Allow Me To Get All Norm Abrams-Like

For those of you not familiar with the lovably bearded host of This Old House on PBS, the title of this entry is a reference to him and his handyman skills. It's also a reference to a favorite blog of mine and its most recent entry, dated Nov. 22, 2004. I really wish the woman who writes that blog would write something new in there; I love reading her thoughts.


Basic speaker box construction is a reasonable and rewarding do-it-yourself project for just about any homeowner. All that's needed are a few simple hand tools and a minimum of power equipment.

Basic butt joinery (stop snickering, you in the back) will provide sufficient strength, especially if it's fortified by internal bracing. Start by cutting your panels to size, then verifying the accuracy of your measurements and cuts with a dry fit.

Once everything lines up as it should, apply wood glue to the faces of each joint and assemble your box with nails or screws - preferably square-drive dry-lubricated (quiet, I said) wood screws, #6 or larger, depending on the thickness of the material.

At this point you may encounter a common stumbling block for many amateur speaker builders - cutting the holes for the woofers, tweeters and other drivers. You'll quickly notice that you have many tools at your disposal for making long, straight cuts, and others for making small, round holes, but nothing for making a large round hole in a flat panel. (Pipe *down*, you!)

After several minutes spent staring down at your creation, scratching your head thoughtfully as sawdust rains from your hair, you'll probably come up with a few ideas:

1. "I could, um, trace around the speaker with a pencil, then follow that pattern on the wood with a, uh... really sharp pencil?"

2. "Maybe if I...hm. I could saw cross-cuts through the *diameter* of the proposed hole, *then* chip out the pie-shaped slices of wood with this, ah, hammer."

3. "*Or* I'll drill lots of little holes all around the circumference, working my way around until I have...a wavy, notchy, round-ish ring of semicircles."

4. "What if I just drilled *one* hole, yeah, then got, like, a tiny little saw, and poked the blade down in that hole and sawed around the perimeter that way. That seems like it would work."

It would work. In fact, that's just how you make a large round hole in a wooden box. It takes a compass, a drill and a jigsaw, and all the geometric proficiency the average bass-crazed fifteen-year-old can muster. Once the hole is cut, all that remains is to caulk all the inside seams to make them airtight, install a terminal, and wire up the speaker and screw it into place.

Join us next time, when we discuss the use of a router to countersink our woofers and tweeters flush with the baffle, reducing sound diffraction and enhancing our box's appearance.

(What? What now? "Flush with the baffle?" That's funny? Come *on*!)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

just remember to store your newly aquired 15" JL subs "not" magnet down on the garage floor and leave them there overnight. I hear this is bad for optimum sound generation.