DIY is a bit harder than I have imagined...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jones_Rush, Jun 28, 2001.

  1. Jones_Rush

    Jones_Rush Stunt Coordinator

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    For quite a few months now I have been gathering information about my first DIY project. I figured that in my situation (small room) a sealed 3c/f Shiva will be the best compromise.
    I bought all the components I needed (driver, 250w plate amp, polyfill, grill cloth, Behringer eq, T-nuts).
    The last thing I had to do is build the box.
    I don't know why, but somehow I got the (false) impression that building a sealed box would be piece of cake easy.
    Since I have no special tools in my home I thought I let a carpenter do the cutting, then I'll do the gluing.
    When I showed the carpenter my drawings for the box, he really had no idea about the trouble I was getting him into, the only thing he was worried about was the MDF size, I asked him for 1.25", he said that it is insanely heavy.
    Since he hasn't had any clue that about 40% of the pieces I wanted him to cut were to be made braces, he said that since it's such an easy job he will glue it for me for another $25.
    I have been at his workshop for most of the time he worked on my box, and I want to tell you, it was pretty hard. This carpenter is very experienced yet I kept here him yelling and cursing the wood for not acting as he wanted. The 1.25" MDF is very heavy and he told me that he almost broke his back twice trying to lift some of the boards together.
    Anyway, it was very hard for him, he used tons of equipment to balance the box correctly, and at the end, after gluing, he had a room full of dozens of clamps at all sizes at his service.
    I am so glad I didn't do it on my own, even if I could manage to create a box-like enclosure, it would have never been so perfect as the box he made.
    The funny thing is that since he didn't knew what he was geting himself into at the beginning, we agreed that I will pay him $100 for the whole thing. Today (during gluing) he told me that in order for this to be worthwhile for him he should have charged me at least $200, but since we have an agreement and it's partly his fault for not studying the project better he said that he will keep the price at $100,
    he also implied (very faintly though) that I cheated him to think it was just a regular speaker. I told him the truth that it's the first time in my life that I see something like this being built and I'm sorry but it was only ignorance.
    Do you think I should pay him more ? if so, how much should I add ?.
    btw, he had a very interesting way to connect the boards together. He made thin long insertion holes at both sides of the joint, then he sticked a biscuit-like wood into one of the holes, and connected the other board like lego to it.
     
  2. Rob Curtis

    Rob Curtis Stunt Coordinator

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    My advice is to treat him fair.
    You and he can determine what is fair, but you may want to do business with him in the future and you will want to be on good terms with him when you do.
    I suspect if you gave him an extra $50 it would make him think a lot better of you the next time you come around.
     
  3. Steve_D

    Steve_D Second Unit

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    IMHO
    Since I also get paid by the hour in systems consulting, and pay other consultants by the hour as a project manager I think I have a decent perspective on this issue, as it happens all the time in projects.
    I would suggest you meet in the middle as apparently you have done. I would also consider my relationship with the person, your satisfaction with the work he did, and whether or not you plan on using him again for future projects. The answer to those questions should guide you on how close to his side of $200 and to the original agreement of $25 you should settle. Also you didn't mention how much time he took to finish the $25 piece. If it was 4 hours, and the going rate for carpenters in the area is $30/hour, then maybe $120 would be fair.
    He did commit to $25, and yes, he should have understood what he was committing to as you provided the plan, so he should share that part of the burden. Whatever you do, don't let him guilt you into the $200. HE was the expert, not you, cost overruns are his responsibility. Just try to be fair.
     
  4. Jones_Rush

    Jones_Rush Stunt Coordinator

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    After reading my post again I get the feeling that I might scare some DIY beginners. This was not my intention at all.
    What I was trying to say is that you need to know that woodworking is a skill that most of us born without, (maybe Patrick Sun is an exception), beginners should get aid in their first project from someone experienced, otherwise, be ready to burn time and money...
     
  5. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    Well, scared me. [​IMG] I had been toying with the idea of a DIY sub, but now I'm just saying screw it and going with the SVS. This may be fine for those with extensive woodworking experience and a shop full of power tools, but with me, that just ain't gonna happen.
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    "This movie has warped my fragile little mind."
     
