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Maybe a dumb question - grain direction for top panel of cabinet?

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  • Maybe a dumb question - grain direction for top panel of cabinet?

    First off - yes I searched the forum, but either used the wrong search terms or did something else wrong since I didn't find any hits.

    I'm getting ready to veneer my TriTrix TL cabinets. Obviously the front and sides has the grain running vertical. Which direction should the grain run on the top panel? Front-to-back? Or side-to-side?
    Looking at pictures online, I think most commercial speaker manufacturers run the top panel grain side-to-side. Though I've seen some DIYers go both directions.
    Is it just a personal preference?

  • #2
    Personal preference, unless the woodworking is simplified. It will make no difference sonically. Or put another way, if the grain direction matters you have some serious cabinet resonance problems.
    Francis

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    • #3
      Side to side makes more visual sense to me, but there's no "right" way- just do whatever looks right to you. It's 90 degrees off from either the front and back or the sides, no getting around that without getting fancy (you can use bevels and angle grain to create a more coherent "Wraparound" effect but it's well beyond my skill level to pull off).

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      • #4
        If it's veneer, you can do whatever you want. Personally, I like the grain to go across the top, and also be a continuation of the grain on the sides. Perhaps the photo below can show what I mean about having the grain wrap up and over the top, almost looking continuous...

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        Bill Schneider
        -+-+-+-+-
        www.afterness.com/audio

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        • #5
          It's just preference, and I would think would depend on the ratio of the cabinet dimensions, type of veneer, baffle, etc. I have curved speakers that have the grain warp around the speaker, so I ran the grain on top front to back. In Bill's pic the front baffle is different, so the veneer running side to side across the top looks natural to me. I can imagine with a painted baffle or grill that would look best too . If I had a real dominant grain like zebra wood and used it on the front baffle, I might go front to back like this pic...

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          • #6
            If it was solid wood you'd have the grain vertical on the sides and across on the top and bottom, so they'd expand and contact on the same plane. Since veneer is supposed to look like solid wood you'd have the same grain orientation with it.
            www.billfitzmaurice.com
            www.billfitzmaurice.info/forum

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            • #7
              I've done it both ways on several sized cabinets. To my eye, continuing the vertical direction from the sides over the top to the other side seems to look the best.

              Also, some grains don't show direction very well, Bubinga for example, so I guess it's less critical on those types of pieces if you have "just enough" and can't do it all in one orientation.

              Have you held up some pieces to the speaker and taken a look to see how it appears both ways? Sometimes that can answer the question. It's gotta look 'right' to you.

              TomZ
              *Veneering curves, seams, using heat-lock iron on method *Trimming veneer & tips *Curved Sides glue-up video
              *Part 2 *Gluing multiple curved laminations of HDF *Cello's Speaker Project Page

              *Building the "Micro-B 2.1 Plate Amplifier -- Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * * Part 5 'Review' * -- Assembly Instructions PDF

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              • #8
                I think it depends on what gives you the best looking grain match. If I roll the veneer over a vertical round over on the front baffle, I like the grain front to back. Couldn't find a better pic right now.
                John H

                Synergy Horn, SLS-85, BMR-3L, Mini-TL, BR-2, Titan OB, B452, Udique, Vultus, Latus1, Seriatim, Aperivox,Pencil Tower

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by williamrschneider View Post
                  If it's veneer, you can do whatever you want. Personally, I like the grain to go across the top, and also be a continuation of the grain on the sides. Perhaps the photo below can show what I mean about having the grain wrap up and over the top, almost looking continuous...
                  Your method is how I do mine as well, and your cabinets remind me of a couple I've built with Cherry veneer and solid Cherry baffle, although I radius my baffles.

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                  • #10
                    It's settled then.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by djg View Post
                      It's settled then.
                      Yes. Clearly.

                      I bought two 24x96 sheets of veneer so I should have plenty extra to cut extra top panels out and see which way I like better. I'm not putting veneer on the bottom or back.
                      Since the top will go on last, I'll be able to try it both directions and see. I think at this point, I'll probably like the look of side-to-side grain better.

                      Thanks for all the input. In the end.....to each, his own I guess.

                      BTW - these speakers sound better than I expected. And I expected a lot with all the positive reviews of them.

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                      • #12
                        I hadn't thought about this until this post, but the veneer grain on the top and bottom panels on our "Slapshot" MTMs runs front to back and it looks fine. It runs like that because we used veneered MDF to make the cabinets and we had to get the cabinets out of one sheet. Two sheets would have cost another A$130.

                        Looks fine to us, but it would also look good the other way.

                        Geoff

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                        • #13
                          I finally have the veneer on and stained. No poly on it yet though.
                          The veneer is the cheapest Home Depot Oak veneer at $26 for 2'x8' sheet

                          The stain on the top panel looks uneven. Did I do something wrong? Can it be fixed?

                          I'm not sure it'll come across well in the pictures. The color near the back of the top of the speaker is darker/denser. I've rubbed with a clean cloth to make sure the excess is removed.

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                          • #14
                            It's pretty common with one coat of stain. I'd sand with 180 or 220 and stain again. Sanding with finer than 220 can slow stain adsorption. It does look like there are two types of wood so it might not be possible to get it very even. In those cases I go with a gel stain where I can control how much I wipe off.
                            John H

                            Synergy Horn, SLS-85, BMR-3L, Mini-TL, BR-2, Titan OB, B452, Udique, Vultus, Latus1, Seriatim, Aperivox,Pencil Tower

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                            • #15
                              Mask off the dark area and apply another coat on the lighter area.

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