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$200 CORNWALL SAGA - RESCUING ORPHANS


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Every once in awhile you will run across a pair of Heritage that are a disaster. Real disaster... Bad disaster.... But, they work, drivers pretty much ok, etc. and the only reason that you don't grab them is that they look really bad and you may not be comfortable with refinishing them

For most Forum members, unfortunately they likely will pass on them, sigh and hope for something better to come along.

Well... for the most part that's a good decision, but if you think about it and either have some basic skills, or can work your way through the basic skills, restoring a disaster pair may be just the ticket to a nice pair of Heritage that would otherwise set you back $700+.

The easiest Heritage to "fix up" and restore are Heresy's and Cornwall's. They are "boxes" and the basics apply to both. Cornwalls are more difficult because of their size, and they are not easy to move around while working on them. But in the $ for $ department... the Cornwalls are the best investment at this time.

In the case of these Cornwalls, ole' Fenderbender was "on the move" looking for stuff a few months ago and ran across these down somewhere in the Miami/ Key Largo area. The good part - Cornwall-I's, "U's" (1980), plain B crossovers, and everything worked except one of the woofers. The bad part - they had been sorely abused, laminated with black formica, and probably used in a bar, etc. The ugly part - they were a cosmetic disaster; massive formica chips, peeling, grills looked like they had been used by every stray cat south of Lauderdale, etc.

Fender, being ever the bright lad that he is.... asks the owner, that we'll call Capn' Fuzzy.... how much. Ole' Fuzzy mutters some outrageous price, so Fender points out the fact that they look like an EPA environmental disaster case study. Fuzzman wanders off, undoubtedly to the fridge for some more Mad Dog (to take the edge off the effects of the morning sun...), and while he's away, Fender calls me and gives me the rundown. I sez make him an offer of $200 and see what happens.....

Captain Fuzzy returns and Fender does the obligatory "walk away and shake your head" thing which always results in the "make me an offer" from this type of seller. Fuzzy looks lame and asks the question, so Fender says, "$200 and not a penny more". A brief moment of silence, a sip or two of the cool mid morning libation, and Fuzzy says. "Done! But you gotta' load them yourself!!!". Oh the tragedy, the tears, the humanity.....

Fender loads them, takes them home and hides them for a week or whatever in the garage, and when it's safe and his wife ain't looking'... heads up to Area-51. We unload them and they are so bad I cannot even risk taking them inside... anywhere.... So we strip out the drivers and I get ready.

I had already decided that the living room HT system was going to be Cornwalls, so I met with SWMBO and she confirmed that a nice walnut with reddish tint (the vintage "reddish" look that older WO's have) would be the nice look for the living room. Hey! Besides... when you finally spill the beans about your latest audiophile type "acquisition" that looks like a pair of refugees from a war zone, you better pay attention to the WAF-O-Meter.

They came out very, very nicely, my wife likes them, and they look and sound like they did when they were new almost 30 years ago.

How much?

$200 for the pair

~$220 with shipping for a new pair of Bob Crites' CW-1526 woofers

~$40 with shipping for new caps from Bob

~$100 or so for a really nice sheet of walnut veneer, glue, tape, stain, oil, etc.

~$40 or ~$50 for new grill cloth, new grill board, paint, velcro tabs, "pie emblems"

Total: ~$600 - maybe, say ~$650

I also used a pair of Bob's CT-125 tweeters I had laying around instead of the original K-77's which I'm saving for another Heresy rebuild.

In any event, here's a "photo essay" on the rescue operation....

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The first problem was to remove the formica that had been glued to the cabinets. They had been done with contact cement which.... can be softened and the formica removed by prying up. This won't work with veneer very well at all so if you have bad veneer, best thing to do is just fill in the holes and chips and move on. We'll look at that problem later.

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Next part is easy. Simply remove the PSA backing and lay the strips over the "holes". Don't worry about overlap. When you lay the strips over the holes, use a block of wood to press the strips into the gaps. The edges will stick up, but don't worry about it as you will remove that excess in the next step.

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