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Thread: Birch baffle thickness

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    Supporting Member Randall's Avatar
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    Birch baffle thickness

    I'm having a cabinet built that should look like this when it's done:

    https://www.mojotone.com/Cabinets_x/...aker-Cabinet_3

    Fender and Mojotone use 1/2" for the baffle. I have some 5/8" baltic birch on hand. Is there any sonic difference if I use what I already have?

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

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Of course there's a difference. A thinner, less sturdy baffle will vibrate more sympathetically and create it's own antiphase addition to the tone creating a signature chara... PLEH!!! I just barfed a little in my mouth.

    The tonal difference almost certainly won't be significant. More significant is how the baffle thickness affects the fit of the grill board in the recess. You'll need the depth measurement for that to know if it's a problem.

    P.S. The thread title is misleading. "Baltic Birch" is plywood. "birch" is wood wood.

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    Supporting Member TomCarlos's Avatar
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    I found an interesting discussion for baffles on the Gear Page web site.

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    I have just finished building a 50's tweed style cabinet for my BJr'. I did a bit of research and found that Fender used 1/4" ply but had a 3/4" x 1/4" ply strip attached to the perimeter on the internal side of the baffle and that is how I made mine. The narrow panel top and bottom piece on the front face of the cabinet I made from 1/2" pine glued and nailed in place, giving a total thickness of 1" at the corners. I used 5mm t-nuts for the fittings 11/4" x 5mm bolts to attach
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Supporting Member Randall's Avatar
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    "More significant is how the baffle thickness affects the fit of the grill board in the recess. You'll need the depth measurement for that to know if it's a problem."

    I wasn't planning on a recess, is this necessary?

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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Randall View Post
    I wasn't planning on a recess, is this necessary?
    It butts up against something doesn't it? Is it going to stick out, or are you going to have to adjust the stops?

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    Supporting Member Randall's Avatar
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    I was thinking I'd go blackface style and have the baffle secured to the 3/4 by 3/4 support rails on the sides and bottom. And recessed 1/4" from the front edge.

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randall View Post
    I was thinking I'd go blackface style and have the baffle secured to the 3/4 by 3/4 support rails on the sides and bottom. And recessed 1/4" from the front edge.
    It's OK to beef up those cleats to 1x1, and deafinitely stand the grill cloth off the baffle to avoid dreaded baffleslap. "Beware the baffleslap my son..." It's been in classic literature for nearly two centuries, take good advice.

    FWIW 1x1's are referred to as 5-quarter although the dimension is really one inch give or take.

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    Last edited by Leo_Gnardo; 03-31-2019 at 12:40 AM.
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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    It's OK to beef up those cleats to 1x1, and deafinitely stand the grill cloth off the baffle to avoid dreaded baffleslap. "Beware the baffleslap my son..." It's been in classic literature for nearly two centuries, take good advice.

    FWIW 1x1's are referred to as 5-quarter although the dimension is really one inch give or take.
    Yep. If you go to the local hardware or box store and buy 1x1 it's going to be 3/4x3/4. For some ridiculous reason.

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    Yep. If you go to the local hardware or box store and buy 1x1 it's going to be 3/4x3/4. For some ridiculous reason.
    I've never found those for sale*, but I can always walk into Home Despot or Load's and find 5/4 x 5/4. Lacking a table saw and the patience to rip lumber, I just stick with what's available and enjoy the extra support in whatever I build/repair.

    *Maybe just as well considering the typical "hockey stick" appearance of much dimension lumber at these joints. Feh!

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    Master Destroyer nosaj's Avatar
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    In the past, when a timber was called a 2x4 [or "two-by-four"], it actually measured 2 inches by 4 inches. Now, most timber is milled and planed to give it a little more of a finished look, and a little more of a consistent size and profile. Because of this extra milling, a 2x4 no longer measures a full 2 inches by four inches. Instead, a 2x4 is really only 1 1/2" by 3 1/2".

