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ANOTHER KLH Model Five rebuild


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Although I've rebuilt several Model Five crossovers I don't actually own a pair of Fives. Too bad because i really liked the ones I had several years ago.

Recently I refurbished a pair of KLH Twenty-Threes for a CSP member and when he picked them up he gave me a pair of Fives! :D

The cabinets looked really bad. Virtually every corner had a BIG chunk missing. Then there were the usual scratches, and all the dust caps were pushed in. They looked so bad I even considered "parting them out."

Decided to try to resurrect them. Pictures of the cabinets will follow but I filled the big chunks with epoxy. I don't have Glenn's skill or patience to fit in all new pieces of veneer and fortunately all the bashes are on the back edges.

Given the fact that the speakers were free and I was not sure if they could be resurrected I decided to do a "no cost" crossover rebuild using parts from my parts box. Yes, I did pay for them at some point so it's not really "no cost" but there was no NEW outlay and I used a lot of inexpensive parts.

I replaced all of the 5w resistors with 10, 12.5 or 15w. Resistors don't go "bad" but ever since finding burned 5w resistor in a Model Five and another in a Model Twelve I always replace them.

The 25uF is made up of 2 Madisound surplus 10uF mylar caps + a Russian 4.7uF polyethylene.

The 16uF is one 10uF surplus + 1 Carli 6.0uF.

For the 4uF I used some Carli 3.9uF for 2 of them in each xo but that exhausted the supply so I used a surplus 3uF film + a 1uF Carli.

The 3uF is a surplus film cap.

All of the components were very inexpensive except for the 6 ohm resistor which is a Vishay finned aluminum job (about $4 each). I think all of the other components were under a buck apiece. I think the cobbled-together 25uF caps cost about $1.70 ($0.50 each for the Madisound surplus caps and 0.70 for the commie poly. Love those Madisound surplus deals!).

I'm working on the cabs and will post photos when they're ready. KLH used a very tough lacquer (I assume) and it's taking a LOT of lacquer thinner, steel wool and paper towels to get it all off but I think the result will be worth the effort.






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57 minutes ago, JKent said:

The 25uF is made up of 2 Madisound surplus 10uF mylar caps + ....

A-ha! So you're the rascal that cleaned out that inventory !!! :P - - - - fair enough, I suppose, since you turned us on to this cap bargain in the first place.

Just want to say that I like this thread a lot already. It can be so disheartening to come upon a great classic speaker that has not been cared for very well, and then to deliberate about whether to get involved, and then if so, what to do with them. Chipped, stained, and mangled cabinets can be such a downer....not to mention crushed dust caps. 

But I'm very pleased to see these being restored - - it is such a great speaker model. Not everything needs to be perfect - - we've all learned to pick our battles and we each have our own areas of specific attention - - but to know that these will have yet another life, despite their imperfections, makes for the best story to speak to the passion of this group and to keep parts of these speakers out of the local landfill.   


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Thanks ra.ra

I don't think I singlehandedly cleaned out the inventory but I did buy a bag of 50 to get them for 0.50 each :D

So the cabinets may be OK. I don't know what the finish is. When I refinish KLH Model Eight radios the lacquer comes off easily with lacquer thinner. THESE OTOH are a dog to strip. I sanded with some #100 grit in an orbital sander but not enough to get the finish off completely. Then a LOT of lacquer thinner, paper towels and #1 steel wool and I think they're pretty clean. Next I'll stain them with Minwax Dark Walnut to try to even out the color. May finish up with some Minwax Wipe-On Poly. We'll see....

I got the dents out of all 4 midrange dustcaps. Here's how: Wet the cap with water, let it soaking a few seconds then suck it out with a vacuum cleaner. Kind of scary but it works. After the dustcaps dried I painted them with a dilute solution (maybe 50/50) water and yellow carpenter's glue to strengthen the formerly dented caps. Used the vacuum on the woofer dustcaps too.


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The sort-of clearcoat KLH used can be sanded off to reveal really nice-grained veneer underneath, but beware, the KLH veneers seem thinner & cheaper than the ones used by AR so it's very easy to go too deep, especially with 100-grit. 

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10 hours ago, Martin said:

The sort-of clearcoat KLH used can be sanded off to reveal really nice-grained veneer underneath, but beware, the KLH veneers seem thinner & cheaper than the ones used by AR so it's very easy to go too deep, especially with 100-grit. 


I agree that the grain is really nice. The finish KLH used turns dull and orange, and removing it can bring the wood to life. For the record, I only used the 100 grit to scuff up the hard finish--not remove it. Removal was done with steel wool, lacquer thinner and elbow grease! This thread shows a beautiful refinishing job: https://pinkfishmedia.net/forum/threads/restoring-klh-5-speakers.90209/   and this thread shows before and after shots of the similar-looking Model Thirty-Threes. The improvement is dramatic! http://www.classicspeakerpages.net/IP.Board/index.php?/topic/5141-finished-the-thirty-threes-finally/&tab=comments#comment-114623

I don't agree that the KLH veneer was cheaper/thinner than AR's. In fact, they probably used the same supplier for their cabinets (the fives have an "Inspector" cartoon guy inside) and to my eye the Five cabinets are much nicer than any AR ever used. Henry was a skilled woodworker and I've always been impressed with the cabinets on the Model Eight radios, even though you can trace the cost-cutting steps over the years. They went from solid walnut to glue-up solid walnut to thinner glued-up solid walnut (very briefly) to walnut-veneered particle board, but always real wood. And look at the original Advent Loudspeaker. The cabinets were beautiful (looked a lot like the Five) even though the speakers were budget level and really only produced in an effort to shore up his ill-fated projection TV enterprise.

But I digress . . . .


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They came out pretty nice looking (not up to Glenn's standards but pretty good) and they sound GREAT.

Of course the woofer surrounds needed to be resealed with Roy's goo. I also did the woofer dustcap and the midrange surrounds per the service bulletin in our Library.

Speaking of dustcaps, those on the mids are now perfect and those on the woofers are pretty good with just minor dimples.

After filling all the BIG chunks in the cabinets I sanded then applied Howard Restore-a-Finish: Dark Walnut. The next day I applied Minwax Dark Walnut stain. Finally I applied a coat of Minwax wipe-on poly (gloss). When dry it was very glossy so I buffed the cabinets with a white Scotch Brite. I'll probably repeat the poly and buff process.

The black accent trim was re-painted. Foam gasket tape from PE on all drivers. The woofer's mounting screw holes were kind of stripped so I filled them with Fam-O-Wood then rotated the woofers slightly and drilled new holes.

Grilles are original. I was a little nervous about trying to clean them so left them as-is.

Oh--did I mention they sound great? ;)


front 2.JPG


Right 3.JPG

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Very nice work!  FYI, I clean my KLH & AR grill cloth with a smelly, ammonia-based carpet-cleaner foam in a spray can which works very well and doesn't damage the cloth. 

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Thanks Martin

What makes me hesitate is that KLH used a 2-layer system with sheer black scrim behind the front cloth. I'm afraid the black may bleed through making matters worse. And the cloth actually looks fine so if it ain't broke.... ;)

btw, I did a brief A/B comparison with my AR-3a's and will reluctantly admit the ARs sound slightly better, but it's close.


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  • 2 months later...

And yet another one:

These were sent to me by someone who had seen a previous rebuild here. This one took about $30 worth of parts: Erse resistors @ $0.35 each, Erse metalized polyester film caps for the 4uF, some more surplus 10uF for the 16uF (with Erse 5 and Carli 1) and 25uF (with Erse 5). 


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  • 2 weeks later...

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