cabinet making skills

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I am a newcomer to diy speaker building and was wondering what cabinet making skills were required . Or can you get by screwing 6 pieces of the correct size mdf and glueing + holes for the baffle ? The loudspeaker cookbook seems to be only on designing speakers, crossovers, enclosure sizes etc. Isn't it better to copy an already proven suitable design with top quality drivers rather than risk experimenting ? I was thinking of taking a woodworking course and just building a good set of boxes for a good kit. What do you guys recommend ? Are there any guides available ?
You can keep it simple or get as complicated as you want. I just have a 5.5" hand held circular saw, a relativly expensive carbide saw blade, inexpensive 1.75HP plunge router with a fairly spendy carbide 0.25" straight bit, drill, tape measure, 4' & 8' metal straight edges, two portable foldup saw horses to cut MDF outside, and various small clamps. Carbide is a must as steel just dulls too fast when cutting MDF. Carbide cuts through MDF like butter.

A nice table saw and the shop building to put it in would be real nice but not necessary to build butt joint glue & screw boxes.

The most important tips I have is to measure twice before every cut and always wear safety glasses.
MDF dust

is a protective face mask, air filter, necessary when cutting MDF???

YES! And get one with replaceable cartridges, not those filter paper and elastic strap jobs as they dont seal or filter well. Should be less than $A20 at one of the large chain hardwares. Whilst you're there get a set of decent safety goggle or glasses too, maybe another $A20.

A day helping a friend cut up MDF without a mask had me coughing my guts up for a fortnight, producing a lot of ugly 'biowaste' that was worse than the worst chest cold I've ever had. Convinced me that the glue and fine timber dust are not healthy. Check the workcover websites too as they will have more definite info on this.

Don't mean to sound like an old woman, but I had a bad work accident when I was 21, that cost me a year and a half off work and much longer to fully recover. Play safe and you can do it for longer.

MDF Dust and carcinogenicity

You can check the MSDS on MDF at any wood products company website to ***** for yourself the carcinogenicity of MDF. PlumCreek Timber will come up first on google. It's the formaldehyde of the urea-formaldehyde resin which is a "potential" carcinogen. Wood dust in general can lead to nasal cancer, so cutting a lot of particle board or plywood should require a mask. Unlike working with methyl-ethyl ketone, fiberglas solvents, or benzene, toluene, xylene etc. it's probably not necessary to use an expensive VOC blocking mask if you don't cut MDF for a living, however.

Interesting sidebar, because of this Kodak and others modified the last step of one of their photofinishing processes to eliminate formaldehyde. Regardless, those of us who want to be sure that the process of setting the dyes in color film goes to conclusion use a 5% solution of formaldehyde after the final rinse.
protos, dont know where you are located but here the high schools offer adult education classes at night and almost all of them off a woodworking class where you can build your own project with the benifit of a instructer there to help you out and teach you the proper saftey procedures.

just a thought

cheers, mike
MDF Dust

I have worked with MDF for over 15 years. The stuff is evil in that the dust particles are very small. The glues/binders in the MDF are from the fromaldehyde family and are not good for you. But here is the point. You are not getting any significant exposure to the toxins by making a set of loudspeakers. Don't worry to much about that. Check your tollerance to dust and if you can take it go ahead and work with it. If you cannot get yourself a dust mask.

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