    The same is true of pine. A 1x6, for example, actually measures 3/4" x 5 1/2". In this case, the planing is necessary for a smoother surface, so that the board could be used for interior applications.

    nosaj

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randall View Post
    I wasn't planning on a recess, is this necessary?
    Quote Originally Posted by Randall View Post
    I was thinking I'd go blackface style and have the baffle secured to the 3/4 by 3/4 support rails on the sides and bottom. And recessed 1/4" from the front edge.


    There's always a recess for the mounting rails. What else would I have meant? Well, some amps are integral boxes with an inset grill cloth behind the speaker hole (I actually like that look). But yeah, I assumed there would be mounting rails. And I didn't know if you were flexible on the rail depth or working strictly from "plans". So I thought I'd mention it. Some amps have the grill attached to the baffle, usually with some sort of elevation for the grill cloth as Leo mentioned. And some amps actually have a baffle board and a grill cloth board. Either way you need to be aware of your recess (and how much room that's going to leave INSIDE the amp too). Not to mention planning it out so that your rails don't interfere with the speaker mounting. It's easy to miss something.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Bah on any intention of a "finished look". They're just plain cuttin' the lumber smaller and advertising it wrong. What sort of a finished look with extra planing or milling are they chasing when half the boards they sell are crooked. The rack of lumber at the store looks like a bag of french fries.

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    Master Destroyer nosaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    Bah on any intention of a "finished look". They're just plain cuttin' the lumber smaller and advertising it wrong. What sort of a finished look with extra planing or milling are they chasing when half the boards they sell are crooked. The rack of lumber at the store looks like a bag of french fries.
    Never buy lumber on Fri, Sat or Sun morning. Your buying picked over wood if you do. All the good stuff is picked over during the week and what's left for the weekend is the firewood.

    nosaj

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nosaj View Post
    Never buy lumber on Fri, Sat or Sun morning. Your buying picked over wood if you do. All the good stuff is picked over during the week and what's left for the weekend is the firewood.

    nosaj
    In this age of the big box stores those are words to live by.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    The rack of lumber at the store looks like a bag of french fries.
    Bwah-hah ha ! ! ! SO TRUE!

    My dad the pro carpenter told me "the so called authorities that allow this crap, claim that 'superior modern lumber' in these smaller dimensions supposedly has the strength of the former to-true-dimension lumber. BALONEY ON THAT!" So - unless you're milling your own lumber to dimension, you gotta deal with what's offered at the dodgy "home centers" OR at the best quality lumber yards. For the last 44 years I've been living in old houses built with real 2" by 4" and other non-shrunken structural members. All good and solid, none on the verge of collapse. Plus, modern lumber is made from the sap wood of trees grown to be harvested for building. The only way you easily get really good lumber like heart-of-pine or locust is to buy salvaged, and that's gone way up in price now a lot of people want to have the rustic or antique look.

    More on adding that "frame" for the grille: "Beware the Baffleslap my son, the cloth that flaps, the grille that snaps." Nothing worse than having the amp you carefully created or repaired emit brapping noises on low notes, especially when you could have avoided it with a bit of extra care. I'm sure Leo Fender didn't originate it but he sure was wise to include those frames in his baffle designs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    More on adding that "frame" for the grille: "Beware the Baffleslap my son, the cloth that flaps, the grille that snaps." Nothing worse than having the amp you carefully created or repaired emit brapping noises on low notes, especially when you could have avoided it with a bit of extra care. I'm sure Leo Fender didn't originate it but he sure was wise to include those frames in his baffle designs.
    Re: baffleslap, friend had a beautiful custom 2x10 made to basic BF dimensions using very nice henuine plywood, but in oiled finish with Messa-Boogers-style wicker grille. I paired it with her 2xEL34 head I'd made for her. All was spectacular except a loud rattle I jhst couldn't shake. After a solid 8 hours looking for the usual loose hardware or joints, I was about to just throw my hands up...

    Then I was just staring at the front while I played one night & watched that wicker grille jump around. Crap! Can't shrink it, can't stretch it... No frame around the edge like I found on my 2x15" when I took it apart to see why it didn't have that problem...

