We like our titles here at Headfonics, we like our Grado’s even more!

Having recently watched Discovery Channel’s “How Its Made” series on a cable TV I kept daydreaming how wonderful it would be if they’d cover manufacturing state-of-the-art and exotic headphones. So how about woody headphone chambers? I thought it’s a good idea.

I already have woodified my Grado and the thought of making another one isn’t really a priority as I have other more important things to do… like laundry. Anyway, one evening I realized my grado looks like dung. The wood has caught dirt and the “new” shine faded from use and handling. It’s also just a prototype model which doesn’t have protective grilles. So I thought I’ll take the weekend to make a more proper-looking wood chamber for my grado. Let me start with things you will need:

The headphones

Current cups

Current cups

The modified new woody!

The end game!

The end game!

Wood

You can pick your own choice of tonewoods depending on how you want your modded headphone will sound like. High end grados use mahogany as it sits sweetly on the spot right between treble and bassy resonance.

Theres a graphical guide there somewhere on how different tonewoods should sound but I did not find much use for it because it mainly covers foreign wood species. In this section I will use mahogany as it’s a proven tonewood and its easily sourced.

Heres two samples of cut mahogany. One is bought from a local lumberyard and the other is a remnant from the last rebuilding of our house.

Wood used

Wood used

The age of the wood also affects tone, the older the wood the better is sounds, at least to me. It must be because of the wood grain density and weight. Usually, mahogany < 15years old are still white and the grain is porous and light. This is the wood I purchased, and it produced less than remarkable sound results. The wood I already had is a lot older, and I just want to use it only it is 2 inches thick which complicated the process (I need only 1.5inches), more on this later.

As a general guide, a reddish timber of mahogany is too young for woodies, the wood is white inside; a brownish timber would be older and the grains should be dense and hard, the wood is reddish inside. The purchased wood’s size about 4x1.5inch and 3ft long. I actually bought two planks at $1 for two. Anyone who would want to do this modding is strongly suggested to buy one that is 1.5inch thick, its about the right/standard length of our woodies and choose the old/oldest one by at least judging by your eyes.

Thickness of wood required

Thickness of wood required

Power Tools

You will need two powered tools, an electric drill and hands. Yihee! Mine’s a 430W electric drill and 23-year old hands. For the electric drill, you will need the following:

1. Hole saws. (I used Creston set @ ~P350)
2. 6.5mm HSS Drill bit (for the guide hole) *optional*
3. Mounted stone or a cutaway jig *see later* (for sanding the cups down)

The Tools

The Tools

Other tools

1. Pliers (a full size and a long nose pliers would be nice to have)
2. Calipers (a cheap one can be had for ~P60) *optional but very useful*

A caliper

A caliper

Finishing materials: [lots of optional stuff]

1. Polyurethane *if you want to varnish you woodies* (~P180/can)
2. Linseed oil or any wood stain *if you want to stain your woodies*
3. Glue (wood glue preferably) *the typical elmers work fine*
4. Paintbrush (for staining/varnishing) *or a piece of sponge*
5. Sandpaper. Just get two types, soft and rough.
6. Grills to cover the chamber hole. [I used those cheap office grill trays]

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About The Author

I think I am old, some would agree, some would disagree....

  • Anonymous

    Amazing guide. Now I want my grado mod. :)

  • Anonymous

    Amazing guide. Now I want my grado mod. :)

  • Anonymous

    Hey Mac, actually the guy started doing that just last week for about $50 a pair – I got an RS1 type and with a few more refinements I would say they are pretty darn good! :)

    • Hbiris

      Hi,

      Does Marcus have an e-mail that I can ask quotes for woodies on an SR225i?

      George

      • headfonics

        Hi George, where are you located? This might help first before we do the woody quote since most of the guys are based here in the Philippines.

        • Hbiris

          I am based in Canada but have relatives there in the Philippines so everything can be shipped in Manila.

          George

          • Hbiris

            Hi Marcus,

            Any news on the qoutes for the wood cups for me? It can be shipped in Manila and it’s for an SR225i

            George

          • headfonics

            George can you register on http://www.headphiles.org? This is where they take the orders and quotes for the wooden cups in the professional sellers board :) Thx!

          • Hbiris

             I actually tried that but just gives me a can’t connect to socket error everytime I’d submit….oh well.

            Thanks anyway!

          • headfonics

            Can you try again? There were some DB issues on headphiles over the last few days.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000505441477 Jordan ‘Silverfish’ Silverman

    What kind of Mahogany was used?

  • prawncrackers

    The mahogany is made from Philippine mahogany. But because mahogany is not indigenous to the Philippines a little research can trace it back to Korea or some other asian country. The wood just needed a lot of time under the sun to produce that reddish color.

  • mark wilson

    I noticed where you put the grills, in previous screenshots there weren’t grooves for them and the circular inlay, but in the end they are there. How did you put them there? more circular cuts on the front facing side?

    • headfonics

      Hi Mark, the guy who does these as documented lives on an island in the Philippines. I had mine done with him as RS1 clones and they were just beautiful – I will pass on your request to him and ask him to reply if possible.

  • headfonics

    s one of our most popular articles and the guy did an amazing job on my rs1i clone cups, I most post them when I get a chance someday just to show you – he resides at headphiles.org under the id of prawncrackers