The first few paycheques I earned after high school went toward the biggest, loudest set of speakers I could afford. The key features for me were size and volume-and the gigantic set I bought could shake window panes at half the volume. But 10 years and two kids later, big speakers don’t hold the same appeal. In fact, they look kind of ugly to me now. Adding to the eyesore were scrap 1 x 2 boards I used to prop the front edges off the floor. Yes, my woodworker’s shame led to these simple, tilted stands. Floor speakers seem to perform best when the front edge is propped up a few inches. The angle directs the sound upward rather than straight across the floor.
I decided to use crotch walnut for my stands because of its dark colour and attractive grain. Structurally, most woods work fine here, though you'll probably have to paint or stain lighter woods to match the typically dark colour of speaker boxes. Before cutting into the walnut I cut test pieces from scrap pine, checking angles and machine settings. It's a good thing too because they needed fine-tuning. The hardest part of this project is the corner mitres; testing on scraps certainly makes it easier. The chances that your speakers are exactly the same size as mine are pretty slim, so you'll have to customize the dimensions accordingly. Each stand should be big enough to hold the base of the speaker box within a rabbet groove around the top edge of the base. You'll find it easiest to start custom-building with a piece of scrap ply. Cut it the same size as the footprint of your speaker plus 1/8", then use it as a benchtop template for building your own speaker stand.
Start by making a tapering jig for your tablesaw. To build this you will need a 4"-wide by 18"-long piece of scrap 3/4"-thick ply. Fasten wood strips to the top of this to hold the side members steady and at the proper nine-degree angle to the blade. Cut all four sides together to ensure accuracy. You could also rough cut the tapers using a jigsaw or a bandsaw and refine the sawn edges with a hand plane. Next, cut the front and back pieces, leaving the top edges at nine-degrees.
Once you've test-fitted the pine parts and made the required adjustments, cut the walnut using the same machine settings. Then prepare the rabbet grooves that will hold the speakers. The easiest approach involves a bearing-equipped rabbeting bit in a table-mounted router. If you're using highly figured woods, as I did, make the rabbeting cut in several shallow passes. Otherwise, aggressive routing will lead to splinters and large chips. Before final gluing, dry fit again, this time around the speakers.
Although I strengthened the mitres using glue blocks, you can use biscuits instead if you prefer. As for the finish, I applied two coats of oil and then rubbed in a coat of wax.
|Part||Material||Size (T x W x L*)||Qty.|
|Fronts||black walnut||5/8" x 2 3/4" x 15 7/8"||2|
|Backs||black walnut||5/8" x 5/8" x 15 7/8"||2|
|Sides||black walnut||5/8" x 2 1/2"** x 13 5/8"||4|
|Front blocks||black walnut||5/8" x 5/8" x 2 1/2"||4|
|Rear blocks||black walnut||5/8" x 5/8" x 5/8"||4|
|**Tapers down to 5/8"|
* Length indicates grain direction