    Only solution I could think of that didn't involve her calling the guy & risking waiting a few more months for a new baffle was to take out the speakers and insert some thick felt furniture pads around the outside of thespeaker holes, between baffle board & wicker grille. Wasn't themost elegant solution, and if you looked close enough, you'd see the slight color mismatch of the pads, but it fixed the baffleslap. I told her to also email the seller with pictures explaining the issue and to check some vintage Fenders. I didn't get the idea theguy was a scammer or slacker or anything, just didn't know any better. Cuz, you know, help a fellow craftsman out, & karma, & stuff.

    Justin

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    I've done that. Or similar. I can't remember what amp I was working on, but I ended up using that rubber strip that holds screening in the frames. I was somehow able to jam it all the way to the edges of the board so it didn't look odd. Working on the same principal, when I built the baffle on my own amp I glued and pin nailed a 1/4" quarter round on the face at the edges (corner on the OUTSIDE).

    The most impressed I've ever been with old lumber was on a home in a very well healed area of Palo Alto, Ca. This was a paint job for an older widow. Her and her husband built the place when they were young (and affluent). The whole house was impressive, but the most impressive part was the siding. 2"x12"x20' clear redwood, all mostly or at least partly heart, lapped horizontally on the entire house below the gable line. It was peeling badly as the original prime coat from 60 years earlier was finally letting go in places. The lady of the house asked me: "Do you think I should replace it?" Since clear, largely heart redwood in that size is pretty much made of unobtainium today a more unscrupulous person might have said "Sure, but it won't be cheap." and them abscond with $100k worth of salvaged wood. In that light I'm glad it was me on the job because I told her it was very desirable wood in great shape other than the failing paint. I also told her that it probably didn't do much for the value of the house itself and it could make for a tidy sale if she ever did replace it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    Bah on any intention of a "finished look". They're just plain cuttin' the lumber smaller and advertising it wrong. What sort of a finished look with extra planing or milling are they chasing when half the boards they sell are crooked. The rack of lumber at the store looks like a bag of french fries.
    I agree completely that the wood you find at a local home center is complete crap. Partly I blame the home centers for trying to keep costs down. Partly I blame the logging industry for logging young, scrappy trees.

    But, as for the naming, that's a convention that goes way back in time. There's nothing nefarious about it. Originally, pretty much ALL lumber was sold rough-sawn and that's how they spec'ed the thickness. A lumber mill would likely have a planer, and they would be happy to plane your boards for you (at an additional cost) but the bill they presented to you would show the rough-sawn thickness, not the finished thickness, because that's what you bought. In cases were they had a selection of wood already planed on each side (S2S) or with sides and edges cleaned up (S4S) they still listed by the rough thickness because it was consistent with what they'd been doing all along. It made sense to everyone, including the people they did business with.

    Today, if we only shop at home centers then we never get near rough-saw lumber and just don't understand the measurement system. But, if you start shopping at places that cater more to professional wood workers then you'll start to see a lot more rough lumber and the system will make more sense.

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    Master Destroyer nosaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Bones View Post
    I agree completely that the wood you find at a local home center is complete crap. Partly I blame the home centers for trying to keep costs down. Partly I blame the logging industry for logging young, scrappy trees.

    But, as for the naming, that's a convention that goes way back in time. There's nothing nefarious about it. Originally, pretty much ALL lumber was sold rough-sawn and that's how they spec'ed the thickness. A lumber mill would likely have a planer, and they would be happy to plane your boards for you (at an additional cost) but the bill they presented to you would show the rough-sawn thickness, not the finished thickness, because that's what you bought. In cases were they had a selection of wood already planed on each side (S2S) or with sides and edges cleaned up (S4S) they still listed by the rough thickness because it was consistent with what they'd been doing all along. It made sense to everyone, including the people they did business with.

