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Old 5th December 2010, 02:05 AM   #11
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The problem with any solid wood, even the more stable oaks, is how to join the panels. As much as possible, avoid joining end grain to cross grain. But no matter how you orient the wood, a rectangle will always have 4 such joints. These joints in particular need extra surface area. The time and trouble needed here, along with the high probability that a panel will crack anyway, is the best argument for more homogeneous materials like baltic birch or various fiberboards. If your design allows those end->cross grain joints to float - ie. no glue joint - then you have many fewer worries with the solid wood.

Best of luck,

Frank in Mpls.
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Old 5th December 2010, 03:44 AM   #12
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Best material IMO- solid surface ie corian, himacs and other cheaper readily available by the sheet versions. All can be seamlessly glued and machined fairly easily and it has the best acoustic properties of any material I know.
We've played with that stuff and did not come to the same conslusion.

dave
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Old 5th December 2010, 05:57 AM   #13
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Dave, what was that old song by Crosby Stills Nash Young - "Love the one youre with". What you know works fine for one box can be a pain in the *** for anything just a tad bigger or smaller. Generally these plastic materials are nice for anything with a lot of braces or for subwoofers - large unsupported panels in a box that is to go fullrange...no.
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Old 5th December 2010, 02:44 PM   #14
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I can't help thinking that there is a reason they make instruments like electric guitars and basses from solid wood and that that reason is exactly the same why they do not make speaker cabs from solid.
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Old 5th December 2010, 03:33 PM   #15
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I can't help thinking that there is a reason they make instruments like electric guitars and basses from solid wood and that that reason is exactly the same why they do not make speaker cabs from solid.
Of course and it is very simple. The vibrations of the wood are playing very important and often dominant role in the final sound of the instrument, and that is exactly the oposite from what we are trying to achieve in loudspeaker enclosure, where we want the drivers to be the only sources of sound.

Last edited by Adam Bernau; 5th December 2010 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 5th December 2010, 04:01 PM   #16
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Old 5th December 2010, 04:19 PM   #17
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My bad !
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Old 5th December 2010, 04:37 PM   #18
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I did but may be the OP did not.
So all is well and nothing wasted!
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Old 5th December 2010, 04:53 PM   #19
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The trouble with wood is inconsistency, and the bigger the speaker the greater the problems. Birch ply and MDF at least tend to be consistent. They're more inert than live wood. If you want to show off your hand skills, put the effort into precision and veneering.

w
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Old 5th December 2010, 04:59 PM   #20
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Default birch plywood, void free plywood

Baltic birch plywood sounds better to me than MDF and the sawdust is more pleasant to deal with than MDF.
If you make your entire speaker with it you don't have to worry about it cracking later.

Of the 30 or so speaker builders I know, only about 20% use plywood. The rest use MDF.

As francolargo and planet10 have pointed out, solid wood moves. When it was alive, the wood grew along its growth rings and that's the way it wants to grow and contract with humidity and temperature.

You will always be creating stress in a sealed box because you will have 4 joints where you are crossing the grain of the wood.

Butcher block construction would probably be ideal. As the width of a solid piece of wood increases so does the chances of cracking. Glue many 2" wide pieces of wood together and the glue joints in between the wood will give a little bit and reduce the chance of cracks.

One compromise would be to just use solid wood on the front and back of the speaker. If the solid wood is on the outside of veneered plywood it can be used to cover the exposed plywood edges. A little roundover on the edges of the solid wood will look nice.

The only speaker I've built recently out of solid wood was a guitar cabinet which I fully expect will crack at some point. When it does (and it will) I will seal it from behind with wood glue to prevent whistling.

A good job of applying veneer and your speaker will look like it was made of solid wood and not have any of the cracking problems. The best use of effort will be in testing stains, lacquer, shellac on your veneer of choice.

Last edited by Daveis; 5th December 2010 at 05:05 PM.
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