  6. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I must correct this presumption: I AM NOT A WOODWORKER! I barely have tools to cut through 3/4" MDF. [​IMG] When I get a table saw with vacuum attachment, then you may call me a woodworker-wannabe.
    BTW, 1.25" thick MDF is INSANELY HEAVY! It's a good thing he didn't charge you by the pound!
    ------------------
    PatCave; HT Pix; Gear; DIY Mains; DIY CC; Sunosub I + II + III; DVDs; LDs
     
  7. JerryD

    JerryD Extra

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    For anyone reading this thread and contemplating their first DIY experience, I would add that while building boxes that are square and air tight takes some woodworking skills, building a Sonotube sub is simpler, easier and can be done with less tools. That is a major factor in the popularity of SonoSubs. Sonotube is one of the most direct routes to a ridgid, airtight enclosure.
    I would also recommend that if you want to do a box that is very thick, that you do it in two steps. 3/4 inch MDF is by far the most common and easy to get... and it only weighs about 100 Lb. per 4' by 8' sheet and not 165 Lb. per sheet like 1.25 inch MDF. Make a box out of the 3/4 inch MDF and then construct a second box around it, gluing the two together as you go. It takes a little longer, but your back will thank you... That is until you try to move the box. (Borrow a hand truck).
    Most everyone knows someone who likes woodworking and would enjoy sharing what they know and would be willing to help. Don't be afraid to ask.
     
  8. Bob Sorel

    Bob Sorel Stunt Coordinator

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    Jerry has the right idea here. The trick is to use your head and not your back. I built a dual HE 15 enclosure measuring 22"X22"X42" out of 1.5" thick MDF, and I did it all by myself, and I am not an experienced woodworker.
    I bought two sheets of 3/4" MDF at Home Depot and had them cut the sheets into quarters right there, so all I had to do was move pieces that measured about 24"X48" each (actually the "cabinet stock" is oversized by an inch in each direction, so the pieces were 24.5"X48.5")...no big deal.
    Then, back at home, I laminated the pieces together using wood glue and a few clamps. This left me with pieces each measuring 24.5"X48.5", but now they were 1.5" thick. Now you cut them to size, and everything can be handled by one person using a table saw and a pair of roller stands.
    As far as cutting out the circles is concerned, you just drill a pilot hole all the way through the MDF, and then route the circle, cutting half way through from each side, 1/4" at a time, so that you don't need to go any deeper than 3/4" from any side.
    Finish the cabinet while it is still in the workshop, move it into place close to where you expect to use it, and then mount the drivers and passive radiators there, so that the cabinet is a lot lighter. My completed cabinet weighs almost 350 pounds, and I didn't need any help at any point. The problem the carpenter ran into was not thinking it through thoroughly before starting.
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    STOP DVI/HDCP/5C/DFAST!
     
  9. Seungsoo Hwang

    Seungsoo Hwang Stunt Coordinator

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    Ive built both a sonotube and a regular box subwoofer, dont let yourself be discouraged from trying it out. Hell I dont even have any tools, Im either using my schools or my friends stuff [​IMG]. The thing to remember is to have fun while doing it, if you treat it like a chore or work you have to do then it wont be as rewarding and enjoyable process that it should be. Jones_Rush, from your description of things, it seems like the carpenter found DIY to be "harder than I have imagined" than you [​IMG]. 1.25" MDF...*shudder*.
     
  10. Ellen

    Ellen Stunt Coordinator

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    Jones,
    Can you possibly post the plans for your box? I'm dying to know what kind of box you drew up that gave a professional carpenter such difficulties.
     
  11. MattD

    MattD Stunt Coordinator

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    I'd give him 120-150 and be on your way. That way, both parties can sleep easy.
     
  12. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    There is a difference between a carpenter and a cabinet maker. Carpenters typically spend their day framing houses and use circular saws, hammers, drills, etc. A cabinet maker builds furniture (kitchen cabinets, tables, etc.) and uses a variety of large stationary tools to complete a job (like a cabinet saw). I'm not sure which type you hired but I would hope that a skilled cabinet maker could build a sealed box in under 2 hours. A carpenter typically would not have the tools on hand to make this a simple job. It takes me under an hour to cut everything and glue it up with my cabinet saw, jig saw, & router for a simple subwoofer cabinet (this isn't including design time / planning). Drawing out a detailed measured drawing and parts list for any project will save you a lot of headaches down the line. BTW, that 'biscuit-like thing' that he was using is called a biscuit. You use a biscuit joiner to cut the holes for these (~$250 for a decent one). It helps a lot in terms of alignment (keeps things from sliding around while you're trying to tighten that clamp).
    Enjoy your new subwoofer...
    Greg
     
  13. David A. Frattaroli

    David A. Frattaroli Stunt Coordinator

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    Jones, I think you're being fair by giving him the $100. If he is an expert, he should know how difficult a project will be. Let's remember: we're talking about boxes! When you first get into woodworking, you build boxes. It's the first thing you learn! I've built my own speakers and am hardly an experienced woodworker.
    You presented him the project, told him what you wanted and he gave you a price. Nothing about it should have been "hard" for an experienced woodworker.
     

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