Go Back   Home > Forums > >
Home Forums Rules Articles diyAudio Store Blogs Gallery Wiki Register Donations FAQ Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Construction Tips Construction techniques and tips

Wood & Varnish
Wood & Varnish
Please consider donating to help us continue to serve you.

Ads on/off / Custom Title / More PMs / More album space / Advanced printing & mass image saving
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 3rd September 2008, 03:55 PM   #51
Bas Horneman is offline Bas Horneman  Netherlands
diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
Bas Horneman's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: The Netherlands
Can we add a wiki function to this forum?
There is one. But it is broken....so to speak. The update that is due this year should have a good wiki.
If you can see the speaker cone move...it's not hifi.
  Reply With Quote
Old 3rd September 2008, 04:04 PM   #52
Colin is offline Colin  United Kingdom
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: UK
It would also be useful to post up and find links, eg BBC research.
  Reply With Quote
Old 3rd September 2008, 04:34 PM   #53
moray james is offline moray james  Canada
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Calgary on the Bow
Default Clark have you read this one?

moray james
  Reply With Quote
Old 3rd September 2008, 05:28 PM   #54
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
diyAudio Moderator
kevinkr's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Wood & Varnish
Good thread, I read the entire thing from start to finish. Next speaker project I will revisit for a refresh on good finishing technique.

My last ones were baltic birch ply and are not deliberately adding something to the music, but perhaps are not as non-resonant as I would prefer.

The emphasis Clark has put on non toxic finishes is appealing to this asthmatic..
"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead." - Thomas Paine
  Reply With Quote
Old 5th September 2008, 10:38 AM   #55
Scottmoose is offline Scottmoose  United Kingdom
diyAudio Member
Scottmoose's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: UK
Although I've referenced these in other threads, they always get buried in the natural course of things, which is a shame. A selection of posts giving woodworking advice hints from our much-missed friend Terry Cain.

Suggestion for finishing birch, in response to the query below:

>Which would be the better choice for speaker cabinets with 4 mm Baltic Birch sides and easier to maintain for the long term? Yes, I am anal retentive and really love wood. TIA.

On birch I like a lighter look than tung oil. The air will darken birch nicely after a year or so regardless. Tung oil is very durable and fine for darker woods like gunstocks etc. but birch goes blotchy a bit. A better goo is polyurethane (oil based, Sherwin Williams or any oil based varnish gloss) mixed 60%poly-40%mineral spirits (maybe stiffer weather permitting) with min spirits and applied like a tung oil. Brush on and wipe off about 3-8 coats (24 hrs between coats min) sanding with 320 grit on a padded block. Then use a nice beeswax diluted into min spirits (shave the beeswax with a chisel a few days ahead)add lilac or juniper oil maybe some cheap perfume. Apply wax with #0000 steel wool and buff with cotton. And you have a faux French polish that will wear better than shellac. Has a stronger film against abrasion and moisture than tung. Smells good too. Basicall this is Simon Watts and Jason La Trobe Bateman's finnish, cabinetmakers to the Rothchilds, drawers and furniture etc. Some of the better Italian finishers inspect the cotton seed feilds the varnish is squished from, Varnish-o-philes. TC
Commenting on the sins of doing anything unnatural to pine...

Staining pine is tantamount to using dome tweeters and non polarized caps and playing LinkinPark all day. If you want pine darker, just put the boxes in the sun for a day or two. Or make a weak lye mixture (drano=1ea.tbsp to 1 qt water, spray with a plastic plant sprayer) to darken the wood with. This farkenniong has no pigment to gum up the look. Pine loves a rubbed varnish clearcoat (oil based). I like oil based varnish for it's darkening quality especially on pine. But applied like a French polish. Better water resistance and depth of color.
On natural products for staining woods...

Tea has ultra small well blended and mild pigment(s). Food always has worked better than common grounds and grindings for shading wood. This was well known to Parisian Haut'e finishers in the 1920's. Coffee and tea, another goodie is walnut husks soaked with a nail in some water, best on walnut for walnut. This brew d'noir evenly coats woodgrain without stiff looking saturation that ground mediums exhibit when they collect at the surface, right elow where you can wipe it off. Plant dyes will also work well as colorants in solution. I suspect that green tea may become a favorite of mine now that I'm thinking about it. I'm a pine guy tho, floors, dents and everything so I'll take mine straight thank you. It never looks good till after at least a year anyway. TC
There are many others of course, but that's a handful of some of Terry's more interesting remarks that people might find useful.
"'That'll do", comes the cry of the perfectionist down the ages.' James May -The Reassembler
www.wodendesign.com Community sites www.frugal-horn.com http://frugal-phile.com/
  Reply With Quote
Old 5th September 2008, 12:57 PM   #56
Colin is offline Colin  United Kingdom
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: UK
The original BBC research into damped, thin wall enclosures (as used in the LS5/3A) is a download at


The one you want is RD1977/03 "Factors in the design of loudspeaker cabinets." H.D. Harwood, R. Matthews

There is a similar article by

Art Ludwig

The thin wall ply approach is still used by Harbeth. and they also have some descriptions of the methods used and advantages.

