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Thread: Speaker baffle makers?

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    Supporting Member eschertron's Avatar
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    Speaker baffle makers?

    I gave a brief scour through the posts, forgive me if I didn't see what I was looking for:
    Does anyone here have speaker baffles only made for their cabinet builds? I'm pretty handy with the tools I have, but building (and accurately using!) a jig to make 12" holes in 1/2" baltic ply may be above my level. Any recommendation of a cabinet maker that might supply baffles only? I'd happily design a 2x12 cabinet around an existing baffle.
    Regards,
    Al

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eschertron View Post
    I gave a brief scour through the posts, forgive me if I didn't see what I was looking for:
    Does anyone here have speaker baffles only made for their cabinet builds? I'm pretty handy with the tools I have, but building (and accurately using!) a jig to make 12" holes in 1/2" baltic ply may be above my level. Any recommendation of a cabinet maker that might supply baffles only? I'd happily design a 2x12 cabinet around an existing baffle.
    Regards,
    Al
    Wow! One of the first mods I ever did! Opened up a SF Champ baffle for a 10" speaker. No trouble. For a 12" speaker you actually make an 11" hole (but always look at specs before cutting). A drill and a jig saw with a good blade are all you need. The only potential trouble might be if the jig saw wants to angle the cut because of a funky ply (I've seen this). Just use a good quality, sharp blade and don't be in a hurry. Draw your openings, drill a hole inside the speaker cutout area to allow access for the jig saw blade and get after it. If you're real nervous buy two pieces of wood so you have the leeway to screw one up You might find, as I have on occasion, that beveling the outside edge of the hole with course sandpaper makes the speaker fit better when the frame stamping presents a rounded inner corner rather than a sharp angle. I like T-nuts for speaker screws. But any conventional method works of course. Seriously, nothing to lose but a piece of wood. Go for it.

    EDIT: re: cutting to fit the cabinet...

    Just cut to size and then take off a hair. No different than what you see trim carpenters do. You can always cut a little more, but you can't add wood once you cut it off. So be sure you're a little snug before taking off that extra little bit. Then use shims to hold the baffle an even distance from all wall sides. This small, controlled space is important to ensure no rattling. I use two sided carpet adhesive tape to stick the baffle in place on the mounting rails before tapping and driving the screws home. It helps secure the work for accuracy and also prevents the possibility of rattles.

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    Last edited by Chuck H; 12-10-2017 at 06:57 AM.
    "In fact when I run into problems working on electronic circuirts, there are so many times that when I finally track it down, the source of the problem is located between my soldering iron and my seat." SoulFetish

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    If you want it made rather than doing it, instead of calling it a baffle, call it a sheet of plywood with a hole in it, then ask any local wood shop to knock one out. No different from cutting a hole in a vanity top for a basin.

    Enlarging a 10" hole to 12" is one thing, but if you are starting from scratch, you can buy circle cutting jigs. Here is one for a Dremel:
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Dremel-C...FQiyTwodDqkPAQ

    But they make jigs to use with a saber saw or router. Look at Home Depot and such.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    But they make jigs to use with a saber saw or router.
    Coincidentally, I'm in the middle of building a guitar (combo) cab. In the past, I've used the jigsaw method Chuck outlined. It's always worked for me, but I never manage to get a clean circle, and have to do a fair bit of sanding afterwards, and I still end up with a slightly imperfect hole. I've also had a problem when using old dry plywood, the jigsaw tends to tear out a lot of splinters as it cuts.

    This time I had access to a small hand-held router. I made a very simple jig - basically a 4" wide of 1/4" thick ply with a 1" diameter hole to clear the router bit, four little screw holes to attach to the front of the router, and one more hole at the correct distance from the router bit to cut the circle diameter I wanted (5.75" diameter). With the jig, cutting the speaker holes turned out to be very straightforward. I set the router bit to only take off about 1/8" each time, so it took about five passes for each hole.

    I know it's not exactly what the OP asked for, but this is the first time I've used a router for this job, and I like the results much better than when using a jigsaw.

