|Project by TWegs||posted 09-19-2016 12:18 PM||1399 views||6 times favorited||9 comments|
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.