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January 14, 2013Fishing guide builds guitar amp part 1

Not much of in the way of fishing to report from Teton Fly Fishing world headquarters. Temperatures have been on the cold side, with single digits and below zero numbers being common the past week or so. It was -13 here mid morning and we may have gotten above zero for a high…

Because of the cold, I have some time on my hands and decided to embark on a project that I’ve wanted to do for some time. As some of you know, I’m a music junkie. In addition to collecting cds and records, I also love guitars (Martins and Fenders), ukuleles and tube amplifiers (Old Fenders). Last year I refinished a strat in sea foam green nitro. This year I decided to build a tube amplifier; one based on a 5F1 Fender Champ amp. Jamie was kind of enough to get me the necessary electronic components for Christmas and I thought I’d delve into woodworking and build the cabinet myself, customizing it to hold a 10” speaker, thus making it louder!

After a few hours and a few burns on my fingers, I got the electronics soldered and wired up. Unfortunately I managed mix up something along the way and fry my transformer- a rookie move (at least that’s what I’m telling myself). Not to be defeated, I ordered a new transformer and am now awaiting its arrival to see if I’ve remedied the situation…

Handwired chassis 


This past weekend I put in some time in my Dubois workshop. I began with ¾” pine, cut into the appropriate lengths. My goal is to make this cabinet much like the originals made by Fender in the 50’s, so finger-joints were in order. After attempting to cut them by hand with dovetail and coping saws, I settled on using a scroll saw to get a much more accurate cut. Surprisingly, my measuring was pretty accurate and the joints came out pretty uniform. Once the joints were cut, the box went together pretty tight, with minimal chisel work. I glued and clamped it, letting it dry over night. Then I began cutting and gluing extra cabinet pieces for the top, sides and back as well as the baffle board that will hold the speaker.

The workshop:

Teton Fly Fishing's workshop

Measured for finger joints:

measured for cuts

Finger joints cut:

finger   joints cut

Glued, clamped and fairly square:

glued and clamped


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