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Furniture grade subwoofer cabs possible for novice?

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
I'm gearing up to build four large subs (Ricci's G horns) out of Baltic birch ply wood.

I would really like to stain the BB ply a nice dark amber color, but that means pretty minimal sanding before staining since that outer face of birch is very thin.

I'm also very concerned about the glue or PL ruining the outer layer of Birch. On my last tapped horn build, I flush trimmed the top and bottom of the sub with a router and the glue kind of melted(?) and made a slight mess of the joint.

It's probably a bit ambitious given my inexperience with wood working, but if it doesn't work out, their are other alternative finishes I guess. I think I'll build them sequentially, that way I can learn as I go... only one or two of them will be on display and it's entirely possible to hide them all. It would be nice if one or two of them looked good, as that would give me more placement options.

This time round I bought some good tools to work with. A Ridgid hybrid table saw and a Dewalt tracksaw (like the Festool). I also bought some good quality laser cut blades so hopefully tear out isn't a problem.

Anyway, I love to hear some thoughts the idea. I know ply can be troublesome to stain evenly...
post #2 of 36
I don't think you'll get "furniture" grade finish with BB plywood, stain, and basic tools. With extreme patience you can get a very nice product though. I consider "furniture" grade to be solid wood fills, round overs or chamfers, contrasting woods, pleasing wood grain, perfectly flush lines, etc. That's not easy to do on a G horn eek.gif
post #3 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuxedocivic View Post

I don't think you'll get "furniture" grade finish with BB plywood, stain, and basic tools. With extreme patience you can get a very nice product though. I consider "furniture" grade to be solid wood fills, round overs or chamfers, contrasting woods, pleasing wood grain, perfectly flush lines, etc. That's not easy to do on a G horn eek.gif

Maybe furniture grade, was the wrong term then, as I don't want to use solid wood fills, round overs or chamfers, contrasting woods, pleasing wood grain.

But the "perfectly flush lines" or very close to this would be good. smile.gif
post #4 of 36
Thread Starter 
Well my pile of ply just got delivered and I'm not happy as it's somewhat damaged. I can probably work around it, but should I have to pay full price for this damaged ply?

And on another note, brown Santa just delivered my tracksaw, which was obviously a returned. mad.gif Amazon strikes again... there's even a dog ear book mark in the manual rolleyes.gif

What is it with buying stuff now-a-days. Hell I even had to drill out 4 bolts in my brand new table saw, since they were over tightened from the factory and I had to get in there to align the blade (which should have been done at the factory).


post #5 of 36
this is ply - wood glue - a brad nailer and "wood putty" no reason you could not do something very simiar with a sub. Id like to think this is "funiture grade"

normal minwax stain and high gloss poly

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1452617/full-diy-ht-replacement-seos-tempests-seos-fusion-10s-dayton-18s/100_100#post_23119838
post #6 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sibuna View Post

this is ply - wood glue - a brad nailer and "wood putty" no reason you could not do something very simiar with a sub. Id like to think this is "funiture grade"

normal minwax stain and high gloss poly

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1452617/full-diy-ht-replacement-seos-tempests-seos-fusion-10s-dayton-18s/100_100#post_23119838

Well that's encouraging, those look good!!

I'll probably go with a more amber hue, but the brown looks nice as well. What saw(s) did you just for your project?
post #7 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sibuna View Post

this is ply - wood glue - a brad nailer and "wood putty" no reason you could not do something very simiar with a sub. Id like to think this is "funiture grade"

normal minwax stain and high gloss poly

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1452617/full-diy-ht-replacement-seos-tempests-seos-fusion-10s-dayton-18s/100_100#post_23119838

is it a veneer on the front of it to cover up the plywood lines, or is it like 1x2 solid wood, or how did you get wood grains on the front?
post #8 of 36
these came out pretty good for me. make sure you use a conditioner to avoid blotching.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1446012/the-grizzlies-twin-dual-opposed-stereo-integrity-ht18-subwoofers/100_100#post_23368101
post #9 of 36
Exactly, the plys are covered with wood fills. That is furniture grade, but there's more there than some BB plywood. Covering the ply ends would be hard on a sub. Unless everything is mitred, but that's really tough.

