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Tweed Cabinet Build for Me Now

Discussion in 'Shock Brother's DIY Amps' started by Axis29, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Feb 15, 2014
    Maine
    Wow, Axis, that's gorgeous, nice work! I just found this thread and enjoyed reading through it. I'm a lover of old tools and methods too. Nice job on the finger joints, they look excellent. That's going to be one sweet amp!
     
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  2. dunehunter

    dunehunter Tele-Meister Double Platinum Supporter

    Age:
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    Jul 14, 2011
    Larkspur, CO
    LOL.
     
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  3. dunehunter

    dunehunter Tele-Meister Double Platinum Supporter

    Age:
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    Cab looks great, Axis!
     
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  4. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    La Quinta, CA
    Today has been a day of discovery.

    First thing I discovered (after the brace debacle of this morning) was the way they fastened the bracing on the speaker baffle. I pulled the baffle out of the old cabinet and pulled back the old grill cloth to discover that the baffle bracing was the same plywood used for the baffle and that it was 7/8" wide..... And they stuck it on with staples and glue, a lotta staples.

    [​IMG]

    They're t-50 size... My guess is 3/8. I got 5/16. Which won't work.... Off to the store. That's okay, I needed flat black spray paint for the baffle anyway. Instead of the plywood, I used the same poplar I had for the fascia boards. I don't mind a hair stiffer for this application.

    Glues and stapled, flipped it over and traced the old baffle holes.
    [​IMG]

    Did I mention they used a fe staples?

    Also, there wasn't much to go on, but it was enough to give me hole placement.
    [​IMG]

    So, then to figure out what size hole. The cabinet I made before had roughly 10 7/8" holes, but i felt they were a little big. So, I decided to try 10 1/2 and see how it compared.

    How to make the hole? Need a template to make it easier and to do that, I need to make a router compass out of scrap.
    [​IMG]

    Scrap MDF (got a little damp at some point, but somehow it's still flat and relatively solid) and a cut off from the braces and a few short roofing nails. I marked off a center line on the pine scrap, made a mark 2" in for my pivot point, then measured up 5 1/4" and measured back 1/4" (because the bit I am using is 1/4" and I want the outer edge to be at 10 1/2") . Then I drilled a 3/8" hole (because the template collar I have is 3/8 O.D.).

    I nailed my MDF template blank to a scrap piece of plywood to hold all the pieces in place, three nails for the center that would be cutout (and laso holds the pivot point) and four around the outside to hold my eventual template.

    Then, I had to do some minor router surgery (I have six or seven routers now). My corded laminate trimmer (small router) might be at the end of it's run. The collar will not hold buts properly. I found out the hard way as the bit kept slipping deeper! Oy! But, my new cordless laminate trimmer's bases don't have a lip to hold a collar... They're both Ridgid and actually the holes from the old one, lined up perfectly with the new one. Yay for Ridgid!

    Anyway, after that fifteen minute detour, we were back on track. Only to discover I was in a rush and needed to slow down a hair... and I did.
    [​IMG]

    So, the first inner ring was 5 1/4"... form the end of the board, not the 7 1/4" including the 2" tot he picot point. Duh! Thankfully, I slowed down and looked at it and it just didn't look right. Measure a few times, cut a few more. LOL
     
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  5. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    La Quinta, CA
    Next came a comparison to the old holes.
    [​IMG]

    Close enough!

    So, the moment of truth, a couple of clamps, a jigsawing of the main bulk of the holes and Ta Da!

    [​IMG]

    Two notes... Love these Whiteside bits! Expensive, but so worth it! Also, love my 18 volt Ridgid router/trimmer! Great tool.

    Couple of coats of black Painter's Touch flat black and the baffle is ready to dry for today.
    [​IMG]

    One last thing before I go set up for tonight's gig (I gotta do the PA because it's gonna be crazy busy when I head back over all dressed up)

    A little gluein' and clampin and she's ready

    [​IMG]

    well, ready for me to clean up the squeeze out.

    I may not have a lot of time between now and after midnight. So, I figured I'd throw today's progress up. Tomorrow, I am really hoping to do tweed and grill cloth.
     
