The Cornscala upper cabinets are assembled and now need to have the ports milled out in the bottom. I needed another small piece of walnut to finish these up so I picked up some over at Owl. This piece came from a large, commercial kiln that uses steam to blend their walnut. It gives it a more uniform look, but it also dulls it down. I really prefer the vertical strip that you see below that came from a local sawyer who uses a solar kiln.
I went back to a finish that was similar to how I did the family room furniture. The base is a boiled linseed oil that is applied and sits for 24 hours. Then 3 coats of hand rubbed General Finish Arm-R-Seal in high gloss. Each coat is steel wooled and wiped, and after the third coat it is sanded using the Festool RO150 and 320 grit on vibe. That is followed by two coats of Arm-R-Seal in semi-gloss. The first pic shows the backs after the last coat has dried for about 4 hours. I should be able to start working on the bottom cabinets (finishing) tomorrow.
The bottom cabinet shells have the ports routed into the upper chamber. There is a middle piece that has matching ports and serves to divide the upper and lower cabinets. The ports were routed with pattern bits and a template I made from scap MDF. Initial opening is cut with the jigsaw, and then the final cut is done with the pattern bit. Each mid piece is matched to a specific cabinet. It has been 9 years since I did a project with MDF and I would have no problem waiting for another 20 years before doing another one. It is the messiest, dirtiest material I have ever worked with. I had to wear a respirator while milling these parts.
The shells are domino'd and ready for the ports to be cut. The backs are done and the access hole for the cross overs are done. They are downstairs and I am starting the finishing process on those.
There were 3 boards of walnut left over from when we built the furniture for the family room. It is well aged (over 5 years) and it will help the speakers to match perfectly with the room. This was milled to the exact thickness of the A1 cherry MDF sheets. Then the components were milled with loose tenon mortises using the Festool Domino. It is an excellent joint, and far superior to the biscuit joiner. The tops and bottoms (8 each for 1 pair) were then clamped for 4 hours each under pressure to form flat panels.
The JBL's had another failure a few weeks ago and I decided it was time for them to retire after 25 years of service. I started looking at options, but I could not afford to buy a nice pair of new speakers. I looked at some used ones that were available within driving distance, but the more I looked the more I realized I could build something much nicer. I have never owned Klipsch or any other horn speaker, and I have always said it would be nice to try a high efficiency pair. While looking at used Klipsch speakers I found a guy named Bob Crites from Crites Speakers who supplies new crossovers and drivers to upgrade existing Klipsch. He also has a great design called a "Cornscala" that combines the best attributes of the Klipsch Cornwall and the Klipsch Lascala.
I started out only milling the motor board (baffle) and telling myself I would not really build a pair, I just wanted to see if I could mill the MDF pattern for the motor board. But that quickly spiraled into a full blown effort to modify Bob's original design to incorporate split cabinets and different grills. And that led me to really wanting a pair in China, so I thought I would build TWO pair.... I wanted to have the cabinets match the existing cherry furniture and in particular the coffee table. So I chose to use 3/4" MDF core cherry ply, A1 grade for the first pair. The layups were done in CutList Plus using a series of manual drawings I used to develop the design. The panels were VERY heavy, and I broke them up on the workbench prior to moving over to the table saw. I am starting the edge banding process today, and clamping the first of the tops and bottoms (total of 8 pieces per pair).