• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

What top coat do you guys like?

ta240

Major Contributor
Joined
Nov 7, 2019
Messages
1,547
Likes
3,072
I finished my last pair of Baltic birch speakers with a "lemon" hued shellac. It's a beautiful finish and I don't have a garage or other covered outdoor/ventilated space, so being able to apply it indoors is a huge advantage. No water protection of course. I've also had good results with spray lacquer. I don't see the need for poly on speakers, that's more for tables and furniture items that will see a lot of wear.

I love the appearance of the lemon shellac that my next project (not speakers) is going to get several coats for the color and then a light topcoat of wipe-on poly for some added protection.
The baltic birch I've seen done that way looks really sharp.

That goes for any finish. Good preparation is 90% of the end result whether you are using wipe on drying oil, sprayed lacquer or hand rubbed shellac and wax. That's why it's called 'finish' ... ;-)
True, but after working with finishes that specify sanding at 220 grit between coats and that then allow you to sand and polish to as shiny as you want when done; this was a learning curve with needing to have the wood crazy smooth before applying the finish.
 

BostonJack

Active Member
Editor
Joined
Jul 2, 2019
Messages
288
Likes
350
Location
Boston area, Cambridge, MA
I really like old-fashioned, made from beetle carapaces, spar varnish. The urethane varnishes are too soft and plastic-y for my taste. Can be applied with a good brush and then tipped off with a dry brush. Builds to a nice appearance of depth easily. 220 hand sand lightly between coats, tack wipe and you're good to go. Can be applied outdoors, but that risks dust and bugs. Indoors in a dust free environment is fine.

Once you get the feel for it, hand application is fun. You can refresh the finish in a few years, no problem.

Epifanes is a great brand. Top quality marine spar varnish has a lot of UV inhibitors in it, more than adequate for indoor use.
 

bluefuzz

Major Contributor
Joined
Jan 17, 2020
Messages
1,103
Likes
1,884
What do you peeps use for adhering the veneer to the speakers' MDF?
Ordinary white pva wood glue or Titebond II. Spread thinly on both surfaces with a rubber roller. Let glue dry. Iron on the veneer with an ordinary clothes iron on its hottest setting.

If you want to go old-skool you can use traditional carpenter's hot hide glue with a good dose of urea (or salt) added to extend the drying time and proper veneer hammer to apply it. But the pva glue is a lot easier and less messy.
 

carbidetooth

Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2020
Messages
74
Likes
118
Location
Boise, ID
I really like old-fashioned, made from beetle carapaces, spar varnish. The urethane varnishes are too soft and plastic-y for my taste. Can be applied with a good brush and then tipped off with a dry brush. Builds to a nice appearance of depth easily. 220 hand sand lightly between coats, tack wipe and you're good to go. Can be applied outdoors, but that risks dust and bugs. Indoors in a dust free environment is fine.

Once you get the feel for it, hand application is fun. You can refresh the finish in a few years, no problem.

Epifanes is a great brand. Top quality marine spar varnish has a lot of UV inhibitors in it, more than adequate for indoor use.
Do tell about the beetle carapaces. Could you be thinking of shellac, which is excretions from Lac bugs?
 

AudioAaron

Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2021
Messages
57
Likes
60
Ordinary white pva wood glue or Titebond II. Spread thinly on both surfaces with a rubber roller. Let glue dry. Iron on the veneer with an ordinary clothes iron on its hottest setting.

If you want to go old-skool you can use traditional carpenter's hot hide glue with a good dose of urea (or salt) added to extend the drying time and proper veneer hammer to apply it. But the pva glue is a lot easier and less messy.
This works best for me.

I will be trying a 3m psa veneer next project.
 

Timcognito

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 28, 2021
Messages
3,861
Likes
14,431
Location
NorCal
You can learn a lot at the site below and the quality and size is very good. I like iron on for ease of use and robustness of material. The un-skinned veneer is friable in the grain direction on many species.

 
Last edited:

carbidetooth

Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2020
Messages
74
Likes
118
Location
Boise, ID
You can learn a lot at the site below and the quality and size is very good. I like iron on for ease of use and robustness of material. The un-skinned veneer is friable in the grain direction on many species.

By "un-skinned" do you mean raw veneer with no backer? I know friable as crumbly; do you mean bendable? Paper backed veneer is typically very flexible.
 

Timcognito

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 28, 2021
Messages
3,861
Likes
14,431
Location
NorCal
By "un-skinned" do you mean raw veneer with no backer? I know friable as crumbly; do you mean bendable? Paper backed veneer is typically very flexible.
Un-backed would have been better, I was at a loss for words there. Friable should have been splits easily. I have used both types and those with backing are easier to cut in complicated and narrow shapes and bend as you say. Haven't used too much veneer lately. Steam bending wood is my latest endeavor.
 
Top Bottom