Anybody ever used Cedar for a Speaker Cab?

Axis29

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So, thinking about building a lightweight cab for one of my amps.

I have a piece of clear vertical grain cedar sitting in the shop (it was one pricey piece of wood when I bought it for a client... Who ended up not using it). It's so pretty, I probably won't use it for something I'd cover with tweed. Plus, cedar tends to be kinda soft.

As pricey, and pretty as this piece of wood is, I am having serious doubts about using it for this purpose. But, I may go pick up some less attractive (and maybe >$$) piece at the lumber supplier next week.

I dunno, anyone ever used cedar for an amp cab? Anyone think it's a terrible idea?
 

PhredE

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I almost did a few years ago. I was contemplating details of a smaller box, and was in a toss up between a nice old cedar board I had on hand vs. the standard pine boards from the local big box store. In the end, I stuck with the pine -- cheaper, more generic, easier to replace and I wouldn't feel so bad if I put a lot of work into a box and have it get dinged beyond recognition.

With cedar it will be : very light and get dinged super easy -- so factor that in for sure. I have never done it, but there's no reason it shouldn't work really well.

Edit: Forgot to say.. the one big deterrent to me was in considering screws/pilot holes/etc. As far as attaching pieces together, I'd be more likely to want to glue most of the pieces (cleats+baffle might be the only exception). With the box itself, I'd probably just stick with good solid glue joints. Since the glue bonds at least as strong as the wood itself, that should still work just fine. I love cedar. My best guitar has a cedar top. :)
 
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Resojazznblues

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I would think the cedar would sound great. Especially built to be open or closed back for more tonal options. However, there is a reason cedar is used in fine furniture making and pine and ply are used for speaker cabs.
Besides the cedar being more attractive visually, it is much softer and less resistant to climate/weather change than pine or ply. I think it is a good idea sound wise though. And it would look killer.
 

screefer

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IMG_0904.JPG


Not a cab but a 5F2A.
I used it because I live in Cedar country and the amp will not be schepped (bedroom picker)
I have a little mill and made the boards. The store bought price is high. You've got the piece already tho....
It is very soft and go slow with the round over bit. Yellow Cedar handle and fascia.
Very light!
Three coats of linseed oil as per JWhite.
 

Obsessed

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Before jumping into this endeavor as beautiful as I can imagine it, you might want to pm @muchxs for his input … if he is still around.
 

King Fan

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FWIW Gibson famously built cabs of redwood in the 50’s — which must share some weight, hardness, and resonance qualities with cedar. How thick is yours? I didn’t measure the Gibby I worked on but it seemed *not thick*. It was +/- Champ sized; thicker might be better in a bigger cab?
 

CapnCrunch

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I'm assuming you are asking about Western Red Cedar. As King Fan said, it is very similar in weight and hardness to Redwood. I think you would be fine so long as you use a mechanical joint for the corners. Dovetails would be ideal, finger joints would be less desirable, but OK. Over time Red Cedar and Redwood don't hold fasteners like screws really well, so butt joints, even if you use cleats, will likely loosen up. Dovetails will be your friend. If you're covering the cab, I wouldn't worry too much about it getting dinged because it is soft. All that said, it does seem a shame to cover up nice vertical grain Red Cedar. I've had good luck going through the pile of Pine at the local Home Depot and picking out clear or mostly clear boards. I've built lots of cabs for cheap that way, and they are nice and light and resonant.
 

CapnCrunch

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View attachment 927271

Not a cab but a 5F2A.
I used it because I live in Cedar country and the amp will not be schepped (bedroom picker)
I have a little mill and made the boards. The store bought price is high. You've got the piece already tho....
It is very soft and go slow with the round over bit. Yellow Cedar handle and fascia.
Very light!
Three coats of linseed oil as per JWhite.

Love the Alaska Yellow Cedar. I have some 8/4 stock left over from some carriage house doors I built that I am going to build Tele out of this winter. Beautiful wood.
 

SparkleFart

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Nice cabs! How did they end up weight wise? Some AYC is light, and some not so much.


well thank you. Despite making them myself I've been pleased with them.

The lumber had been rough milled here in southeast about 30 years before I received it, then I sat on it for a year or so before my projects. It was so light I had to tie it down or it'd float away. Of course once loaded, that wasn't a problem :lol:
 

natec

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I found some cedar and/or redwood 'tree stakes' behind my garage a year or two back and I ripped those into 3/4" strips which I used to re-cab my Blues Jr.

It is much lighter than the original cab. Whether or not it affected the tone is difficult to say as I made a number of other mods at around the same time.

My carpentry and finishing skills have progressed (just a little) since this was taken...

There's a thread around here somewhere - but here's a pic:

Blues Jr re-cab.jpg
 

The Ballzz

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@Axis29
I would think natural finished cedar would look fantastic. The durability would not be much of a factor, if you are an at home player OR you have/get a road case for the amp/cabinet! While a good road case can add significant weight, they can be instrumental in keeping equipment in pristine, like new condition! Then again, honest, earned relicing of natural wood can be quite attractive, to some folks!
Just Thinkin'
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Blue Bill

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I think it would work fine. If you Tolex it, the dentability factor will hardly matter anyway. Plus, it will smell like a pencil.
 

schmee

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Cedar would be great. I would hate to see CVG used and covered though. But if your main thing is weight, be aware that dry NORTHERN pine is super light. (Unlike southern yellow varieties.)
JD Newell built me a cab for a brown Vibrolux once. I couldn't believe how light it was.... you could literally lift it with one finger (empty cab)

The redwood boards I have lifted seemed heavy to me....?
 

Milspec

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I do love cedar and have a spent a ton on building porches and decks out of western cedar. My only real concern would be aging, cedar tends to shrink and develop cracks as it ages. Obviously, a cabinet isn't going to be left outside to weather like a deck so maybe that would not be the case as much, but I just don't see any advantage over pine.

If you are just looking for something different, try Willow. Not the best looking, but sounds great in a cab.
 

screefer

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View attachment 927271

This Cedar decking, in the photo, has been outside in very wet conditions for two years now. The spacing is intentional and there are no cracks because, like the cab, I cut it vertical grain. Very stable. You need a big log but for decking, knots are not a problem as long as it is cut vertical. Most store bought decking is flat sawn and that's a whole 'nother ball game......
Pine has the advantage of price and availability and even looks good finished bright. Plus it carries those 'vintage' bone fides.
 

Old Deaf Roadie

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Well, we've gotten used to the smell of worse things, like promoters, so getting used to the smell of cedar shouldn't be to much of a chore.
On the serious side, a club I once frequented paid a huge sum for a cedar back bar. It was beautiful. But, it took months of stale beer & cigarette smoke to overcome the scent.
 




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