off I have to unplug it. I stuffed the cabinet with packing foam to ensure the sound comes out the front in doesn’t echo in the box. The packing foam is dunnage from a hand plane I bought on E-Bay. It holds the bluetooth amplifier in place, as I was concerned that mounting it could result in cracking the amplifier board. The back panel is a piece of a corrugate insert support that came from a desk my wife bought from Ikea. I have no idea where to find something similar in thickness. I saw this inserted in the sides of the leftover box and thought it will be perfect for the back. Sometimes you just get lucky I guess.

Regarding the finish, this is the first project ever where I have tried to use wood stain and polyurethane. I have no experience of knowledge here and thought “I’ll just follow the directions. How hard can it be?” I used Varathane ebony stain on the pine and Minwax colonial maple on the cherry panel. I’ve read everywhere that pine blotches when you stain it, so I used Minwax pre-stain conditioner, let it dry for 2 hours per the directions, and applied the stain. It looked okay, but not great. Then after letting is dry over night, I applied Minwax Wipe-On Poly which completely took off large sections of the stain! If anyone knows why, I would love your input. So now I had to sand the pine sides down with 80 grit, then 120, 220 to get back to where I started. I skipped the pre-stain conditioner and just put the stain straight on. I didn’t see any blotching and it looked an order of magnitude better than with the pre-stain conditioner. For the cherry panel I did use the pre-stain conditioner before applying the colonial maple stain and it came out just fine. Maybe Varathane is poor quality stain, or you shouldn’t mix Minwax products with Varathne. I have no idea what happened there. I also was gun shy about putting polyurethane on it, so I just put on a coat of wax and polished it with shoe shine brush.

Lots of mistakes and miscues, but all in all I think it turned out pretty okay and actually excellent for me. It sounds pretty good for $13 speakers. I am considering upgrading the speakers because the box looks much better than it sounds, but is certainly good enough for my purpose. All comments and recommendations are welcome and encouraged. Thanks for looking.

9 comments so far

View majuvla's profile


8739 posts in 2291 days

#1 posted 09-19-2016 12:45 PM

Nice frame arround speakers, wood looks great.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View John_G's profile


160 posts in 2115 days

#2 posted 09-19-2016 03:42 PM

this looks great, did you think about putting a re-chargable battery in it as well to make it portable?

-- John Gray

View jayseedub's profile


66 posts in 1389 days

#3 posted 09-19-2016 05:11 PM

Honestly, I think it looks great.

I don’t even notice the pilot hole situation (probably just noticeable to you—I have a ton of those mistakes that shout at me, in finished pieces!)—and I actually love the serendipitous ovaling that the rasp/vise situation created. We frequently try so hard to make things symmetrical, and the ovaling really makes the piece unique, and different! Not only does it “seem to work”—it works!

Keep working at the dovetails—I’m about where you’re at with those, too—but enjoy the discipline of the practice, and each one gets a little better. Don’t practice them in oak—it’s a sure way to frustrate, it’s so hard…..

Thanks for putting this online!

View jayseedub's profile


66 posts in 1389 days

#4 posted 09-19-2016 05:15 PM


View TWegs's profile


13 posts in 39 days

#5 posted 09-19-2016 05:18 PM

Thanks John & Ivan. I considered putting a lithium ion power bank inside the speaker cabinet (you know those things the size of a cell phone for when you need emergency power to your phone). That’s a pretty easy retrofit if I want to make it portable in the future. Thanks for your comments.

View Redoak49's profile


1824 posts in 1412 days

#6 posted 09-19-2016 05:34 PM

Very nicely done.

I like the idea and am thinking about making one. Could you post more details about the parts and part numbers or link.

View TWegs's profile


13 posts in 39 days

#7 posted 09-19-2016 07:20 PM

Redoak49, I’m happy to share the parts. See below:

Bluetooth 4.0 Audio Receiver Amplifier Board 50W + 50W:

Pyramid 328GS 3.5-Inch 120-Watts 2-Way Speakers:

Kastar LCD AC Adapter 12V 6A with 3-Prong Power Cord Power Supply for LCD Monitor and LCD TV:

Black Speaker Cloth 40”x60”:


View helluvawreck's profile


22707 posts in 2290 days

#8 posted 09-19-2016 07:48 PM

That is a wonderful enclosure for those speakers. Nice work.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View NormG's profile


5434 posts in 2427 days

#9 posted 09-22-2016 12:45 AM

Great piece, thank you for sharing this Bluetooth Speaker

-- Norman

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