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Alan L
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So as some of you know I junked picked some La Scala's. As bad as it may be to some, I will make them as perfect as I can because it's just who I am. So I started to work on the first speaker and got the hardware out. Marked and recorded everything. So mine is the BR model, so it seems I am pretty good (safe) with a finish I pick. I have been looking at many models of these and it seems so many paint them Band Black, Sorry just don't care for that. The other is more of a natural blonde, reminds me of a school desk. I'm sure my thought is out in left field for some, but I would love some input from others. What I would like to do is make them look more like a instrument. I would like to do (all) the edges in a black fading with a very candied deep wine red with a very high gloss finish.  Any thoughts on that? Also it would seem the trim work on the grills are just some pieces of pine? Seems odd, Would it be ok to do a nice hardwood and do the entire front edge of the cabinet? So you don't see the plywood end grains on the front rather than just the grill being framed out? My last question is for the bottom. When I took it off, there was some really hard and crusty type of a cloth seal. Seems to perhaps of had some tar in it. It is no longer pliable and was not really sealing well! What do you all recommend for resealing the bottom of the speaker? Would love to hear anyone's thoughts.. :)      

 

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I once saw a pair of Martin Logan’s, painted gloss white background then a bright red feather / cloud / random design on the long axis. At first I didn’t like it at all... but the more I looked it grew on me. Very artistic, maybe not for every one / room but really well done. I’ll see if I can find a picture. Cosmetic cabinet finishes are ... like beauty ... in the eye of the beholder. Go for it... maybe make a mock up in a paint program first? Good luck.

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I still vote for veneer and make the dog hiuse look like a Belle. Here is pic of mine i didnt veneer the inside of dog house just sanded and stained with cherry stain. But this also gives you the chance to put some good screws in the side to stiffen the panels up. You can not even make mine move with a knee and  hands. The veneer also helps stiffen the sides up also I think. IMAG0326.thumb.jpg.378b4f01182745aa65692cb92cab1556.jpg

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Congratulations on scoring a pair of La Scalas.

 

I bought a pair of La Scalas a couple of months ago that I have been refurbishing. Perhaps my experience might be beneficial to you.

 

From the photos you posted I can't tell if there was much damage to your speaker cabinets. I didn't notice any, so you may be ahead of the game there. My cabinets had some damage (stains, chips, broken corners, gouges, etc.). I used wood fillers and epoxy to repair the cabinets. In the end, the damage was easier to fix than I'd anticipated. If I were to do it again, I'd use bondo (not wood epoxy) and wood filler.

 

I laminated new panels to the sides, top and bottom of my cabinets. I used 3/8" baltic birch (my supplier was out of 1/4"), about 3 quarts of Titebond III and a few hundred 5/8" brads. I added the panels for two reasons:

   1) to provide a smooth surface for veneering, and

   2) to stiffen the bass cabinets to eliminate a reported resonance in the bass bin

The cabinets are now certainly stiff (and even heavier) so that the bass resonance problem should be dealt with.

 

It turned out that my repairs to the cabinet were good enough that I probably could have veneered them without adding the new panels. If I were to do it over, I might just have added braces to the bass bin and not bothered adding the additional plywood panels.

 

I'm assuming that the tar-like substance you came across was on the woofer access panel (screwed into the bottom of the cabinet). You can remove that substance and replace it with an audio gasket tape.

 

Despite my satisfaction with how my repairs turned out, I'll be veneering the La Scalas. I want them to look good since they are prominent fixtures in my living room. I didn't think painting them would give the sort of look I want.

 

I haven't yet started to veneer the cabinets. I'm leaning towards something that will be light in colour. I'm thinking of (maybe) quarter-sawn anigre or quarter-sawn birch. Because of the lead time to get the veneer that job will have to wait until spring when the temperatures in my garage are warm enough to work with contact cement.

 

Other elements of the refurbishment have involved the electronics (networks) and audio elements (drivers and horns), but that would be grist for another post.

The blondes are home.JPG

Edited by Dave MacKay
Fixed typos and added photo
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Also, the top grille looks like the factory kit. Can't tell for sure. Back in the day, Klipsch offered the kits already installed as a special order or you could by the kits after the fact and finish and install them yourself. The kit consisted of two grills with one of the three available(brown, black, cane)materials. The cloth came attached to the grilles from the factory. Also included was eight pieces of like quarter round Solid Birch molding, cut to proper length and mitered. If memory serves, they even included like twenty small brad nails to attach the frame pieces to the front of the cabinet. I think in the thirteen years we owned our shop in California we may have sold ten kits. They do dress them up nicely though.

 

And just for an example I veneered the last pair of La Scala cabinets I restored in Tiger wood. Not for everyone but I like them.

La Scalas.jpg

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4 hours ago, Dave MacKay said:

Congratulations on scoring a pair of La Scalas.

 

I bought a pair of La Scalas a couple of months ago that I have been refurbishing. Perhaps my experience might be beneficial to you.

