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DIY Full Range Speakers: Rubbing Out the Finish

You know, the great Tom Petty was right.  The waiting is the hardest part (a great song that has become a cliche, I know).

Even with something as easy to apply as a varnish, you still have to wait to rub it out.  I should say, that is if you want a nice finish.  I wanted to wait at least a week for the Tru-Oil to harden before I polished it.

I hate this part, but my evenings were tied up for the most part watching La Vuelta a Espana on the telly.  So that took the tedium off the waiting part.  And I wound up letting the finish dry for about 12 days, which is not a bad thing either.

So after a week and a half of waiting, we're ready to finish (heh) this puppy off.  First we start with a light sanding with 800 grit sandpaper followed by 1000.  I'm being careful cause the finish is real thin.

After the sanding, we gather up the usual suspects for rubbing out the finish.  This would mean paraffin oil, 4F pumice stone, and my favorite, rottenstone.

"Please, Mr. Magistrate, don't call Billy rotten, he's a good stone, 'ee is!"


This is a pretty simple process; using a bit of paraffin oil as a lubricant, we first rub out the speakers with the pumice stone and then the rottenstone.  The pumice stone is a very fine abrasive and will get a nice stain gloss on the finish, and the rottenstone will give an even higher gloss.

I have a felt block to do this with.  You could also use a clean cotton towel.  The felt ensures you are rubbing the surface equally.

You pretty much just rub until you get the amount of gloss you like.  The pic on the left is with the pumice.  I followed that with the rottenstone.

A word of advice: this stuff is powdery and potentially messy.  And you don't need a lot of it.

After rubbing out the finish, we can put some wax on it for some additional shine and protection.   I had just read about bowling alley wax to use on "fine" finishes.  (Not that mine is).

So here it is, you just use a damp cloth to apply, wait about 5 minutes and buff it to a gloss.

The bowling alley wax always makes me think of Sir John Gielgud in 'Arthur' in the scene where Arthur (Dudley Moore) and Hobson (Gielgud) meet Linda (Liza Minelli) for the first time outside Bergdof-Goodman's:

Hobson: "One would have to go to a bowling alley to meet a woman of your stature."


The final step is the buffing.  I just procured some buffing pads for my orbiting polisher machine, and decided to put them to use on the speakers.  Saved me a lot of effort I think.


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