HackSpace magazine

Making Speakers from Maple Burl

By Andrew Gregory. Posted

Sharing your creations on social media can lead to useful insights that improve your project. Cory Wilton shared these speakers on Reddit and ended up solving an issue with the sound quality. We caught up with Cory to find out more.

"I am a self-admitted wood junkie. I am always on the lookout for an interesting piece of wood to bring home. My shop is filled with it. I seldom have a clue what I’ll do with it, until it just ‘hits’ me. That is what happened with this maple burl. I was perusing the piles of wood in the shop, and I imagined this burl as a speaker. I grabbed it, wiped the dust off, and the wheels started turning."

"I didn’t want to cut it up and piece it back together. I wanted to keep it as intact as possible. To maximise the size of speakers I could put in it, the controls would have to be somewhere besides the front. The top would have been the logical choice, but there was no room. Then I decided if I put the controls on the side, I could drill extra-deep holes for the speakers and an extra-deep cut-out for the control module. I felt this should give me plenty of room to connect everything, plus enough room for the oversized battery I planned to put in it."

"I marked the location of the speakers and drilled my holes roughly three inches deep in the three and 3/8 inch thick burl."

“It made me very nervous using a three-inch-long straight bit as a makeshift pattern bit, but it did get the job done, and I can still count to ten on my fingers. I considered that a win”

"I then routed a grove for the speakers to sit flush with the face of the burl. After all the cuts were finished, a quick dry fit and test revealed that it was time for sanding and varnishing. I sanded through a 400 grit sandpaper and several coats of urethane, sanding with 0000 steel wool between coats."

Drilled holes in the Maple Burl

"I really liked the way that it looked and it sounded OK, but it didn’t have quite enough bass for my liking. I showcased it on Reddit thinking I’d get 20 likes and a couple of comments. I was really shocked that I got around 5600 likes, and almost 200 comments. The crazy thing for me was when the guys from the audio subreddits started commenting and asking questions about stuff that I didn’t even know existed. Those guys were great and taught me a lot about the audio world. A couple of weeks later, I took it all apart, went back to my router, and created more space inside the burl for air flow. Now the bass is much better."

"Thank you Audio Dudes of Reddit!"