    -Gnobuddy

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    Supporting Member eschertron's Avatar
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    I'm awful with a jigsaw

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnobuddy View Post
    I set the router bit to only take off about 1/8" each time, so it took about five passes for each hole.
    After I posted, I thought about having someone make me a template for a hole, rather than plywood blanks with holes in them. Then I thought I'd need an expensive fluted straight bit to cut through the 1/2" ply. I'm not sure how often I'd need to use a bit like that?

    Your idea to plunge a little bit at a time solves my two engineering problems: one, I can use a regular straight bit without fear of losing control. and two, only on the final passes do I need to worry about abandoning the pivot to make the final breakout cuts. Bravo!

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    We need more chaos in music, in art... I'm here to make it. - Justin Thomas
    MANY things in human experience can be easily differentiated, yet *impossible* to express as a measurement. - Juan Fahey


  6. #6
    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Yes. Tear out. Note the kerf of the blade teeth, they cut on the up stroke. If you draw your circles and cut on the back side of the baffle 90% of any tear out will be one the back, inside the cabinet where it won't be seen. I just compass the hole drawings. And yes, I sometimes fine up the hole by sanding a little. When using the jig saw you definitely want to err to the inside of the hole because as I said, you can't put wood back on. I like the rubber barrel sander attachments for drills available at any hardware store. I don't have any trouble getting a clean enough hole. Or maybe it just doesn't bother me. Any small irregularities are covered by the speaker rim and a little flat black paint helps clean up the look inside the cabinet. YMMV. If you're somewhat OCD about woodworking finery then I would strongly endorse the jig and router method. It's a bit more trouble and takes more tools, what with clamping the jig, stabilizing the baffle and multiple passes. But then it's not too different from barrel sanding the hole edge to my drawing line I suppose.

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    "In fact when I run into problems working on electronic circuirts, there are so many times that when I finally track it down, the source of the problem is located between my soldering iron and my seat." SoulFetish

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    You can also protect edges by sandwiching your work piece with a thin piece of scrap. Let the scrap splinter, as if it were another ply on the plywood, rather than your workpiece.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    You can also protect edges by sandwiching your work piece with a thin piece of scrap. Let the scrap splinter, as if it were another ply on the plywood, rather than your workpiece.
    Sometimes you can even get away with nothing more than a strip of masking tape. A little tricky to do on a circular hole probably, but I'd try it.

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    "In fact when I run into problems working on electronic circuirts, there are so many times that when I finally track it down, the source of the problem is located between my soldering iron and my seat." SoulFetish

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    I do it drilling holes, clamp a scrap block over the work, drill through it to make a hole in the work, and my scrap can splinter instead of the work.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    And, again, sharp blades. And try not to force the cutting. I use to have three different blades for my Skil saw. A fairly course one for tearing through rough work fast, one with more and finer teeth for most other things and one that was even finer, designated for cutting thin overlay cabinet plywood without chipping out. That last blade turned out to be a very good investment. I ruined it by overheating cutting a bunch of 1" hardwood, ruining the temper on the teeth. I haven't looked, but I'll bet you can get similarly fine blades for jig saws.?. "The right tool..." and all that.

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    "In fact when I run into problems working on electronic circuirts, there are so many times that when I finally track it down, the source of the problem is located between my soldering iron and my seat." SoulFetish

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Ages ago I bought a blade kit for my saber saw, had fine, med, coarse wood blades, a drywall blade, various pitch metal hacksaw blades. I am not above using a hacksaw blade on tender wood edges, those are fine toothed.

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    As a guy that's been a trim carpenter I'd say you're getting nothing but good advice here.

    I like using thin easily worked scrap for a jig then use that to cut the expensive wood. Mess up, just get more scrap till you get what you're happy with.

    While you have the router out you might want to put a medium round-over bit in it and go around the outside/ grill cloth side of the hole. Looks tidy, just be aware of tee nuts or whatever may be on the outside around the the hole and stay back.

    Those are my thoughts anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eschertron View Post
    only on the final passes do I need to worry about abandoning the pivot to make the final breakout cuts.
    Before starting to cut, I drew a pencil guide line that passed through the centre of the circle, and for the final two router passes, I didn't rout all the way around the circle. Instead, I made two cuts, each one a bit less than 180 degrees, stopping just shy of the pencil line each time.

