I have been somewhat interested in vacuum tube projects for awhile now after I refurbished an old AM radio from my grandmothers house. Although a simple project, involving cleaning the radio and replacing the old tubes with new ones, I think the main draw of a tube project is that distinct retro feeling you get when you fire up the project and it starts glowing, but in a good way. While looking around for a simple, beginners tube project I stumbled upon a fairly large community of people who had built and subsequently modded the K-502 audio amp kit from Antique Electronic Supply.
I purchased the kit and built it in a couple of hours. It is a very simple project to complete, consisting of only about two dozen parts. I had originally planned to assemble the kit in an enclosure, but my final assembly behaved poorly (I think in part due to improper grounding). I reassembled the parts on the pine board which comes with the kit and it now performs flawlessly. The amp takes a standard left and right RCA style audio input and can output up to 8 Watts of power. This may not seem like much, but with efficient speakers it gets loud enough for any common usage around the house.
I would still like to put some sort of cover over the board to minimize the risk of myself or others from coming into contact with the line voltages present. Although not the most inexpensive kit out there (compared to some solid-state kits), it is cheap compared to other tube based audio amplifier kits which can run upwards of $300. Definitely a fun project, especially if you need an extra audio amplifier.