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post #31 of 400
The keys to properly machining wood are:

1. Good tools. You're very unlikely to cut a straight line by hand. You need a table saw. even a cheap $100 benchtop saw (think Delta) will suffice if you make some jigs for cutting.

2. Proper cutting jigs. For rips on a table saw you can get by with a good saw fence. for cross cuts and angled cuts a sliding table jig is almost required. those little miter gages that come with the standard table saw are crap. they can be off by several degrees and even 1 degree will cause gaps at mitered corners. check out A Sliding Table for Your Tablesaw for instructions.

2. Cut everything 1/32" bigger than necessary to account for the loss of wood when sanding.

3. do your cross-cuts first and then the rip cuts. cross cuts tend to have tear-out at the end of the cut where the wood is not supported by more wood. Rips are very clean and do not tear-out as you are not trying to cut across the grain.

4. Use a scrap piece of wood to support your piece when cross cutting (especially when using a miter saw.

5. use a zero clearance insert on your table saw to support your piece and prevent tearout on a table saw.

6. save your sawdust. use it to make "Goop" to fill in cracks after gluing. Goop is a mixture of sawdust and wood glue. if mised properly and used as a filler, it will perfectly match your wood after sanding and will hide any blemishes very well.

7. Sand thoroughally starting with the lowest grit paper necessary and then work through the progression of grits all the way up to 600 or even 1200 grit paper. don't skip and grits along the way or you won't yemove the scratches made by the prior grit sanding. usually that is 100, 150, 220, 350, 600, 900, 1200. By the time you finish 1200 sanding the wood should have a shiny finish without the application of any finish.

8. Don't expect any finish (paint, laquer, shellac, etc) to cover up any blemishes that can be seen before applying the finish. finishes usually make blemishes show up better. if you see a blemish, go back to #7 and repeat.

9. I keep a bottle of Naphtha (zippo fluid) handy and squirt it on my sanded wood to get an idea of how it will look with finish on it. Naphtha doesn't make the wood grain stand and evaporates in a few seconds. DON"T USE WATER FOR THIS. IT WILL MAKE THE GRAIN STAND UP.

10. apply as many coats of finish as possible. Apply thin coats and you'll get better results than thick coats. They will dry faster, run less, and look better.

11. Take your time. don't be in a hurry. rushing always causes mistakes.

I've no good photos of amps here, but here's a couple photos of a jewelery boxs I made using the above woodworking skills. They are the same skills necessary to build a nice looking chassis.
post #32 of 400

Oh, it's MDF. I really like the SS AMPII case...
Unfortuantly, I don't have the tools to do this kind of work.

Very talented people in this forum!
post #33 of 400
Originally Posted by kuroguy View Post
The keys to properly machining wood are:

1. Good tools. You're very unlikely to cut a straight line by hand. You need a table saw. even a cheap $100 benchtop saw (think Delta) will suffice if you make some jigs for cutting.
Funny that this whole woodworking topic came up as I have an outside, house project to do that my wife wants me to do.

I was thinking of getting a table saw to make the work easier... so, I guess I'll ask you this:
Any suggestions on a decent table saw?
Any preferable brand(s)?
post #34 of 400
the table saw you select depends on the size of the stuff you plan to cut as well as what you are making. For the small stuff I posted above I use a Proxxon FKS/e Table saw. this is a mini saw that spins a 3-3/8" diameter blade and is wonderful for stuff like jewelery boxes, doll house furniture, ets. it only cuts 1" thich wood at 45 degrees so you are limited in what you cut. I have found it to be ideal for casings for amps (which are really just relatively small boxes). I also have a 10" delta benchtop table saw that with some practice is useful for larger stuff. I cannot stress how much difference a sliding table will make no matter what saw you use. For really large stuff I have a friend with a 12" table saw with a 6'x4' table top that can cut anything I can throw at it. The thing is, for really small stuff the proxxon works great. I can even make 1/16 or 1/32" thick strips for accent coloring like in the sides of that curved front necklace jewelery box above on the left. I don't have a problem getting my hands and fingers really close (1/8") from the spinning blade of the proxxon saw. I wouldn't do that with a larger saw for fear of losing a hand.

As far as brands go, delta is kinda low quality, but for $99 what do you expect. my proxxon saw cost $350 and is a dream to use. In fact I used it last night.

So, to answer your question, it depends on what you plan to do with it. There is a tool for every job and some tools work better than others for a particular job. Last count I had 2 table saws, 1 scroll saw, 1 saws all (large reciprocating saw), 2 hand held circular saws, a jig saw, a 10" delta compound miter saw, and hopefully a band saw in the near future. This sounds like a lot of saws, but each one has a niche where it works much better than all of the others. And no, I'm not one of those guys that buys tools for the sake of having them. For box making like an amp chassis I use the miter saw ($99) and one of the table saws primarily.

If I had an unlimited amount of money I would have skipped over the low end delta saws, but since I am constrained, I make due with what I have and manage to make it work.
post #35 of 400

Thank you very much for the reply... and I see what you saying. Makes sense... get the right tool for the job you are performing.

In reality, I already have a table saw... it just very, very old. It still works, but not very portable. And make cuts with small pieces of wood on that saw scares the heck out of me.

