This popped up on FB today and got me wondering if solid wood would be a bad choice for speaker cabinets.Seems it would be unstable and tend to warp.They are pretty little things.I'm sure interior designers love them:) https://www.riverwoodacoustics.com
That is a small speaker and the wood is thick enough with enough structure that warping won't be a problem. A cabinet that small with front and backs attached will be fairly inert. I've built tons of speakers and even though I really don't use solid woods. I could, but would properly brace everything to keep down issues that arise with solid woods.
Bad idea guys. Wood expands and contracts with humidity. The various species do this at various rates. What we do to prevent cracking is float pieces that go across the grain to prevent cracking. The old raised panel doors are an example of this. The raised panel is floating so that it can move. Loose parts in speakers is not a good idea. This is the reason that most speakers are made with veneers. Manufactured products like MDF and plywood do not expand and contract so they can be used in box construction without fear of disintegration. MDF in particular has wonderful properties for speaker construction. It is dense, stiff dead stuff and takes a finish well. Those speakers look great now, talk to me in ten years.
That's what I thought.I've worked a bit with solid wood on other types of projects and have had to ensure that it has a little room to move to avoid splitting and buckling.Daedalus found a way around that somehow?
Daedalus Audio has been making solid wood speakers for use in the home since 2002, and for musicians and other professionals since 1992. I have owned a pair of Daedalus Ulysses speakers for 8 years, and they are as good as new physically and sonically. I have closely followed user comments and reviews of Daedalus speakers, here and elsewhere, for about ten years, and I have never seen a single report of warping, splitting, or other such wood-related problems.
In addition to being an outstanding speaker designer Lou Hinkley of Daedalus is a master craftsman who knows what he is doing when it comes to working with wood. As he says at his website, "these are heirloom speakers and the hardwood is the heart of every pair."
As is usual in audio, implementation is everything.
There are a great many examples of early American furniture, you know, Chippendale, Shaker, Queen Anne, etc. made from solid American hardwoods, including but not limited to maple, mahogany, rosewood, poplar, and walnut that have survived in all kinds of climates, even before the advent of air conditioning, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, without damage such as splitting, warping or any such thing. Ditto musical instruments like Stradivarius and other very old violins, cellos, what have you.
Ok,well now I need to find out what methods are used to keep the wooden instruments and the daedalus speakers in perfect condition. I do know for a fact that very old furniture and woodwork does require regular maintainence and repair.
It wouldn't be my choice but I reminisce at the look of my road worn DYI birch plywood JBL 4530 scoops.
A close inspection of the underside of most every Viol table (spruce top) you'll find inlay patches holding the grain together. 100 degree heat is murder on old hide glues.
I finally sold my Pollmnn Busseto Double Bass because of the constant maintenance it required. The older it got the more it needed and I live on the centeral California coast. I'm down to the pre WWII Benedict Lang laminate and a recent Upton Bostonian.
Use a high quality water proof wood glue and screws were possible.
There are a few technics to prevent expansion cracks. The most probable easiest is to rip the wood into stips, maybe 4 to 5 inches wide and regluing them to fairly well match wood grain. These small strips do not expand like something that is say 12 inches wide. There are other things that you can do, it just takes a bit of know how.
After googling around a bit I found out the daedalus speakers are not 100%solid wood,other materials are employed.The old wooden instruments had to have been carefully stored,maintained,and occasionally repaired.The secret to the pieces of wood used is the way it is slowly and completely dried then sealed completely.Darn,I actually had to think and learn something new today:)
Reclaimed lumber is actually a verygood choice just liken making guitars .old lumber all the moisture and resins are dry and acoustically much tighter. Once your uusesevetal natural costs of a tongue oil , or something natural ,Not polyurethane allows the wood to breath . I prefer tongue oil in ships have been using for hundreds of years let each cost dry the finish not only is more durable ,but as a added benifit it breaths and is water resistant . if you can get it in a natural finish you have a winner. My friend is a custom cabinet maker so I learned a lot obout the best applications.
I would think the biggest problem would be cost. Thick dense old growth walnut is very stable. Stable enough to be the preferred wood for gun stocks. But nice, dense tight walnut is insanely expensive.
When I was considering building a pair myself my plan was to make the structure out of MDF and then "skin" it with local red cedar, which I already have. I built the countertops in my cabin with it. It is old growth and quite hard. Very pretty with tongue oil or even just mineral spirits. Would not use it by itself though.
I still might build a pair just for the fun of it. But that will be a ways down the road after a few other wild hares have been tamed.
Those speakers should be fine. They are small enough that even if they did very very slightly change shape (swell/shrink) you wouldn't hear a difference. I doubt you would see any effect on the joinery.
Speaking of stable woods to use for speakers. I had a pair of monstrous 4-way speakers custom built for the Alice Cooper Billion Dollar Babies tour as "side fill" speakers- whatever that is. The guy I bought them from was a roadie for the tour. I used them for a few years for rock music and they rocked.... they could mix concrete. Layout and driver compliment was close to a JBL 4345 but used mostly GAUSS drivers. I sold the drivers but kept the massive custom crossovers- just in case....All I know is the crossovers were made by Fergitron of N.J.. Exactly who made those speakers is still a mystery.
They were built with 1" thick 22-ply Russian Baltic Birch plywood. Heavily braced internally. Very heavy and extremely stable. Not the prettiest, but probably the best-constructed speakers I have ever owned. I have always kept the idea that someday I would build a good looking pair using the Russian Birch as a foundation and veneer with Rosewood or something easy on the eye.