To get flush lines, get a router and a quality flush trim bit. Preferebly with a 1/2" shank. Flush trimming demands and a really solid shank.

I'd be a little annoyed with your plywood and tools. Unfortunately good tools don't come cheap. It's unreal the cost of quality these days. And equally unreal the low cost of low quality. Not saying you bought junk. Just saying getting really solid tools doesn't come easy. I usually buy used and old. My table saw weighs about 350lbs. My 6" jointer weighs about 200lbs. My planer about 100lbs. A lot of steel in them. All fairly old and well used too. As for the plywood, I'd talk to your supplyer. They may not be sympathetic though. As long as there's 3 good sides, they'll tell you to work off those. And if you're sheeting something, then the dents shouldn't matter. The good news is you probably can works off the other side and leave the dents in the cuts. But still a bummer. See what they'll do though if you think it's their fault.
post #10 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by brian6751 View Post

make sure you use a conditioner to avoid blotching.

For sure. I've never worked with birch, but it's really prone to blotch apparently. You must have been really careful with that Brian cause it doesn't look blotchy in your photos. Looks nice.

A clear polyurethane can look really good on it. They sell BB prefinish with clear poly at my local hardware store. Looks really nice actually.
post #11 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by JWagstaff View Post

is it a veneer on the front of it to cover up the plywood lines, or is it like 1x2 solid wood, or how did you get wood grains on the front?

those are pine 1x2s on the front
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve71 View Post

Well that's encouraging, those look good!!

I'll probably go with a more amber hue, but the brown looks nice as well. What saw(s) did you just for your project?

Had a contractor friend help me with it and he has a rip saw that can hold an entire sheet of ply. don't remember the brand
Edited by Sibuna - 7/25/13 at 3:19pm
post #12 of 36
Practice your finishing techniques on some scrap BB. You don't want to discover a bad sealer/stain/finish combo on your final product. High-gloss finishes are not as forgiving as a satin finish so I tend to go with satin poly....

If you are new to woodworking, simple things like the correct (and sharp) sawblade and which side you have up/down when you cut make real differences. Practice, practice, practice...

Get a roll of the blue painters tape and use it cover areas around joints where glue or adhesive might squeeze out.

Good luck!
post #13 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve71 View Post

On my last tapped horn build, I flush trimmed the top and bottom of the sub with a router and the glue kind of melted(?) and made a slight mess of the joint.
That is why you need to remove any excess during glue-up. With PVA it is easy: use a damp cloth or sponge. With PL, use mineral spirits.
Quote:
I know ply can be troublesome to stain evenly...
Well, plywood with rotary cut veneer, anyway. Birch is particularly prone to uneven staining if not conditioned before staining. You can to do a search on staining birch plywood to find out how to do it. FWIW a clear finish on un-stained birch looks pretty good. And some varnishes have a pretty amber hue.
Edited by Colm - 7/25/13 at 11:31pm
post #14 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve71 View Post

Well my pile of ply just got delivered and I'm not happy as it's somewhat damaged. I can probably work around it, but should I have to pay full price for this damaged ply?]
Get used to it. Looks like strap marks, which are fairly common. If you don't want any marks, go to the yard and select individual panels.
post #15 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve71 View Post

I also bought some good quality laser cut blades so hopefully tear out isn't a problem.
Hopefully one of them is designed for plywood and not thin kerf, something like a Freud LU80. An inexpensive steel plywood blade may work as well when new, but will dull more quickly. You may get some tear out either way. You can do a search to find ways to minimize it. A zero clearance insert for your saw would be a good start.
Edited by Colm - 7/25/13 at 11:30pm
post #16 of 36
What is a zero clearance insert? Is this for a table saw or a circular saw? What does this devise do?
post #17 of 36
I believe it's the insert on the table that hugs the blade. If its zero clearance it prevents tear out. You can make one by making a piece of MDF the size of your insert then while the saw is running install it. Be CAREFUL.
post #18 of 36
this is basically how I do it...and the about the safest. And I definitely recommend using a piece of maple over any plywood.

http://woodgears.ca/delta_saw/insert.html

James
post #19 of 36
Wood gears is awesome. He made his own bandsaw and mill. Gotta check out his YouTube videos. I need a bandsaw and thought about buying his plans, but I still think I can find a used one cheaper, but not as big.
post #20 of 36
Yep, excellent WW'er with excellent knowledge, excellent skill, excellent tools and excellent results.

