New veneer

Printable View

  • 03-24-2008, 05:00 PM
    fountboy
    New veneer
    I just found someone local who is getting rid of a pair of Energy Veritas V2.2i along with the Veritas surrounds, V2.0i, and an energy sub for $500. The only catch is he removed the veneers from the front's and surrounds. Does anyone have any experience putting on new speaker veneer? Hard? Easy? Looks like sh!t after? Methods? Thanks?

    Ryan?
  • 03-24-2008, 05:51 PM
    Rush2112
    Hi Ryan, while I personally have never done this to a set of speakers I do have some experience with veneers. I've worked in a custom residential/commercial cabinet shop for 20 years. This is what I've found.

    There are generally three types of "veneer" material available from the sources we buy from. The first type (and the thinnest) will also probably be the most difficult to acheive a professional or original look. This material is "veneer" only, meaning there is no backing to the veneer material. Any imperfections in the speaker body (or substrate) will telegraph into visible imperfections such as waves, humps, etc. It also is more prone to bubbles and the like, and... it is best to use a colorless contact adhesive as colored contacts (usually red) can sometimes bleed through to the surface especially with light veneers (maple) with a natural finish.

    The second type (the one I would recommend) is generally sold as NBL (which stands for no black line). This is in reference to the backer present on these types of veneer. The backer is usually a flexable brown craft paper backing which helps in a number of ways. One it gives the contact (adhesive) a better surface to bond to. This reduces the risk of "peeling" and helps hide imperfections in the substrate. The "no black line" refers to what the transition will look like when you change from horizontal to vertical surfaces. While NBL is thicker than true veneer the seam is not objectionable in my opinion. True veneer in theory will yeild the best seam but it is far more difficult to work with.

    The third type which I rarey see anymore is a veneer with a backer similar to what is used on the back of plastic laminate (look at the edge of a countertop) that dark line you see is the backer. This type is the thickest and most rigid, however, I feel the transition between surfaces is not very attractive. If you chose a dark veneer and dark stain this may not be as noticable... but on natural finish birch or maple it is quite ugly.

    It is important that the speaker body be sanded smooth and a good contact adhesive be used. We spray ours but there is also brush on and aerosol adhesives as well. You will need a good rubber roller once the veneer is applied. We would cut the veneer a little large than run a hand router to trim it up and file as required. Then, sand and finish. Generally we use 150grit. I would not suggest using a stain on some woods, some are more forgiving. As for the finish, use aerosol cans of catalyzed lacquer available from any good finish store. Lacquer evenly as a sealer coat, than sand with a sanding sponge, blow off and lacquer again. Some woods such as cherry may require two sealer coats as they tend to look dry.

    Hope this helps.
    Dave
  • 03-24-2008, 06:34 PM
    fountboy
    Thanks for the great information Dave. Where do you suggest buying veneer from? It sounds like #2 is the best way to go for me. Thanks.

    Ryan
  • 03-24-2008, 06:59 PM
    tommy d.
    Ryan, Here's a web site I've been looking at that seems to have everything for veneering. Lots of information and there are even a couple examples of veneered speakers in the customer gallery.
    www.veneersupplies.com
    If I don't upgrade, I've been thinking about veneering my Paradigm Studio 60 v.1 tower speakers. I was thinking of using the 10mil paper backed, PSA(pressure sensitive addhesive) in cherry. It seems like a relatively easy project. They also have options for 20mil paper backing, 2ply veneers, non-PSA veneers and the tools and supplies for using contact adhesive.
    I was planning on going right on top of the original vinyl that the speakers are covered in now. I figure just a light sanding and a solvent wipe down would be enough prep for a good bond. It sounds like you might need a little more prep time and maybe the 20mil or 2ply veneer to prevent any surface imperfections from telegraphing through. If no curves are involved, you won't need the extravagance of a vacuum clamping systems, just a roller and some elbow grease to get a good bond on flat surfaces.
    Good Luck,
    Tom
  • 03-24-2008, 07:09 PM
    Rush2112
    I would go to a cabinet shop and ask if they have any extra NBL veneer available for sale, then decide if you like the look of that particular species of wood veneer. If not, they could order you some but that might get a bit expensive. NBL veneers are generally sold as 4'x8's (much more than you'll need) so if you can find a shop with some extra on hand you should save quite a bit. Somewhere between $70 and $80 would be close to our cost for a 4' x 8' not counting shipping. If you special order, you can tell the shop you'll wait until they place their next order which should negate any shipping costs as it simply gets tagged onto their lumber or panel order. We usually have oak and maple NBL laying around but it will no doubt vary from shop to shop. Some other common woods you may encounter are hickory, cherry, alder and birch... price will vary with oak being the least expensive and cherry being the most of those listed. Avoid using stain on maple and probably birch as well, they tend to get blotchy in appearance unless sanded by a pro... even then it can be tricky. Oak, hickory, cherry, walnut, and most other exotics such as quarter sawn mahogany and sapele (really cool) take stain fairly well and are not as critical to sanding. There are also different cuts to the same species of wood, for example, "rift cut" will always yield a very straight grain. Quarter sawn will yeild a straight grain but have shimmering patterns within the grain. Plain sliced/sawn will yeild a mixture of straight and varied pattern depending on the species and lastly, "rotory" will yeild the most varied or "cathedral" pattern..... in oak it is the cheapest cut and the least attractive.
  • 03-27-2008, 03:15 PM
    Just out of curiosity, if fountboy were to just take the speakers to a professional to have it done, what would that cost (using a mid-level veneer, for example)?
  • 03-28-2008, 07:13 PM
    Rush2112
    Unfortunetly, the cost would be quite high. Our shop rate is $55/hour and for one-off type jobs such as this we typically would tell the customer it's time and material. I would guess there would easily be 8 hours involved not including any finishing. So... $440 in labor as a starting point and aprox. $75 in material. There is also the fear that the drivers (if not removed) could easily be damaged. The finishing part of the project I would suggest be done by the customer as even someone with little or no experience can obtain good results with aerosol cans of catylized lacquer, some sanding sponges, and a few simple instructions. The other option would be to ask one of the many guys in our shop who do scab work (pretty common in our industry) if they would be interested. In cases like this the owner (who is a great guy) would probably be fine with it. I could see this route winding up in the $150 labor range. The do-it-yourself person has a definite advantage.
  • 03-29-2008, 07:58 PM
    tommy d.
    Rush2112,
    Do you think the paper backed veneer on the web site I posted is the same as the NBL that you describe? The web site doesn't use the term NBL but the discription of the "paper backed" veneer seems to equate to NBL. To me "NBL" sounds like a term craftsmen would use among themselves.
  • 03-29-2008, 09:59 PM
    Rush2112
    tommy d.

    Yes I believe the "paper" backed veneer mentioned on that website is the same thing. NBL is the term our main veneer supplier uses and thus it became our term. If I had to compare the paper backing to something familiar, I'd say it is similar to what is used on paper backed fiberglass batt insulation.

    That is a cool website, there are alot of specialty veneers that are usually somewhat difficult to find. We recently did an entertainment center in quarter sawn, ribbon cut, african mahogany. There is nothing all that special about african mahogany itself... what makes that particular piece interesting is the "ribbon cut" part. This yeilds a very linear "jail bar" appearance that reflects light differently depending on the angle to view it from (it changes as you move)
  • 03-30-2008, 06:52 PM
    tommy d.
    Rush2112, thanks for answering my question. I did a search on quatersawn ribbon cut mahagony, it is fantastic looking stuff. There was this example of an acoustic guitar back panel that was beautiful.
    Fountboy, sorry I didn't mean to momentarily hijack your thread.