Dtsdig's Curvy Sealed Sub Builds! - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 37 Old 04-10-2017, 06:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Dtsdig's Curvy Sealed Sub Builds!

In March 2013, I officially jumped into this crazy world of DIY speakers and subs by purchasing a pair of SI HT18's, which at the time, were first gen from SI. This pair was to replace the Polk PSW505 that I had bought the year before. After tons of reading and hanging out on HTS, I decided to take the plunge. I've been wanting to document the build here on AVS since HTS doesn't get much traffic these days, so here we go!
Here's my setup before I tore it down in January:


My two curvy cabs have been in use in raw MDF form since the end of 2013 right up until January of this year (2017) when I had to take the boxes out of my livingroom in order to better stage our house for showings since we decided to move. I figured that while my livingroom setup was going to out of commission until we move into our new place, I might as well finally finish the cabs. As some of you may know, a lot has changed for me since 2013 and I have really jumped into wood working, buying tools and equipment and building my skills since then. After much debate, I have decided to turn these subs into up-firing end tables for the new house livingroom system.
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post #2 of 37 Old 04-10-2017, 06:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Starting at the beginning....
In 2013, I did not own a router yet, or a track saw, or a table saw or too much else for woodworking tools. All of my MDF cuts were done with a homemade straight edge jig and a 20 year of Craftsman circular saw. I purchased my Bosch router for this build and had to learn how to use it!

Here's the beginning from around March 2013.
Find a radius using a long swing arm with the router attached:




The track setup with stacks of tempered hardboard to cut for the curved sides:


I traced the edge of the piece that I cut off onto an MDF panel then flipped it and traced it again. Here I am getting ready to rough cut the edges with my jigsaw:


Next, I used that piece as the guide and used a pattern bit to get the same shape on the edge of a piece of 1/2" plywood. Again, flip the piece over and match the opposite edge on the MDF panel. After that, I clamped a second piece of plywood to the first and made another copy for sub #2.




Eventually, I got in a routine and made 4 more copies of this panel out of MDF to use as the baffles for both boxes. The baffles each consist of one layer of 1/2" ply and 2 layers of 3/4" MDF. Additionally, I had to make 4 more of these panels to be used as the backs of the cabs and the braces but with a slightly different width since they would have curved side panels attached to their outside edges whereas the baffles do not.




A stack of stuff:


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post #3 of 37 Old 04-10-2017, 06:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Just for the record, this build stretched out over many months with very sporadic weekends and work nights involved. The duration of it drove me nuts at the time, but life is busy a lot.
Onto the bracing! I decided to go totally overboard with the bracing as many of us do. Part of it was that I wanted it to look cool inside but also, I didn't want to skimp out anywhere on the process. After hours of messing around with methods, I was able to carve out a couple of window braces as a start of the madness. Oh hey, this must have been around the time I purchased the Jasper circle jig!






Next up was to get the basic square portions of the box built. Somewhere along the way, I cut panels for the tops and bottoms of the cabs. Those panels are the only rectangles on the box! LOL, what do I get myself into?
4 Sides:




Bracing design on the fly. I spent a ton of time experimenting and deciding how I wanted to do it.





Sorry for some of the photo quality. 2013 was many iPhones ago!

Figured a way to make another jig to help the process of making a couple of braces fit together like puzzle pieces. Nowadays, dudes have fancy CNC machines for this type of thing!



Getting there!
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post #4 of 37 Old 04-10-2017, 06:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Bracing is done!







Fitting the skeleton together:





At this point, we skip ahead many months again to complete the skeleton for the second box!
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post #5 of 37 Old 04-10-2017, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtsdig View Post
Starting at the beginning....
In 2013, I did not own a router yet, or a track saw, or a table saw or too much else for woodworking tools. All of my MDF cuts were done with a homemade straight edge jig and a 20 year of Craftsman circular saw. I purchased my Bosch router for this build.

Limitations on my work computer are making this thread very hard to add to because of nearly every photo hosting site being blocked. To be continued....
VPN or SSH Tunnel


I'm watching your thread with great interest since I would like to make my next build a curved one. Your speakers look great.

Builds: Maelstrom 21 Ottoman Build, Dual Opposed MFW's x 2, Statements, SEOS-12/TD12M x 5. Home Theater
On-deck: Finalists, The AviaTrix (soundbar), Statement II's, UM18x4
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post #6 of 37 Old 04-10-2017, 04:09 PM
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Love the towers - did you simply adjust the volume for tuning, or did you adjust the port lengths as well? Seems you kept the same number/diameter as the ports that ship with the kit, so just wondering if any other alterations needed to be made. Looking forward to this, since I haven't seen any upfiring table-subs before. Will you have the driver visible (glass top), or hidden under a wood top? If that's the case, why upfiring instead of downfiring?
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post #7 of 37 Old 04-11-2017, 11:11 AM - Thread Starter
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@stopthemadness Thanks! I did not adjust the port lengths, I just built the cabs a bit bigger than the original. I have never specifically measured to see where the tuning came in but all I can tell you is that when I run Audyssey, my AVR wants to set the crossovers at 40Hz for my towers. I generally keep them crossed between 60 and 80.
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post #8 of 37 Old 04-11-2017, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Building the curves! Again, the following steps took huge amounts of time spent experimenting. I attached the first layer of 3/16" hardboard using PL Premium. All other layers were attached with Titebond II. It took massive amounts of force to squeeze everything together in a uniform way, so I got the idea to build up a set of "bones" to apply pressure with.