The BBC site has some good stuff on speakers, courtesy of their research department (now disbanded).
  Reply With Quote
Old 23rd October 2008, 07:54 AM   #57
blumenco is offline blumenco  United States
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Seattle
Default one I heard through the grape vine.

Any opinions?

A friend of my dad was talking about his favourite finish formula:

1 pt. tung oil
1 pt. linseed oil
1 pt. varnish

What does this sort of combo accomplish?

Blumenstein Audio - Handmade High Efficiency Full Range Single Driver Speakers from Seattle, USA Since 2006
  Reply With Quote
Old 23rd October 2008, 02:32 PM   #58
eLarson is offline eLarson  United States
diyAudio Member
eLarson's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Gaithersburg, MD
It sounds a little like the "Sam Maloof Finish". Most of the recipes I've seen call for 1:1:1 BLO, tung oil and polyurethane. Others reference a recipe that includes mineral spirits (for enhanced wipeability) but as I understand it, it doesn't build as quickly.
Would a woodchuck bother to chuck MDF?
  Reply With Quote
Old 23rd October 2008, 06:05 PM   #59
AMV8 is offline AMV8  United Kingdom
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: near london

My father was a furniture maker and french polisher; so I have been messing with wood work and polishing wood all my life. I have made a few sets of speakers usually from solid wood. Yes, I probably do like the sound of solid wood. The engineer in me tells me that solid wood cabinets are not neutral but, I still like the sound.

If you use a french polish or a varnish you can get a nice finish by applying more and more layers and thinning the layers as you add more. A good finish and highly valued by many. The problem is that it is a surface finish and marks easily. If you treat your speakers well - like no kids - it will survive. If you want a more resilient finish then danish oil, tung oill or some other oil are better as they go into the wood and are therefore more resilient.

I have used french plish on a set of LS3/5a and used danish oil on a set of Kef 107 clones.

If you want to clean/revive the surface finish the best treatment I have found is a mixture of equal parts of;
linseed oil
white spirit
vinegar - spirit

Just wipe it on then wipe off and the surface will sparkle and be slightly oiled. Wax polish is not usually a good idea as it slowly builds up a layer of dirt that is trapped in the wax.

Enjoy the speakers.

  Reply With Quote
Old 30th November 2008, 02:20 PM   #60
castlesteve is offline castlesteve  United States
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: N. Virginia
Originally posted by Bob Brines
While I stand behind my choice of MDF/cement board sandwich, I have been beaten into submission. I am now using plywood for my commercial speakers. It seems that the market equates MDF with "cheap" and is not interested the the real reasons for this choice of material.

Anyway, there is another argument going on: Should the speaker cabinet contribute to the speakers sound or should the cabinet be absolutely silent. My vote is for the latter. My logic is that a HiFi system should reproduce exactly what is on the recording.

I suppose that it is possible to build a cabinet that adds to the driver output equally at all frequencies, but I doubt that it will ever happen. Plywood and real wood cabinets that add to the driver output do so at high frequencies that produce "brightness". This synthetic brightness is perceived as "life". Have we had this discussion before?

I used to build cabinets out of a 3/4" MDF -- "Liquid Nails" -- 1/4" cement board sandwich. Any sound that escaped from the cabinet walls was inaudible at the SPL's common to single-driver speakers. I am now building cabinets out of 1" plywood. Again, any sound escaping from the cabinet walls is inaudible. I have played speakers made of the two materials side by side. I can here no difference. Mission accomplished.


Your cabinet design i built for the FT1600s are the best cabinets i ever built with regard to sound. They don`t contribute to sound reproduction, they just let the drivers and network do their job. I now use your cement board approach in all the cabinets i build. Thanks Bob, Steve.
  Reply With Quote


Wood & VarnishHide this!Advertise here!
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Varnish on old transformer duderduderini Tubes / Valves 12 19th May 2008 02:20 PM
Hot-Rod Varnish Formula John L Full Range 3 12th April 2008 10:03 PM
Recipe for Damar Varnish? bcherry Multi-Way 4 26th August 2005 07:09 PM

New To Site? Need Help?

All times are GMT. The time now is 07:56 PM.

Search Engine Optimisation provided by DragonByte SEO (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2018 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Resources saved on this page: MySQL 15.00%
vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2018 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright ©1999-2018 diyAudio