Cedar cabinet for a modern keyboard

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Project by Matt W5MIX posted 04-16-2012 11:22 PM 2995 views 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is one case where woodworking takes a less than ideal situation and makes it better!

So I play organ in a band out of Austin, TX called Deadman. My main rig is a 1965 Hammond organ played through a 1970 Leslie speaker. There is nothing like the sound of that combination. There is, however, nothing like carrying it either. The organ weighs in at 325 pounds, and the Leslie is probably half that. But it sounds so nice that I can’t help but to move it around to gigs in order to play it.

Now we’ve been doing some tours through Europe and renting a Hammond and Leslie while there, but the rental costs have been killing us, plus some clubs are too small, so I needed to find a way to help us out. So I purchased a Nord Electro. It’s a modern keyboard with some decent organ and piano sounds. Not quite like a real Hammond, but it’s an OK substitute for the tour. I wasn’t too happy with the plastic look, so I decided to make a wooden case for it so it would look more like the Hammond.

In order to keep it light (to avoid airline fees) I made it out of cedar, and it really worked out well for that. In it’s flight case, it weighs only 32 pounds—that’s 1/10th weight the Hammond!

Since the Nord Electro is made in Sweden, I’m wondering what the Swedes are going to say when they see I’ve covered it up in this wooden case. Will they like it, or be insulted? They are tough folks, so it’s best to stay on their good side. I guess we will have to see.

Picture 1: The completed case. Finish came out a little heavier than I wanted. Something weird happened with my first coat of poly, I think it was too old or something. Planning to rub it out a bit once it fully cures to dull the shine.

Picture 2: The Nord keyboard partially disassembled.

Picture 3 & 4: Glue up.

Picture 5: Rear view. The light switch controls the speeds (slow and fast) at which the Leslie speaker spins. The switch plate was made out of mahogany. It’s an industrial switch with the spring removed from the inside to make it easier to flick. They hold up really well to the abuse. It probably gets turned on and off 50 times per song.

Picture 6: The 1965 Hammond I usually play.

thanks for looking!

-- Matt in Dripping Springs

5 comments so far

View rmoore's profile


325 posts in 2784 days

#1 posted 04-16-2012 11:46 PM

I like it a lot better than the plastic! Very nice job.

-- The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know. Ron, Crossville Tn

View SuburbanDon's profile


487 posts in 3143 days

#2 posted 04-17-2012 12:15 AM

Looks good. I graduated to the pro motion “leslie” and a hammond xb2. Nice sounding and not too heavy. Now I’m retired.

-- --- Measure twice, mis-cut, start over, repeat ---

View Matt W5MIX's profile

Matt W5MIX

33 posts in 2534 days

#3 posted 04-17-2012 12:52 AM

Hey Don, I would have preferred the Hammond XK3 but the weight was an issue. So in order to avoid fees I went with the Nord. How do you like that Pro Motion?

-- Matt in Dripping Springs

View drbyte's profile


806 posts in 4211 days

#4 posted 04-17-2012 01:07 PM

I worked with a band in WV that carried a Hammond B3 and full size Leslie cabinet for years! Just about broke our backs sometimes. keyboard player had about 5 other electronic keyboards along with it. They were a great band! You did a great job on your casework!!!

-- Dennis, WV

View Scott 's profile


253 posts in 2416 days

#5 posted 04-19-2012 08:16 PM

Great idea!!! Looks so much better.

-- Scott in North Carolina

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