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  6. dunehunter

    dunehunter Tele-Meister Double Platinum Supporter

    Age:
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    I don't know why I was under the impression that they didn't use bracing on the baffles for these tweeds. But I also wondered if the 1/4" was going to be near stiff enough--particularly on the Bassman. Well, looks like I need to do some work on the table saw again... Good highlight @Axis29 ; I think I probably won't use staples but rather a smaller finish brad (+glue, of course).
     
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  7. dunehunter

    dunehunter Tele-Meister Double Platinum Supporter

    Age:
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    Larkspur, CO
    I love that little battery powered trim router...
     
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  8. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    La Quinta, CA
    Well, I got a bit busy today.... Headed north to the boat shop. Took my cab with me. in between a couple of other jobs, I attacked it!

    First thing I did was work on the baffle. I drilled for speaker studs and installed them.
    [​IMG]

    The, I added a little secret sauce.... I will say, this Baltic Birch Plywood is very hard and stiff. It is a great match for the old stuff! But, I wanted to give it that extra little bit of push. Wood Hardener... Enter about a go-zillion jokes and, well, you get the idea.

    Next came grill cloth.
    [​IMG]

    I did a few things to get the grill cloth nice. First, I went down one gold thread and folded the grill cloth. I hit with an iron on low, low heat to give the edge a nice tight angle and so it would hold it's position. Next up was a little spray adhesive on the baffle itself to give a little tooth to it. But, the real secret was the pneumatic upholstery stapler!!! Oh heck yeah! That made it so easy. One benefit for doing work for a marine upholstery shop! So, then it was finding threads on the other three sides which would give me nice straight lines. I would fold it over, hit with the iron, then stretch it tight as I hit it with the stapler. I put a lotta staples in. No saggy grill cloth for this guy!
     
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  9. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    La Quinta, CA
    It was back to payin' jobs for a few hours, then I tried my hand at tweed.... Then, it was time to pack up and hit heavy traffic on the way home.

    [​IMG]

    First side was on and I was feeling pretty good about things. Until I got home and did a little research I shoulda done earlier in the day.

    Although neat and tidy, this is NOT how to do a corner on a tweed cabinet[​IMG]

    Damn, damn, damn.

    I debated... I debated a good while. Then decided I had to do it over again. So, I set up a work space at home and got to work.

    [​IMG]

    Not perfect, but more accurate.

    Another thing I did incorrectly, or didn't think through, I guess, was cutting out the top and bottom pieces. I didn't think through the whole 10 to 4 thing. I cut the sides correctly, but cut the top and bottom in the same direction... across the width of the bolt of cloth. But, as I had glue on the bottom piece and on the cabinet, I kept trying to get the orientation correct and it wouldn't go. That's when I realized I needed to cut it 90 degrees from the way I had cut the sides. It only makes sense, since the top and bottom run 90 degrees to the sides on the cabinet. But, that escaped me when I was cutting. Boy am I glad I bought extra tweed!

    Then I got busy and forgot to take a lot more pics. But, I got a few...

    I used 3m Spray adhesive. I've read mixed reviews, but I've always had good luck with the stuff in other applications. I didn't feel like buying a glue pot and dealing with hide glue! So, I went the easy rout. I've read that wood glue works well also... But, again, went the expedient, not vintage accurate, rout. Keeping my fingers crossed.

    [​IMG]

    I used painter's tape to keep my lines even and neat. I would start with one of the edges that run along the corners. I would spray a 3 or so inch band along the tape, and a matching band on the tweed. Then, I'd let them tack up about a minute, and set it in place. This gave me a little working time to get it lined up correctly. Then, I'd work my way down the piece of tweed and whichever side I was on. Spraying and letting it get really tacky, about two minutes. Then, tugging as evenly and neatly as I could, I would work my way to the other end. I'd roll out any bumps and smooth it all out as I went.

    For the back panel braces and the fascia boards, I did some clamping.

    [​IMG]

    Spring clamps and cedar shims. That's a party right there!

    At one point, I had a few tools rolling around the work top...
    [​IMG]

    Then, my ADD and OCD kicked in and when I looked up... Bam!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now, the only real reason I got this done today was because my wife was out of town and I came home and obsessed on it till I was done. There are a couple of really tiny details I am not 100% happy with. But, as I told my son, I have a feeling I'll forget all about them in a few days.