That link is not working for me... just hangs on opening the page.
post #36 of 400
Hey, old doesn't mean bad. I've seen many really well built old saws. Much fewer well built modern saws exist. Also, not portable usually translates to more accurate.
post #37 of 400
Oh yeah, I also own a chain saw that has been used for rough cutting blocks of wood for the wood lathe as well as cutting down a plethora of trees. I don't get to use this saw vary often, but when I do it is a bunch of fun. smoke, noise, and a large spinning blade. what more could any testosterone loaded guy ask for.
post #38 of 400
Geez... maybe I can borrow some of your tools???

I also have a miter saw. My circular saw seemed to have seised on my and that has to get replaced. I'll probably replace that when I reroof my garage. I'll use that to cut the plywood that'll need to be replaced.

That link you provided is not working for me. Does it work for you?
post #39 of 400
The link worked for me earlier. Just google sliding table for table saw and you'll get loads of good hits. Really, this is just a piece of plywood with a couple of stringers on teh botton that ride in the miter gage slots. that keeps the plywood in the same orientation with the saw blade as it slides forward and back. clamp and glue a fence to the rear of the plywood that is perpindicular to the blade and everything you cut on the table will be 90 degrees to the rear fence of the table. I clamp trianglesm etc to the table to get whatever angle I need. the key here is repeatability. four 90 degree cuts will form a perfect rectangle. 3 90 degree cuts and one that is slightly off 90 degrees will create a perfect gap at one or more of those 4 joints.

By the way, for roofing, a circular saw is likely the best tool you can choose. your cuts can be off by an eighth inch or so without causing a problem on a roof. especially since the plywood gets covered with either shingles, tiles, or roll roofing and the joints fall on top of roof trusses or rafters so they aren't visible from below.
post #40 of 400
Originally Posted by jacc1234 View Post
There are some amazing cases in this thread. Casework is my weak link. I can't even get clean holes in the plastic Hammond face plates. Does anyone have any good guides to follow?
Here are a few tips that I always try to keep in mind. I'll admit that working with plastic, for me, is more difficult than working with both metal and wood. It's very unforgiving stuff.

1. As kuroguy mentioned, buy good tools. There's an old expression that amounts to 'It's better to buy a good tool and hate yourself once than to buy a crappy tool and hate yourself every time you need to use it.' I think a good cordless drill is a great investment, and not just for this hobby. Rotary tools (like Dremel) are also very useful and have a variety of attachments to expand their functionality. I think a good palm sander is also vital, although a sanding block will sometimes be needed when palm sanders are too powerful.

2. For drilling holes, one way to have everything line up (more or less) is to make a panel layout in AutoCAD with all of your desired holes center-marked and print a 1:1 copy. Then, you line up the corners (which can also be marked in AutoCAD) to the corners of your actual workpiece, ensuring that the paper is taut, and tape the paper to the panel. Next, take a spring-loaded center punch and mark the centers of each hole (this is why you print the center lines). Now you can drill the holes out exactly where they should be and your bit will most likely not wander.

3. Have a way to secure your workpiece to your bench - you can get into trouble if you're holding both the drill AND the piece to be drilled. I normally use bench-mounted vices for this.

4. Get a countersink for deburring - this can greatly enhance the appearance of your holes and can sometimes clear out undesired shards or protrusions.

5. Get some drill/tap sets - I'd recommend 4-40 through 1/4"-20, if not 3/8"-16.

6. Make friends with someone that has a mill.
post #41 of 400
To point #6 above, I just picked up a mini mill from Harbor Freight to help with some of my case work and other miscellaneous projects. It was "only" $489 minus 20% coupon which is pretty good considering the capabilities a mill brings to the table.
post #42 of 400
Originally Posted by MoodySteve View Post
3. Have a way to secure your workpiece to your bench - you can get into trouble if you're holding both the drill AND the piece to be drilled. I normally use bench-mounted vices for this.
No kidding. even with a drill press you can get hurt pretty bad if the work gets away from you. here's a photo of a cool volume knob I made and the wound I suffered while making it. It happened in a split second and I didn't even feel it until after I looked at it. It culminated in a trip to the emergency room. By the way, that's my left hand and I'm left handed. I couldn't write for about 2 weeks and its still sensative to this day.

Like I said in item 11 above take your time. Rushing always causes mistakes. some bigger and more painful than others.
post #43 of 400
Originally Posted by zkool448 View Post
..I'm no expert in building amp housings, just a newb with limited skills acquired through woodworking plus some luck to have a small garage shop with enough tools..
Yeah... Right!
Those are amazing!
post #44 of 400
I have a feeling that cad was involved with more than the visualization process for the OP?? would I be right?? either way, no matter ghow you came up with the finished result; thats some slick work and visualization. also; is that wood or 'wood' in the starving student case.

very nice me likes
post #45 of 400
tools are key! with regard toi diy in general, and not just casework, i have found that a hakko 936 solder station, a hakko 808 desoldering gun, my dremel and my drill press, along with two very good dmms (and a used vintage o-scope which has gotten little use so far) all are really helpful, and greatly expand both one's range and quality of projects.
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