Friday, September 21, 2012

A Pine Speaker Cab, Tung Oil and a Burlap Sack!

When I started planning my all pine 57 Tweed Deluxe clone I had in the back of my mind that it would be Johnny cool if it sat on a matching cab to form the ultimate tweed stack.

The Tung Oil Learning Curve
I found a cab maker on ebay that had a pine 1x12 box that mimicked the combo amp cab I already had. These two cabs are so similar that I almost thought the same guy had built them both, but I'm sure this is a pretty common design. The combo was done when I bought it. If it was up to me I would have a less glossy version but the combo does look pretty sexy.

The speaker cab was raw with no finish. The combo was finished with tung oil. I looked on my shelf and I already had two bottles. After my first application I read the label and the Formby's Tung Oil has no tung oil in it! It is a thinned wiping varnish.  I hoofed it to the hardware store and bought the Minwax Tung Oil. Guess what, Minwax doesn't have tung oil in it either!
After some Googling I found out most people use the Minwax. I let my first layer of Formby's dry for 24 hours and then I applied my Minwax. I followed the instructions and wiped the excess off after 15 minutes. The problem was after 2 or three applications I found it hard to believe it would ever look as shiny as my combo cab. I thought, "man that guy must have used some sort of clear coat and not confessed to it!"
I went back to the builder of my extension cab and asked how he got his cab so shiny in the "after" photo. He simply replied, "with 400 grit sand paper." I found it hard to believe but this gave me a chance to drive the Caddy and crank up my new favorite song - ZZ Top's "Heartache in Blue". I almost bought some clear coat for backup but I came home with 8 sheets of 400 grit. I sanded the cab and then wiped it down. I hit it again with a nice wipe down of Minwax Tung Oil. 12 hours later it looked better. I sanded it again and noticed that the sanding was actually shinning it up in some areas. I laid down more Minwax but this time I didn't wipe it down after 10 minutes. I let it sit in the sun. Right before I went to bed I sanded it down and hit it again and left it "wet" over night with no wipe down after 10 minutes. When I woke up I ran down to the basement and it was pretty shiny! I was afraid it might not dry and be gummy but it was pretty good. I waited until noon and sanded and wiped it down with Minwax one more time. By 5 PM it looked almost exactly like my cab. I would have never believed it!

Burlap Potato Sacks are Cool
After watching Heartworn Highway and spotting Charlie Daniels wood amp cabs and burlap feed sack speaker covers I had to have my own. That led to me sitting on my porch in the evening on Ebay looking for two feed sacks. It's not as easy as you would think. I would find cool burlap sacks and they would want $80 bucks for them. There is no way I could bring myself to pay that much for some burlap. The other problem was finding sacks that looked cool but also had a graphic that would fit the cab. After weeks of looking I wanted the sack that Charlie used. I had given up and then out of the blue there it was and for only around $8!! The sad reality was that there was no way it was going to fit my cabs. It was just too big.
It was a sad burlap sack hunting day. I ended up scoring an Indian head that looked super bad and was just the right size. Usually I would feel a little funny about an Indian head as art work but since my people walked the Trail of Tears I figure I can pull it off. I also scored a sack with a train on it. When they showed up I was blown away. I just didn't expect potato sacks to look so damn cool! My wife and I both felt bad that I had to cut them up. I think I'm going to get a few more to frame for the basement.

There you have it - my retro, all natural, potato sack boxes of wood. The cabs look even better than I thought they would...and how often does that happen?

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