Backstory Introduction Building (assembling) an amp has been in my mind for a couple of years. I’ve done my best to put off the urge, as I really have no reason to build, nor own another amp. I’m a crappy guitar player, have too many guitars and 2 amps already. I have a full-time job, a teenage son, a couple guitar build projects - way too many projects, a wonderful lady-friend, and a dog who wants my attention but doesn’t like my guitar playing. So, after avoiding the inevitable for a long time, and lurking in the shadows here at TDPRI, I finally jumped in the pool. All the builds and support here, along with Rob Robinette’s great website full of more information than I can digest, may be to blame for this endeavor. ( Thank you Rob for all the work you’ve done and great collection of - detail! ) The first step was to determine “what” amp to build. I decided to start in the shallow end of the pool and purchased an 5F1 Champ kit from Boot Hill Amps. Dave at Boot Hill was very responsive and got the kit sent right out. I ripped open the packaging and checked all the components, it appears everything is in there. Then I ordered a Jensen ceramic 8” 4ohm, ordered the Power and Output Transformers from Amp Parts Direct. Next was to order Tubes, which came from TubeDepot. Well packed and reasonably priced it seems. But all these components will need a home in which to reside, what to do? A finished cabinet is ±$200, plus shipping, unfinished cab ±$135 + shipping. Ouch! I decided to make my own cabinet, so I went to Home Depot and Lowes, picked up some Clear (Select) Pine and went to the garage. I haven’t cut box joints in years, I don’t have a dado blade, nor a table saw capable of accepting one. So I opted for the router process. I think it was a good decision in the end. I watched few YT videos about cutting finger/box joints as a refresher - started questioning this entire project, but back to the garage I went. My cabinet build is based off the Dualtone Amps dimensioned drawing, but I added 1/2” to the depth of the cabinet. I jokingly reason this is so my butt will fit on the top of the amp. In reality it is still a really small cabinet and the handle won’t be comfortable enough to sit on. - Here we go! Episode 1 - Building the Champ Combo Cabinet Home from the big box hardware store(s) and ready to make sawdust. Working from the DuelTone cabinet plan, I measured out the lumber, lopped it to length and ripped it to width. I don’t have a big table saw, just a very old but reliable bench saw. It actual fits directly under my bench when not in use. After cutting enough lumber to complete 3 cabinets, I set up my makeshift router table and assembled a jig to help cut box joints. Using a 1/2” spiral up-cut router bit, I stepped through cutting one slot after another. Initial setup took a little time, but once I had the “tooth” spacing set right the cutting went very well. The box joints are snug, but not so tight that glue-up would be a problem. If the joint is too tight, the glue can swell the wood a bit and make life miserable. Even though I have enough clamps for this kind of job, I overbooked myself and the clamps I needed were busy on another task, that figures. So, I grabbed some tie-downs out of my truck and improvised a solution. I probably should have just waited an hour and used my clamps, but I was impatient. The boards and box joints were all cut just a little proud to allow the teeth to protrude just a little when assembled. After the glue dried, I sanded the protruding joints flush. I measured for the chassis control opening, then did my rough cut to remove the excess material followed by a quick template routing to clean up the opening. I had thought about cutting this out before I glued the box together, but decided I should wait until afterwards so I could be more - accurate - ? Maybe on the next one I’ll cut the cavity recess then glue the box together, or I’ll forget to. Next was to cut the front slope of the cabinet by sliding the box through the table saw on the crosscut sled. I did this for the sides, top and bottom pieces to get that magical tilt-back angle - whatever it is - about 1” of difference top to bottom. Worked quite well. Made a little routing template to cutaway a trough, or dado of sorts, for the horizontal speaker baffle mounting strips. Not sure what to call those pieces. After the glue dried, it was time to round-over the exterior edges. I used a 1/2” radius router bit, my portable router tabletop and a 30 gallon trash can as a base. First class equipment! Did a little pre-finish sanding just to convince myself I was nearing the end. With the base cabinet nearly done, I cut the speaker baffle and back panels to size. Followed that by setting up a simple little circle cutting pivot to use with the router. First, find the center point of the speaker opening, drill a small pilot hole at that point, then slide the pilot hole over a pivot pin which is 3.5” from pin center to outside of the router bit. I set the bit slightly deeper than the 1/4” thickness of the baffle material and basically plunged through the material and slowly spun the baffle on the pivot. Perfect cutout. One down, two more to go! Test fit all the panels and then wrapped up the day. Next I'll be attaching the loose parts.