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CiscoFran

First Time Poster Long Time Reader - Belle Restoring

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I suppose I'll introduce myself and rant a little on how I came to join this forum and all of you wonderful people. 

 

My advent into Klipsch speakers(and hi-fi audio really) started about 5 years ago when I came across a dusted and inconspicuous set of promedia computer speakers. I was able to pick the whole set up for a whopping 5 devaluated american dollars at a retirement community sale. Now I know most of you wouldn't say those speakers are the epitome of sound quality or an embodiment of clarity but, they did the trick, oh boy did they do the trick. I stood there in disbelief of every dub step bass drop and every peaking synth note cranking out of those little speakers.... I still can't explain it. I assure you all I'm not one of those that likes their car to rattle and bleed bass for every car on the block to vibrate but I do enjoy good bass. 

I've never listened to electronica or dub-step as a choice so this was mere happenstance but I wouldn't have had it any other way. My musical preferences range more from classic rock/pop/blues to soul/funk/reggae to samba/salsa/bolero all the way to latin grupero/norteno/banda and mariachi. Needless to say, I started looking for some more dynamic and versatile speakers. In my time as a musician I came to realize that I prefer functionality to looks and so I searched for some good ol' honkin' speakers regardless of how pretty they were. I got my self some battered and torn RF-7's with no grills, dented caps and no feet for 100 bucks. A Parasound 2100 and a Yamaha M-40 later I found myself in audio bliss. I had never heard such beautiful reproduction nor had I ever owned such monstrous speakers. For weeks and weeks I listened to everything I could think of and they never failed to satiate my desires. Even when fronting my theater system, the RF-7's delivered without a single miss. THE CLARITY! THE PRECISION! THE SHEER IMMENSITY!! It all took me back. Most of all I suppose I was attracted to the fact that at one quarter the way on power, my speakers were blasting away sounds I could feel. 

It has been a few years since and I've picked up a 12 inch sub for effects and a whole barrage of other amps and equipment. I've entered the world of vinyl and have become very fond of it. Since I'm a huge fan of latin music I tend to appreciate the older recordings of salsa groups like Daniel Santos and La Sonora Matancera. Coming into this stage I realized that perhaps the RF-7's weren't exactly giving me what I wanted in the upper registers of music. I began my search again and having read this forum countless times, I started looking for Klipschorns. I'm fortunate to be in Southern California where K-Horns are plenty and I'm also very fortunate to have a spectacular set of corners; it all seemed to be working out. Eventually I realized finding an ugly set of K-Horns for a poor man's budget would be next to impossible. Luckily, I was elated to find a set of beat up Belles for a decent price and brought them home. 

This all brings to me to my current situation. The less-than Belles were a bit beat up:

IMG_8625.thumb.png.2abfb33d604977fab8e459a6a280f182.png20170911_190339-min.thumb.jpg.2210178f9e7c81fd19d0a3aac0d505f7.jpg


 

I've gone ahead and disassembled the mid, tweeter and taken out the frame for the two. I've also cleaned the cabs with fine steel wool and soapy water. I'll be happy with lookers at 20ft so i'm not too concerned with the veneer chips(at least not yet). My concern is that I have some Howards Restor-A-Finish in walnut (since I presume these are HWO) but I'm not sure if this is the proper way of restoring these. Would any one help with some ideas on how to make these look a bit better? Thanks!!!
Edited by CiscoFran
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Welcome to the Klispch Forums @CiscoFran.  Starting your first ever Thread and Post with Belles is starting first class!  I love restoration projects that save Klipsch speakers from the trash heap, good for you for doing this.

 

I have done a Klipsch restoration project but mine consisted of sanding out deep scratches on CF-4 speakers then using some Med Oak stain, finished with a couple of layers of polyurethane.  Your Belles have some veneer peeled off and that is beyond my experience, but others here have done that kind of restoration and can give you better advice than I. 

 

Do you want to keep the same color, or would you consider painting them black?  Keeping them stock finish would be most typical.  Painting them black would cover a lot of blemishes.

 

 

I'll see if I can dig up some previous threads on restored Heritage speakers.

 

Here's one on restoring beat up La Scala's but the pics are not updated by Photobucket.

https://community.klipsch.com/index.php?/topic/171808-refinishing-la-scala-black-cabinets/&tab=comments#comment-2178365

 

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Welcome

You were lucky to find a pair like that, they are one of the hardest to find it seems. If everything else looks alright after refinishing them you could always add a strip of veneer over that whole center piece if it bothers you.

6 hours ago, CiscoFran said:

I prefer functionality to looks and so I searched for some good ol' honkin' speakers regardless of how pretty they were.

I don't blame you at all, good luck restoring them.

