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AR-11 restoration

dark skies

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I bought these AR-11 in the late 70's when I was only a teenager and I've hung on to them ever since. Lack of space forced me to store them in my basement for about 20 years and when I took them to bring them with me to our new house, I was saddened to see the sorry state they were in. Fortunately I found this forum and have been encouraged by the restoration work that several of you have done. I'm just not sure how to start. My goal is to try and restore the original wood finish as much as possible. Does anybody have a step-by-step process that could guide a novice like myself. I'll also need to re-foam the woofers and tweeters. Your guidance here as well would be much appreciated.






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If you can take some additional photos that show the worst cabinet damage or wear, that would be helpful.

A full restoration - assuming none of your drivers are bad - would include the woofer re-foam that you've mentioned, probable crossover capacitor replacement, and refinishing the veneered cabinets. The degraded black foam on the face of the tweeter and around the woofer frame is largely decorative, and of no functional consequence - you can just carefully remove it.

Unless there's missing veneer or crushed corners, restoring the AR-11 cabinets is pretty straightforward, requiring progressive hand-sanding to remove the old finish and scratches, and then oil to restore color to the veneer. 

There are a number of different approaches to staining and sealing, with some members preferring oil with no added color, and others a pigmented oil stain like you could purchase from Minwax or Mohawk. Members have used oil as a final finish, as well as beeswax, or various sorts of poly sealers - there are many ways to skin this cat, and get a very good result.

The AR-11 is an excellent speaker - once the top of the line, so it'll be worth the effort.

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