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How to build a Tube Guitar Amp in The Steampunk Style

How to build a Tube Guitar Amp in The Steampunk Style


Special Thanks To K&S Precision metals for manufacturing such great metal

Thank you Greg from Skyscraper Guitars for playing it for me.

Greg’s Guitar Build Channel

Greg’s Garage Maker Channel


The original amp components are a 1950’s era Supro 5w amp with an odd 10?x6? Oval speaker.  After doing some research, this speaker size seems to be really rare, and only a handful of Supro amps were made with this speaker.  With the rare size speaker, I accented it with a segmented ring to trim it out.

The ring is made of walnut and accented with bands of Paduk wood.  The speaker is caged in a custom copper cage where I added a blue patination using various salts and acids.  The cabinet is made of walnut, and the controls are mounted on a copper plate with a similar patina.  To visually tie the speaker cabinet to the control box, I added an oval window to the side and positioned the power indicator light, adding a soft glow.  Then I added a similar round window to the side of the control box; all openings are outfitted with a copper grid.  Finally, one of my favorite parts was to show off the fact that it was originally a vintage tube guitar amp.  I mounted the amplifier tubes on the top of the control box and protected them with rings of copper that had the same patination as the rest of the copper.

For more on this Steampunk tube amp guitar build

Building The Custom Guitar Amp

I took on this project to breathe new life into a 1950s Supro Guitar Amp. With its classic components but worn-out exterior, I saw an opportunity to create something unique—a custom case with a steampunk vibe to house these timeless elements.

1950's Supro Guitar Amp

I spent a fair amount of time at the lumber yard scouting for the perfect board with flowing grain and striking purple stripes. This would add character and complement the aesthetic I envisioned for the amp.

Sliding Dovetail Joinery

For Joinery, I opted for sliding dovetails as the method of choice. I set up the router table to cut each joint perfectly to ensure a snug fit.

Stopped sliding dovetail dados

Since the tails were not the full width of the base, I carefully stopped the dados so the dados would not show through.

Creating a grid with metal

K&S Precision Metals sponsored this video, and I used their metal rods to create unique decorative elements on the case. I drilled holes in designated spots to incorporate these metal pieces.  One spot was to create decorative widows with a decorative metal grid.

Woodworking courses taught by master craftsman Brain Benham

Frosted Glass with a sander

I backed the metal gride with plexiglass, which I sanded with a Random Orbital Sander to create a frosted look.

Oval Segmented Ring

I wanted to highlight the unique oval shape of the speaker. To achieve this, I designed and cut a segmented ring that would frame the speaker beautifully, accenting it with padauk wood.

Speaker cage

The amp’s tubes needed a secure and stylish mount to prevent wobbling. I used K&S metal to create a custom-made mount that perfectly fits the tubes.  I also created a cage to protect the speaker.

How to create aged copper

The final thing to do was to start the finishing process; I used a variety of chemicals to add some beautiful color to the metal and sealed the color in with sanding sealer before finishing the piece with one of my favorite wood-finished a conversion varnish.

Custom Steam Punk Guitar amp

The final thing to do was to let my friend Greg plug a guitar into it to see if it sounded good and get his opinion on the build

I’m the owner of Benham Design Concepts, a mixed media art studio where I design and build custom furniture and other works of art using wood, glass, stone, and various metals.
In this blog, I talk about the art I create, my journey, and the things I learn along the way.