Finishing speakers w/veneer?

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Just assembled my first diy speakers, (Wayne's Dayton HT Project) and I'm going to be putting some cherry veneer on them. Question though: I'd love to round the vertical edges with a router and fold/bend the veneer over it, I'm thinking that it'd give the boxes a really polished look. For those of you who have done this, what size bit did y'all use? Will veneer bend over a 1/4", 3/8", 1/2"? I don't want the veneer to splinter when I mold it over the round and I'm wondering how small of a round the wood will accept. Anyone? Anyone? Beuuuuller?
 
I am in the process of veneering a pair of 46" towers. I used a 1/2" roundover and am bending the veneer around the front and two sides. I will never do this again for such a large speaker. However, with a smaller sized speaker like you are doing you should be alright. The veneer I used was 10 mil paperbacked and I used the wood glue/iron-on method. There are some areas around the radius where the veneer did not bend uniformly but I will go back over them to try to minimize the unevenness. Next time I will just veneer the sides and use a solid wood baffle for the front with the roundover. Again, for the size of speaker you are talking about you should be fine, just be patient. It is much more difficult than veneering flat surfaces.
 
vaneering over core

Varneering can be trickey over a core.

Points to remember: 1; the core has to be as smooth as a , pardon the expression, babys ***. Otherwise any imperfections may telegraph through. Close your eyes and run your fingers over it, if you feel a surface discrepency correct it. fill or sand

2; depending on the type of varneer used, its usually suseptable to cracking when curvers are not gentle enough. In otherwords the larger and gentler the curve the better. Now that said you will also have to weigh this change in box shape with the possible ramifications related to the sound waves propagation.

3; the use of contact adhesive would be advisable, as you will have no way to press the varneer on to avoid bubbles when applying to a predetermined shape(unless you are privy to a vacuum press). Leave lots of overage to trim off later, as small bits of varneer are quite hard to align. A large piece allows for slippage or line of site misqueues and this happens with contact cement(unintentially). Varneer that you do not want to see the edge of should be applied first(trimmed flush) so that your major pieces covers the edge.

When applying the varneer hold it up above the box select an edge try to get the registration as close as possible to your requirements, gently lower work methodically(remember varneer has no strength over holes!) from the edge and propagate out, finish one face then continue arround, smoothing as you go(you are looking for a smooth transition to avoid air bubbles) with something that will not mar the surface or catch the grain of the wood. eg. dense white packing foam blocks ......anything you use to hold the varneer up has to be dust and partical free....... any dirt under, bubbles the finish even a spec.

4; keep a bottle of contact adhessive thinner nearby just in case(to release the adhessive; you may have to soak the joint to open it up) and a long sharp knife to cut the bond....... work slowly so that you can see your progress is not going to be a waste of time later....

In case you are not aware....applying varneer in any situation is seriously challenging........and if you slip, even once, can be a discouraging proposition(start from scratch, clean the box off(all off) allow to dry reapply adhesive etc)......done correctly its beautiful.

Caution; if you dont want to get high better to do it in wide open spaces with lots of ventilation..........

OH by the way dont smoke while doing this, not only are the vapours flamable but the combination of high heat of the ciggy and the vapours sucked through creates one of the most deadly mixes of carcinagins you could be exposed to ..deadly..

Hope I have given you a little insight into the application of varneers.

Do a little investigation check out the libruary, the internet, see whats involved....the more aware of the total job etc the less likely you will be to encounter an unexpected SUPPRISE in the middle of the process ..which is not what you want...
 
Thanks for the input guys. The boxes are actually 38.25" tall. I gave my wife the choice of speaker stands or extending the box to the floor and she picked the later. She's really impressed with them so I've gotten license to build just about as many as I want. :D

As far as the actual material, I just made a few trips to some local shops to check availabiltiy, 10mil seems to be the only stuff available. Cool, 1/2 round seems to be the way to go and hopefully I'll have a little better luck than you're having Rob.
Thanks for the tips Ogre, definitely some nuggets of wisdom in there, even for an ex-cabinet maker like myself.
 
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