diyAudio (
-   Multi-Way (
-   -   Solid oak speakers??? (

tman204 16th October 2007 04:51 AM

Solid oak speakers???
Hi all!

I'm new to this group, but I hope you can give me some pointers for my next build.

I am building a set of "furniture grade" speakers for my Father-in-law. I have settled on a Vifa 6.5" P17WJ-00 coupled with a Dayton RS28AS-4 in a 2way design. From the simple tools I have used, this should make a nice match crossed at 3.2khz, but here's the question:

I am going to use solid red oak (not veneered) for the speaker construction. The oak is 1" thick. Dimensions will be 16 x 10 x 6.25. Is there anything special I need to consider when using this material? This will be the first build using red oak; all my others have been 3/4" MDF with really good results IMHO. I typically wouldn't go to this expense of using solid oak, but, the wife wants these to "mean something" and the father-in-laws house is all trimmed in red oak. Not to mention his current speakers are Advents from 1973 - so I expect he'll keep them a while. ;)

Any thoughts / comments before I begin my build this weekend?

Thanks much!

planet10 16th October 2007 05:35 AM

It takes a lot of experience and VERY stable wood to successfully build a box out of solid, there a lot of gotchas... if you don't absolutely know what you are doing, it is likely to end up being a disaster.


Foxx510 16th October 2007 10:31 AM

Some hardwoods can be very resonant, so perhaps make them a little larger to allow for some extra damping materials inside. Your other option is MDF with a nice veneer, which would probably be sonically much better and you won't have the risk of cracking which is a very real possibility with hardwoods.

s7horton 16th October 2007 11:48 AM

I've been seriously into woodworking for over 15 years. This is the only place I hear people talking about solid wood cracking. Building boxes or anything else out of hardwood should not cause cracking. I have seen one example of a speaker that cracked. While I don't know the details I'm sure that it is easily explained.

Outside of the DIY speaker builders, I have not heard of other wood workers that have their project crack because they use solid wood. FWIW, my father has been woodworking for 40 years, my grandpa about the same, and I am involved in a wood workers association, so I am exposed to many different projects and designs.

What I can't understand is why everyone in speaker building thinks a box made of solid wood will always crack.

My only advice in using red oak is that you need to be careful with the joints. Unlike mdf, you don't get to "cover up" any of your mistakes with veneer or paint.

MJL21193 16th October 2007 12:43 PM


Originally posted by s7horton

What I can't understand is why everyone in speaker building thinks a box made of solid wood will always crack.

It's not that it will crack, it's that it may crack.
Being a serious woodworker, you have no doubt heard of cross-grain gluing? Furniture projects generally don't need to be sealed, leak proof boxes.

Another point- as solid wood wil expand and contract due to moisture level, it can place a lot of stress on the basket of a large driver, and the fasteners used to attach it.

MJL21193 16th October 2007 12:49 PM

Re: Solid oak speakers???

Originally posted by tman204

I am going to use solid red oak (not veneered) for the speaker construction. The oak is 1" thick. Dimensions will be 16 x 10 x 6.25. Is there anything special I need to consider when using this material?

Safe to use very dry and well seasoned solid for the sides, top and bottom - if the grain is continuous around the box.
Use plywood or MDF or particle board for front and back and just veneer over that.
Good luck.:)

penderaudio 16th October 2007 02:05 PM

I would advise against using Solid wood. If you live in a temparate climate of any kind there will be expansion and contraction of around 3% across the grain. When the solid Oak changes size something has to give and it is usally not the glue joint, it the wood itself. Thus you get cracking. This is the reason why they came up with plywood, Each layer is criss-crossed the other direction keeping the wood stable and from changing size. Wood really only expands width wise not length wise( it does but only 10ths of a %"). Thus the reason for plywood. I'm not saying you can't use hard wood, but if you don't live in the desert It will crack someday.

tman204 16th October 2007 03:24 PM

one more question
Thanks all for the advice - I really appreciate it. I'm lucky enough to have a friend who works at a large specialty furniture shop here in Denver, so I have access to all his super cool wood working tools, so this should be a quality build. A six pack goes a long way! ;)

I plan on biscuit joining all sides and gluing as well. I understand the possibility of cracking, I'll just have to tell my father-in-law to make sure he keeps them oiled (wife is set on the oak....)

As far as undesirable resonance - should I fully stuff these bookshelf speakers to help compensate for the density of the oak? Any other internal damping materials to look at?

Thanks again!

Nordic 16th October 2007 04:01 PM

Although I have only used this method for amplifier construction, you may want to consider a "2-ply" type arrangement. Whereby I made the case from plywood with a 4mm wooden face glued to the plywood so that it becomes one "plank" I used 45 degree mitres to join em at corners and am still most impressed by it.

I hate regular veneers, they are just not durable enough, and the moment a corner is scuffed the illusion is broken. That is why I use this method.... well, mostly becasue i'm too cheap to just buy wood generaly...

But it does give you the expansion resistance of the plywood, with the beauty of solid-wood... Last time I used cedar wood, which is so hard you can get a gloss finish useing 400 grit sandpaper. Realy glad I didn't have to work with thicker pieces.

I received a fresh 2x1m sheet of 4mm thick cherrywood from a friend, two weeks ago, can't wait to think of a project to use them in.

leadbelly 16th October 2007 04:05 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Go for it. The ones are the right are solid oak:

All times are GMT. The time now is 03:55 PM.

Search Engine Optimisation provided by DragonByte SEO (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Resources saved on this page: MySQL 17.65%
vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright ©1999-2020 diyAudio