James
Edited by mastermaybe - 7/26/13 at 9:19am
post #21 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martycool007 View Post

What is a zero clearance insert? Is this for a table saw or a circular saw? What does this devise do?
A zero clearance insert replaces the standard throat plate of a table saw. There is no slot in it until you raise the blade through it. The slot then is the exact width of the blade so the material you cut is supported all the way to the blade to minimize tear out. You can buy blanks that will fit popular table saws, or you can make your own as shown above. I make mine out of HDPE.

The "be careful" comment above applies to raising the blade through the insert the first time. The insert needs to be held securely in place as the blade is raised. If it isn't, at best you will have a piece of material flying across the room, at worst you could be injured. One way of securing the insert in place for cutting the slot is to clamp two boards to the table, one on either side of the slot. Don't try to hold it down with your fingers.
Edited by Colm - 7/26/13 at 9:51am
post #22 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brian6751 View Post

these came out pretty good for me. make sure you use a conditioner to avoid blotching.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1446012/the-grizzlies-twin-dual-opposed-stereo-integrity-ht18-subwoofers/100_100#post_23368101

Those look great, good job on the finish! I like how you recessed the binding posts, I did that on my current DIY sub.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tuxedocivic View Post

To get flush lines, get a router and a quality flush trim bit. Preferebly with a 1/2" shank. Flush trimming demands and a really solid shank.

I'd be a little annoyed with your plywood and tools. Unfortunately good tools don't come cheap. It's unreal the cost of quality these days. And equally unreal the low cost of low quality. Not saying you bought junk. Just saying getting really solid tools doesn't come easy. I usually buy used and old. My table saw weighs about 350lbs. My 6" jointer weighs about 200lbs. My planer about 100lbs. A lot of steel in them. All fairly old and well used too. As for the plywood, I'd talk to your supplyer. They may not be sympathetic though. As long as there's 3 good sides, they'll tell you to work off those. And if you're sheeting something, then the dents shouldn't matter. The good news is you probably can works off the other side and leave the dents in the cuts. But still a bummer. See what they'll do though if you think it's their fault.

The lumber yard said they would do something to compensate me for the damaged wood, which is good.

I have a 3hp Hitachi router and 1/2" shank trim bit which did a great job last time I used it. The Dewalt track saw is supposed to be top notch, it's just that Amazon sent me a returned saw - hate that about ordering on line.

Sounds like you have a nice shop set up. Used gear doesn't work really well for me now-a-days since I live in the middle of no where. Costs me $30+ in gas just to go look at something.
The Ridgid table saw is pretty good quality and supposed to be the best option under $700 or so. It's nice and solid at 240lb, but it really needs some out tables to feed big sheets. That's why I bought the track saw.
Edited by steve71 - 7/26/13 at 10:33am
post #23 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mobeer4don View Post

Practice your finishing techniques on some scrap BB. You don't want to discover a bad sealer/stain/finish combo on your final product. High-gloss finishes are not as forgiving as a satin finish so I tend to go with satin poly....

If you are new to woodworking, simple things like the correct (and sharp) sawblade and which side you have up/down when you cut make real differences. Practice, practice, practice...

Get a roll of the blue painters tape and use it cover areas around joints where glue or adhesive might squeeze out.

Good luck!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colm View Post

That is why you need to remove any excess during glue-up. With PVA it is easy: use a damp cloth or sponge. With PL, use mineral spirits.
Well, plywood with rotary cut veneer, anyway. Birch is particularly prone to uneven staining if not conditioned before staining. You can to do a search on staining birch plywood to find out how to do it. FWIW a clear finish on un-stained birch looks pretty good. And some varnishes have a pretty amber hue.

Thanks for the tips guys!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colm View Post

Get used to it. Looks like strap marks, which are fairly common. If you don't want any marks, go to the yard and select individual panels.

