If you’ve ever dropped your phone into a glass to amplify the sound, you know what a passive speaker is. Here’s one, made from wood, that works even better, and you can make it to fit any phone.
A full blow-by-blow is in my book, Build Stuff with Wood, coming out next year, but here’s the skinny on the how-to.
The trick is breaking it down into three layers, all made from off-the-shelf project boards from your local home center. All are 5-1/2 in. wide, but the middle layer is a thinner 3/8 in. thick while the front and back layers are 3/4.
If you have a jigsaw (or bandsaw or even a coping saw) for the curves, and almost any other kind of saw to cut the ends square, you are good to go.
You’ll notice that I left the layers long at first, so give me room for clamping as I worked on them. Then once they are all glued together, I just chopped the ends off, and then rounded all the edges to create the sleek, sexy science project you see before you.
By the way, if your phone has two speakers on the bottom, you can make a double-wide version, with two channels and two speaker holes, one on each side of the phone.
Back in a past life, as editor of Fine Woodworking magazine, I put together a free series of videos on how to get started in the craft. There are awesome projects, including a simple but solid workbench, and lots of advice on choosing your first tools and learning how to use them. It’s all still online and all free at StartWoodworking.com.
The video series is actually called Getting Started in Woodworking, but it lives on the StartWoodworking website. There are some annoying ads you might have to sit through at the beginning of some videos, and my co-hosts and I were far from professional presenters, but the info is rock-solid.
We shot three seasons in all, and projects included a small box, a cutting board, a real workbench for woodworking, an oak bookcase, and a beautiful side table/nightstand from walnut. Along the way, we introduce all the key power tools and hand tools you’ll need to be a woodworker, from the tablesaw and planer to chisels and handplanes, with a surefire method for sharpening.
My thanks to my co-hosts Matt Berger and Ed Pirnik, shooters and editors like Gary Junken and Mike Dobsevage, and the Taunton Press for making it all possible.
Applying a beautiful finish to wood is all about how well you prepare the surface before the oil or varnish goes on, and careful sanding is the key (hand-planing can be amazing too, but that has a steeper learning curve).
The key to successful sanding is backing the paper up with a flat block. That means you’ll be tearing a lot of sandpaper sheets down to block-size. This simple cutting jig is the fastest way to do that.
All you need is a couple pieces of wood and a hacksaw blade. New ones cost only a couple bucks each. Or you can repurpose an old one that has gone dull. Sharpness doesn’t really matter here.
The next question is how big your sanding block is. I use the world’s most badass block, the little-known “Preppin’ Weapon,” which uses a 1/4 sheet of sandpaper that you make by ripping a big sheet across its width. One big sheet makes four perfect strips, but only if you use this handy DIY cutter.
To make the jig, you use one piece of plywood (or whatever) as the base and a narrower piece as the fence. Then you just screw down the hacksaw blade, with the edge facing outward, the right distance away from the fence. There are little holes in the ends of the blade to make it easy to screw down.
Then whenever you need a new piece of paper, you slip it under the blade, bump it against the fence and tear. Perfect, every time.
You’ll hear a lot of makers and woodworkers fuss about the cool “jig” they just built. Now you can join the club.