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Old 4th November 2007, 12:31 PM   #1
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Default Finishing your speakers at home

Most people will go out and purchase a can of Tung oil or Minwax Antique oil and do an oil finish. It will give you a very lively appearance, good chemical resistance but poor scratch resistance. Achieving close pore finish with oil finishes is a looooong process. Each coat needs to dry properly (overnight) and gives you very little build up. It’s easy to apply. All you need is a lint free rag. (Discard your rags in the water after usage, oily rags are known to self-combust) Oil finish may yellow over time. Sand with 320 grit between coats.
Pros: Relatively low order, low toxicity, ease of application.
Cons: Slow and low build up, low level of protection.

Wipe-on-poly is very similar to oil finishes but builds up more and more scratch resistant.
It’s not as easy to apply and the key here is even and thin coats. Application may be done with foam brash. Poly usually has long “open time”. “Open time” is a term, used by professional finishers to describe ability of the finish to catch and imbed dust particle after application. Another wards, it’ll stay tacky for an hour or 2 and whatever you have flying in the air, will stick to your finish and F it up.

Pros: Better protection then oil finishes.
Cons: Application requires some experience. Clean environment is a benefit.


Spray on Nitrocellulose Lacquer.
Comes in many different varieties. Also available as “Brush ON” from Lowe’s. (I’ve never brushed it because I have a spray booth.)
Best finish for a DIY with the garage or a backyard. It’s relatively toxic and flammable. It must be sprayed to get good flow out and little dust in the finish.
If you don’t want to purchase a spray gun and an air compressor and spray in the back yard (which is probably illegal anyway), you could get Nitro in any of the local woodworker’s or paint stores in a form of SPRAY CAN. So, get that yellow pages out and make a few phone calls before getting in the car and going to pick it up. Lacquer is flammable and UPSing it would probably cost $$$. A can of clear nitroceulose lacquer should not cost more then $8 but prices are going up now days very fast. You need a couple of them to do a dissent finish on a pair of bookshelves.
It may be a good idea to get a spray can of SANDING SEALLER. It must be nitrocellulose-sanding sealer if you are using nitrocellulose lacquer. Sanding sealer improves bond between your topcoat and wood and making first sanding step much easier.
So: you got your lacquer, you have your speaker, now get in the open area, wear a respirator (I have to say it) and stain and spray your speaker.

Pros: Translucent resistant finish. Dries very fast. Comes in many sheens such as flat, semi-gloss and gloss. Could be rubbed out for a mirror-like gloss.
Cons: Toxic, not as easily available, flammable. Requires some experience to apply properly.

Don’t even think of doing it without proper ventilation!


Legal part: This is only general suggestion. Read and follow manufacturers recommendations on any desired finish.
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Old 4th November 2007, 12:49 PM   #2
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I use several coats of varnish spray cans with lots of sanding in-between for a mirror-like finish. Very time consuming though.
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Old 4th November 2007, 01:18 PM   #3
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I've used the nitro stuff on furniture, and the fumes are horrible. I'd never use it again, for fear of death. Even outdoors. I'd want a suit with piped in O2 if I were going to spray it. Agree that the poly products can pick up a lot of junk- I have a dog, so dog hair would be high on the list. I suppose with enough of it, I wouldn't have to use felt around the tweeter.

Tung oil is my favorite, but it can't be pure Tung oil, which IMO is not a great finish. You need one with a lot of driers and additives. One of the best is Formby's, satin or gloss. It builds quickly and dries quickly. It will burn your house down if you leave the oily rags lying about, so heed the water advice. I won't even leave used rags in the house- they go straight outdoors to dry out.

There are also a lot of water based formulas out now, but I haven't tried them. Any woodworking store can probably offer some good advice.
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