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Walnut Guitar Amp in the Steampunk Vibe

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Project by BenhamDesign posted 06-10-2021 03:19 PM 586 views 1 time favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

If you are interested in seeing how I went about building this steampunk tube guitar amp

I was probably around 20 years old, going to school for music education. The lady that lived in the apartment above me saw me coming and going carrying my saxophone case, and asked if any of my musician friends would be interested in buying her late husband’s guitar and amp. Neither worked and the amp was in pretty bad shape. We struck a deal for $50.00 for both. At the time I had no idea what it would take to get them working, but as a music student, learning the guitar was on the list of things to do, and working construction for my summer job, had me excited about the possibility of building a custom cabinet to move the amp components into. It took me over 20 years to decided what I wanted to do with it, but I finally found the vision and resources to turn it into something special.

The original amp components are a 1950’s era Supro 5w amp with an odd 10″x6″ oval speaker. After doing some research, this speaker size seems to be really rare, and only a handful of Supro amps were made with this speaker. With the rare size speaker, I decided to accent it with a segmented ring to trim it out.

The ring is made of walnut and accented with bands of Paduk wood. The speaker is caged in a custom copper cage where I added a blue patination using various salts and acids. The cabinet is made of walnut and the controls are mounted on a copper plate with a similar patina. To visually tie the speaker cabinet to the control box, I added an oval window to the side and positioned the power indicator light, adding a soft glow. Then I added a similar round window to the side of the control box, all openings are outfitted with a copper grid. Finally, one of my favorite parts was to show off the fact that it was originally a vintage tube guitar amp. I mounted the amplifier tubes on the top of the control box and protected them with rings of copper that had the same patination as the rest of the copper.

-- What I do in and out of the shop at http://www.BrianBenham.com





17 comments so far

View gdaveg's profile

gdaveg

202 posts in 322 days


#1 posted 06-10-2021 03:23 PM

Interesting project. You had the fortitude toehold for 20 years.

-- Dave, Vancouver, WA & Tucson, AZ

View splintergroup's profile (online now)

splintergroup

5294 posts in 2343 days


#2 posted 06-10-2021 03:54 PM

Love the copper work! The entire project does speak steam punk, but still has a classy appearance with the walnut and dark coloring overall.

Exposing the vacuum tubes like that has the bonus effect of letting the interior compartment stay cooler, win-win 8^)

What are you sealing your patinas with?

View BenhamDesign's profile

BenhamDesign

279 posts in 2540 days


#3 posted 06-10-2021 03:56 PM


Interesting project. You had the fortitude toehold for 20 years.

- gdaveg


20 years ago I didn’t have the skills to Pull it off, so I guess it was worth the wait

-- What I do in and out of the shop at http://www.BrianBenham.com

View BenhamDesign's profile

BenhamDesign

279 posts in 2540 days


#4 posted 06-10-2021 03:58 PM


What are you sealing your patinas with?

- splintergroup


Thanks, I sealed the copper with a conversation varnish, high gloss from Sherwin Williams

-- What I do in and out of the shop at http://www.BrianBenham.com

View sras's profile

sras

6175 posts in 4249 days


#5 posted 06-10-2021 06:18 PM

Very cool! The design and build are first rate!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

9009 posts in 3386 days


#6 posted 06-10-2021 06:19 PM

That’s pretty darn cool.

View woodbutcherbynight's profile

woodbutcherbynight

9610 posts in 3529 days


#7 posted 06-10-2021 06:49 PM

Awesome!!!!

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View pottz's profile (online now)

pottz

17585 posts in 2105 days


#8 posted 06-10-2021 07:15 PM

wow over the top again brian,but everything you do is over the top.love all that patina, really makes it interesting.another great vid too.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View BenhamDesign's profile

BenhamDesign

279 posts in 2540 days


#9 posted 06-10-2021 07:32 PM



Exposing the vacuum tubes like that has the bonus effect of letting the interior compartment stay cooler, win-win 8^)

What are you sealing your patinas with?

- splintergroup


Thanks! yes the exposed vacuum tubes were a driving force in the design.

-- What I do in and out of the shop at http://www.BrianBenham.com

View BenhamDesign's profile

BenhamDesign

279 posts in 2540 days


#10 posted 06-10-2021 07:33 PM



wow over the top again brian,but everything you do is over the top.love all that patina, really makes it interesting.another great vid too.

- pottz


Thanks fo continuing to follow along!

-- What I do in and out of the shop at http://www.BrianBenham.com

View Woodstock's profile

Woodstock

265 posts in 4408 days


#11 posted 06-10-2021 11:11 PM

So do the tubes “glow in the dark” as my radio amps do? Nice ambience if they do.

-de Woodstock.

-- I'm not old. Just "well seasoned".

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3864 posts in 4558 days


#12 posted 06-11-2021 12:26 AM

I watched the entire video. Nicely done and nicely described. Cool project. Thanks.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile

wildwoodbybrianjohns

2776 posts in 667 days


#13 posted 06-13-2021 07:35 AM

Thats about the coolest thing I ever saw.

A Master Work, for sure.

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

View BenhamDesign's profile

BenhamDesign

279 posts in 2540 days


#14 posted 06-13-2021 04:43 PM



So do the tubes “glow in the dark” as my radio amps do? Nice ambience if they do.

-de Woodstock.

- Woodstock


it’s an unimpressive glow. If I build another one, I will probably do some research as to what tubes would look and sound the coolest.

-- What I do in and out of the shop at http://www.BrianBenham.com

View BenhamDesign's profile

BenhamDesign

279 posts in 2540 days


#15 posted 06-13-2021 04:43 PM



Thats about the coolest thing I ever saw.

A Master Work, for sure.

- wildwoodbybrianjohns


Thanks man!

-- What I do in and out of the shop at http://www.BrianBenham.com

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