Lumber choice for cab build.

RJW

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I’ve started building cabs For my first build I’ve started a 112 (20x16x9”) with 1/2”MDF. I think next time I need AT LEAST 5/8” but probably thicker. I’m finding that the 1/2” is a small width to glue against or to drill into.

What lumber do you prefer in your build? I’m mainly focused on the thickness and type from a builders standpoint. And maybe what types of joints you prefer. I don’t have a router table yet But maybe in the near future.

Any other tips I may not have considered yet are welcome. I’m sure I’ll have plenty more cab build questions along the way.

Edit: I’m starting with the 112 to figure out the process. I’ll eventually go bigger to a 212 and 412.
 
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Gutch220

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in general, the standard is 3/4" (13-ply) Baltic Birch plywood. you could get away with 5/8" baltic birch though.

glued box joints are best

you can use thinner MDF for the front baffle and back, just be sure to use T-nuts to hold the speakers, not screws into MDF.

If you want a bare wood cabinet, stained, then go with solid hardwood. since you're not a business, price doesn't really matter
 
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South Park

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You can us 1/2 wood just put a strip of wood in the corners on the inside the 5/8 wood is to heavy . You can look at how kitchen cabinets are put together on the corners
 

fitz288

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I am by no means a professional musician, my stuff never leaves the house, and I have no requirements for road worthiness.
For my cab builds, I've used 5/8" ply on a 212 and 1/2" on some 112's & 110's.
I've never used MDF, so I have no tips for construction techniques with that material.
I do my corners with an interior cleat and a 1/4 round on the outside that's the thickness of the ply.
This is easy to do with glue, screws, and a power sander.
For cabs with a face frame, I used 1-1/2 poplar milled to size (router required for 3/4" round-over).
Here's some threads with pics.
DONE: Cabs Build for my Class5H | MarshallForum.com
NAD? MG15 Micro Stack Cabs Build | MarshallForum.com
Origin 212A Cab Build: Done | MarshallForum.com
 

pedecamp

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I’ve started building cabs For my first build I’ve started a 112 (20x16x9”) with 1/2”MDF. I think next time I need AT LEAST 5/8” but probably thicker. I’m finding that the 1/2” is a small width to glue against or to drill into.

What lumber do you prefer in your build? I’m mainly focused on the thickness and type from a builders standpoint. And maybe what types of joints you prefer. I don’t have a router table yet But maybe in the near future.

Any other tips I may not have considered yet are welcome. I’m sure I’ll have plenty more cab build questions along the way.

Edit: I’m starting with the 112 to figure out the process. I’ll eventually go bigger to a 212 and 412.
I use 3/4" birch ply that has at least 9-13 layers, the more layers the better. And use 1/2" MDF for the front and back of the cab to absorb some of the sound waves so the cab doesnt sound boxy. Just glue it and screw it! :yesway:
 

Dogs of Doom

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If you want a woodgrain cab like @Geeze builds, then 3/4" is best thickness. The type of wood is only limited to what's available & your woodworking skills, & tools...

9" seems like a shallow cab. Many woods come in 12" strips, by certain foot lengths x's 3/4".

The front baffle should be plywood. You could use MDF, or other fiberboard, but you want it to be durable. The back can be either ply or fiber as well.

If you are skilled w/ wood & have tools/clamps, etc., you can cobble wood together to make baffles, rather than using sheet board. You'll need to have a decent shop for that.

Easy, is to get some 12" board & make the sides, top & bottom, then use plywood for front/back. You just don't want a board that will develop a rattle, which is why people suggest a voidless wood like baltic birch. Ply's w/ voids, use fillers & the fillers shrink, dry up & rattle loose inside the plys...

Look through a few of Geeze's threads & see what he does.
 

Geeze

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I second the question that @Dogs of Doom asked on the 9" depth. Are you building a closed or open back cab? Marshall did 9" on the early 1936 [closed back] 2x12's and moved to 12" soon after. I've heard two possibilities - stability with a 60 to 70lb amp on top or they sounded like crap. I suspect it was both.

Where are you located?

If you plan to tolex / cover them #2 pine, poplar or BB. If you run thinner than 3/4" you may need to run bracing across the sides to avoid unwanted [think POS car with earthquake level stereo vibrating to bits] resonance. The poplar can be sourced at Lowes - the long sides will need to be ripped square.

The #2 pine and BB you'll need to source at specialty places. Another light weight reasonably priced is African mahogany which can be had in 12" to 16" widths and is generally a 'happy' wood AKA not prone to warp or cup issues. I've made some 1960B 4x12's out of it and like them a lot at any volume.

For figured wood the sky is the $$ limit and how much effort you want to put up with. Cherry, sapelle, maple & walnut are easy to work but can be harder to source and can require planer / drum sander to work to the thickness you need.

Feel free to ask all the questions you need - especially the ones you think are too stupid to ask.

Russ
 

RJW

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If you want a woodgrain cab like @Geeze builds, then 3/4" is best thickness. The type of wood is only limited to what's available & your woodworking skills, & tools...

9" seems like a shallow cab. Many woods come in 12" strips, by certain foot lengths x's 3/4".

The front baffle should be plywood. You could use MDF, or other fiberboard, but you want it to be durable. The back can be either ply or fiber as well.