    Gonna take the baffle out and take the hardware back off and shoot some clear shellac on it tonight before I call it a day... But, I had to stop for dinner. I may not worry about amber shellac before tomorrow night's gig. But, I will definitely get it done over the weekend. It is WAY too yellooooow! LOL

    Anyway, it's been fun. I actually enjoyed doing the tweed... although I had been really afraid of goofing it up worse than I did. I learned a lot... I've decided I want a dado blade with a higher tooth count. I've decided this probably isn't the last tweed cabinet I do. I'm also shocked at how light my cabinet is. I think it's lighter, with tweed and hardware, than the cut down original. I am sure it's lighter than the plywood cabinet the Twin's been in for the last year. With this behemoth, every ounce counts!

    There are probably a few details I will go over and document a little better than I did. I took a few mental notes along the way that I would like to document and share. Things I wish I had been able to find online before I started this project.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
  10. D'tar

    D'tar Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 11, 2013
    WNY
    Great job @Axis29 , I saw that first corner and knew you werent gonna let that go! Looks fantastic from start to well... almost finished! Congrats and thanks for sharing all the details, you and @dunehunter
     
  11. jsnwhite619

    jsnwhite619 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Age:
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    Sep 10, 2013
    Georgia
    Congratulations! Yeah, the right pine will surprise you on the weight. That radiata pine is great to work with and keeps the weight down. My 5e3 with DR pt comes in at 28-29 pounds.
     
  12. dunehunter

    dunehunter Tele-Meister Double Platinum Supporter

    Age:
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    Jul 14, 2011
    Larkspur, CO
    Geez, Axis...this is impressive as hell. Well done! I hope mine turn out 1/2 that good. I'll be waiting on your "mental notes".
     
  13. dunehunter

    dunehunter Tele-Meister Double Platinum Supporter

    Age:
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    Jul 14, 2011
    Larkspur, CO
    Hey Axis...I really liked the way this stuff seemed to work; stains nice and I like the idea of water clean up. Did you use a particular color or just the normal, uncolored stuff? What's your recommendation?
     
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  14. dunehunter

    dunehunter Tele-Meister Double Platinum Supporter

    Age:
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    Jul 14, 2011
    Larkspur, CO
    I never would have thought of this; you've saved me a huge amount of time and material. Can't thank you enough.
     
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  15. mojz

    mojz Tele-Meister

    100
    May 20, 2016
    cynon
    just caught this thread,lovely build and nice and detailed. will have to read through a few more times before i go for the roundovers on mine
     
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  16. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    La Quinta, CA
    Got a few more pics and a touch more progress...

    I'm sure it will @dunehunter, your patience and attention to detail has been excelent over in your build thread!

    I went with uncolored. I need to pick up some of the other colors and see how well they work. I know if I add dye to the white, uncolored stuff, it gets kinda gray and pastel like. It is very, very hard to get ti colored up right. However, it does take stain, as you mention. It works really nicely with a knife too and dries super fast.

    Okay, so, now another confession... I lied to you fellas. I said I probably wouldn't do any amber shellac... Yup, bald faced lie.

    Take your amp to work day! Loading the new and the old up to take with me to work today.

    [​IMG]

    A slight step up, I guess....

    Throwin' some pieces together...
    [​IMG]

    Stripping the back panel has proven to be an interesting and incredibly frustrating experience. The cheap tolex was installed with really, really good glue! In this pic, you can see the top half (the bottom half is now installed as well). It broke right at the edge of the vent holes. Gonna have to do some serious finagling of clamps to get it back together and solid. But, that's a project for this weekend.

    My son, who works at the upholstery shop full time, was adamant about putting the name plate on. He said it really wasn't finished until that was on. And he wanted it finished before my gig tonight. So, he gently pulled the old nails and plate and reinstalled them for me. He's a good kid and does good work.

    [​IMG]

    And, here she is... Gotta do a little more shellac (to even out the coats a touch), add some lacquer and smooth it out a bit. But, it does look the part.

    [​IMG]

    I did some weight comparisons with my trusty postal scale and the cabinet change shaved 6 lbs. So, now my Twin weighs in at a svelte 54 lbs. One thing that kinda caught me off guard.. The old cabinet is much deeper front to back and puts the handle further from your body as you carry it. With the angle on the front and the generally shallower cabinet, it is easier to carry as well.... Kinda like a belly cut on a Tele.