    Today, if we only shop at home centers then we never get near rough-saw lumber and just don't understand the measurement system. But, if you start shopping at places that cater more to professional wood workers then you'll start to see a lot more rough lumber and the system will make more sense.
    it sure is something else going to a sawmill and picking something out. I remember when I was young and my dad would go to the sawmill very interesting stuff going on there.

    nosaj

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nosaj View Post
    it sure is something else going to a sawmill and picking something out. I remember when I was young and my dad would go to the sawmill very interesting stuff going on there.

    nosaj
    True that. Even as a little kid I knew with all that sawdust around, it was dangerous to be smoking cigarettes. And pitching lit butts wherever they landed, without a care... Safety? So what!!! Fooey on that, back then EVERYONE was smoking, all the time. Now local sawmills are rare, partially due to the Darwin effect maybe?

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    Master Destroyer nosaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    True that. Even as a little kid I knew with all that sawdust around, it was dangerous to be smoking cigarettes. And pitching lit butts wherever they landed, without a care... Safety? So what!!! Fooey on that, back then EVERYONE was smoking, all the time. Now local sawmills are rare, partially due to the Darwin effect maybe?
    Johnny Cash lost a brother in one.
    Some of those trades disappear a little at a time, just as repairing things will one day.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Bones View Post
    I agree completely that the wood you find at a local home center is complete crap. Partly I blame the home centers for trying to keep costs down. Partly I blame the logging industry for logging young, scrappy trees.

    But, as for the naming, that's a convention that goes way back in time. There's nothing nefarious about it. Originally, pretty much ALL lumber was sold rough-sawn and that's how they spec'ed the thickness. A lumber mill would likely have a planer, and they would be happy to plane your boards for you (at an additional cost) but the bill they presented to you would show the rough-sawn thickness, not the finished thickness, because that's what you bought. In cases were they had a selection of wood already planed on each side (S2S) or with sides and edges cleaned up (S4S) they still listed by the rough thickness because it was consistent with what they'd been doing all along. It made sense to everyone, including the people they did business with.

    Today, if we only shop at home centers then we never get near rough-saw lumber and just don't understand the measurement system. But, if you start shopping at places that cater more to professional wood workers then you'll start to see a lot more rough lumber and the system will make more sense.
    Ok. Maybe some of that,but,.. A 2x4 use to be 2x4. (<period) And they weren't rough sawn. They were 2" by 4" because that was the measurement. And a 1" thickness on a board use to be 1". (<period) Not 3/4" and how does any of this pertain to plywood? Which is also commonly sold at 5/16" to 7/16" actual when advertised at 1/2". I've never seen rough sawn plywood.

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    Supporting Member Randall's Avatar
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    I went with my 5/8" cabinet grade birch ply for the baffle, off set the 12" speaker hole, and set it back 1/2" from the front edge. Tomorrow we route the edges, install the speaker mounting hardware, and it will be ready to tolex.

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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Randall View Post
    "More significant is how the baffle thickness affects the fit of the grill board in the recess. You'll need the depth measurement for that to know if it's a problem."

    I wasn't planning on a recess, is this necessary?
    I ran into this issue once when I took on a cabinet job before taking looking at how the baffleboard was joined in the cabinet, taking any measurements, or thinking it through at all before agreeing to take the job and quoting a price .
    The job involved repairing(replacing) an absolutely butchered baffleboard. The customer wanted to install a 12" speaker in place of the stock 10" speaker it was designed for. A previous tech attempted to modify the existing 1/4" ply for a 12" speaker, and the baffle didn't survive the attempted fabrication or weight of the speaker. The only way to reliably support the speaker he bought was to use a proper 1/2" baffle. The problem was, the baffle could only be installed through the back due to the construction of the cab and the baffle was set in a 1/4" grove in the top of the cab enclosure. I was able to solve this by cutting a 1/4" rabbet along the top of the baffle. This may work in many other instances where you want, or already have a thicker ply. By measuring for inset and depth of rabbets along the edges, you can construct the baffle to fit flush in the front and push the added depth on the inside of the cabinet.
    I'm not sure if I'm describing this in a way that's easy to visualize, but you can see the documentation from the above example in this thread
    How to cut a perfect radius in a speaker baffle using a jigsaw

    1 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    If I have a 50% chance of guessing the right answer, I guess wrong 80% of the time.

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