 

From the photos you posted I can't tell if there was much damage to your speaker cabinets. I didn't notice any, so you may be ahead of the game there. My cabinets had some damage (stains, chips, broken corners, gouges, etc.). I used wood fillers and epoxy to repair the cabinets. In the end, the damage was easier to fix than I'd anticipated. If I were to do it again, I'd use bondo (not wood epoxy) and wood filler.

 

I laminated new panels to the sides, top and bottom of my cabinets. I used 3/8" baltic birch (my supplier was out of 1/4"), about 3 quarts of Titebond III and a few hundred 5/8" brads. I added the panels for two reasons:

   1) to provide a smooth surface for veneering, and

   2) to stiffen the bass cabinets to eliminate a reported resonance in the bass bin

The cabinets are now certainly stiff (and even heavier) so that the bass resonance problem should be dealt with.

 

It turned out that my repairs to the cabinet were good enough that I probably could have veneered them without adding the new panels. If I were to do it over, I might just have added braces to the bass bin and not bothered adding the additional plywood panels.

 

I'm assuming that the tar-like substance you came across was on the woofer access panel (screwed into the bottom of the cabinet). You can remove that substance and replace it with an audio gasket tape.

 

Despite my satisfaction with how my repairs turned out, I'll be veneering the La Scalas. I want them to look good since they are prominent fixtures in my living room. I didn't think painting them would give the sort of look I want.

 

I haven't yet started to veneer the cabinets. I'm leaning towards something that will be light in colour. I'm thinking of (maybe) quarter-sawn anigre or quarter-sawn birch. Because of the lead time to get the veneer that job will have to wait until spring when the temperatures in my garage are warm enough to work with contact cement.

 

Other elements of the refurbishment have involved the electronics (networks) and audio elements (drivers and horns), but that would be grist for another post.

The blondes are home.JPG

Very nice Dave!

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2 hours ago, jorjen said:

Also, the top grille looks like the factory kit. Can't tell for sure. Back in the day, Klipsch offered the kits already installed as a special order or you could by the kits after the fact and finish and install them yourself. The kit consisted of two grills with one of the three available(brown, black, cane)materials. The cloth came attached to the grilles from the factory. Also included was eight pieces of like quarter round Solid Birch molding, cut to proper length and mitered. If memory serves, they even included like twenty small brad nails to attach the frame pieces to the front of the cabinet. I think in the thirteen years we owned our shop in California we may have sold ten kits. They do dress them up nicely though.

 

And just for an example I veneered the last pair of La Scala cabinets I restored in Tiger wood. Not for everyone but I like them.

La Scalas.jpg

 Looks fabulous!

 

Do you have any tips on how to veneer the doghouse? 

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Alan L, if your intent is to re-sell them some day the more “unique” you finish them the smaller your potential audience will be. But if you’re planning on hanging onto them then go ahead and do whatever you’d like.

 

Dave MacKay, I restored a pair of La Scala’s in a similar fashion. Mine were pretty rough on all the front edges. I decided to add 1/4” birch ply to the sides and 1/8” to the top. This made it so I could just fill in the gaps between the new plywood and the old, chewed up edges. Much better than trying to build new edges and corners. I used Bondo wood filler. Excellent stuff. 
 

I used a 6” wide putty knife to spread a thin layer of Titebond II glue on each surface (one at a time of course), put the new plywood in place, then clamped the edges and used (very)heavy objects on the interior for about 24 hours.  Not wanting to use the La Scala’s as a first-ever try at veneering I painted them satin black. 
 

The additional 1/4” added to the sides helped stiffen them and, while the difference wasn’t significant, the bass was definitely better. 

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6 hours ago, Dave MacKay said:

any tips on how to veneer the doghouse? 

-make outlined  templates  of the doghouse with thin cardboard  or 46 lbs heavyweight coated paper  

-transfer the templates over to the veneer ,  cut to size 

-apply the glue  on the speaker and the veneer 

-allow the glue to dry  , for at least 24h 

-place the veneer on the speaker , adjust to fit 

-use an iron over the veneer to melt the glue  

 

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I have tried all the available methods over the years and the heat/iron method is my favorite but using Better Bond Heat-lock veneer glue.Used it on the La Scalas, used it on my scratch built Figured Hawaiin Koa Jube Clones and many others.

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I like to think that my flavor on things, others might enjoy. For a little while I was restoring the Pioneer SX 1250..   This was not for everyone, but it put a different spin on a older product! Everything was changed on this unit. Custom face plate with Aluminum side blocks, removed electroplate on the top of the faceplate along with the header that houses the buttons for a polished finish. Piano black finish....It's kinda what I want to do with the speakers... Odds are I might sell them when I am done. Will people enjoy them with what I see in my head for them is the question! I LOVE SEEING all of your restores and ideas that all of you have done with your speakers. I love seeing other peoples visions and work. I think most of us are in it for the love of music, that's pretty cool!! :) 

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