Guitar Amp Cabinets

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Amplifier Cabinet

In order to get that good sound out of your new valve amplifier you will need to build an amplifier cabinet. The cabinet, which is usually constructed from certain types of wood species, holds the chassis, speaker and reverb (if used). The amp cabinet is basically a wooden box with cutouts for the chassis controls, speaker and normally some type of cutout in the back for cooling air to the vacuum tubes. The cutout in the back also provides a home to store the power cord when not in use or traveling.


For my guitar amp project, I used ½ inch birch plywood that I purchased from Custom Built Cabinetry (a local cabinet shop). The plywood I used is made of 10 individual layers of wood glued together. That’s 10 ply! This wood comes with a finished side and is very straight. The tendency to bow or warp is reduced by the 10 ply sheet. Most original and re-issue amps use solid wood such as pine. I figured the plywood I used was solid enough and would have similar properties as a solid piece of pine. This way I could buy one sheet of plywood and cut several cabinets out of one sheet.

The birch plywood comes in a sheet measuring 5 feet by 5 feet. I figured I could make 3 guitar amp cabinets out of one sheet of plywood and have some pieces left over for assembly purposes. When I laid out the cut pattern I kept in mind the grain direction for each piece. The grain runs vertically up the sides and over the top. The front and back grain runs horizontally. Basically the top, bottom, and side grains all follow each other while the front and back grain goes horizontally (side to side). My cutout pattern took me about 20 minutes to cut on a table saw.

Amp Cabinet Assembly

The amplifier cabinet was assembled using stainless steel screws and countersunk washers. Screws were set roughly every six inches. I may decide to glue the entire project before I apply the final stain and clear coat. The sides of the cabinet extend beyond the top and bottom boards by a half inch. The extension gives the cabinet two feet (legs) per se. The top extension is there for looks only. Eventually I plan to round over all the edges for a nice finished look. The front of the amplifier cabinet is recessed by a half inch to allow for a cloth grill speaker cover to be installed. On the back side piece I cut a rectangular hole to allow for cooling and power cord placement. The hole is roughly the size of an original Fender Champ. The eight inch Weber Alnico magnet speaker is centered in the front piece. The whole assembly process of my guitar amp cabinet took about two hours.

Electrical Shock Hazard !

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