If you are skilled w/ wood & have tools/clamps, etc., you can cobble wood together to make baffles, rather than using sheet board. You'll need to have a decent shop for that.

Easy, is to get some 12" board & make the sides, top & bottom, then use plywood for front/back. You just don't want a board that will develop a rattle, which is why people suggest a voidless wood like baltic birch. Ply's w/ voids, use fillers & the fillers shrink, dry up & rattle loose inside the plys...

Look through a few of Geeze's threads & see what he does.
I’m finding 9” is very shallow but not too shallow. The speaker is less than 6 inches deep. The plan was actually 10.5 but I had a few perfect 9” wide strips available.
 

RJW

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I second the question that @Dogs of Doom asked on the 9" depth. Are you building a closed or open back cab? Marshall did 9" on the early 1936 [closed back] 2x12's and moved to 12" soon after. I've heard two possibilities - stability with a 60 to 70lb amp on top or they sounded like crap. I suspect it was both.

Where are you located?

If you plan to tolex / cover them #2 pine, poplar or BB. If you run thinner than 3/4" you may need to run bracing across the sides to avoid unwanted [think POS car with earthquake level stereo vibrating to bits] resonance. The poplar can be sourced at Lowes - the long sides will need to be ripped square.

The #2 pine and BB you'll need to source at specialty places. Another light weight reasonably priced is African mahogany which can be had in 12" to 16" widths and is generally a 'happy' wood AKA not prone to warp or cup issues. I've made some 1960B 4x12's out of it and like them a lot at any volume.

For figured wood the sky is the $$ limit and how much effort you want to put up with. Cherry, sapelle, maple & walnut are easy to work but can be harder to source and can require planer / drum sander to work to the thickness you need.

Feel free to ask all the questions you need - especially the ones you think are too stupid to ask.

Russ

The plan on paper was 10.5” deep but I abandoned that bc I had few perfect 9” strips cut already. The plan is also closed back.

I’m basing most of it off of an old Ibanez combo amp I converted to cab. Except it will be wider rather than taller.

I had planned on tolex but if it’s problematic w MDF I’ll skip that part and do it next time with better lumber.
 

fitz288

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The plan on paper was 10.5” deep but I abandoned that bc I had few perfect 9” strips cut already. The plan is also closed back.

I’m basing most of it off of an old Ibanez combo amp I converted to cab. Except it will be wider rather than taller.

I had planned on tolex but if it’s problematic w MDF I’ll skip that part and do it next time with better lumber.
Cab volume is more of a factor with the depth than the clearance for a speaker to fit.
Part of the reason combos and smaller cabs are open / semi-open back.
Since you're building it, you can experiment with what sounds best.
Tolex on MDF is not a problem, Marshall does it all the time.
 

Matthews Guitars

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MDF is great for cabinets that will not see road usage or used outside in the rain. It's the affordable material of choice for stereo speakers, even fairly high end ones. It's good if you don't want the cabinet's own sound coloring the total sound.

For guitar work, I only recommend plywood. Void free Baltic Birch when possible. It's available in metric thicknesses, most often. 13mm, 15mm, and 17mm, or 1/2", 5/8", and 3/4" equivalent.

Very interestingly, in recent months, at least in the USA, the price of all common types of plywood absolutely soared. But not the price of slow selling stuff that was for special premium projects.

Because of that, I got premium void free maple plywood for LESS than the cost of the cheapest exterior grade 1/2" plywood you could get!

How often do you see that the PREMIUM option is also the CHEAPEST option?
 

Tatzmann

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MDF or similar sawdustcrap has as much
business in my cabinetworld as plywood
has in my guitarworld, namely fckn none.
 

Geeze

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The plan on paper was 10.5” deep but I abandoned that bc I had few perfect 9” strips cut already. The plan is also closed back.

One thing that has stuck with me from a HiFi tube & speaker manual on cab size it seems you can build them too small and too large but that there is a wide space in between the two extremes.

Post your progress!

Russ
 

Matthews Guitars

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I love cabinets that are 14 inches deep from front to back. Every time I find a cabinet that has the low end punch that makes me grin, it's 14 inches deep. To me that is the sweet spot.
 

RJW

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Cab volume is more of a factor with the depth than the clearance for a speaker to fit.
Part of the reason combos and smaller cabs are open / semi-open back.
Since you're building it, you can experiment with what sounds best.
Tolex on MDF is not a problem, Marshall does it all the time.

since this is my first attempt, it’s really to see what works best in my shop. I should mention I plan on making a bunch of different cabs since I already bought plenty of parts, tools, hardware, tolex, grill cloth, etc.
I love cabinets that are 14 inches deep from front to back. Every time I find a cabinet that has the low end punch that makes me grin, it's 14 inches deep. To me that is the sweet spot.

I’ll consider that next build. It would certainly be easier to get a drill or screwdriver inside a deeper cab
 

RJW

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One thing that has stuck with me from a HiFi tube & speaker manual on cab size it seems you can build them too small and too large but that there is a wide space in between the two extremes.

Post your progress!

Russ

I’ll add some pics when I have more than a pile of woodpieces. Maybe when in starts to look like a box lol. I had to move everything inside my house due to the weather
 


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