Piano black speaker refinishing...

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ajayrav

Piano black speaker refinishing...
« on: 4 May 2017, 04:49 pm »
Hello folks,

I hope it is OK to ask this question here…. One of my piano black bookshelf speakers was knocked off its stand and has a quarter sized ding in it.  I suspect it is a polyurethane finish and not lacquer.  I called piano stores and furniture restorers and they are reluctant to touch it.  I filled the gouge with wood putty but am too scared to sand it flat completely and destroy the surrounding area.  Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Ajay

Rick Craig

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Re: Piano black speaker refinishing...
« Reply #1 on: 4 May 2017, 06:14 pm »
Hello folks,

I hope it is OK to ask this question here…. One of my piano black bookshelf speakers was knocked off its stand and has a quarter sized ding in it.  I suspect it is a polyurethane finish and not lacquer.  I called piano stores and furniture restorers and they are reluctant to touch it.  I filled the gouge with wood putty but am too scared to sand it flat completely and destroy the surrounding area.  Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Ajay

Sorry to hear that. Have you checked with the manufacturer to determine what type of finish was used?

ajayrav

Re: Piano black speaker refinishing...
« Reply #2 on: 4 May 2017, 06:19 pm »
Unfortunately, It is an ACI Sapphire XL and ACI is out of business.  I posted on their legacy circle, but got no response. I also tried PM-ing Mike Dzurko, the owner of ACI, but I suspect he doesn't look at this site much these days.  I am so bummed, because these are really nice speakers…

Thanks,
Ajay

rklein

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Re: Piano black speaker refinishing...
« Reply #3 on: 4 May 2017, 07:15 pm »
Hello folks,

I hope it is OK to ask this question here…. One of my piano black bookshelf speakers was knocked off its stand and has a quarter sized ding in it.  I suspect it is a polyurethane finish and not lacquer.  I called piano stores and furniture restorers and they are reluctant to touch it.  I filled the gouge with wood putty but am too scared to sand it flat completely and destroy the surrounding area.  Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Ajay

I have built speakers that employ a piano black finish and if your thought is to patch it, forget it...  you will NEVER match it up.  That is why auto repair shops end up painting/clear coating entire hoods and feathering back on adjacent panels.  Just try and use a black shoe polish over the damaged(repaired) area and buff to a shine and forget about it.

If you are anal about it, you would have to sand down the entire side of the speaker and start over which if you have never attempted this, I would highly recommend against this route.

Regards,

Randy

Mark Korda

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Re: Piano black speaker refinishing...
« Reply #4 on: 4 May 2017, 08:41 pm »
Hi Ajayrav,
   I have been a big fan of Audio Concepts since they started. I have a catalog still from 1979 0r 80. They used Dynaudio drivers in some models. I would not give up on a ding. My favorite speakers the Dynaco-A25 Mark 2's had a ding. They had a beautiful walnut finish.
   I sanded them down so they could except a primer, oil, it blocks tanin seeping thru the primer. 2 coats to make sure there is a thick enough coat to seal all. I used a wood filler from the hardware store. You use it like Bondo. Theres a little tube of activator to mix in with the filler and then you move fast because it drys like Bondo, quick. It's made by Minwax and is called Wood Filler, not plastic wood which sucks. There is a transparent top with the activator tube included on the can.
    It may take a couple applications but with sandpaper and that primer you can make the ding disappear. Body work 101. The patch is solid and stays, my ding was the corner
     So I lost my nice walnut finish but that doesn't make my speakers sound any different. It's just that (Monk) in all of us audio nuts that don't want to see that ding. I multicoated my speakers with a good black latex semi-gloss, the more coats the better looking. They look fantastic, but this is why I had to write.
     I live in Maine and am a painter by trade. I have also worked in boat yards around here. Every spring a buddy of mine paint the hull of his lobster boat. On the top part above the waterline we used a special paint by Petit called EasyPoxy. It dries rock hard with a beautiful finish. It's what they use on exspensive sail boats over the fiberglass and dries with a jelcoat finish. They have a quart of black as well as other colors. This is the closest thing to a piano finish I have ever seen.
     We paint his boat hull as a team. I roll it on and my friend feathers it out with a nice oil type brush. That technique is called feather and tic. Some old salt showed us how to do it and when it dries you will be amazed. With 2 coats I think you can be more proud of those speakers than ever before! I think the Easypoxy eliminates any need for clear coating.
    Tonight I'll get my camera out and get you a couple pics. I also redid my grills with black burlap from JoAnns fabrics...very acoustically transparent. Don't give up the ship, remember American Restoration that show with Rick and son......take care Mark Korda..(kordamark@gmail.com(https://www.wholesalemarine.com/pettit-easypoxy-high-gloss-topside-marine-paint-82251.html?gdffi=facc80a89aaa41289ca25f0e582c289c&gdfms=C1723CD9F9FD48D8A9741E5BEEE3BB4A)

hdspeakerman

Re: Piano black speaker refinishing...
« Reply #5 on: 4 May 2017, 09:12 pm »
Very good explanation, Mark.  I may try that on some of my builds. 

