Dale’s Speaker Project

A post from Dale:

I have had the below set of speakers for about 16 years and though these 20+ year old speakers are not exactly attractive, I absolutely love the sound and it would cost an absurd amount of money to replace them. Why? Because I am NUTS!

So, like most men, I prefer function over style so the big ugly boxes did not bother me much until Rebecca noted they were an obvious eyesore. She reminded me of this OFTEN – and I realized I had to do something about them.

I launched a scheme to wrap the original black boxes in new wood in an effort to make them more attractive. It did not take long for my nutty mind to decide I needed to build brand new cabinets out of walnut and take what was supposed to be an easy project and create a major endeavor over the Christmas holiday.

I managed to get Dad to agree to all of this – I think he just might be a little nuttier than I am; thankfully it did not take a whole lot of convincing, honestly. He is a pretty easy mark, sometimes.

View below exhibit A, the 24-year-old ugly black box:

Following are a few shots of Dear Ol’ Dad working his hide off on yet another one of my projects. Thankfully he has not charged me for glue and fasteners over the years or I would be in the poor house.

Think we have enough clamps on it? Honestly I think we could have used a few more of them but we made do.

Here is 50% of the finished project – sans the finish. The other one was in the confines of about 10 clamps allowing the glue to dry. Pretty darn hot looking if you ask me.

Yeah, about the finish; Dear Ol’ Dad left me to fend for myself in that regard – I must be losing my touch with him. Actually, he is smarter than I give him credit for because finishing these SOB’s was a lot more work than I had originally imagined they would be, which is usually the case.

Here they are on the dining room table – note the subtle orange wall in the background – waiting for the walnut banding to cover the plywood edge.

Test fitting the banding before permanently attaching it.

Now here they are really coming together, each cabinet has a couple coats of Danish Oil to really bring out walnut figuring. This is what I had in mind when I selected this wood – great looking grain and a deep warm color. It is just a shame that I will be covering the front of these with fabric.

After getting three coats of hand rub polyurethane on them it was time to take them for a test drive; I am pleased they sound and look better than ever.

Here they are completed with vintage fabric fronts. As mentioned above, my goal was to get these to better fit with our mid-century modern style and I think I have successfully done so. In fact, a coworker saw this picture on my computer and asked, “What’s with those old speakers?”

I honestly think this past Christmas has been one of the best; I got to spend a ton of time with my dad doing something we both love – working with wood – and I will be able to see and use these speakers everyday for years to come. Nothing beats the pride of accomplishment.

Of course, working on speakers was not the only thing I did over the holiday; I also managed to whip my mother in a few games of scrabble, which rarely happens. No doubt she is chomping at the bit to reestablish her dominance on the scrabble table.

Nothing beats doing what you love with people you love.

Now I wonder what project I can sucker my dad into next year…

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