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RobBeamer

Resurrecting Macassar Ebony Fortes

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RobBeamer    4


Posted some pics of these many years ago. 

 

If anyone is interested I'll post a more detailed backstory but keeping it short so I can get to my question for now. 

 

Bought directly from Klipsch when I worked part time at a stereo shop back in college days. Supposed to be the last pair of Macassar Ebony Fortes they made after discontinuing some of the exotic finishes they used to offer and signed by PWK. Were treated to a half-assed refinish job at one point that looked ... OK ... at first but the lacquer used on the last step was obviously crap and after being stored for a few years had turned yellow, really shiny and brittle so it didn't even look like real wood anymore. 

 

Seemed like a bigger job than I wanted to tackle at the time but recently decided to pull one of the bases off (had one of the worst looking surfaces) just to see what would happen if I did a few stages of sanding (get the cruddy lacquer off then finer grits to smooth things out) and rub it with a little stain. Looked pretty darned good so just kept going and by the end of the day had done both speakers. Not trying to make them perfect but will be putting some more time into it before I'm done. Attached a couple of pictures which really don't completely convey how nice they already look.

 

Anyway, my question. I'm actually liking the look of them as-is having done no additional steps after polishing them with the stain but think I recall they had at least a little bit of sheen to them from the factory. Don't think they were "oiled" but maybe some other light finish? Anyone have any idea what that might have been? Not sure I'll end up doing whatever it was but might test on the bottom of one at some point to see what it looks like. 

 

 

 

Forte3.jpg

DownLeft.jpg

Upangle.jpg

Forte2.jpg

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Frzninvt    276

The label will indicate the finish type "O" = Oil "L" = Lacquer

 

Those are some of the most beautiful Forte's that I have ever seen.

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Peter P.    94

Those things look impressive. Your labors were worth the result.

 

As to imparting a sheen to them, try a paste finishing wax. Minwax makes one and you'll find it at almost any hardware store. It applies and polishes just like car wax, except repeating the process intensifies the result-they get glossier.

 

If the result is not what you were looking for, you can remove the wax with mineral spirits, although I don't know whether it will remove your underlying finish as well. Test in a discreet spot first.

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RobBeamer    4

Thanks for the postive comments and suggestions. As long as it's been .... I still remember the little flutter my heart did when I had unboxed the first one and it sat before me in all of its glory. 

 

Attached a pic of one of the labels so I guess the "TYPE FOR MEL" means they were lacquer .... Macassar Ebony Lacquer. 

 

In the first pass I did the bases separately because they were quick and could let them dry while I worked on the actual speakers. Didn't touch the bottoms of the speakers yet because the let me have a side to sit them on while they dried enough to start moving them around. I'll probably make that (the bottom of each) the project for this weekend. Give that a week to "cure" and can use that to spot test anything further I might want to do. 

 

Think Klipsch customer service would still have anyone around that could advise as to what they used for the lacquer and how it was applied back then .... or a suitable alternative? Luckily they look good enough right now I'm not in a big hurry to do anything else major that would be more difficult to undo but I have a friend that owns a body shop so I'd have access to a booth and professional help if I ever had enough infomation (and confidence) to try and replicate. 

Paul.jpg

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CECAA850    17884

I'll be watching this as I have a pair of MEL Heresy 2's that I'll be refinishing.  That veneer is supposed to be very rare.

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dtel    14658

Those look great, the best looking Forte's I have ever seen, you did well. :emotion-21:

48 minutes ago, CECAA850 said:

My future project.

Those look good already, should not be hard to make them perfect. 

 

58 minutes ago, RobBeamer said:

Think Klipsch customer service would still have anyone around that could advise as to what they used for the lacquer and how it was applied back then .... or a suitable alternative? Luckily they look good enough right now I'm not in a big hurry to do anything else major that would be more difficult to undo but I have a friend that owns a body shop so I'd have access to a booth and professional help if I ever had enough infomation (and confidence) to try and replicate. 

I have no idea if Klipsch would still have someone around ? Andy worked there and is here on the forum, you can send him a message, he might know.

His forum name is HDBRbuilder , send him a message, he usually don't bite, much. :biggrin:........... really a nice guy  

 

https://community.klipsch.com/index.php?/profile/7206-hdbrbuilder/&wr=eyJhcHAiOiJmb3J1bXMiLCJtb2R1bGUiOiJmb3J1bXMtY29tbWVudCIsImlkXzEiOjE3MjMyMSwiaWRfMiI6MjE4OTc2OH0=

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CECAA850    17884
17 minutes ago, dtel said:

Those look good already, should not be hard to make them perfect. 

Light scratching needs to be taken care of.  I'll probably recap them while I have everything apart.

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RobBeamer    4
42 minutes ago, CECAA850 said:

I'll be watching this as I have a pair of MEL Heresy 2's that I'll be refinishing.  That veneer is supposed to be very rare.

 

Glad to hear there's some interest. I'll feel a little less like a dork when I'm posting the "progress" pictures. 

 

I was only working at that shop part time and don't think it was for even 2 years but don't think we ever had anyone order one of the custom finishes during the time I was there. However, we had the samples of the exotic wood over the door to the listening room and loved the look of that Ebony. The Forte was my favorite speaker of what we kept in stock (we didn't have the space to keep the big ones on hand) so when we got the notice they wouldn't be doing the exotics any longer I immediately called to see if it was too late to order another and the main lady that used to answer the CS calls (can't recall her name ... just that she was really nice) and was informed they didn't have any of the Ebony veneer left but just happened to have a pair of Fortes in that finish ... the last pair in that finish. Begged her to hold them for me then called my mom and begged even harder for a loan to buy them. Think I may have told this story here many years ago.

 

In retrospect I always thought it was somewhat weird and lucky they had a pair when I called. If I'm remembering correctly the standard wood Fortes were around 1200 but think the premium for these was at least 50% above that. I got the considerable salesperson discount but would imagine most people ordering the custom Klipsch were in a considerably higher tax bracket than I was at the time and probably getting big boys like the KHorns.

 

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CECAA850    17884
19 minutes ago, RobBeamer said:

Glad to hear there's some interest. I'll feel a little less like a dork when I'm posting the "progress" pictures. 

Everyone pretty much enjoys pictures of projects in process.  Post away.

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If you do not go with an oil finish, check out a product called Deft.  Brush or spray on, water cleanup and a beautiful final shinny finish.  Very easy to work with. 

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dtr20    610

I like to use Howard's feed n wax. It's a liquid wax that you can find at just about any hardware store. Put it on, let it sit for awhile, then buff it out. Do multiple coats as you see fit. Beautiful speakers! 

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