Painting Speaker Cabs

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RMarshall

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Painting Speaker Cabs
« on: 6 Aug 2022, 11:09 pm »
Hey, new guy here. I've ordered the Encore kit. I decided to go with the pre-made cabs. After pricing out the cost of all the stuff I would need to do the flat pac build, pre-made just made more sense.

I'm planning on painting them. I'm wanting a high gloss finish. Does anyone here have experience with painting MDF? I've watched probably 20 UT vids, and methods and product recommendations have been varied. Would love to hear from someone who has actually painted these cabinets.

nlitworld

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Re: Painting Speaker Cabs
« Reply #1 on: 6 Aug 2022, 11:20 pm »
https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=178967.msg1881670#msg1881670

I detailed the process fairly well when I painted my NX-Studios. When you're ready to get your hands dirty, just send me a pm. I'll walk you through any questions and point you in the right direction for materials.

-Lloyd

RMarshall

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Re: Painting Speaker Cabs
« Reply #2 on: 7 Aug 2022, 12:42 am »
Checked out your build thread. Whoa! That is next level. My plan was find the right sealer, sand like a maniac, and spray paint. Like from a can, spray paint.

I just got done with a test run on a piece of MDF I had lying around. Used a Zinsser primer. Sanded with 220 and 400. Used a brush to apply it. Let it dry. Sanded it smooth. Then tried a couple coats of enamel gloss. Not good.  Had a lot of pin holes where the MDF obviously was not sealed enough.

Maybe a spray on primer would be better? Or maybe I should have done another coat of the Zinsser.

I'm not expecting anything approaching your results (well, maybe I was a little), but I think finding the right primer, or priming technique will be key.

I appreciate your reply and offer of guidance. I think I'm going to need it.

Roger

nlitworld

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Re: Painting Speaker Cabs
« Reply #3 on: 7 Aug 2022, 01:10 am »
You would be surprised the quality of finish that the right aerosols can provide nowadays. Lots of people have had good results with several different types of products, but I know the consistency and longevity of automotive paint is worth the $. Definitely multiple applications of primer is key, as is a bottle of ibuprofen to get through all the sanding.  :lol:

Kaiju2189

Re: Painting Speaker Cabs
« Reply #4 on: 7 Aug 2022, 03:14 pm »
I did Zinsser spray primer and 2. Oats of Sherwin Williams Alkyd paint Tricorn Black. It came out great in Satin. Sanding was key in between coats. I will be doing a third thin coat after a bit more sanding.
Using an HVLP spray gun was also very nice for control and even coverage without applying too much paint 

RMarshall

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Re: Painting Speaker Cabs
« Reply #5 on: 8 Aug 2022, 02:22 am »
I did Zinsser spray primer and 2. Oats of Sherwin Williams Alkyd paint Tricorn Black. It came out great in Satin. Sanding was key in between coats. I will be doing a third thin coat after a bit more sanding.
Using an HVLP spray gun was also very nice for control and even coverage without applying too much paint

What Zinsser product are you using? I got some called "Cover Stain" Primer in a 1 Qt. can. I think it's too thick. I've tried applying it with a standard brush, and with a foam brush. I'm having trouble getting rid of the brush marks. I can sand them out, but wind up taking almost all the product off.

I've heard good things on the BIN version. It's supposedly thinner. I'm also looking at a sanding sealer by Minwax. Also a thinner product, which I think should penetrate the MDF better. But what do I know. Very little, that's what. :)

Thank goodness I'm experimenting on a spare piece of MDF I had. It would have been a disaster with the actual cabinets.

Roger

nlitworld

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Re: Painting Speaker Cabs
« Reply #6 on: 8 Aug 2022, 03:25 am »
Make sure to plan your materials from the ground up. Lots of chemical incompatibility can jump up and bite you in the ass when you start mixing and matching. If you choose architectural or cabinet maker type products then stick with them all the way through. If you choose automotive stuff, same thing. Refinishing gets expensive when you have to do it twice :lol: but that's why I tell customers "Worst case scenario just sand it down and do it again."