First layer glued up! This was a royal pain to set up in a short amount of time, but it turned out alright!




First layer squeeze out:


Top view:


From there, it was rinse and repeat rolling on Titebond II on each hardboard layer. I got into the swing of it pretty quickly and the 4 layers flew by in a week or so. It may look like there are gaps between the layers in this photo, but it's just shadows caused by the panels being ever so misaligned.
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post #9 of 37 Old 04-11-2017, 04:31 PM
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I saw this build thread in another forum and just started my own build thread of a similar design based off yours. Thanks for the inspiration.
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post #10 of 37 Old 04-11-2017, 04:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tim.tdnphoto View Post
I saw this build thread in another forum and just started my own build thread of a similar design based off yours. Thanks for the inspiration.
Hey, glad I could help inspire!
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post #11 of 37 Old 04-14-2017, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Time for some trimming! The jig that I built was based on the one that @PassingInterest came up with for this exact operation. It works wonderfully with a variety of bits. In this case, I just used a large straight cutting bit.





More to come....
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post #12 of 37 Old 04-19-2017, 01:03 PM
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These look cool!
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post #13 of 37 Old 09-29-2017, 07:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Here we go again! After another break where we moved to a different town and bought a way bigger house and immediately discovered it was a money pit and are now just getting our heads above water again after 6 months of killing ourselves, I am finishing these subs! Lots of good news with the new house, one thing is that the garage is quite a bit bigger than the one in our last house. This means more room for tools. Also, we are on enough land now that building a pole barn at some point in the future is an actual possibility. One day, I will have a dedicated shop.
Anyway, just before we moved, I made a big push to get the subs veneered with the veneer I had bought like 2 years earlier. The original idea was to have these subs front facing, like they were in my livingroom for the last 3+ years, but for the new house, they will be upfiring end table types. The veneer for the body of the subs is called Ziricote. You should look it up as it is super cool with lots of character. I am also using the rest of the birch veneer that I had from my curvy 1099's and picked up some walnut as well. Always mix your woods!
Just like for my 1099's, I used the traditional contact cement method. It's fast, secure and produces great results. No fooling around with an iron necessary.

The first photos continue progress from 3 years ago where I finished up trimming the curved layers, adding two more layers of 3/4" MDF onto the baffle side and cutting out the woofer hole.
Following that, the subs were put to use in their bare form for a few years until this spring. That's when the veneering process started.
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post #14 of 37 Old 09-29-2017, 07:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Now the excitement started building! Laying out the best patterns to use from the Ziricote and making the cuts was fun. The process went pretty quickly getting Ziricote on 4 sides and birch on what will be the bottoms of the subs. I understand is is completely unnecessary to have the bottoms that no-one will ever see veneered, but I had the stuff and figured, why not!












The Bosch Colt router with the adjustable angle base is sweet for this kind of trim work!


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post #15 of 37 Old 09-29-2017, 08:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Next up was building what will be the table top which will sit above the up-firing sub on some solid walnut dowels. Since I am not equipped turn wood, I bought the dowel from Woodcraft. I also picked up some threaded inserts and half course/half machined threaded rod parts to use with the inserts. As you can see, I used walnut veneer on the top and the bottom side of these panels then used some more birch to make edge banding that goes all the way around.
Just some added detail here, the dowels have threaded rod sticking out of the bottom of them which will screw into the tops of the sub cabs. the other ends of them have been drilled for pocket screws. I painstakingly made sure that each pocket screw hole will be oriented facing the woofer cutout when fully screwed into the sub cabs making it so that you won't be able to see them. I didn't want any hardware going through the table tops and I also needed the tops able to be removed in case something ever happens to a woofer. Once the tops are set down onto the dowels, each one will get a pocket screw. I actually had to cut a Kreg bit shorter so that I'll be able to install them while under the table top. It should be a pretty good challenge. I hope screws are enough to hold the tops secure while things are pounding, but only time will tell.










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Last edited by dtsdig; 10-04-2017 at 06:49 AM.
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post #16 of 37 Old 09-29-2017, 10:13 AM
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I love curved sub builds, and I remember reading yours long ago. That veneer is really interesting, I bet they're going to look amazing all trimmed out.
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post #17 of 37 Old 09-29-2017, 01:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Some more shots of the tops and the edge banding and the general idea of how the new orientation will be. Somewhere along the way, I threw a coat of Duratex on the baffles just figuring I needed something dark and easy to clean around the drivers.








