Mahogany speaker cabinet

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Project by wing1319 posted 04-05-2016 01:25 PM 1596 views 3 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made this 2×12 speaker cabinet (two 12” speakers) for my new Laney amp head over January and February of this year. It started when I saw the prices for store bought cabs. They’re basically only boxes with two holes cut into the front (called the baffle) that the speakers are mounted to. The rest is just aesthetics.

I had a nice piece of sapele mahogany for the case that I dovetailed together. Speaker cabs are usually made out of pine or birch ply covered with a leather-like material called Tolex. I knew the mahogany was going to make it heavy (it did), but I also knew that I wasn’t going to be traveling with it so why not have it look nice? Just to make it even more visually appealing, I added a 4” fascia across the front. I decided to veneer it. Problem: I had never veneered before. Joe at Veneer Supplies ( was a big help. That’s where I got my veneer from. I picked out a really cool maple burl. Unfortunately, maple burls are among the most difficult to flatten. 240lbs wasn’t enough weight to flatten it, not even close. So I decided to vacuum press it (the recommended technique). Not wanting or needing to invest in a pump system, I heard of a company that makes bags and manual pumps for building skateboards ( Worked like an absolute champ. For those of you that haven’t tried veneering or vacuum pressing, both turned out to be quite easy and a lot of fun. Definitely give it a shot.

The baffle is just ½” ply screwed to cleats inside the cabinet. Some speaker cloth covers the front and piping (a pain in the ass) is stapled around the edge. I left it as an open back cab. As usual for me, the finish took the most time and was the most difficult and tedious part of the project. I debated about filling the pores of the mahogany but, in the end, I just left them open. The finish went like this: Amber water based dye, washcoat of shellac, dark brown stain, 4-5 coats shellac (to somewhat fill the pores), and 5 coats of gloss poly. I was going to wax it too, but I didn’t know how the wax would react with a hot amp head sitting on top of it.

As for how it sounds? Stunning. One of the reasons I went for the Laney amp head is that it can be set to 5 watts or down to just half a watt. At that setting, I can get the tubes cooking nicely for a full, smooth crunch. Thanks for checking it out and let me know if you have any questions or if I left anything out.


3 comments so far

View Woodknack's profile


13543 posts in 3355 days

#1 posted 04-06-2016 02:02 AM

That is a handsome speaker box. Nicely done.

-- Rick M,

View GAwoodworker's profile


37 posts in 1743 days

#2 posted 04-18-2016 08:10 PM

That looks incredible Mike! I’ve been working on a Matchless DC-30 clone for a little while now and you just gave me some new ideas for the cabinet! How do you like the Warehouse speakers in the cab? I’ve hear good things about them.

View wing1319's profile


7 posts in 3108 days

#3 posted 04-19-2016 12:56 PM

That looks incredible Mike! I ve been working on a Matchless DC-30 clone for a little while now and you just gave me some new ideas for the cabinet! How do you like the Warehouse speakers in the cab? I ve hear good things about them.

- GAwoodworker

Thanks, GA. Tough to say about the speakers themselves. I’m going from a 1×8 Fender Mustang combo to a tube driven 2×12. A huge (but awesome!) difference. Unfortunately, I can’t say how the Warehouses stack up against other speakers. I simply lack a basis for comparison. They sound great, though. The models I got were the ET65 and the Veteran 30, much less expensive than the Celestions they are based on. They seem to compliment each other nicely. I put the ET65 on the left so it would be on the bottom if I tipped it up to a vertical 2×12. I haven’t had the guts to screw the feet into the side of the cab yet though.


BTW- the Spitfire is on my ‘gonna get it one day’ list!

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