Peter J

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Re: Painting Speaker Cabs
« Reply #7 on: 8 Aug 2022, 03:30 am »
Cover stain oil base is a good place to start if you're going to use big box spray cans to topcoat or alkyd or oils based brush applied. You need the filling ability of the higher solids product and it should sand easily. Add up to 10% paint thinner (mineral spirits) and it will flow out better. Start with 5%. A good brush is key too. Any yes you'll have to clean the brush in paint thinner. If it's water base, I can't offer much in the way of advice. It exists because of marketing.

BIN is pigmented shellac. Good for some things but has very little filling ability and the Cover Stain Oil will sand better.

A couple of things to consider. Glossy finishes, especially black are demanding of the finisher. I'd say you're approaching the deep end of the pool. Sanding bare wood won't have near effect of the fill, prime, sand, prime, sand, prime, sand etc. Don't assume you'll fill any imperfections with the topcoat...you need to get surface how you want it to end up prior to topcoating. Prep is everything in painting. To get a finish like Lloyd has done will take a significant time and money investment.

If it were cake, I'd be the first to tell you. I've referred many folks here for finishing instruction. He's a guitar builder, but covers finishing that would apply to speaker cabinets too.

https://www.youtube.com/c/BradAngove/videos

Kaiju2189

Re: Painting Speaker Cabs
« Reply #8 on: 8 Aug 2022, 10:37 am »
I used 1-2-3 primer in a spray can and then the alkyd paint thinned about 10% in an HVLP gun. I was not going for a piano gloss finish though but was personally happy with how smooth things came out.

My Encores are likely to end up as surround speakers or on a desk set up. So I am keeping them simple and trying to keep myself from tweaking them to a ridiculous degree.

My fear, maybe hood if I’m honest, is that they sound amazing and I will “need” to swing by Iowa Park TX and listen to some Oticas and replace my current Open Baffle speakers😁

RMarshall

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Re: Painting Speaker Cabs
« Reply #9 on: 8 Aug 2022, 12:34 pm »
This is all great advice and information. I really appreciate it.

I will keep at it. I've lowered my expectations a little, but still trying for the best I can get within reason.

The weather here in So Cal will play a role for the next week or so. We have monsoonal moisture moving in, so I will probably take a break.

I do own a compressor, and Harbor Freight has spray guns at very reasonable prices. Not sure how good they are, but will look into it. 

Kaiju2189

Re: Painting Speaker Cabs
« Reply #10 on: 8 Aug 2022, 01:23 pm »
I went with a TPC gun after watching a couple YouTube videos by Jonathan Katz Moses. Figured if it worked for him….  Very reasonable and orderable from Amazon.

RMarshall

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Re: Painting Speaker Cabs
« Reply #11 on: 10 Aug 2022, 03:28 am »
Cover stain oil base is a good place to start if you're going to use big box spray cans to topcoat or alkyd or oils based brush applied. You need the filling ability of the higher solids product and it should sand easily. Add up to 10% paint thinner (mineral spirits) and it will flow out better. Start with 5%. A good brush is key too. Any yes you'll have to clean the brush in paint thinner. If it's water base, I can't offer much in the way of advice. It exists because of marketing.

BIN is pigmented shellac. Good for some things but has very little filling ability and the Cover Stain Oil will sand better.

A couple of things to consider. Glossy finishes, especially black are demanding of the finisher. I'd say you're approaching the deep end of the pool. Sanding bare wood won't have near effect of the fill, prime, sand, prime, sand, prime, sand etc. Don't assume you'll fill any imperfections with the topcoat...you need to get surface how you want it to end up prior to topcoating. Prep is everything in painting. To get a finish like Lloyd has done will take a significant time and money investment.

If it were cake, I'd be the first to tell you. I've referred many folks here for finishing instruction. He's a guitar builder, but covers finishing that would apply to speaker cabinets too.

https://www.youtube.com/c/BradAngove/videos

Thanks for the link to Brad Angove. I saw one of his videos when I was searching for MDF sealers. Had no idea he was a guitar builder. Guitars are my first love, so that was a pleasant surprise.

He likes using a specific vinyl sealer. I might go that route. That same company (Mohawk) also makes higher quality aerosol lacquers that look interesting also.  I've contacted the company with a couple questions. Waiting to hear back, but will likely order some to try.

