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Uncle Choppy

Reconditioning and Restoring Speaker Cabinets

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Greetings from the lowlands of Arkansas - home of tall grasses, heavy soils and indestructible bugs! I have a pair of Heresy (raw birch) and a pair of KG-1 (oak oil) speakers. The cabinets need a little attention. The birch plywood seems a little dry to the touch, and the oak veneer has several small scratches and and a couple of crayon markings. First, I plan to clean all the cabinets with a water moistened cotton towel. After sufficient drying, I plan to apply a thin coat of boiled linseed oil and turpentine (mixed 50-50) to the Heresys, rub in, buff. For the KG-1s, I plan to clean them again with turpentine, then after drying, thoroughly rub in the BLO/Turps blend, let it dry, and buff. Does this sound reasonable? Please let me know if there is a better solution. I want to retain the "natural" feel and look, so I will not be applying a varnish or lacquer finish. Many thanks for your input. Best wishes. -UC

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I used to use BLO cut with 1/3 paint thinner but have changed over to Watco Danish oil (natural).  Much less smell and the finish turns out nice!  Watco saved the old look of the BLO finish.  

 

To back up a bit... I would not use water to clean wood!  You can clean by wiping with a cloth soaked with paint thinner.  For the crayon markings you might try magic eraser.  

 

Watch your rags that they don't catch fire.  I throw mine in a bucket of water outside.

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Don't use water.  No way.  Ever.

 

in its past life the wood would transport water up the tree.  But now, water would only damage the wood causing the cells to swell up. This is what water damage causes.  So don't do it.

 

The "Lemon Oil" "polishes" are just light motor oil with perfume.  It is okay as a cleaner..

 

 To get a bit of a scrub, use a facial pad from Walgreens.  These should be less aggressive than even a "no scratch" Scotch-Brite.

 

WMcD

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Watch your rags that they don't catch fire.  I throw mine in a bucket of water outside.

 

 

You are 100% right on proper disposal of oily rags. 

 

I burn mine in the shop stove.

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Watch your rags that they don't catch fire.  I throw mine in a bucket of water outside.

 

 

You are 100% right on proper disposal of oily rags. 

 

I burn mine in the shop stove.

 

 

Bet they burn quick.

FOOM!

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I think Gil means mineral oil and not motor oil...

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Watco Rejuvenating Oil is very similar to the dreaded BLO product originally used at the Klipsch factory. Shake gently before application, use several thin coats vs one heavy coat for a better (non-gummy) finish. READ THE DIRECTIONS - it's a fantastic product. Make sure to get the uncolored type, they have some with stain in them as well.

 

If there are deep scratches in the veneer, you might try a colored Old English oil first to bring back the entire surface to the same color and fill scratches, buff off, let dry, then follow with the Watco. 

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Old Klipsch Tech Support Axiom (from Stephen Phillips) 

 

Oil once a day for a week, once a week for a month, once a month for a year. 

 

Ok, that's way overdoing it, but the point is that it's all that rubbing that gives a nice sheen, and you can't expect the decades old wood to instantly soak up all the oil it needs in one or two quick swipes. So get out those old diapers and elbow grease and love on those old cabinets!  

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Greetings again, and thanks for all your comments. Right you are - water and wood do not make good traveling companions. For initial cleaning, to knock away any daily life dust, a light solvent dampened rag would be best. I generally avoid petro chemical solvents and reach instead for turpentine (for use with BLO) and citrus solvent (for use with raw tung oil). They are excellent cleaners, and the aroma of either is far more pleasant to my olfactory buds. I have used Watco Rejuvenating Oil with great success on other projects, just was not sure if it would be okay for speaker cabinets. Watco Danish Oil, on the other hand, contains varnish and will seal the wood; really not what I want in this case. Mr. Clearly Insane, could you please elaborate on the "dreaded BLO product originally used at the Klipsch factory"? Is there a formula available? Best wishes. -uc >>>

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Dr. Bill's (not me) recipe':

*remember fire hazard* BLO heats up as it dries so any rags and whatnot should be thouroughly washed with water and soap and disposed of safely...preferrably outside...

the Drs. recipe' IIRC: 3 parts Gum Turpentine to 1 part BLO...I found mine at Home Depot but should be able to find anywhere...good luck but wanted to share...Do only in a well ventilated area...

