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Quick, cheap, semi "industrial" finish. Looks better than my photos of it.

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  • Quick, cheap, semi "industrial" finish. Looks better than my photos of it.

    Having heard and liked Wolf's Zingers and having the woofers on hand I decided to do a quick and dirty build of them for a friend who is a bass lover. I wanted to keep the cost down and the build time as minimal as possible.
    I prefer to avoid MDF as much as possible, but given the cost increases of Baltic birch, decided to go with 3/4' B/C plywood. I had played around with an "industrial" look finish on B/C pywood in the past and felt that it gave an interesting and attractive finish. So, I picked over some 8 foot sheets and bought one with a pretty decent B side.
    I built the speakers, which have the same volume but slightly different dimensions than Wolf's, using 45 degree miters on all panels. They sounded great and measured virtually identically to Wolf's design, so on to the finishing.
    The cabinets were sanded using an orbital sander and 220 grit paper. I made no attempt to sand away all the grain, just knocked off all the roughest spots and got the cabinets reasonably smooth in about 30 minutes. I then filled the deeper nicks and slightly imperfect gaps where the miters joined with 3M autobody glaze putty. Using a heat gun, all the puttying was dry and ready to sand in about another half hour. At this point I sanded everything with 220 again. The whole process of preparing both cabinets for the final finishing took less than 2 hours.
    The final finishing stages are staining and polyurathening. I wiped on 4 coats of Transtint black dye in a 50/50 mixture of alcohol and laquer thinner. The thinned dye drys almost instantly, so one can tint one side of the cabinet, then the adjacent side and so on, rotating the speaker untill all sides and top have gotten 4 coats. This process takes about an hour total for both cabinets.
    At this point one needs to do something else for the next couple of hours to let the dye fully soak in and dry. For the final finish, I wiped on 4 coats of home- brewed semi gloss poly, which is a 50/50 solution of poly plus mineral spirits. This is done in exactly the same fashion as the application of the dye. This is allowed to dry for an hour or two and then a final coat of semi gloss poly which has been thinned only 30% is wiped on. The speakers are allowed to dry overnight and are then ready to have the drivers and ancillary parts installed.
    The pictures of the finished speakers were taken with ambient light plus flash and do not really capture the overall impression the finish creates. Everyone who has seen them thinks they look good. Different, with the "tiger stripe" grain of the B/C plywood and the slightly textured grain of the wood, but pretty cool overall. In one of the pictures a small subwoofer I built a year ago which got 3 coats of the black Transtint shows the dark brown color that results if fewer coats of Transtint are applied.
    It may be that this finishing process is familar to almost everyone on the forum, but since I've never seen it described before, I thought folks might want to know about it. I know that with it taking about 4 hours of actual work time and being able to be completed in one day from start to finish, I'll be using it again.

    Jay Click image for larger version

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  • #2
    Nice job! I am sure your friend will love them. One day, wow!


    • #3
      Transtint dye is magical stuff. It really lets you do a lot of colors and finishes you wouldn't have thought possible with stains.
      Isn't it about time we started answering rhetorical questions?

      Paul Carmody's DIY Audio Projects
      Twitter: @undefinition1


      • #4
        Nice looking speaker

        " Voicing is often the term used for band aids to cover for initial design/planning errors " - Pallas


        • #5
          Thanks for the writeup - I agree, they look great!

          I think I hear a difference - wow, it's amazing!" Ethan Winer: audio myths
          "As God is my witness I'll never be without a good pair of speakers!" Scarlett O'Hara

          High value, high quality RS150/TB28-537SH bookshelf - TARGAS NLA!
          SB13/Vifa BC25SC06 MTM DCR Galeons-SB13-MTM
          My Voxel min sub Yet-another-Voxel-build

          Tangband W6-sub


          • #6
            Nice, especially for BC plywood. I need some crown molding for remodeling my house I THOUGHT. Price of the pressed stuff has gone insane!!! Real wood is like buying gold! My hardwood dealer thinks he can mill scraps for me cheaper than we can buy finished goods. Crazy isn't it?


            • #7
              Is this Drjay's last post? Haven't seen him around in a while. I hope everything is OK.
              I'm certainly not good at this. Just stubborn enough to keep going.