Peter J

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Re: Painting Speaker Cabs
« Reply #12 on: 10 Aug 2022, 02:34 pm »
Thanks for the link to Brad Angove. I saw one of his videos when I was searching for MDF sealers. Had no idea he was a guitar builder. Guitars are my first love, so that was a pleasant surprise.

He likes using a specific vinyl sealer. I might go that route. That same company (Mohawk) also makes higher quality aerosol lacquers that look interesting also.  I've contacted the company with a couple questions. Waiting to hear back, but will likely order some to try.

I've used Mohawk products quite a bit, although mostly their touch-up stuff. Behlen (an old brand) has somehow been folded into Mohawk, I think. Vinyl sealer is common in industry, but not so much in the consumer end of things.
If you go the lacquer route, you don't want anything not thin-able with lacquer thinner as base coats. Compatibility is really a thing with hot solvents. There is one exception and that's Shellac. Better used as barrier coat than sealer. Perhaps another discussion.

mkane

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Re: Painting Speaker Cabs
« Reply #13 on: 11 Aug 2022, 08:20 pm »
Zinsser, just put a second coat on with a foam brush. You need to take care around the edges so as to eliminate lots of sanding in this area. Keep it nice and even. Everywhere else, lay it on. I used an orbital sander on the first coat. Next time I'll block sand it. Seems like it may come out nice. Drys fast so multiple coats can be applied sooner than later. I'll sand in a couple of days with a picture or 2.

 I have RAKA 2-part epoxy but I'm not that patient.

RMarshall

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Re: Painting Speaker Cabs
« Reply #14 on: 12 Aug 2022, 01:55 am »
Looking forward to your progress report Mkane.

I had a great discussion yesterday with a cabinet painting contractor. He said the brush marks I was struggling with are from moving too fast. He suggested I dilute the Knisser about 5-10% (as was suggested here also), and take more time with applying it.

He also strongly suggested that due to the fact that I don't have a spray gun, and that I am no way spending the $ to get one, plus a compressor, that I use a quality brush and just paint. He felt I will get a better result than using aerosols, if I'm patient, if I do a good job sealing and sanding, and use a quality paint. He recommended Advance from Benjamin Moore. Problem is, like so many other things these days, is that it's hard to get. Something about a resin that is used.

Well, I ordered some. Midnight Blue as a base color. Kind of grey, but the paint store guys can blue it up. Should be in store by the 20th. I think this is a good path for me. I really don't have a good space for spray painting anyway. My garage is my recording studio, so that leaves doing it outside where the wind, dust, insects, etc. could be a factor. This will be much more controllable.

Now all I need is my speaker cabs. Not sure what's taking so long for those to ship, but it's so muggy here now that I wouldn't attempt to start the process anyway.

Again, thanks for all your input. This is a cool place.

Roger

mkane

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Re: Painting Speaker Cabs
« Reply #15 on: 12 Aug 2022, 11:36 pm »
  I, hate that word sorry, worked on the second baffle today. Two coats of primer. The first one is finished as far as I'm concerned. Ready for color. I'm using General Finishes milk paint and I'll brush it on. second baffle needs to cure and I'll sand it tomorrow and add more primer if needed. The top coat is going to be white.




mkane

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Re: Painting Speaker Cabs
« Reply #16 on: 15 Aug 2022, 02:26 pm »
  I'll do another light sand, then another coat.

 I'm using a roller to apply the paint.








RMarshall

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Re: Painting Speaker Cabs
« Reply #17 on: 15 Aug 2022, 07:50 pm »
How did you choose your paint?

mkane

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Re: Painting Speaker Cabs
« Reply #18 on: 15 Aug 2022, 11:27 pm »
An acquaintance likes General Finishes milk paint. Water-based, easy to sand. I don't need perfection and I wasn't going to buy a spray gun.

RMarshall

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Re: Painting Speaker Cabs
« Reply #19 on: 16 Aug 2022, 01:02 am »
You and I are thinking a lot alike.

My cabs arrive this Wednesday. Should have the paint by the 20th. With my work schedule, it will probably take a couple weeks to get the cabs properly sealed and sanded.

Bought a brush recommended to me, and trying that route.

Ready to get started.

Roger