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designing and building with wood channels my creativity and challenges my mind.
This blog is a record of my life in my studio.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

DIY Open Baffle Speaker Project

Readers of this blog may remember a project I began a few months ago: my first loudspeaker.  Progress has been slow; as a personal project I have to fit in the work when I don't have anything better to do.  But my first pair of speakers is almost finished, and the project represents more than one "first" for me:

Lacquer: one tough cookie
My open baffle speakers use one Fostex FE207E 8" full-range driver in each tower, and are made from purple heart and curly maple.  Since I used such nice lumber for the project, I wanted to finish the baffles in the glossiest, deepest finish possible.  And that means good ole lacquer: the smelly, flammable, brain cell - killing gloss finish of yesteryear.  Lacquer is fast-drying, thick, and volatile, making its application a challenge.  But the result - a glossy, rich finish - is impossible to replicate.  I brushed on four coats of lacquer before rubbing it out.  But before I rubbed it out, I had to wait a full ten days after the last coat.  That's ten days after the lacquer was hard to the touch.  But lacquer isn't fully hardened until at least seven days after application, and a gloss finish isn't possible until full hardness is reached.

Compound Cuts:
Cutting compound angles in wood is famously difficult for woodworkers, who, for all the geometry involved in woodworking, don't generally think of themselves as math whizzes.  I'm no different.  But that didn't stop me from trying to fashion tetrahedral supports for my speakers.  I made the cuts with a Festool TS 75 plunge cut saw and guide rail, and the results were - ahem - acceptable.

These speakers are my first attempt at including wiring and electric motors into a furniture project.

I'm still perfecting these speakers, but they are coming along nicely, and should be ready for a listen in just over a week from now.

Wish me luck!

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