Bill

Edited by silversport
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Just that's extremely nasty smelling, and rags highly flammable. 

 

The Watco product has been used by dozens of us over years of experience with very good success. I brought back to life a set of Klispchorns that had been in a storage space for 7 years and were about as dry as I can imagine. Took about 4 good goings over.

 

DO NOT OVERAPPLY the product in any single application or you will have a gummy mess. It can be resolved by applying more product as a thinner for removing the gum, but best just to apply to lint-free rag and go lightly. It's all the rubbing that does the job, by forcing the product into the pores and smoothing the wood grain. There is no substitute for a lot of loving elbow grease in a project like this. 

Edited by colterphoto1
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I learned the hard way.

 

Refinished dad's Altec Valencia's when i was 11 or 12 and threw the rags i used on the stairwell leading to the basement.

 

Yeah, they caught on fire but luckily we were home when that happened.

 

Lesson learned.

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I think Gil means mineral oil and not motor oil...

Yeah, maybe I went too far.

The main reason for me calling it light motor oil is to dispell any inference that the stuff is made from the oil of a lemon -- which it certainly is not. The seller / labeler does tell you it is mineral oil and my guess is that they don't want to tell you it is petroleum oil. It is made from crude oil, like motor oil.

There is a nice entry in Wikipedia which describes it including the use on butcher block.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mineral_oil

WMcD

 

Addition by edit.  As a young ham I built the Heathkit 'Cantenna' dummy load.  It Is basically a physically large 50 ohm resistor in a one-gallon paint can.  The assembly instructions call for a gallon of 'mineral oil.'  It is for cooling when you put a kilowatt of r.f. power into it.  Not that I had that big a rig.

 

Somehow I figured out that pharmacies carried the stuff.  So I went to the local drugstore and bought four quarts.  I don't recall if the pharmacist asked questions, but he probably did.  I was probably written off as the young mad scientist in the village.

Edited by WMcD

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Safety of BLO is of course important. 

 

I've handled a few fire cases.  None with BLO.  One with lacquer thinner and another with MEK.  Rooms with thick vapors blew up when an electrical switch was operated. 

 

I am concerned about BLO and "oily rags."  The concern is that elaborate safety procedures are described rather than simple ones which are just as effective IMHO.

 

When I was testing Watco, I set up a little clothes line in the garage and put the cloths, actually paper towels, on the line to dry.  They cured and got stiff.  then IMOH they became harmless.  The dried BLO on speaker boxes aren't going to spontaneously combust, either.

 

What we're seeing is that BLO soaked rags when wadded up create a situation where there is a exothermic (heat making) reaction with little air inside the folds, and there is enough air at the surface (and the oil present) to support combustion when things get hot.

 

There is a good explanation

 

http://www.finewoodworking.com/item/13477/how-to-safely-and-not-so-safely-dispose-of-oil-soaked-rags

 

Wikipedia has information too.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linseed_oil  Yup, a mummy got burned up. 

 

Therefore.  Be safe.  But don't overlook the simple way of being safe.

 

WMcD

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Safety of BLO is of course important. 

 

I've handled a few fire cases.  None with BLO.  One with lacquer thinner and another with MEK.  Rooms with thick vapors blew up when an electrical switch was operated. 

 

................

put them in a metal can and light em off.  Simple and fixes the danger.

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Don't use water.  No way.  Ever.

 

in its past life the wood would transport water up the tree.  But now, water would only damage the wood causing the cells to swell up. This is what water damage causes.  So don't do it.

 

The "Lemon Oil" "polishes" are just light motor oil with perfume.  It is okay as a cleaner..

 

 To get a bit of a scrub, use a facial pad from Walgreens.  These should be less aggressive than even a "no scratch" Scotch-Brite.

 

WMcD

If you use salt and water together they may look like this. I wish I had more pictures, they came out awesome. I just made a paste of salt and water and rubbed them a lot, it sucks the oils out of the grain and creates a wild effect. Then just used feed and wax. If you look in this forum you may find a bunch of pictures under "gave away my cornwalls"

post-60713-0-31860000-1457443181_thumb.j

Edited by juniper

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