1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Wood for replacement cabinet

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by chingas, May 14, 2006.

  1. While making a "slight modification" to an Ampeg cab(The model name eludes me, but it is a short-run model that has a front 15" and REAR 15" speaker that is supposed to act as a subwoofer), my dad, a professional carpenter with 40+ years of experience,commented on the poor quality of the wood used to construct the cabinet. He has offered to build a copy of the cab with better wood-I would simply remove the guts from the original and place them into the copy.

    My question is what wood should I consider using(as far as sound,weight and durability)? Also, I thought about not applying carpet or vinyl on the finished cab. Is this a bad idea?

    By the way, this is a great forum!
  2. Mike Money

    Mike Money In Memoriam

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    Wood replacement?

    Thats like... impossible. This is like... speaker relocation.

    So its like... a new cabinet.
  3. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Any decent plywood will work functionally. Lots of home builders seem to prefer baltic birch. In terms of finish, someone mentioned black floor paint from Wal Mart for $13 / gallon.
  4. Name Changed

    Name Changed Banned

    Apr 22, 2006
    birch surrounding cabinet with a pine front and back baffle. trust me that is the method to success with basses.
  5. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Yeah, "trust him", he knows about success. :rollno:

    I remember being a teenager and talking like I knew everything . . . the only sign of maturity is realizing and admitting what you don't know . . .
  6. ESP-LTD


    Sep 9, 2001
    I would imagine the sonic differences would be pretty subtle. Ampeg makes a decent box overall.

    If your dad is interested in making you a cab, have him build you something from Billl Fitzmaurices's plans at http://www.billfitzmaurice.com. The drivers for his stuff are not usually that spendy but the construction on some of them requires skill.
  7. paulraphael


    Apr 13, 2006
    If you heard me play, you'd stop reading what I write.
    the guys who make the high end cabs seem to like void free birch or poplar with lots of layers ... 11 or 13 ply.

    Stereo speakers are almost always made with MDF (fancy name for chipboard). it's used in most from the low end up to ones that cost as much as a car. It works because it's dense and damps vibrations really well. It also happens to be cheap. Nice speakers with beautiful wood usually have an MDF structure underneath.

    The trouble with MDF is that it weighs a ton. It's also fragile. Bang one of the edges a couple of times while you're loading in and out and it will start to crumble. It also tends to disintigrate if it gets wet. So instrument speakers use plywood. It's a sonic compromise, but it's lighter and tougher. The 11 and 13 ply void free wood comes a little closer to the damping qualities of MDF.

    If your dad is really going to build this thing for you, maybe you could find out what the super light plywood is that Nick Epifani uses.
  8. Thanks to everyone for the input.
  9. MDF is not chip board, nor is it particle board. It did not turn to oatmeal when I left a test sample out in the rain for a year. After several years of weekly gigging, the unprotected edges of MDF cabinets get rounded over and chipped, but they do not break. Bang your SVT head a few times during load-out, and it won't work at all.

    MDF is heavy as hell because it has the highest density. At 49 pounds per cubic foot, MDF is only 10 pounds heavier than Baltic Birch. Properly braced thin panels of BB works equally as well as unbraced thick panels of MDF.

    Italian Poplar plywood is the current favorite for Accugroove and other makers, and it is lighter than Baltic Birch. Even less weight is Okoume plywood, and composites such as Okoume-faced foam core ply.

    The junk found at Home Depot and others is mostly firewood. Look for at least 5 plies, which you won't find readily available at the home emporiums. Search for a lumber yard that serves cabinet makers.

    You can use very light material, such as 3/8", if properly braced.
  10. Thunder Lizard

    Thunder Lizard

    Dec 7, 2005
    Lethbridge, AB
    Canadian Distributor, Basson Sound Equipment
    I work for a company that produces some pretty dang tight and musical PA cabinets, and our designer absolutely swears by, and I quote "13 ply baltic birch and nothing but" for any kind of low end cabinet.
  11. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    13 ply 3/4" Birch is a favorite of manufacturers because it assembles quickly and requires little bracing, both of which drive up labor costs, and they're not going to have to lug around an 80 pound plus box from gig to gig, you are. When properly braced 5 ply 1/2" spruce works just as well and saves a lot of weight.
  12. I have several sheets of 13-ply Baltic Birch in stock, and I'm somewhat reluctant (a lot reluctant) to use them. I'll probably use them over time as baffle boards, or some other use where heavy is requisite.

    I did a Tuba 24 entirely in 1/2" BB, and am astounded how strong it is from the recommended bracing. So strong, I want to do another Tuba from 3/8" to see how it fares.

    BB is relatively heavy. My T24 and driver finished in Formica, no grille or handles, weighs 81 pounds on the beam balance scale.
  13. paulraphael


    Apr 13, 2006
    If you heard me play, you'd stop reading what I write.
    keep in mind that a lot of high end speaker design is about resonance control, which isn't the same thing as strength.
  14. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    True. Resonance can be easily controlled with bracing, and that does also result in a cabinet that's physically strong. Strength can be achieved with thick, heavy materials, but that doesn't always control resonance. So a non-resonant box will always be strong, but a strong box won't always be non-resonant. Expensive cabs will lean to the former, which carries a high cost of labor, while cheap cabs go for weight, which is the less expensive route.
  15. Tell you what. I'll sell you my Peavey 1820 for $250 shipped, it's made out of MDF that's made from trees harvested during the new moon, which anybody here will tell you is the best time to harvest scrub oak because the sap content of the wood is the most dense. The baffle is made of 24-ply maple. You put that box up against your Ear Candy cabs with the pine baffles and backpanel, and I bet you the 1820 kicks the crap out of your cabs. I'm so confident, if you don't like the cab, I'll give you your money back. Email me your address and I'll send you my PayPal info.
  16. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    Sure, if you want your cab will look like it came from Walmart.

Share This Page