    Oh, and a comparison shot of un-shellacked versus shellacked tweed (two coats of clear and three decent coats of a pretty light cut of amber shellac)
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    La Quinta, CA
    First brain dump notes:

    • Definitely want a higher tooth count dado blade before the next pine build. My Marples one had some tear out despite a backer board
    • Routing the rabbits for the fascia boards was the way to go
    • Tapering jig worked really well
    • I’m glad I stained the inside and outside of my cabinet
    • Minwax Colonial Maple is the perfect color to match the sanding sealer Fender used back in the day. But, it definitely takes three full coats to make it dark enough. I wish I knew of somebody who made a compatible product that I could spray to seal and stain at the same time. An aerosol can of that stuff would be wonderful!
    • Shoulda put more clear shellac on before going to amber…
    • 3M M77 and M90 are very different. M77 tacks up way faster and actually seems to hold better. Using M90 gave me a little bit of time to reposition stuff if I set the piece before it was completely tacky
    • I wish I had built a form for the glue up to hold the inside of the cabinet to the exact same size as the original. Mine is close, but about 3/32 different in width. It means my original back panel (once glued back together) might be loose
    • I started with Mojotone’s cabinet sizes and they are accurate
    • Pneumatic upholstery stapler makes speaker baffles so much easier
    • There is a rounder on the fascia boards. It is a 3/16 rounder on the 1/4” material. At this time, neither Fender nor Mojo build their cabinets with this detail. To do said roundover, after the cabinet has been constructed take a little bit of engineering, a touch of hand sanding, a nice square clamp and a few clamps
    • The round over on the back panels is only in the vent holes. Also, it is a 1/2” profile, despite the material being only 1/4”. It must be done with a template for the holes with the bit not set all the way down
    • The round over on the cabinet is 1/2” and it is an exact match to the original 1958 contour
    • Router table…. No more hand held routers for things like this cabinet build
    • Doing the round over in two passes worked well. I took JasonWhite’s idea of two different sizes and just lowered/raised the bit. I also was really glad I used the fence, even though the bit has a bearing. Much more stable
    • I love the smell of shellac
    • I'm glad I buy latex gloves by the box at Harbor Freight... Otherwise, my fingers would still be orange from the shellac
    • It was really good to have a real cabinet to take measurements from
    • Although, I wanted something nice, I never imagined I would get so anal about details like dowel placement and baffle screw placement
    • I was surprised by the number of things that seem to have just been done by hand, without regard to exact measurement (things like baffle screw spacing, or even the nameplate, which was off by about 1/4" from left to right). It made it more personal and gave me a weird a connection to whoever worked on my cabinet 60 years ago
    • As much as i was afraid of tweed, I liked it and found it actually easy to work with
    • Doing the corners on the tweed the traditional way is actually easier than cutting 45s, like I did the first time.
    • Razor blades... I keep a stash of Lennox blades with the titanium edge. They are the very best and very sharpest I have found. I went through two cutting the tweed. Probably would have gone through four or five regular ones. I have a folding razor knife (that looks like a pocket knife) and may be the most used tool I own. Only Lennox blades go in it for a reason
    • Sharp scissors even have trouble with Fender's tweed
    • The Tweed from Angela looks really nice, even if it is yellow to start with. Although, the yellow coating makes it just stiff enough to be easy to work with

    I'm sure there's more I'll think of.. But, this post is probably already way too long! LOL
     
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  18. jsnwhite619

    jsnwhite619 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Age:
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    Sep 10, 2013
    Georgia
    The smell of shellac always reminds me of $1 vodka night in my old college bar! Cab looks great, especially for a first time around! As good as it looks, I'm sure it won't be your last one.

    As for the sealer color and stain, I was hoping you wouldn't have any adhesion issues with the minwax -- I think all their stain has a little varnish in it. I always just put a few coats of the amber shellac on the wood inside. It's not as red, but it darkens it up some and seals it.
     
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  19. dunehunter

    dunehunter Tele-Meister Double Platinum Supporter

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    Jul 14, 2011
    Larkspur, CO
    I was wondering about your back panels LOL!

    That is exceptionally kind and I thank you whole-heartedly for your confidence!
     
  20. SngleCoil

    SngleCoil Tele-Holic

    560
    Apr 13, 2010
    Charlotte, NC
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