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Questions about refinishing Lascala cabinets – Part 1


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I recently acquired a pair of 1986 Lascalas. The raw birch cabinets had some damage (chips, delamination, chewed-off corner) that I have mostly repaired. I’m now about to strip the existing polyurethane and refinish them. I’ve spent a lot of time on this site and the web (e.g., Volti site) trying to ascertain how best to proceed.

 

I was thinking about laminating a ¼” Baltic birch panel to the sides, top, and bottom (but not the front or the back) and then applying veneer on the top, bottom, sides and front (but not the back).

 

1) Will adding the ¼” panels hurt the value of the speakers? If so, I’ll likely not add them.

 

Adding the ¼” panels would increase the rigidity of the cabinets and provide a smooth surface for the veneer. I’ll use Tite-Bond (PVA glue) to laminate the ¼” panels to the cabinets. Although I have some clamps, I’ll rely on weights and some pin nails to hold the panels while the glue dries.

 

2) I’d welcome any suggestions about better ways to laminate the panels to the cabinets.

 

I’ll be using sheets of paper-backed veneer. I’m concerned about how best to apply the veneer, specifically how to avoid bubbles/poor adhesion when applying it and chip-out/tearing when trimming it. I’ve been thinking of cutting the veneer slightly oversize, gluing it to the cabinet with contact cement, and then using a flush-trim bit in a router to cut it to size. Alternatively, I could glue the veneer to the ¼” panels before installing them and then install the veneered panels (using Tite-Bond, pin nails, and weight) but I’d still have to use the former approach for the front of the cabinets.

 

3) I’d welcome advice about how best to apply the veneer, especially from those that have “been there and done that”.

 

I’m scouring this site and the web looking for images of Lascalas to help choose a type of veneer and finish for the speakers.

 

4) I’d appreciate seeing images of Lascalas that might help me choose the veneer and finish for the speakers.

 

5) What have people done with the exposed end-grain on the cut-outs for the tweeter and sqawker (see photo)?

 

Those curved surfaces would be tricky to veneer so I'm thinking of just painting them a flat or satin black.

 

I have other questions pertaining to how to finish the bins. I’ll post those in another message.

 

Thank-you.

 

Dave MacKay

near Toronto, Canada

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Dave:

    There are several members who have demonstrated superior skills at both new construction finishing and restoration.

   

         - @CECAA850 Has built and veneered many cabinets and his posts detail how to avoid many procedural and technique errors.

 

         - @longdrive03 has restored many Heritage speakers with stunning results. His posts have you follow his progress, and are less instructive for beginners, but the results are spectacular.


         - @Matthews has done more that one la Scala restore with high end furniture results. He is spending more time restoring automobiles lately, but if he drops in and engages he has mad skills.

 

My skills top out at applying Watco or Danish oil, but there are many experienced members here, and they will probably be jumping in soon with ideas and resources. Enjoy the forum!

 

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I think laminating large panels is usually done with contact cement rather than PVA, others will probably chime in. Weighting a large panel and keeping it bubble free is difficult, contact cement is easier in that regard. 

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