The vinyl type veneers are the easiest finish of all for a beginner to get right and will guarantee a professional finish in the shortest period of time.
The vinyl type veneers are the easiest finish of all for a beginner to get right and will guarantee a professional finish in the shortest period of time. They come in a staggering range of colours and styles and are the most common finish applied to our kits by far. Once applied, there is no additional work required, the job is basically finished and looks great immediately.
Natural timber veneers are a little harder to apply and some experience in their use helps, although stunning results can be acheived with nothing more than patience. Natual timber, when applied and finished properly, will produce the highest quality finish and a well made pair of speakers in an exotic timber finish are worth the effort. The most common type of veneer sold in Australia is an iron on product made by Consolidated Edgings and sold through major hardware stores. More exotic veneer sheets can be sourced through local timber shops and speciality outlets but unless you have access to the right press tools and are experienced in using this type of product they are not normally recommended.
The steps are as follows:
TIPS - don't be tempted to bend the veneer around a sharp 90 degree corner, it will bend but the edge never looks quite right. Also, applying a little pressure to the veneer to "stretch" it after you have tacked one corner in place can assist in the laying on process.
Once you have chosen your veneer (or melamine) you will need to determine how many sheets are required and what grain direction you want. The number of sheets that are typically required for some of our kits is listed below, please note that this is the minimum required and more may be required if you waste a piece.
Once you have the veneer, select which directions the grain will go on your kit. I prefer to run the grain "up and down" the front, sides and back of the kits with a "top to back" grain on the top and bottom. Others prefer the more traditional look which sees the top and bottom grain run left to right. Interestingly, this is usually chosen by manufacturers because the folded box construction technique they use force them to do this. Note that if you prefer the grain to run differently to that described here then you may require extra veneer.
Measure out the six panels you will need for the kit you are making (see below) and cut them out, either with a pair of scissors or by using the stanley knife and a straight edge.
4" Kit Cutting Instructions
Note that this cutting pattern will require slightly more than 1/3 sheet of 2440mm veneer but will not require any joins of veneer offcuts, if you are prepared to join the back and bottom panels you can use less than 1/3 sheet.
Centre Kit Cutting Instructions
Note that this cutting pattern will require more than 1/2 sheet of 2440mm veneer but will not require any joins of veneer offcuts, if you are prepared to join the back and bottom panels you can use less than 1/2 sheet.
6" Kit Cutting Instructions
Subwoofer Kit Cutting Instructions
Run the first piece across the top/sides of the box so that the join with the second piece runs parallel with the front of the box and closer to the back (amplifier) side. Join the front and back sides by placing the two 260mm x 460mm pieces side by side with the join running up the middle of the front panel.
With veneering, it is not necessary to completely fill all cracks or gaps in the surface of the box as the veneer will cover these quite satisfactorily. It does pay to remove any excess glue from the box as this can interfere with the veneer. It's easiest to do this when the glue is wet by wiping it off with a damp rag. If the glue has dried, you can carefully prise it off the surface with a screwdriver or chisel but you may need to sand the surface anyway (remembering to wear a dust mask).
Read the instructions that come with the veneer for applying it as well as these instructions. We have found that the following actions can achieve a superior result:
1) Set the iron to the second highest setting, just under linen rather than on linen, and make sure steam is turned off.
2) Lay the veneer pieces out and start on the sides of the box by placing the box on one side.
3) Place the first piece of veneer on the side and arrange it so the grain is correct and the veneer overlaps each side equally. If you are using a thermo melamine (not real wood) you need to cover it with a piece of greaseproof paper or brown paper before applying heat.
3) "Tack" the first corner by applying the iron for a few seconds and then holding the just-ironed piece down flat with the block of wood for a few seconds. This prevents the veneer from lifting whilst the glue is drying. The veneer will have a tendency to move slightly under heat and also shrink so you may need to rearrange it slightly with finger pressure whilst the glue is setting.
4) Proceed to iron on the rest of the surface and follow with the wooden block. There is a balance between too much heat and not fully melting the glue, make sure you have thoroughly melted the glue but don't scorch the veneer. It can help to iron over the veneer several times to make sure all spots are fully melted. Failing to properly heat the glue and ensure it has adhered is the #1 problem with veneering and will cause the veneer to bubble up later on. This can be rectified by applying more heat but it is best to do the job properly in the first place.
5) Once the veneer is firmly attached turn the box over and repeat on the other side.
6) WIth the Stanley knife, carefully trim the excess veneer from the edges - you must do this before proceeding to the next step. It is best to practice this on a spare piece of veneer since this is the most difficult part of the exercise. A hand held router fitted with a flush trimming bit will make this step of the exercise very simple and is highly recommended if you have access to a router.Note the different methods used to trim with the grain and across the grain.
7) Veneer the top and bottom then the back and, finally, the front.
8) With the Stanley knife plunge the blade into the 3 holes on the front panel and trim them out. You don't need to trim these precisely as the woofer and tweeter have a small overlap flange which will cover the edge of the hole.
9) With a pin or small nail poke through the screw holes on the front and back panels so these can be located.
10) If needed, give the box a light sand to remove any rough edges. Don't do this step with melamine!
11) Any excess glue can be removed with a little white spirits or metho on a clean rag.
12) Apply your preferred finish to the veneer. We use either a
13) NOTE - For the subwoofer box, you will need to join the two pieces of veneer together on each side. There are several ways to do this, the instructions suggest overlappng the veneer 2-3mm as it will shrink under heat, although in practice we find that additional sanding to remove the ridge is usually required. If you are using melamine you cannot sand this so simply align the second piece as closely as possible to the edge of the first and exert finger pressure to push the two pieces together as you iron the second piece on. We recommend practicing this first with two small scrap pieces of veneer.
What did you think of this guide? If you think we can improve it, please contact us and let us know your ideas.