The Old Stereo Enclosure
I have been meaning to address the issue of my boats stereo for a while and figured while doing the re-wire was as good a time as any.
The old stereo box bugged me as the PO had stained mahogany to match the teak, Yuk! Most would have never noticed, but of course I did. Secondly the PO did not allow any room for air circulation in the old stereo enclosure. The stereo sat directly on the wood and scraped the edges as it slid in. There was not even room for the face plate adapter that the stereo slides into.
To make a long story shorter the stereo would heat up and distort after a while.
Begin The Cutting
I decided on the height I wanted the enclosure to be for air circulation and then ripped some 1/2" marine grade baltic birch plywood.
Because teak faced marine ply is soooo expensive, about $225.00-$275.00 per sheet for 1/2", I decided on a veneer. My friend Tim was kind enough to give me some scraps he had left over from restoring his boat.
Cut The Sides To Length
For the ripping part I cut them a little long then stacked the side and cut them together. I did this to be sure both sides were the exact same length. I could have used my saw stop, for repeatability, but it took less time to just stack them.
Clean Cuts For Veneer
When using a veneer you'll want sharp blades and clean cuts. I used a 40 tooth thin kerf Freud blade in my table saw, for expensive plywood though I rip with an 80 tooth, and I used an 80 tooth Freud blade in my chop saw for cross cutting.
Dado The Sides, Glue & Brad Nail
The next step was to dado the edges where the sides and bottom met. I also used the dado blade to cut the front face so it to sat into the front not just on top of it. Once these cuts were made I glued and brad nailed the sides on.
I used what I had left of my stash of 18ga stainless steel brad nails. I've had them for years, and think I got them from McFeeley's, but I do remember them being quite pricey. If you fill the nail head holes with wood flour or glue & sawdust you should be fine with any brad nail, especially under veneer. I like the stainless brads so they never rust & bleed through in the moist marine environment.
The Face Plate
This is the face that the stereo will eventually sit into. I did not nail & glue it into the box until I had cut the opening for the stereo and confirmed the fit. I rather mess up before it has been glued and nailed to the enclosure as it would make starting over that much easier.
Mark The Centers
I then marked the center of the face plate and the center of the stereo case insert and traced the outline of it onto the face plate.
Cut The Face Plate Opening
To cut the opening in the face I used my Dremel Multi-Tool. Sadly my Fein was on the boat, but having back up tools is never a bad thing. In some instances I really prefer an oscillating tool for precision work, over a jig saw. In a situation like this my Bosch jig saws base plate would not have even fit on the face plate without wobbling. I also find I can do more accurate straight line cuts with an oscillating tool than I can with a jig saw.
Test Fit The Face Plate & Stereo Adapter
Next I test fit the stereo case. From the original cut it did take a little bit of fine sanding with the oscillating tool before it slid in. There is not much room for error as the flange on these is quite slim, so they need to fit nearly perfectly.
Make Sure Everything Fits Perfectly Flush
Once the stereo case fit the face I glued and brad nailed it to the rest of the enclosure. I then went to town with a long board and sand paper making all the surfaces perfectly flat for the veneer. The edge on the right is still a little proud in this photo, but I took it down flush with the rest of the box.
Apply The Veneer Glue
Tim had a really neat glue product I had never used nor heard of called "Heat Lock". It is a water based veneer glue that is heat activated. I rolled two coats onto both the veneer and the enclosure letting it dry about 20 minutes in-between coats.
After The Fist Coat of Veneer Glue
Here's some veneer, and the enclosure, after the first coat of the Heat Lock glue.
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