There are a myriad of different ways to finish off your speakers, and choosing the type and style of finish you want will impact not only how they look but how long it will take to achieve this look.
There are a myriad of different ways to finish off your speakers, and choosing the type and style of finish you want will impact not only how they look but how long it will take to achieve this look. The finish is important to protect the MDF and to prevent moisture from being absorbed into the cabinet and ruining the kit as well as making your great new speaker kit look like a million dollars!
The most important thing here is safety! Always follow manufacturers instructions for any materials you may be using and ensure you wear eye, ear and respiratory protection as required. The use of proper breathing masks is mandatory to ensure your safety whenever you are working with wood or MDF dust, paint fumes or spray vapours. Particularly ensure you wear a properly fitted dust mask when sanding raw MDF as the dust can be especially irritating and dangerous. The three most common finishing methods are...
The most common speaker finish is to veneer the box. The veneer finishes can include real wood veneers or the more common vinyl wood pattern veneers. Natural timber veneers usually have a heat activated glue impregnated onto the back whereas the vinyl's are usually coated with a self adhesive backing similar to contact paper. For a detailed page of instructions on choosing and applying veneers to our kits, see our Veneering Guide.
Painting is the finish with the widest possible range of colours and textures and the possibilities are almost endless. There is nothing quite as impressive as a piano gloss black finish on a set of loudspeakers. Paints and other materials are available from your local hardware store or automotive paint supply store. In general, MDF can be painted and treated the same way you would paint an automotive body and many of the same products are in fact used.
Painting is also the hardest finish for amateurs to get right and can be a frustrating experience unless you have done spray painting before. Preparation is everything - as a rule of thumb, the higher the gloss finish you want, the better the surface preparation needs to be. It is also important that the underlying cabinet has been properly constructed with no gaps or cracks and has been well sanded.
Unless you have experience in spray painting we do NOT recommend trying a piano gloss black finish for your first project! For a detailed page of instructions on painting your kits, see our Painting Guide.
Varnishing or lacquering is a quick and simple finish. It provides good protection for the MDF, comes in a range of gloss levels, can be stained for added colour and is relatively easy to apply. Colours can range from a light golden brown through to a deep almost orange gloss depending on the type and number of coats used.
Like painting, varnishing requires a good solid cabinet to start with although it is much more forgiving of slight imperfections in the finish of the cabinet. For a detailed page of instructions on varnshing your kits, see our Varnishing Guide.
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