Sorry I can't help, I have never tried to do that, I got some beat up Heresy's on purpose for a workshop. I decided to move them to a covered outside tiki bar area so I just painted them with black exterior house paint since they were going to be hidden anyway, it's as close to making speakers look better that I have done.   

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Thanks for the info wvu80. I'm gonna use the bondo method to reform some corners that were noticeably worn down. 

I was also thinking of just removing the veneer strip on the middle of the bass bin. I'm gonna look into buying some symmetrical veneer. 

The only problem now is how to remove the grills be able to get into the crevices of the folds of the bass bin. They seem like they just pull out but I want to make sure this is correct. 

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Scratch that, i found this:
 

and this:


This might not be as hard as I expected. I'm even considering re-wrapping the grilles and doing a full cleanup and detail. Now i'm gonna go look at some walnut cabs with cane to see if it looks as awesome as I remember.

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I never did much veneer, so I was afraid of it. About a year and a half ago, I built a custom entertainment center and gave veneering a try. I built the thing out of MDF, so the surfaces and edges were very tidy. I used the contact cement method, a hard roller, and a double edge trimmer. It was a very fun project my son and I did together. I put the veneer on before I assembled. On your Belle's, you would need to have the surfaces tidied up and the edges sharp. I'm not sure if removing the current veneer would be needed. perhaps somebody could chime in on that. personally, I would be using auto filler to square and sharpen everything. Maybe there are people here who would cringe about that on Belles, but if I were going to put veneer down, I wouldn't hesitate. There are so many BEAUTIFUL veneers to choose from. Check out the work of Greg Roberts from Volti. He is truly a master! 

 

Here was my very first veneer attempt. The folks at Woodcraft were very helpful! I was intimidated as hell. There was no need. It was easy! I highly recommend it!

 

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I don't know how would veneering of just a part of the surface look at the end, you will have to match the veneer in color and carefully match the edges with the old veneer. People do that but only those who have some experience.

It seems to me a lot easier to veneer tho whole surface.

Try it on some board that you put aside, and after a try or two you will know what to do.

The most common method we use is to evenly put wood glue on clean surface, carefully put the veneer on,  and go over it with an old hot iron.

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I went forward and just applied some Howard's because I couldn't wait to get them setup. After some very light sanding and thorough cleaning I applied restor-a-finish to get them looking decent. It worked, although I am determined to have them repaired in the future. 


I'm not exactly blown away here. They have a certain harshness to them and I can hear a mild honk. The Rf-7's they are replacing definitely had better bass but I suppose that's what 13hz of lower frequency will do. 

The clarity is unlike anything I've ever heard, and they are extremely efficient. I'm blaming the amplifier to start but I am not exactly sure this is right. Currently I'm driving them with a JVC AX1100 integrated that I am not exactly fond of so I'm hoping to get a Parasound P5 paired with an Aragon 4004 that'll bring forward that density and warmth I'm used to. My ultimate goal is to use them for 2 channel audio and a 2.1 theater system that can knock me back. I'm moving on to building myself and F20 but only if the change in separates can convince me. 

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Not meaning to hijack, but from the other two threads mentioned.  The Belle bass bins grills are screwed in?  if this be the case, that explains a lot, also had no clue that was the case.

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The belles can be very bright. I just lower the treble on my integrated amp. 

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The bass bin grilles are definitely screwed on. They have two screws top and bottom each. 

For the last three weeks I've been giving them some extended listening sessions and I am a convert!!

The imaging is amazing, sound stage is seemless, mids and highs are beautiful and the bass is cleaner than a surgeons finger. If they went a teeny bit lower they'd be perfect. 

There's a certain grain to them, one that wasn't there when I listened to direct radiators but I don't know if it's enough to fill the void. Anybody matched belles or ls with an F20?

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Please do not use water on any wood.  Don't use Murphy's Oil Soap either.

 

I don't like the idea of using steel wool near any driver magnet. Eventually crumbs of the steel wool will get into the magnet gap.   Non-scratch Scotchbrite or sandpaper will do well.

 

WMcD

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Welcome to the asylum! 

 

Just a wild thought but what about salvaging the wood all around as best you can and painting that center, vertical part between the V shaped grills black after smoothing it out? Down the road you could always get on the veneer thing but in the short run the tops and front are what you really see day in and day out. Heresy to the Klipsch purest I'm sure as the Belle is such a pretty speaker but perhaps worth a few bucks in paint and an hour of your time. 

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When I went though the cabs and sanded everything down I made sure to remove the components and separate them for cleanup as well. 

I actually like the idea of painting the center!

I might just do that. Would you recommend removing the remaining veneer or patching the spots where veneer came off?

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