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Fearful: to build or to buy?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by tfernandez, Apr 2, 2013.

  1. tfernandez

    tfernandez Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    Well I'm close to taking the plunge. My 410 is dying so I figure it is time to look toward a better setup. The decision now is if I should build the box myself, or buy the kit online. I'm no stranger to wood work. My dad and I rebuilt our old house together, I have built stages, and I have a woodshop at my disposal currently.
    I am curious if building the box on my own will have any real cost savings vs just buying the precut kit that I know will be built right. Thoughts from any fearful owners who built or bought a kit?
  2. rpsands


    Jul 6, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    IIRC, Leland charges around 50 bucks for labor on a 15/6 cutkit. Unless you have a rip fence and a table saw it's highly improbable you're going to cut your own wood in less than 2-3 hours.

    You might save a few bucks but I see zero reason to do it honestly.
  3. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    I bought a 15/6 flat pack deluxe kit and pre-assembled crossover from Speaker Hardware. Leland Crooks is the best guy on the face of the earth to deal with. He fabbed up a 3-space rack to integrate onto the top for a very nominal extra charge. I figured I would have saved less than $100 by building a fEARful myself from scratch once I did an honest accounting of what all the incidentals would have cost me - jacks & plate, handles, crossover coils, caps, resistors, etc. The pre-cut slots and biscuits really speed up the process. Not only can you get the best prices on the parts - drivers, hardware, etc. - from Leland, but he takes the risk on bad wood. If you buy a sheet of plywood, you can't be sure it doesn't have voids in bad places unless you pay a lot extra for voidless. Every piece I got from Leland was exactly right. I have all the tools to built one from scratch myself (table saw, jig saw, drills, clamps, etc.), but I probably saved at least 20 hours of lumber and hardware shopping, layout, setup, piece part cutting and fitting by just buying the kit. $100 extra cost to save myself 20 hours of work was worth it for me. And if you ask him, Leland will also set you up with a very nice grill!
  4. MontanaBassDude


    Sep 20, 2011
    Oh, HUGE cost savings. I built my fEARful 15/6... and because it was SUCH a fun project, and such a raving success, I immediately built the matching 15 sub. This was perhaps 18 months ago. I'm really guessing here, but I'd say including the 3015LF and the 18Sound drivers, the crossover components, baltic burch, hardware, gallon of Duratex, and Reliable Hardware speaker grill, I was $650 lighter. Not bad for the last cab I'll ever use.

    The Sub was a little less, since I had Duratex left over, and no 6" midrange to buy.

    But it was a ball -- to the point where I've offered to build other guys' fEARful cab for them for free (just you buy the stuff)! That's how much fun it was.

    Good luck!
  5. MontanaBassDude


    Sep 20, 2011
    Well, seeing the above posts on costs, maybe not such a HUGE savings after all... but it was such a great experience for me to do it myself. A pride thing, too.
  6. MontanaBassDude


    Sep 20, 2011
    I videotaped our gig from this weekend, with my fEARful 15/6 and sub on stage, just blowing out the clean, beautiful bass. I'll be posting that video on Youtube eventually, once I edit it all down to manageable lengths. Makes me even more proud of this bass rig of mine.
  7. rpsands


    Jul 6, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Fun fact: when I built my last cab, I had Leland cut me a baffle and then had the rest cut at the local lumber yard, to save on shipping and so I could get arauco (warps too bad for cutkit use).
  8. singlemalt

    singlemalt Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2007
    White Salmon, WA
    Build it, just because. You have the tools.

    Start with a 12/6 cube with the alpha 6 mid. Biggest bang for the buck and less than one 5x 5 sheet of baltic birch 1/2" ply, which runs me about $35.

    If I had it to do over again, I'd have built a pair of the 12/6 cubes and called it awesome.
  9. tfernandez

    tfernandez Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    I do have a rip fence and table saw. But the arguments for buying seem pretty sound. Perhaps I can build one later on for my upright. I am curious though as this will be a blind test of sound, how is the resale value for fearfuls? I would imagine that it might be difficult to resell in the event I don't like it due to the custom nature of each cab and the lack of ability to say it was built professionally.
  10. mbelue


    Dec 11, 2010
    Doesn't have to be a blind test of sound....
    You live near any of these places?
  11. rpsands


    Jul 6, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    I haven't seen anyone who couldn't get their component cost out of their cab yet, when reselling, as long as they do a solid job. Getting the cutkit from Leland standardizes components and measurements so will probably up the resale.
  12. tfernandez

    tfernandez Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    The map doesn't open properly because I am on my phone, but I do believe there are a few fearful owners in the Orlando area.
  13. paparoof

    paparoof Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2011
    fEARful koolaid drinker
    I cut my own wood cause I already had the marine plywood on hand from a boat project. Bought everything else from Leland and I will echo everyone else's statements about him being great to work with. He definitely deserves our support.

    I think the only reason to cut your own wood is if you want to. I don't think you really save any siginificant money by doing it yourself. If your time is really valuable to you, it's gonna be cheaper in the long run (and less frustrating, and faster) to just buy Leland's flat pack.

    If you're like me and you use projects like these as an excuse to buy more tools and spend more time in the garage/driveway/basement, then definitely cut the wood yourself.
  14. tfernandez

    tfernandez Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    My other thought was that it would be a nice father son project to do together since we are both always busy. Lots of free time over the summer etc.
  15. paparoof

    paparoof Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2011
    fEARful koolaid drinker
  16. Blues Bass 2

    Blues Bass 2 Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2001
    Davenport Iowa
    I built a 15/6/1 and a 15 sub and did all the cuts and assembling myself . My cabs both turned out very well and I did all the cuts with a circular saw and a jig saw , I don't have a table saw . I bought the crossover parts and most speaker components from Leland and it was nice to have the circuit boards to mount the caps, coils and resisters to , my other cab builds I'd assembled the crossovers on a piece of 1/4" plywood .

    There was some satisfaction from doing it all myself but if I did it again I would really want to get one of the cut kits . To me the most stressful and time consuming thing about the whole cab build was cutting the wood and getting every part cut just right . I had way more fun putting the cab together . If you have the patience and time it will save you a little to do your own cutting and you may enjoy it as a project but I'd at least buy the components from Leland for sure . I ended up parting with mine to go another direction but the cabs themselves were just killer , the 15/6/1 kills on about any stage . I got pretty decent money when I did sell or trade them , they are pretty well in demand , I got about what I paid for them .

  17. Corey Y

    Corey Y Guest

    Jun 3, 2010
    If you derive enjoyment from projects and having something you can use would be a nice benefit, build it. Otherwise, I'd just buy it. I wouldn't really do it to save money. Just my experience from building and doing projects for other things unrelated to cabs.
  18. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    DIY isn't about saving money
    It's about building it yourself
    Knowing you control the quality
    Having fun with it

    You can crunch the Theile-Small for days and end up with the same numbers these cabs will give. There is no better use of these drivers. And all the bracing and porting has been figured out for you which can consume days in itself.

    If you want to design something yourself, this will give you experience on all the little details that go into a professional design.
  19. mog416


    Dec 20, 2012
    Built 2 12/6's today. 6 hours so far
  20. tfernandez

    tfernandez Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2010

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