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Re-Veneering Vintage Advent Speakers


At the outset, repairing almost any vintage speaker is a waste of money.  I get that.  But I'm stuck on nostalgia and have to do this. 

I have this Unibomber Cabin in the mountains and in the attic crawlspace was a pair of Advent speakers.  Yep, good old Henry Kloss, my first component after I landed my first job in the 1970s.  I found some old Adcom gear and plugged them in and to my amazement, they sounded great.  Yeah, the woofers might need some foam, and one tweeter might be shot, so they are going to a vintage stereo repair facility in North Hollywood and parts have been ordered. 

The darn things were painted white, which is why I thought they were just junky speakers until I saw the label in back.  I tried to take off the paint, but chunks of the walnut veneer came off.  While I could bondo the divets and paint the things black, I wondered about stripping them down to bare mdf and applying new veneer. 

Has anyone here ever re-veneered a speaker cabinet? 

I've done a fair amount of veneering, but nothing this big, mostly just flat panels for gift boxes and the like.  It seems I have a couple options like

1.  Paper Backed Veneer, Heat Lock Glue, and an Iron.  This seems to be what most of the AV guys do.  I've never done this before, but it sounds simple enough

2.  Real Wood Veneer and Hide Glue and Clamps.  Yeah, old school.  This is what I am familiar with, but it takes a lot of pressure to make the hide glue stay put. 

3.  Vacuum Press.  This is what furniture and cabinet makers use, but usually on single panels or doors at a time, not a whole box, and the pressure might collapse the speaker cabinet or tear the vinyl vacuum bag on the sharp edges of the speaker. 

Any woodworkers out there? 

In the late 80s in Santa Cruz, I built some speakers w the taper who engineered the first modified Naks.

The system included transmission line woofer cabs with 4 - 10" drivers per side. They were roughly fridge-sized. Built out of mdf and veneered with real wood veneer and wood glue, and many many clamps. Let the sheets of veneer run wild and trimmed with a router, so never had to worry about measuring or cutting or veneer placement.

Shipped 'em to Kona when I moved and the veneer held up perfectly for a couple decades even by the sea. Sold 'em to a bass player before moving back to the continent.

Why would you take the existing finish off prior to veneering?

If the paint and existing walnut veneer underneath are soundly adhered, I'd likely just fill any divots and veneer it over again. Doing it as checht mentions:

--- Quote from: checht on September 11, 2022, 10:56:12 PM ---Let the sheets of veneer run wild and trimmed with a router, so never had to worry about measuring or cutting or veneer placement.
--- End quote ---

That using paper-backed heat-activated glue is generally the easiest route. Router trimming before doing the adjacent sides gets the edge corners fitting tight and right, which is the trickiest part with a multi-sided veneer job.

Further inspection of these now reflects that the paint covered veneer is actually paint covered vinyl wrap, which I should have known, because that is how they rolled in the 1970s.  The wrap is not terribly well adhered, and where adhered is dirty and covered with paint.  Yes, I could clean and lightly sand the vinyl where adhered, but it really pulls off easily. 

I'm now reconsidering veneer and may go the direction of a walnut vinyl wrap, again, fairly common in the speaker world. 


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