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Guitar amplifier cabinet

The non-electronic aspects of a project can be quite daunting. I was confident I could build a decent cabinet for my guitar amplifier project but it was still quite a job.

The materials

I went to a local DIY store, selected a sheet of 18mm plywood, took it to the sawing workshop and went home with a pile of boards cut to size. That was the easy part.

Some time ago, I had acquired some vinyl covering material (Tolex), glossy, black snake hide pattern. That would be the material to cover the cabinet. I did some research on the glue to use and found out that many people still recommend old-fashioned rubber cement (“Bisonkit”) for this kind of job. This would be a challenging job: this type of cement requires fast work. The 3/4 l tin of cement cost me more than the Tolex sheet.

I also bought screws and glue and set off.


Making the case

I borrowed a router to make the grooves for the joints between the boards and to make a circular opening in the baffle board. Using white wood glue I glued and screwed together the cabinet and used the baffle board to make the cabinet perpendicular.

      Most woodwork done. Starting to look like a speaker cabinet.

Most woodwork done. Starting to look like a speaker cabinet.

Then I used the router again to round all edges of the cabinet to give a smoother appearance and ease the job of applying the Tolex sheet. I also made a few ventilation holes in the shelf where I was to mount the amplifier chassis. And finally, I used a power jigsaw to cut the window for the control panel.

I sanded the cabinet and looked a the result.

I opened the tin of rubber cement and practiced a bit on the two small back panels. This went well. Then I cut a large piece of Tolex, wetted it with cement, wetted the cabinet and waited till they dried. With some assistance I was able to stick the sheet of Tolex to the case and manoeuvre it round the corners and the control panel window. Not bad. Only thing was the corners. The Tolex sheet wasn't flexible enough to streth it and force it into place, so I had to cut it and piece it together. I will need some corner pieces there.

Finally, I mounted the speaker on the baffle board, I mounted the chassis on its carrier board and tightened the screws. This was a guitar combo, complete but not completely finished yet.

We put it upright, turned on the power and tried it. Sounds quite good.

Almost ready. Still a lot of finishing points.

Copyright © 2014 by Onno's E-page         published 2014-12-01, last updated 2015-11-29