Tag Archives: book safe

The Book Safe Guitar Amp, Part 2

After 4 trips to RadioShack, I now realize why all the nerds on the discussion boards for these electronic projects refer to this so-called electronics retailer as the Rat Shack. While the folks on staff were nice and helpful, the selection was pitiful (and, I’m afraid, exorbitantly priced). The first build went disappointingly awry, and when, at the end of the day I had nothing but a buzzing speaker, I decided to build the whole thing over again. The second attempt took a lot less time, and luckily for me everything at RadioShack is packaged in twos. What a surprise this will be for my fiance!

I tested the sound with my laptop and it came out a bit garbled, but I think I just need to recheck my solders. I owe a great deal of thanks to all the pioneering cardboard-box amp creators who have worked out all the problems inherent in working with this schematic and subsequently posted their modifications to instructables.com, Flickr, and runoffgroove.com. I am also very appreciative of my uncle and aunt for allowing me to usurp their kitchen table for the duration of this project and their words of encouragement and wisdom!

I love how it turned out! But I think my favorite part is the light. . . (It glows red, but I have a cheap camera which was unable to capture that lovely luminescence)

Lessons learned from this project:

1. There is an art to soldering

2. Brain function is signficantly affected by sleep and caloric intake

3. “Close” only counts with Bocce and best friends (yes, I did just reinvent a popular and annoying epigram)

4. Failed attempts are instructive, but success is incredibly rewarding!

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The Book Safe Guitar Amp

While I have been practice crafting a few things for my wedding, I have not been posting them for the simple reason of not wanting to glut the blogosphere with pictures of my own slightly shabby version of the tissue paper pom (there are so many good ones by Wedzu seller Pomtree!) However, I do want to post some pictures and how-tos for my newest project: the book-safe-turned-guitar-amp.

My man and I had seen cigar box amps at Radish Underground a while back and he mentioned how cool he thought they were. After failing to convince him of how cool it would be if he made one himself, I warmed up to the idea and set about researching the process. All the sites–Make Magazine, Instructables, etc–claimed that the cigar box amp rates low on the difficulty scale, so I have decided to go for it!

First stop: Thrift store, to find some kind of box to put this thing in. I didn’t have any luck finding a cigar box (and wasn’t sure where to find one at a decent price), but I did find this pretty sweet book—>

I’ve never made a book safe before, but I’ve seen the how-tos and it has been on my list of crafts to try. The best directions I was able to find are here, but seeing as how I don’t own a jigsaw I could only hope to accomplish the same results with an Exacto knife.

I first applied Mod Podge to the edges of the pages, and shook the pages apart in order to get as much glue between the pages as I could. Decoupage glue makes paper warp so I quickly put a piece of wax paper between the pages and the front cover and placed the gluey book at the bottom of a stack of heavy books, to keep it from warping as it dried.

The next day, I was pleased to find that the glue actually created a nice coat over the edge of the book, without looking like I’d dropped it in the bath. The process of cutting the square out of the middle took longer than I thought it would. My incisions into the book took an inward angle so that each time I sliced a chunk out I created an uneven edge. This was basically impossible to correct without a power tool (I would have liked to use a Dremel to smooth out the inside edges), but imperfection is the nature of craft (or else it would be called art. . .?).  I wanted to secure the pages yet again, so I applied another layer of glue to the sides of the cavity now inside the book and weighed it down to dry overnight. The finished product:

Note that I glued a few of the front pages to the front cover so that the copyright information would show when the book safe is opened. In case I ever need to cite this book in MLA format.

I printed off a copy of Make Magazine’s instructions for the Cracker Box Amp and went to RadioShack (actually, three) in search of the parts I needed. Thanks to my father and the childhood gift of an Electronic Lab board I’m somewhat familiar with circuit boards, so I feel good about this project. I’m still missing the speaker component, but I’m confident that it will find me. I hope to post pictures of the process and product next week!

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