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Old 4th December 2010, 08:06 PM   #1
Boscoe is offline Boscoe  United Kingdom
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Default What is the best wood for speaker enclosures?

I saw a thread a while ago about how good MDF is but what I want to know is what would the best timber for making speakers is but is readily avalible in the UK?

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Old 4th December 2010, 08:09 PM   #2
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Birch ply I guess.
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Old 4th December 2010, 08:25 PM   #3
Boscoe is offline Boscoe  United Kingdom
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I was actually thinking of real wood!
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Old 4th December 2010, 08:30 PM   #4
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I prefer plywood as it is fairly light.
It is also very strong.

As a mobile DJ I want something that wont go soggy when wet so I cant use chipboard.
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Old 4th December 2010, 08:33 PM   #5
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If you don't want to use MDF, then I would suggest Baltic Birch plywood.

Using wood (not a man-made version of wood), is tricky because of wood movement and expansion, due to humidity and temp. fluctuations.

If you're really wanting to use real wood, I would suggest white oak, as it tends to 'move' less than most woods. But the density of Hard Maple would be good too (you would just have to plan for more movement).

Either way, if you choose to use wood, to make the large panels/pieces; I would tongue & groove narrower pieces of stock, flipping the boards end to end, for every other piece in the panel (this will minimize any wood movement.

Good luck!
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Old 4th December 2010, 09:13 PM   #6
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If you don't wantvto use a man-made substrate, such as MDF or Baltic Birch ply... Then you need to know your woods. Simply put, wood 'moves' with humidity/temperature fluctuations - which is not good for subwoofer designs.

However, White Oak and Japanese White Oak tend to 'move' the least. They're not as dense as a hard Maple, but I believe, better suited.

Instead of looking for wide pieces for your enclosure sides (panels), you would be better off making your panels like this... Tongue & Groove narrower pieces of stock, flipping pieces end to end ( making sure the end-grain is moving in the opposite direction of adjoining pieces of the panel). This will minimize movement.

The other thing to do for sure, is to finish the inside of the enclosure exactly how you plan on finishing the outside. This will make sure that both sides of the wood react with moisture in the air equally, again minimizing movement. Plus finishing the inside of the cabinet with a varnish or lacquer will make the wood more 'acoustically dense'

Good luck!
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Old 4th December 2010, 09:26 PM   #7
Boscoe is offline Boscoe  United Kingdom
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Okay thanks I was thinking of oak i just got to find somewhere to buy it!
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Old 5th December 2010, 12:20 AM   #8
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MDF, IMHO, is not a good material. Solid wood can be very good, but very tricky to keep together, if you are going to use it a butcher block is much less likely to give you problems

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Old 5th December 2010, 12:41 AM   #9
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Baltic Birch plywood is a safer bet over time, and probably performs better acoustically than most solid woods in speaker cabinets. I think you will also find the cost a bit prohibitive.
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Old 5th December 2010, 01:55 AM   #10
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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. Its not that expensive nowadays, especially if you buy a non-brand solid surface.
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