    So the central circle of wood was still attached to the rest of the baffle by two little strips of thin (~ 1/8" thick and 1/4" wide) wood, which kept it located and let me complete all the routing. I had a piece of scrap wood underneath, which supported that central circle, so it didn't break free from the weight of the router.

    Once I was done with the router, I used an Exacto knife to cut through those little tangs of wood and clean up the edge, finishing with a scrap of sandpaper.

    I've heard of people using double-sided sticky tape to glue the baffle board onto the scrap wood underneath, keeping that central circle of wood carrying the pivot point located until the entire circle is cut. I wasn't quite willing to trust in the strength of double-stick tape, so I came up with the method I just described.

    I don't like using a router free-hand unless I have a piloting bit that's rolling in contact with the work-piece. When things go wrong with free-hand routing, they tend to go wrong abruptly and viciously. I play guitar, I want all my fingers to stay attached to my hand!

    -Gnobuddy

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    Quote Originally Posted by ric View Post
    As a guy that's been a trim carpenter I'd say you're getting nothing but good advice here.
    I had two parents who were all thumbs, so I never had anyone to learn proper tool use from. I'll gladly take all the advice I can get from anyone good enough with tools to have been a trim carpenter!

    Thank goodness for the Internet. It is so much easier to learn how to do things these days, and to avoid the most dangerous pitfalls. Still, there's nothing like a little coaching from someone who knows what he's doing!

    -Gnobuddy

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    I wouldn't trust sticky tape, but why not a couple small wood screws into the back side of the baffle piece to hold the scrap? Who cares if a couple small holes are in there?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    If you're somewhat OCD about woodworking finery then...
    Oh, man. If it was only woodworking, I would be lucky. Like so many of us technically oriented people, I have a streak of perfectionism that I always have to be aware of, otherwise it will paralyse me, and keep me from ever getting anything done at all!

    -Gnobuddy

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Take my advice with a grain of salt then. My cabinet making skills are this: Two cinder blocks and a plank...voila, shelving.

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    Member E biddy's Avatar
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    This is what I do. There are many options on youtube like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XR3LdG8Ir3k

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    I wouldn't trust sticky tape, but why not a couple small wood screws into the back side of the baffle piece to hold the scrap? Who cares if a couple small holes are in there?
    That sounds like a great idea! Running with your idea, one could drill pilot holes for the eventual speaker mounting screws, and then use those same holes to screw on the scrap from behind as well!

    -Gnobuddy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    Take my advice with a grain of salt then. My cabinet making skills are this: Two cinder blocks and a plank...voila, shelving.
    I've "built" a few of those over the years, too.

    The housing complex in which I now live has a little wood-shop with a decent assortment of tools (including a table saw, belt saw, sliding mitre saw, drill press, an old scroll saw, and a router), so I'm trying to learn enough carpentry to at least be able to make halfway presentable objects.

    My current project is a guitar amp I'm planning to give to a senior-citizen friend on a tight fixed income. Since it's for someone else, it has to look at least passably good. Since my friend has a physical disability, it needs to be light. That means solid-state, with a class-D power amp module to drive the two 6.5" speakers (sourced from a $5 thrift-store boombox), and a lightweight pine cab. I'm working on the preamp design, hoping a couple of JFETs and a few other tricks will allow me to make something without the usual nasty solid-state harshness to its sound.

    I just glued-up the outer walls of the cab last night. The photos show it as of this morning. The front baffle is a light press-fit, as is the rear baffle, both just sitting in place for now (they will be glued eventually).

    These boombox speakers mount from the front, so I used the router to cut the stepped holes you see. This cab will be sealed, and ported - I designed it to have double the volume of the original boom-box ported speaker enclosures (since there will now be two drivers in one enclosure), and will re-use the original two plastic port tubes. That's the reason for the recessed back panel you see. It will be hidden, recessed about 2" from the back of the cab, with the electronics between that, and a second purely cosmetic rear panel.

