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Swope Sub in 100 Yr Old Barbados Mahogany

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  • Swope Sub in 100 Yr Old Barbados Mahogany

    Well, it's taken me all summer but it's finally complete. I present my take on Paul Carmody's Swope Sub with a solid Barbados Mahogany baffle and Hickory veneer cabinet. This is the .1 of a soon to be built 5.1 Overnight Sensation system (with Paul's new OS TMM as the mains).

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    This was only my second speaker project and definitely a lot more ambitious that the first (OS TMs). It had veneer, solid baffles and a painted recess. Thought it would be good practice to try just about everything. I made a ton of mistakes and it was certainly a learning experience; but I'm please with the final outcome. And they sound pretty good too!

    First impressions on music was that it was a bit boomy. A few adjustments and I think it's sounding much better. On movies, WOW! Chest thumping bass. I fired up Master and Commander and when those cannons fired the dog ran for cover :eek:

    I'll post some more build details below once I get a few more pics uploaded.

    And special thanks to Paul Carmody for sharing his designs - you're a guru, dude!
    Carbon13

  • #2
    Re: Swope Sub in 100 Yr Old Barbados Mahogany

    Panels cut, dado joints and painted edges for recess.

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    Test fit.

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    So the piece of Mahogany was just the right width but had an existing dado'd edge. So I had to modify the cabinet to have a bit of a lip at the bottom. Of course, I messed up and cut off one of the corners.

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    Patched...

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    Gluing up

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    Carbon13

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    • #3
      Re: Swope Sub in 100 Yr Old Barbados Mahogany

      All glued up

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      Took a while to get the hang of spray painting but I'm please with the outcome

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      Front baffle is double thick and mahogany is attached with hangers. Here's the double baffle part minus the mahogany.

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      Hickory veneer mess up...used 2 dowels between contact cement but middle sagged. Lesson learned...use 3 spacers next time...

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      Carbon13

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      • #4
        Re: Swope Sub in 100 Yr Old Barbados Mahogany

        Hickory veneer on and baffle test fit.

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        Driver recess

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        For the finishing, I tried a bunch of different finishes on the mahogany but nothing worked well except shellac. No idea why I had so many problems with varathane, oil and other finishes. But shellac worked so that's what I went with on the baffles. The Hickory cabs are finished in varathane (oil based).

        The mahogany is 100+yr old Barbados Mahogany. It's from the doors of a wardrobe that was given to my grandfather on his 18th birthday. He was always an electronics and gadget guy, big into ham radio. I think if he were alive to see this, he would be very happy.
        Carbon13

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        • #5
          Re: Swope Sub in 100 Yr Old Barbados Mahogany

          In it's natural habitat...

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          Carbon13

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          • #6
            Re: Swope Sub in 100 Yr Old Barbados Mahogany

            Very nice - that's a pretty sweet piece of wood!
            See my projects on Instagram and Facebook

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            • #7
              Re: Swope Sub in 100 Yr Old Barbados Mahogany

              Thanks! And I still have enough for the towers, centre and surrounds.

              I also inherited a bunch of chairs that I have to refinish, so I'll probably save the leftover cutoffs for repairing those.

              I was surprised at how red it came out. The original finish was almost black and you couldn't see any grain or the red colour.
              Carbon13

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              • #8
                Re: Swope Sub in 100 Yr Old Barbados Mahogany

                great looking sub!!

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                • #9
                  Re: Swope Sub in 100 Yr Old Barbados Mahogany

                  So all you used was clear shellac, and it brought that color out? That red is almost what I want for my current project.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Swope Sub in 100 Yr Old Barbados Mahogany

                    Beautiful!
                    Zarbo Audio Projects Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEZ...aFQSTl6NdOwgxQ * 320-641 Amp Review Youtube: https://youtu.be/ugjfcI5p6m0 *Veneering curves, seams, using heat-lock iron on method *Trimming veneer & tips *Curved Sides glue-up video
                    *Part 2 *Gluing multiple curved laminations of HDF

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                    • #11
                      Re: Swope Sub in 100 Yr Old Barbados Mahogany

                      Originally posted by Exarch View Post
                      So all you used was clear shellac, and it brought that color out? That red is almost what I want for my current project.
                      Yep, several coats of clear shellac, sanding with 400 in between and then final sanding progressively to 2000. Rubbed out with rubbing compound, polishing compound and then high quality wax.

                      I tried test pieces with varathane but I kept getting this weird blistering. I tried a sanding sealer which stopped the blistering but I found it really dulled the red colour. I tried some oil finishes but none brought out that natural red colour as nicely as the shellac. I was originally going to do a satin but the red really pops under the gloss finish - and the wife liked that...so gloss it was!

                      But keep in mind this is a really old and unique piece of wood; and that's where the colour is coming from. I took a piece into a local exotic wood shop and had half the store looking at it
                      Carbon13

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                      • #12
                        Re: Swope Sub in 100 Yr Old Barbados Mahogany

                        Try to keep it out of direct sunlight so it doesn't darken.
                        "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

                        http://www.diy-ny.com/

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                        • #13
                          Re: Swope Sub in 100 Yr Old Barbados Mahogany

                          Originally posted by Face View Post
                          Try to keep it out of direct sunlight so it doesn't darken.
                          Will do. This is what it looked like when I got it (right) and sanded down (left). It was definitely much darker. Could barely see any grain.

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                          Carbon13

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                          • #14
                            Re: Swope Sub in 100 Yr Old Barbados Mahogany

                            That is so cool! Thank you for posting the photos; I get questions about the inside of the cabinet all the time, and it's very hard for me to explain (maybe if I had some Solidworks skills).
                            Isn't it about time we started answering rhetorical questions?

                            Paul Carmody's DIY Audio Projects
                            Twitter: @undefinition1

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                            • #15
                              Re: Swope Sub in 100 Yr Old Barbados Mahogany

                              Thanks Paul! It was a fun build and even more fun to listen to! I can't wait to get going on the OSTMMs. My wife is going to the US for business and I'm having the x-over parts shipped to her hotel...she loves being my speaker building mule...;)
                              Carbon13

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