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post #18 of 37 Old 09-29-2017, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
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So when we moved in April, the subs were fully veneered but needed some hours put in towards edge cleanup, a typical part of the veneering process. They sat in my new garage covered with blankets with the top pieces wrapped in bubble wrap until about two weeks ago. I finally put in the time to get the ziricote and birch ready for finish. I had thought about using a product called Waterlox which I used for the butcher block countertops in our previous house, but decided I wanted something less finicky to apply and much less stinky so I opted for a General Finishes product called Arm-R-Seal which is an oil and Urethane topcoat. So far, it has been really nice to use and I'm liking the results! The photos start with the subs sanded and ready for finish.







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Last edited by dtsdig; 10-04-2017 at 08:21 AM.
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post #19 of 37 Old 09-29-2017, 01:41 PM - Thread Starter
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And finally, here's where we are with 3 coats on. The grain is filling in nicely although I don't plan on filling it completely. I like things to still feel like wood when I'm done. It has a subtle sheen which is exactly what I was going for. The ziricote is absolutely stunning in person. I anticipate having the sub boxes fully finished this weekend besides having to re-apply Duratex to the baffles since much of it was lost during the veneering and finishing process. I also plan to start putting some finish on the tops and dowels this weekend. Once all that is done, I have to drill some holes for SpeakOn's since these things originally just had binding posts (that have since been filled in). Hopefully, in a week or so, our new house will have its first taste of a couple of 18's blasting. I hope all the fresh drywall repairs hold up!







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Last edited by dtsdig; 10-04-2017 at 08:25 AM.
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post #20 of 37 Old 09-29-2017, 02:07 PM
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Excellent craftsmanship.
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post #21 of 37 Old 10-01-2017, 06:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks @coolrda
I put the 4th coat of Arm-R-Seal on the subs today. That means tomorrow I can put the rubber feet on and flip them over to get working on repainting the Duratex.
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post #22 of 37 Old 10-02-2017, 12:05 AM
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Very impressive build. You're very talented!

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post #23 of 37 Old 10-04-2017, 06:14 AM - Thread Starter
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I managed to get the feet on and flip them over last night. The weekend didn't go as planned (as usual) so I still need a quick sand on the tops and the dowels then I can start getting some coats of finish on them. I really hope I've got enough Duratex in a box somewhere to redo the baffles.


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Last edited by dtsdig; 10-04-2017 at 08:41 AM.
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post #24 of 37 Old 10-04-2017, 08:53 AM - Thread Starter
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I went back through this morning and reattached a bunch of pics so the thread is consistent. Please let me know if you have any questions about process steps!
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post #25 of 37 Old 10-04-2017, 06:15 PM
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I went back through this morning and reattached a bunch of pics so the thread is consistent. Please let me know if you have any questions about process steps!
That is a beautiful veneer. Nice build. I need to read this whole thread again. Lots of useful info.
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post #26 of 37 Old 10-04-2017, 06:58 PM
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It's scary reading through this thread. It literally mirrors almost my exact process in building my own curved sub, right down to the 2x2's with rope and the angle base for the trim router.

Your's is a truly awesome build, and I have enjoyed reading through it. Can't wait to see them finished and setup in your place.
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post #27 of 37 Old 10-04-2017, 10:35 PM
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I spent most of my day looking at all your photos. That's not creepy right?


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post #28 of 37 Old 10-05-2017, 06:13 AM
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Looks great.

Don't you have a Fein Turbo? All I see in the pics is a Rigid vac.
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post #29 of 37 Old 10-05-2017, 06:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Looks great.

Don't you have a Fein Turbo? All I see in the pics is a Rigid vac.
I do! I bought the new Turbo X AC model in April. It’s an outstanding dust extractor and I’ve used the crap out of it in the new house starting on week 1. It was key to have 2 shop vacs in the house with all that was happening the first couple of months of being in this place.
The only reason you see the Ridgid in the garage is because the Fein is currently on the 4th floor in our master bedroom being used to suck up stink bugs on a daily basis. 🤢
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post #30 of 37 Old 10-05-2017, 07:17 AM
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I do! I bought the new Turbo X AC model in April. It’s an outstanding dust extractor and I’ve used the crap out of it in the new house starting on week 1. It was key to have 2 shop vacs in the house with all that was happening the first couple of months of being in this place.
The only reason you see the Ridgid in the garage is because the Fein is currently on the 4th floor in our master bedroom being used to suck up stink bugs on a daily basis. 🤢
Ouch. Those things are horrible. I have a lot of them here, but not in the house luckily. They are resistant to any bug spray too.
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