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Making mitered speaker cabinets efficiently

loglife Member

I'm planning to make speaker cabinets in small batches (a dozen or so at a time) and I wish to minimize labor/headaches etc. I'm building the same cabinet every time, so I can make jigs if needed.

The cabinet is depicted in the attached rendering. The front and back panels are 3/4" melamine coated MDF, the internal braces are 3/4" particleboard, and the tops/sides are 3/4" veneered MDF.

I'm thinking the process could go like so:

1. Cut the short dimension of the side and top panels

2. Edgeband front and back edges of top/side panels

3. Sand and finish (?) top/side panels.

4. Miter prefinished top/side panels

5. CNC cut internal braces and front/rear panels

6. Glue up internal braces and front/rear panels into an assembly (see 2nd attachment)

7. Dado inside of top/side panels after taking careful measurements from front/rear panel/brace assembly

8. Glue top/side panels onto front/rear panel assembly

Does this sound reasonable? Anyone have any better ideas or thoughts on pitfalls I might encounter? I'm willing to make changes to the cabinet to make it easier to build.

View higher quality, full size image (820 X 821)

View higher quality, full size image (820 X 821)

View higher quality, full size image (820 X 821)

2/5/19       #2: Making mitered speaker cabinets eff ...
Alan F.

Miter-fold the veneer and run the grain the other direction.

Speakers are notorious for slow-no pay, get paid in advance.

2/6/19       #3: Making mitered speaker cabinets eff ...
Leo G Member

Lock Miters

2/6/19       #4: Making mitered speaker cabinets eff ...

I agree that the top and sides blanks and dados should be cut on the cnc and v grooved.

Looking at speaker kits there does not seem to be any money in it?

2/6/19       #5: Making mitered speaker cabinets eff ...
Chris H.


Good morning,
In terms of pitfalls - I have customers who build ultra-fancy speaker assemblies who have to pay really close attention to their construction methods from an acoustic point-of-view. Subtle issues can arise primarily from loose components or hardware inside the speaker box. If you're already into building speaker boxes, you probably didn't need me to tell you this, but I ran a custom woodshop for years and honestly, this may not have occurred to me until it was too late if I was building one for the first time. I'm not an audio engineer, but your design looks solid in my eyes, especially if it's thoroughly and solidly glued together. Some of those same customers I mentioned use our Lamello Tenso connectors as a miter clamp for gluing the boxes together since they may be used in any angle and pull with 35 lbs of force. For that matter, you could actually use Tenso connectors for all of the assemblies inside the box and dispense with the dado process. And just yesterday, we launched the P-10 version of the Tenso for thinner materials too. The slots for the P-System may be made with a hand-held machine (the Zeta P2), on a CNC router, or through a hybrid process. You could look around here elsewhere on Woodweb and see what other customers have said about their experiences their Zeta. Let me know if you have any questions about it and good luck with your project whichever direction you go in. All of my customers who build cabinet boxes say it's nice little (and lucrative) sideline to their business, so it's a good choice to broaden your portfolio.

Lamello Tenso P-14

2/6/19       #6: Making mitered speaker cabinets eff ...
Leo G Member

When I was making speakers for Acoustic Research the internal baffles were set into dadoes like yours. But they used 3/4" thick material and the dadoes were .705 I think. On the parts that would be put into the dadoes there was a deep slot cut into the center of the edge that made the part be able to flex and squeeze into the slot. It was always a tight fit that was acoustically sound.

2/6/19       #7: Making mitered speaker cabinets eff ...
loglife Member

Thanks for all the responses!

Alan and Bill,

I've never done miter folding before, but I read up a little on it this morning. Do you suggest cutting all the way through with the V bit, adding tape, then folding? Or just cutting almost all the way through?

I'm selling complete speakers, so no issues with getting paid or low margins associated with kits.


Thanks for the suggestion on the lamellos, I will look into it. Also, yes, I am aware of the issues with rattles. I was previously making a molded plastic speaker with a bunch of electronics inside and there were all sorts of problems with connectors rattling and air chuffing through holes.


I think it's pretty neat that you made cabinets for AR. AR and NHT used to be headquartered near me in Benicia, CA, after they both got acquired by Recoton around 1990. I used to dig in their dumpster for discarded speaker parts!

When you made AR cabinets how did you cut the miters and clamp them? Did you rely on the baffles to keep the miters aligned? or something else to ensure registration?

I'm pretty sure I don't want to use a lock miter because of the aesthetic of the joint.

2/6/19       #8: Making mitered speaker cabinets eff ...
Leo G Member

We had a jig that kept things in place and the glue we used was super thick. Just used bungy cords to hold things together until the glue dried. Weird tapered angles with a fully tapered cap.

I redesigned the whole thing and sent them a sample because the miters were a pain to work with. Then they came back with a drawing of my redesign with another guys name taking credit for it. But it used dadoes instead of miters. This was a tall skinny rectangularish speaker with some kind of fuzzy paint material on it. Kinda neat.

2/6/19       #9: Making mitered speaker cabinets eff ...
Alan F. Member

We miter fold on a flat table CNC, we tape before we fold, a fold across the grain needs to be close to through so it doesn't splinter, it varies by veneer.

You can pick a used dedicated feed through machine up for about 7k at auction. Or you could have a local company make a custom metal frame and use some 3HP routers, one fore a rough cut and one for a finish cut.

Otherwise you could set up a shaper with a 0 cut and miter the ends and then tape and glue.

Do you have any concerns about the STC of the different material types?

We did some speaker boxes almost 40 years ago, when I asked the woman who wrote the checks why they always bounced, she didn't understand it, she called the bank every day to check the balance before she wrote any more checks.

I would call their bank, go an get cash or cashiers check and then deposit it.

Somebody that got tired of not getting paid advertised their house for $150 a month in the local paper, no deposit, with just the address and come any time. It was a 3000 sq foot home, 5 bedroom with a pool, near a college. They had people ringing their door bell for a month asking to rent the house.

3/10/19       #10: Making mitered speaker cabinets eff ...
Jason Scott

Alan whoever thought of that was a genius.

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