They had to order the wood in for me, so no selecting individual sheets.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colm View Post

Hopefully one of them is designed for plywood and not thin kerf, something like a Freud LU80. An inexpensive steel plywood blade may work as well when new, but will dull more quickly. You may get some tear out either way. You can do a search to find ways to minimize it. A zero clearance insert for your saw would be a good start.

For the table saw I bought a freud LU84R011 50T combination blade that states it's "good" for ripping and crosscutting ply.
For the tracksaw I bought a 6.5" freud diablo finish/plywood blade, 40T

I also bought a Diablo finishing blade, 90T for the table saw. Ideal for veneered ply (or so they claim).

All of these blades are unopened and I can return them if need be. I'll probably return the 90T if I get a good result from the 50T. If possible I don't want to be switching blades to cross cut.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuxedocivic View Post

I believe it's the insert on the table that hugs the blade. If its zero clearance it prevents tear out. You can make one by making a piece of MDF the size of your insert then while the saw is running install it. Be CAREFUL.

I'll look into a zero clearance insert. I've watched a few videos on table saw kickback, so I have a healthy respect for the dangers of said tool.
post #24 of 36
Well it sounds like you have a nice setup. I think if you're patient and thoughtful, you'll get a nice result. The ply edges can be dealt with if you're clever. Try and face them down and to the rear. Think about mitering corners that'll show. Mitres aren't easy to get clean though. With birch, consider just a clear finish, or something clear with a bit of toner.
post #25 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuxedocivic View Post

Well it sounds like you have a nice setup. I think if you're patient and thoughtful, you'll get a nice result. The ply edges can be dealt with if you're clever. Try and face them down and to the rear. Think about mitering corners that'll show. Mitres aren't easy to get clean though. With birch, consider just a clear finish, or something clear with a bit of toner.

Mitering seems a little above my skill, I've never done it before. I honestly don't mind the look of ply edges with an amber stain.

I guess I just want to keep my options open with finish/color. I have a whole theater to build and haven't really decided on color themes yet. It may turn out that all 4 sub are hidden. But I want the option to place one or two in the room if need to get a nice even bass response.

I really do like this stain on birch ply though...

(not my pic, I just got it from google images)

post #26 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve71 View Post

For the table saw I bought a freud LU84R011 50T combination blade that states it's "good" for ripping and crosscutting ply.
Combination blades are handy. They work for a variety of cuts, but often at the expense of quality or speed of cut. I use combination blades where quality of cut isn't important. The rest of the time, I use blades designed specifically for what I am doing. I am willing to expend the small amount of time it takes to change a blade from time to time. Saves me time in the long run.
post #27 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve71 View Post

Mitering seems a little above my skill...
Of course it is if you have never done it before. It isn't so hard. You do have to know what to do. And it takes some practice. The key to success is in the setup.

If you don't want to miter, you can use butt joints and still hide the edge ply. You can use veneer or solid edge banding. There are a lot of ways to achieve a nice look.
post #28 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colm View Post

Of course it is if you have never done it before. It isn't so hard. You do have to know what to do. And it takes some practice. The key to success is in the setup.

If you don't want to miter, you can use butt joints and still hide the edge ply. You can use veneer or solid edge banding. There are a lot of ways to achieve a nice look.

I'd have to be pretty confident in my skills to try mitering on (expensive) ply. No doubt it's no too hard once you have it down.

I'll be using simple butt joints using Kreg pocket screws.
post #29 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colm View Post

Combination blades are handy. They work for a variety of cuts, but often at the expense of quality or speed of cut. I use combination blades where quality of cut isn't important. The rest of the time, I use blades designed specifically for what I am doing. I am willing to expend the small amount of time it takes to change a blade from time to time. Saves me time in the long run.

I guess I'll keep that 90T for the table saw then, for any cross cuts. Any suggestions for a good 6.5" cross cut blade for a track saw?
post #30 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve71 View Post

I'd have to be pretty confident in my skills to try mitering on (expensive) ply. No doubt it's no too hard once you have it down.

I'll be using simple butt joints using Kreg pocket screws.

you practice on just mdf or whatever, and once you get the setup right then it's easy.
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