Retro Radio / bluetooth speaker - 2020 Spring Swap

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Project by EarlS posted 03-27-2020 11:24 AM 1551 views 8 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This year’s spring swap was wide open, build whatever you wanted. My recipient was clieb91.

I’ve wanted to build a vintage radio, art deco, or maybe a tombstone variety. Pictures abound of some amazing examples. About the same time that the swap was getting started I saw an ad from Rockler for a bluetooth speaker and the beginnings of a plan started to coalesce.

The Rockler version was a 3-1/2” box which wasn’t what I wanted. I finally settled on a tombstone style with curved grills to conceal the speaker. As with projects like this, the design evolved as I built it, which is why it took the entire 3 months to build. I’d tinker with bits and pieces until I liked what I had, then I would build that part, look at it for a while, consider what to do next, and repeat.

It measures 6” deep, 7” wide, and 11” or so tall. The case is chestnut, with some nicely figured walnut accent side panels. The grills are also walnut, as is the base, with bloodwood trim. The front panel inlay (you know me, inlay is a must) is bubinga, katalox, maple, and bolivian rosewood.

I finished it with a coat of Watco and 3 coats of spray Minwax semi gloss poly. I had some self inflicted drying problems because I got impatient and didn’t let the Watco dry long enough. A little help from the LJ community and everything turned out.

I had a spare front panel that I made into a cell phone holder to match the speaker.

Of course, I also had a dice mallet laying around (can’t have too many dice mallets) that needed a home so I tossed it into the box to help fill it :+)

As with all swaps, I learned some new things, and I also have some ideas rattling around in my head for an art deco/craftsman style bluetooth speaker for our living room.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

18 comments so far

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

7962 posts in 1744 days

#1 posted 03-27-2020 11:36 AM

Nice little jukebox, Earl! And the matching phone holder is pretty sweet too! And who doesn’t need a dice mallet?

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Keebler1's profile


1641 posts in 869 days

#2 posted 03-27-2020 12:09 PM

Nice job Earl

View mikeacg's profile


1964 posts in 2219 days

#3 posted 03-27-2020 12:45 PM

Whoo Hoo! Great job Earl! I don’t know anything about bluetooth but I finally have a cell phone again (first time in 7 1/2 years as I live in a dead zone) so I guess I’ll be learning…

-- Mike, A Yooper with a drawl,

View oldrivers's profile


2639 posts in 2728 days

#4 posted 03-27-2020 12:54 PM

Amazing, design and workmanship. A beautiful job well done.

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View swirt's profile


6346 posts in 4134 days

#5 posted 03-27-2020 01:17 PM

Very nice. I like the retro look.

-- Galootish log blog,

View HokieKen's profile


18437 posts in 2300 days

#6 posted 03-27-2020 01:38 PM

I dig it Earl. A lot :-) While the BT speaker is cool, I probably just wouldn’t use it (prefer earbuds or silence usually) but the phone stand is a fantastic idea. I’ll be doing one of those with some scraps. It won’t be nearly as nice but us mortal fellas just do what we can.

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View hairy's profile


3276 posts in 4694 days

#7 posted 03-27-2020 01:51 PM

I’ve had an idea to do that banging around in my head for a while, but it was nowhere near as cool as that. NICE!!

-- You can lead a horse to water, but you can't tie his shoes. Blaze Foley

View socrbent's profile


1043 posts in 3431 days

#8 posted 03-27-2020 03:10 PM

So much detail in these 3 small objects. Well done! The Retro Radio/BT Speaker brought back memories of a Philco radio that occupied a shelf above the table in our kitchen when I was young. Remember radio shows like One Mans Family that my mom listened to every day, ‘only the shadow knows’ and the Lone Ranger. Later in its life it spent years in our milking parlor where I heard the Grand Ole Opry and WLW’s dayly broadcast “Down on the Farm” live from the radio stations own farm milking parlor.

-- socrbent Ohio

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile


2835 posts in 709 days

#9 posted 03-27-2020 03:22 PM

Really special build there, Earl. I think most wouldnt even know what it is for, and that adds to the uniqueness. Gonna look real fine sitting atop the appropriate table, mantle, desk, etc,.

-- WWBBJ: It is better to be interesting and wrong, than boring and right.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26455 posts in 4267 days

#10 posted 03-27-2020 05:03 PM

I love it…Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View anthm27's profile


1851 posts in 2272 days

#11 posted 03-27-2020 07:04 PM

Outstanding as usual.
Lovely workmanship.

-- There is no hope for any of us if we keep apologizing for telling the truth.

View recycle1943's profile


5617 posts in 2784 days

#12 posted 03-27-2020 07:21 PM

nice build Earl and such a beautiful combination of lumber

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View bobasaurus's profile


3733 posts in 4346 days

#13 posted 03-27-2020 08:09 PM

That’s really a great idea, nicely done.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View splintergroup's profile


5468 posts in 2384 days

#14 posted 03-27-2020 09:25 PM

All it lacks is the chrome plating on the ribs, awesome re-creation in miniature Earl!

View 489tad's profile


4021 posts in 4173 days

#15 posted 03-27-2020 09:54 PM

What a super swap gift. The speaker is a great idea.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

showing 1 through 15 of 18 comments

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