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After many hours....the AR3 birch are done....:)


lakecat
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Finally finished these beautiful blonde babies yesterday. There is seven to eight coats of lacquer on these cabinets to get the look I wanted. This is pure lacquer over birch....no stain. It was very difficult for me not to use stain as I wanted to highlite the grain....but wanted them to be as close to original as possible. This will be the last lacquer job I ever do on cabinets....what a pain!.....sigh...but this was original when new.

The tweeters were sent to Chris for his refresh....mids to Roy for his magic.....got the new pots from Kent and work great. Used Jeff's suggestion and cleaned grills with Simple Green. The woofers were in such great shape and they sound the best I have had over the years....they really go low! I was very fortunate to find these rare blondes and was willing to put in the work to make them very nice again. They sound fantastic and have the love affair with them right now..... 

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4 hours ago, ar_pro said:

Spectacular - I think this is the finest restoration I've ever seen!

Congratulations, Lakecat!

Wow!..thank you AR_pro.....that makes me proud for you to say that.  It was a lot of work with that lacquer for sure. Amazing how this story turned out. I thought I was buying pine 3's to match my pine 3a's.....had never seen birch....ever.

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2 hours ago, genek said:

Sheesh....and I thought I was anal..lol. Weird in that he said it took eight coats of lacquer to get where he wanted it. I found the same thing when using lacquer. I also sanded 220 on first five coats.....then used tack cloth for cleaning. I then used 1500 on the rest...and the tack cloth...which I love using. 

Remember....I did one section at a time...one coat at a time....with lots of protection to keep overspray off the other sections. I went thru eight or nine cans of lacquer @ $11 each.

The finish is baby soft smooth and really like how it came out. It will patina nicely with age. As nice as these speakers were to start...it  made the time worth it. With the experts refreshing drivers and getting those awesome pots that Kent sells....these are the best sounding 3's I've heard and can adjust the drivers without dropouts!..lol

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7 hours ago, ar_pro said:

No kidding, with the beautiful finish, restored midrange and tweeter, and that excellent woofer, these could be the most desirable AR-3s on the planet. 

 

Plus the new caps and the new pots from Kent!...:) Been trying to be critical of the sound over being in love with them and WANTING it to sound special. I have adjusted mid to half and tweeter to about 75% for most of  my music. I can't get over the bass though. These woofers are something. Yes...they are the best sounding 3's I have owned.

The lacquer has dried completely and left a nice sheen to cabs and are as smooth as a babies skin. 

I didn't think anything would top my pine 3a's that I redid....but these are right in there. Not as much work as those dang pines were but just something special about these. Especially as mint as they were...for being over fifty years old.

Thank you all for the compliments. You guys know the effort put in them and I appreciate the replies.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just brought these home a few hours ago. Someone stained over the birch years ago...can't wait to strip it off. Was it difficult getting the grills off? I just got one off using the "screw" method...you do the same?  Both work but the seller told me they were dead. Nice suprise...love the birch look....not sure how to clean the screens...

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On 10/1/2021 at 9:57 AM, Pete B said:

Fantastic job on those!

I'd like to try the Simple Green cleaning, is the procedure post on the forum?

Pete B.

Thanks Pete. The Simple Green methods is just spraying the grill material full strength....brushing lightly with a soft brush...letting it set for a few minutes....then rinsing with water. I laid them on a towel and let it dry naturally. Came out pretty well.

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  • 2 weeks later...
21 hours ago, DavidDru said:

Wow, nice.  Great work and results.

What about the lacquering was a challenge and frustration?

Thanks!....lacquer runs so easily that I was forced into just doing one side at a time...laying horizontally. That meant taping the other sides from over spray. Even spraying fairly heavy, it still took eight coats to get it where I wanted it. Multiply that for two cabinets. I didn't do one side eight times...as I did the whole cab once....sanded it...tack clothed it...then went again....eight times!...sigh. Got one done....then had the pleasure of doing another!..lol. I think I went thru like ten cans at about eleven bucks each. Absolutely will never lacquer another speaker! 

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12 hours ago, lakecat said:

Thanks!....lacquer runs so easily that I was forced into just doing one side at a time...laying horizontally. That meant taping the other sides from over spray. Even spraying fairly heavy, it still took eight coats to get it where I wanted it. Multiply that for two cabinets. I didn't do one side eight times...as I did the whole cab once....sanded it...tack clothed it...then went again....eight times!...sigh. Got one done....then had the pleasure of doing another!..lol. I think I went thru like ten cans at about eleven bucks each. Absolutely will never lacquer another speaker! 

Yeah that gets difficult.  Having an actual spray set-up etc is almost a must to do lacquer at any scale.  Got to be able to pull overspray away and out with a fan vent system and lay down the correct amount.  But once that's all in place, lacquer is very forgiving.  Even though I have all that system, I still will use rattle cans on small things.  Cubes like speakers are tough though.

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