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Maple veneer needs oil - advice please?

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HarryCrumb

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Hi,

This is my first post here. I've been getting in to vintage hifi this year and I'm looking to freshen up some speakers that I've acquired. I don't know the first thing about working with wood so I wanted to get some proper advice.

My question today is to do with a pair of 1980's Tannoy Little Red Monitors. The cabs are finished in a nice walnut veneer but they haven't been treated for quite some time and are looking very dry. I've been asking around for tips and I've had suggestions such as danish oil, walnut oil, and hemp oil.

Would anyone mind giving me some advice on which oil is best? And what is the best technique for applying it? I've heard something about 'knocking back each coat', but I'm not sure what that means.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I have attached some photos of the speakers. When I begin work on them I will of course remove all the drivers and crossovers etc so that I am just dealing with the wood.

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Thanks!
 

profchris

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Looking at the speaker, my guess is that it originally had a gentle satin sheen, with the grain of the wood visible as a texture (ie, not a flat, even sheen). If so, and you want to restore that ...

This is what I'd do.

1. Gently sand the surface with fine abrasive. Somewhere around P320 grit. I make ukuleles so I use a tiny sanding block, a wine cork cut in half lengthwise. Using a block is important, you could go bigger!

2. All you want to do with the sanding is to even out the colour variation, especially on the top. The veneer is thin, so sand only enough that the surface looks matt.

3. With a duster remove all the sanding dust.

4. Using a soft cotton rag, apply a thin coat of boiled linseed oil. Not raw! Leave it a couple of minutes and then wipe it all off.

5. The next day, run your hand over the surface. If you feel gritty bits (dust nibs), then wipe them off with your abrasive, like dusting a surface.

6. Apply a second coat of oil as before and wipe off.

7. Leave for a week (the smell will gradually fade) then buff it up with a duster.

8. If you want more shine, buy some good wax (in a tin, not spray polish) and follow the instructions.
 

--Tom--

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Sand gently, 240g would be a good starter, don’t go through the veneer by being to rough

Once smooth, pick a finish. Wax oil would work and be easy
 

mrpercysnodgrass

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Hi Harry. ProfChris has given you good advise but I personally would go a bit courser on the abrasive to 240 grit to remove the light stains on the top and I would use Danish oil to finish. With forty years of oiling my cricket bat with boiled linseed oil I would say the smell does linger!
There are many different brands of Danish oil on the market and they do vary quite a bit, the one I like best is Blackfriers but Rustins is also good, the one I like the least is Liberon (the only Liberon product I have ever been disappointed with!) Two or three coats should give you a very nice finish that will last very many years.It can be applied with a rag, sponge or on a small item like your speaker a kitchen paper towel. The technique for applying oil finishes is to slosh plenty on leave it for 5-10 mins then wipe off the excess working with the grain. Less is more when it comes to oil finishes. When the oil has cured ( at least one week but four is best ) you can wax over the top if you want but is not necessary.
Knocking back is the same as de-nibbing which profchris explains in No.5 of his instructions, it is usually done with worn out 240grit sandpaper.
One important thing to keep in mind, rags or sponges that have been used with oil, linseed or danish can self combust so must be disposed of carefully, spread them out flat outside until they are dry then bin them or I put mine in my woodburner where they will not do any harm if they do catch light.
 

profchris

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Danish oil will be a bit shinier than boiled linseed oil. Smelly too, but the smell goes quicker.

Either works fine. The most important thing is not to sand through the veneer, or it will look horrid.
 

HarryCrumb

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Thanks for everyones kind advice. I shall follow ProfChris' guidlines. I've got a bottle of Furniture Clinic 'DanishOil' in the house, so I was wondering about using that. However, when I look in to that company, it's based in Hong Kong, so perhaps it's of dubious quality...?

Good advice about the combusting rags...I've made a mental note about that one.

I'm due to move house this coming week so I'll be getting on to this job once I'm moved in. I will post some follow-up photos once it's done.
 
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