Hello I'm very new to woodworking but I want to build a speaker cabinet for my guitar amp. I'm looking for a wood that will resist sound vibration but be able to produce a warm tone, and have a nice grain pattern to show off. Please tell me if you have any suggestions that may help. Thanks -Alex
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Marc is right--though I've also seen MDF used. If you can get a look at some amp or speaker cabinets, below the covering, that's likely what you'd find---it's got a neutral resonance in that there are no voids or grain variations to deal with.
But, if this is something you're going to be moving around a lot, you might have to go beyond the glue blocks to something very strong/durable.
I'm going to be building a speaker cabinet for a bass guitar soon, and was looking at information on the best size, and porting/venting or a sealed enclosure and stuff like that. I ran across a couple of website's that you can apply to a guitar cabinet as well. Have a gander at them - maybe you'll run across some useful info in terms of designing the cabinet as well as wood preference.
As stated previously Particle Board is the standard for guitar and bass speaker cabinets. MDF is the choice of HiFi speaker builders. You might consider building a box out of mdf and then a sort of shell of plywood. This way you would get the density and ridgitity (sp?) of MDF and the physical strength of plywood.
Also check out www.diyaudio.com. They have a whole forum dedicated to speaker building. Most of the people there are into building speakers for stereo and home theater but there is still a lot to be learned by lurking and maybe even asking a question or two.
If I were you I would go for a ported design and put the port in the front. You get higher spl in the bass frequencies and if you put the port facing front you shouldn't even get much delay between the speaker and the port. But I digress before the wood guys get angry at me for talking about electronics too much, : ).
If you want your cabinet to be road worthy and to weigh a reasonable amount then use baltic birch plywood and use finger joints for the corners. Here's an excerpt from some JBL documentation available online at http://www.jblpro.com/pages/tech_lib.htm
Dense material such as void-free "marine-grade" plywood, Finnish or Baltic birch type, 19 mm (3/4 inch) or even thicker plywood is recommended where enclosures will be transported frequently, while high-density fiber or particle board (not chip board) can be used for permanently installed use.
Comers and Edges
Comers must be strong and air tight and should not have any air leaks or openings. Glued joints should be properly filled with glue that will not crack under high stress or impact. If the integrity of the glue seal can't be determined, hot glue or caulking should be used to seal all seams. If butt-joint cabinet edges are used, care should be taken to apply cleats inside the comer edges to pull the edges tight with wood screws, assuring airtight comers and edge joints.
The goal of cabinet bracing is to make the cabinet as rigid and resonance-free as possible. Bracing made of 2x4ís or 75mm (3-inch) pieces of the (birch) ply should be applied inside the cabinet. The braces should be placed at slightly odd intervals on the panels and liberally glued and screwed down on edge. The glue on the braces accomplishes all the stiffening needed so be careful to apply enough glue. Use one piece of bracing on panels between 300 mm and 600 mm (12" to 24"), two pieces on panels between 500 mm and 1200 mm (18" to 36"), and three pieces on larger panels. The baffle cutout disc that is normally discarded can be glued and screwed down to one of the box panels for additional stiffening.
Ducts enlarge vent area, avoiding whistling and power compression. Ducts can be made of any rigid material such as the cardboard tubing discarded by carpet stores. Ducts can be round, square or rectangular, it makes no difference in the performance of the duct, but the cardboard tube is best because it's cheap and easy and 102 mm (4 inch) I.D. is nearly always available. If you can't find 203 mm (8 inch) tube, use four pieces of 102 mm (4 inch) tube to substitute for each larger tube. Duct length does not change when vent opening area remains constant, unless .too many smaller tubes are substituted i.e. six or eight to replace one or two. In the latter case, you may need
to trim some length off to obtain the original tubing frequency.
If you're looking to go cheap MDF would definitely work, but in experience staying away from MDF if at all possible is the best way to go. A good birch ply would be the next option and offers the same tonal characteristics as MDF, however it's hardwood so it would hold screws better and you won't have to worry about anchors.
Of course the best way to go would be solid wood. Find a dense solid wood and build your own sheets. I have a speaker cabinet business and we do exotic wood cabs. The first one a built was a solid black walnut cabinet. The wood grain is unbelievable and since it's solid it does not have a lot of resonance.
Speaker positioning is crucial as well. Front loading the speakers, I have found, is optimal for the best sound projection. The sound will not bound around as much inside the cabinet.
Also, using a sealant, such as silicone, to seal any gaps or holes will help limit air flow and resonance.
It can be done, it just depends on cost and time. Plywood is easy to slap together, but it sounds like you want something to show off. Box joints or dove-tailed ends really pop! Solid woods work well too. Let me know if you need any more tips.