The Beauty of Wood

    One of the things that I find fascinating with machining is the idea of cutting anything within reason. One day I got to thinking about wood horn lenses and what they would look like.

    I have 56 acres of mostly woods and used wood to heat shop. In the process of cutting for the heater I have seen many interesting pieces of wood over the years. I saved some with no idea as to what I would do but they were to pretty to throw out. In the mean time I had begun cutting the SMAHL and LMAHL tweeters in aluminum and when people on the Klipsch forum saw these they started asking about wood.

    Cutting wood is a different animal than metal and there was a learning curve. The V1 type lenses were cut in Walnut and Red Oak. This choice of wood was based on the veneer types Klipsch used on the vintage speakers I like so well so I used the same for my tweeters.

     Walnut cuts like a dream and is smooth enough to not need further work unless you require a perfectly smooth surface. I have coated them with Satin Spar Polyurethane with very good results as is when finished with just a little hand buffing with a scotchbrite pad. Red Oak however is a different story and with it’s much coarser wood grain and pore size was a nightmare to get even close to good. No matter what there were always some pick outs with this. Liked the wood grain pattern appearance it had though.

    One thing leads to another and there have now been perhaps six or seven variations on these lenses to arrive at the current one which I do not expect to change in the future.

    There is a huge variation in wood and I find a lot of it quite appealing. Here for instance is a set of Walnut Crotch SMAHL V2’s cut recently which turned out well.



Black Walnut Crotch Wood SMAHL V2

      In case you are wondering wood does not change the sonic characteristics of these tweeters and these are cut with the exact same geometry as the aluminum ones and indeed the same cut paths with the feeds and speeds modified only.

     One of the other ideas I am kicking around is building complete speakers and cutting mid range horns into the motorboard. It will be a while before I get these done though as first is building and testing and figuring the best way to cut to allow for minimal to little hand prep of surfaces.

    small wwood mid

  Sorry about the glare on the LMAHL V2 but I did not have time to redo the picture. In any case the main item of interest is the mid range horn  cut into stacked and glued 25mm Baltic Birch which I am a huge fan of. Folks if you are going to ever make a speaker and want it to be durable and sound right and be good looking you cant beat Baltic Birch. This would get an Atlas Pd-5vh driver and have an aluminum mounting plate to the horn. Now I may or may not build this as it was a test run but I think it is part of cutting in wood and a work on progress. I will have more on this mid horn topic soon in a separate post.


  In any case just letting you peek behind the curtain at some things I will have finished and up for sale soon and planting seeds for the future. I might start offering exotic wood cut to order for the SMAHL’s in addition to the Walnut soon to be out there.

  Sadly at this time I do not thing the LMAHL’s will be offered in wood as the .20″ thick flange is too thin to be durable as a drop in replacement for Klipsch in existing motorboard cutouts.

  Until next time and some other variations of the tweeters lenses for specific Klipsch situations.

15 responses to “The Beauty of Wood

  1. Hi Dave, do you do this iin a regular vertical mill? I’ve thought about milling wood but I’ve always worried that the sawdust would mess things up somehow. Rgds- Larry

    • Hi Larry,
      Haas VF4 so yes. They cut graphite and fiberglass containing plastic on these so sure wood won’t hurt. I let the mill dry out for a couple of days after cutting metal and then clean it out good. A dry mill is much easier to clean. There is a lot of sawdust and chips but they are not a problems. Cleaning when done with wood cutting is required though especially with the Walnut. If you leave the walnut dust/shavings in there for a while there will be rust under that. I brush it all down after cutting and vacuum it all out.

      It will dry out all the coolant oil on your way covers and table so when you get done cutting wood and cleaned up run your coolant a bit and get all your surfaces covered in it again.

      Long time since I have communicated with you so how are things going?

  2. Im using La scala 1 with CT120 tweeter.
    MAHL V2 tweeter can be installed into La scala?
    Is it worth to upgrade to MAHL V2 tweeter from Ct120 tweeter?
    THank you

    • The CT120 sounds better than the stock K-77. The problem is that it still has a rectangular tunnel sound has to go through before it exits the motorboard and has interference also from the sharp corner at the inside of the cutout. The MAHL has a boss that extends through that cutout and the mouth is flush with the motorboard face. This makes an audible difference. The heavier section of the MAHL tweeter will also eliminate any potential for resonance that might exist with thinner castings.

      Your DE-120 drivers can be reused with my MAHL’s so all you need is a set of MAHL’s without drivers. There are three sets of holes with the MAHL’s to mount drivers to. The CR120 has one set. If you wish to experiment with other drivers you can do so with the MAHL’s. Not all drivers that will fit will sound good and there are not many small enough to fit speakers like La Scalas but if you find some you can try them. The DE-120 is hard to beat though.

  3. bogdan kolakowski

    After 400 pages of reading i am ready to swap k-77 with smahl v2 and DE-120, however i would like to change also midrange horn K-600 for existing driver K-55V . All in 1977 Cornwall. Can you machine aluminum midrange Mahl’s ?

    • While I replied to this in private I figure it is worth responding to here since it is a question that comes up somewhat often. At this time I do not make a mid range horn for any Klipsch speaker. I am starting to make larger horn than the SMAHL and LMAHL however and will have a post on this by 6/20 on this blog.

  4. Hi
    I pulled the trigger on eBay a few days ago.
    LMAHL V2 for Klipsch Chorus II

  5. Hi Dave I’m interest in a pair of those for my Heresy Birch. Could please send me quote?

  6. Dave,
    Curious to know if the motor boards went anywhere and if you decided to start making them? Also I am really interested in getting a set LMAHL with drivers and have a few questions. I was looking them over on eBay and thought I would reach out here.
    Thanks for your time in advance.

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