    I still have to cut the 3" diameter holes for the port tubes, spray paint the baffle black and cover it with some sort of grille (probably a $1 place-mat from the dollar store, the budget is tight), round over the cab edges, make a control panel from aluminum sheet, and finish the electronics.

    -Gnobuddy
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  21. #21
    Supporting Member eschertron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnobuddy View Post
    Before starting to cut, I drew a pencil guide line that passed through the centre of the circle, and for the final two router passes, I didn't rout all the way around the circle. Instead, I made two cuts, each one a bit less than 180 degrees, stopping just shy of the pencil line each time.
    I got that this was where you were going...

    So the central circle of wood was still attached to the rest of the baffle by two little strips of thin (~ 1/8" thick and 1/4" wide) wood, which kept it located and let me complete all the routing. I had a piece of scrap wood underneath, which supported that central circle, so it didn't break free from the weight of the router.

    Once I was done with the router, I used an Exacto knife to cut through those little tangs of wood and clean up the edge, finishing with a scrap of sandpaper.
    ...and again am presented with more precise detail. On the road to Parnassus, I will always be half-a-day's travel behind.

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    MANY things in human experience can be easily differentiated, yet *impossible* to express as a measurement. - Juan Fahey


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    Quote Originally Posted by eschertron View Post
    On the road to Parnassus, I will always be half-a-day's travel behind.
    Me too, I think it's what keeps life interesting. Imagine how boring it would be if you knew everything already?

    -Gnobuddy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnobuddy View Post
    I had two parents who were all thumbs, so I never had anyone to learn proper tool use from. I'll gladly take all the advice I can get from anyone good enough with tools to have been a trim carpenter!

    Thank goodness for the Internet. It is so much easier to learn how to do things these days, and to avoid the most dangerous pitfalls. Still, there's nothing like a little coaching from someone who knows what he's doing!

    -Gnobuddy
    Hold on now, I never said anything about knowing what I'm doing! ;-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnobuddy View Post
    I've "built" a few of those over the years, too.

    The housing complex in which I now live has a little wood-shop with a decent assortment of tools (including a table saw, belt saw, sliding mitre saw, drill press, an old scroll saw, and a router), so I'm trying to learn enough carpentry to at least be able to make halfway presentable objects.

    My current project is a guitar amp I'm planning to give to a senior-citizen friend on a tight fixed income. Since it's for someone else, it has to look at least passably good. Since my friend has a physical disability, it needs to be light. That means solid-state, with a class-D power amp module to drive the two 6.5" speakers (sourced from a $5 thrift-store boombox), and a lightweight pine cab. I'm working on the preamp design, hoping a couple of JFETs and a few other tricks will allow me to make something without the usual nasty solid-state harshness to its sound.

    I just glued-up the outer walls of the cab last night. The photos show it as of this morning. The front baffle is a light press-fit, as is the rear baffle, both just sitting in place for now (they will be glued eventually).

    These boombox speakers mount from the front, so I used the router to cut the stepped holes you see. This cab will be sealed, and ported - I designed it to have double the volume of the original boom-box ported speaker enclosures (since there will now be two drivers in one enclosure), and will re-use the original two plastic port tubes. That's the reason for the recessed back panel you see. It will be hidden, recessed about 2" from the back of the cab, with the electronics between that, and a second purely cosmetic rear panel.

    I still have to cut the 3" diameter holes for the port tubes, spray paint the baffle black and cover it with some sort of grille (probably a $1 place-mat from the dollar store, the budget is tight), round over the cab edges, make a control panel from aluminum sheet, and finish the electronics.

    -Gnobuddy
    That's a nice project on two levels. You're work looks excellent.

    Built bass reflexes for the in the apt time of my slide mount car stereo. I think it really makes the most of small speakers.

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    Supporting Member Randall's Avatar
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    To answer the original question, mojotone.com sells baffles. I recently bought a 4x10 baffle with grill cloth for under $80 shipped that I am very happy with. Worth it IMHO.

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    It's weird, because it WAS working fine.....