Mark Korda

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Re: Piano black speaker refinishing...
« Reply #6 on: 4 May 2017, 10:07 pm »
Hi Hdspeakerman,
     Thanks for the good words. The feather and tic technique is really called roll and tip. It's so easy I think thats why they named the paint that way. You should experiment on a piece of spare wood.
 1. With a mini roller (hotdog sized) roll a thin coat of black on the top of the cabinet.
 2. Take a new oil brush (china bristle) and lightly drag it over the area you just rolled. You must drag it real lightly over the whole area. Don't let the paint glob up on the brush. Brush the spare paint on the brush on the lid of the pot or can once in a while. The brush will make little brush marks on the paint but by some magic when the paint drys it's perfectly uniform. When my bud and I first did this we didn't drag the brush until the old salt gave us a quick lesson. The hull comes out unreal with just one coat. 2 must be even better. I'm sure You Tube must have a little video on this but thats all there is to it. We don't really have to do the boat every year but it makes this lobsterman a little bit more proud of his pride and joy.....Mark Korda...ps...Now do the side of the cabinet,ect.

ajayrav

Re: Piano black speaker refinishing...
« Reply #7 on: 7 May 2017, 03:50 pm »
Hello folks,

Thanks for all of your suggestions.  Because the gouge is small, I filled it up with putty and used black nail polish.  However, since I couldn't sand it smooth, the finish looks lumpy.  I want to get it professionally done because it is beyond my ability, but I have no way of finding out what the original finish is.... Sigh!  The search continues...

Thanks,
Ajay

Peter J

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Re: Piano black speaker refinishing...
« Reply #8 on: 7 May 2017, 10:40 pm »
Ajay, because this was a somewhat mass production speaker, I would bet that it's a solvent based finish. Eight chances out of ten it's pigmented lacquer or conversion varnish. It's highly unlikely that it's any kind of oil based product because industry just hasn't used them much in the last couple of decades and water based or borne finishes just weren't common in the era.

We should probably make a distinction here too.  "Piano" black  suggests to me is a super glossy polished surface, and years ago that's how pianos were finished...with multiple coats of lacquer and cutting and buffing between coats. I imagine glossy black pianos are now finished with polyesters or urethanes and might even be clear coated.

Could these just be sprayed gloss black? I owned some and followed ACI for many years...long before the web was around and I don't remember Mike ever offering a piano finish, but who knows.

In any case, the reactivity of the finish would be easy to test. Perhaps behind a binding post cup or driver. I would be willing to bet if one sprayed a vinyl sealer over what's there these would not be hard to refinish. In worst case shellac can be used as a barrier coat under almost anything. I'd probably recommend you refinish them both to get a good match, both in color and sheen.

I would also suggest, if you're going to have someone repair and refinish these, that you avoid putting anything else on them. Fortunately nail polish is solvent based, but many off-the-shelf "solutions" would pose an adhesion problem for a refinish.

It would be hard to imagine there's not someone in the bay area who couldn't do this for you. If you absolutely can't locate someone and you don't mind shipping to Idaho, I dare say I could refinish these beyond the original finish and possibly by a wide margin, depending on your preferences.

Also if you post or send photos, I could better assess a path forward.

ajayrav

Re: Piano black speaker refinishing...
« Reply #9 on: 7 May 2017, 11:07 pm »
Thanks, Peter.  This what it looks like after my crappy refinish.  I was too scared to sand it down and ruin the surrounding finish.  It now looks like a huge wart about the size of a quarter.  I just want it to look smooth and inconspicuous....





Thanks,
Ajay

HT cOz

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Re: Piano black speaker refinishing...
« Reply #10 on: 8 May 2017, 03:38 am »
Find a good auto body shop that will refinish them!  :thumb:

ajayrav

Re: Piano black speaker refinishing...
« Reply #11 on: 8 May 2017, 11:00 pm »
Find a good auto body shop that will refinish them!  :thumb:

Would an auto body shop be able to touch them up and feather in the finish to match?  I just want it inconspicuously patched rather than having the whole speaker refinished.

And thank you Rick, for allowing me to post this here.  Much appreciated!

Thanks,
Ajay

Peter J

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Re: Piano black speaker refinishing...
« Reply #12 on: 9 May 2017, 01:29 am »
Would an auto body shop be able to touch them up and feather in the finish to match?  I just want it inconspicuously patched rather than having the whole speaker refinished.

And thank you Rick, for allowing me to post this here.  Much appreciated!

Thanks,
Ajay

Doubtful anyone could do an invisible touchup... black is tough. Ideally a touch-up is a build-up process rather than sand down thing like you've got now. Assuming that gob is stuck well, I'd mask around it to protect adjacent surface and probably start with a double cut mill file, then move to a fine sand paper on a hard block. You need the planing effect of something hard and flat to work it down. If you just worry away at it with handheld sandpaper you'll be hard pressed to get it flat.

A good furniture touch up person might be your best bet. Call furniture stores and ask who they use.

uncola

Re: Piano black speaker refinishing...
« Reply #13 on: 30 May 2017, 03:35 am »
Maybe just cover the blemish with a black sticker that says limited edition ;)