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    Supporting Member eschertron's Avatar
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    So looking around the web, I find www.woodworkerssource.com which sells 5'x5' sheets of 1/2" 9-ply baltic birch, pre-cut into different same-size boards for shipping. It turns out the 30" x 20" boards are very close to the size one needs for a 2x12 cabinet baffle. Most plans I've looked at require baffles just a fraction or two of an inch smaller than the 30x20 supplied. Good so far. Including shipping, I can pick up 6 of these boards (makes up one 5'x5' sheet) for about U$100.
    Now I just have to warm up to the task of cutting perfect circles and picking out a grillecloth material.

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    I think I saw baltic birch plywood at Menards, but don't hold me to that. If they don't have it in stock, they can get it for you. It comes in 4x8 sheets, and if you've got two clamps, a straightedge and a skilsaw you can cut them down to size.

    I have a tablesaw with a table that's capable of handling full size sheets, as well as a radial arm saw, but back in the day I used to cut boards on my porch steps with a table saw, no sawhorses required. I just had someone stand on the board on the porch, with the part to be removed hanging off above the steps, and I'd cut it off with a handheld circular saw, using a clamped 1x2 as a guide fence.

    When it comes to cutting speaker holes in baffle sheets, there are two easy ways to do it: One is with a handheld jigsaw, where the quality of the circles depends on your skill guiding the saw by hand. With practice this works extremely well. The other way to go is to use a router on a spinning arm to cut round holes in the baffle. This provides the best looking results, if you've got a router. Precision cutting of the holes isn't really necessary, as the speakers and grille will conceal any imperfections, especially if you use front mounting of the speakers.

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    Supporting Member eschertron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    ...but back in the day I used to cut boards on my porch steps with a table saw, no sawhorses required. I just had someone stand on the board on the porch...
    Yeah, well, it's hard to find good help these days

    I think I saw baltic birch plywood at Menards, but don't hold me to that. If they don't have it in stock, they can get it for you. It comes in 4x8 sheets, and if you've got two clamps, a straightedge and a skilsaw you can cut them down to size.
    I did see Menards' offerings. The price is right, but with snow on the ground my front porch is probably the wrong place to be working. If I haven't pulled the trigger before Spring, I may reconsider.

    Precision cutting of the holes isn't really necessary, as the speakers and grille will conceal any imperfections, especially if you use front mounting of the speakers.
    So I've read. Precision is not my middle name! I appreciate your encouragement. The front porch has been my jobsite before, space is really tight around my radial-arm saw. I taught myself how to (more safely) use it for ripping, but 8' lengths just won't fit. Trimming a little along a 30" length is feasible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
    video
    That is a dirt-simple jig. Very nice!

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    it sounds like you've got some experience, so i'd say you shouldn't have any problems ripping an 8' board with a skilsaw on sawhorses in a driveway... even in the snow. I've done it many a time. all you need is 2 sawhorses and a straightedge to clamp to the board as a fence. i wouldn't hesitate to do it in the snow, but then i've replaced metal brake lines on my truck while lying in a driveway that had a foot of unshoveled snow. <insert Tim Allen-type he-man grunt>. it's kind of like tracing a circuit -- it's something we don't like doing, and that we'd all like to avoid, but it's something that we can do if we have to.

    i understand the appeal of buying pre-cut boards.

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Dude -- that's exactly how you'd do it with a router. you can use a jigsaw on a jig like that too, but i'm lazy and i just cut them freehand.

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    Yep. I posted because most everyone has a jigsaw. Many do not have a router. It's a cheap and relatively easy way to cut circles. Sometimes, I'll just temporarily screw the jigsaw base to a piece of scrap, measure for center and run a screw in at the pivot. It doesn't take long and it's easier (IMO) than freehanding.

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    One thing I'll add about using a jig with the jigsaw (other than the conundrum may implode time itself) is that you'll surely want a sharp blade and don't force hard bits like knots and cross grain. Nice and slow in those areas. I know I already mentioned this, but it's because I, myself, am impatient and have experienced jigsaw blade canter many times. Working sharp and slow helps. If a jigsaw is on a fixed track I think it would be necessary.

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    Good advice, Chuck. That's something I learned early on from my dad. He used to say, "Your more likely to cut yourself with a dull tool than a sharp one".

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