Finishing Baltic Birch 13ply

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Allen Ross, Jul 6, 2003.

  1. Allen Ross

    Allen Ross Supporting Actor

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    Okay i am a little sick of spray painting MDF and don't have the cash (as of now) for a nice vanneer so i am thinking of building my enclosure for at set of Pi Studio Speakers, out of baltic birch 3/4 13 ply.

    My only hesitation is finishing these, i heard the baltic birch blotches when it takes a stain, so i need a conditioner of some sort. I am looking for a nice deep red stain, if not a dye that will match my newton M80s

    http://homepage.mac.com/alrossnin/.P...4-0477_IMG.JPG

    i know the grain won't be the same but i really like the look of a nice dark red.

    Also i just got my Porter Cable 960 router and i really want to play with it, so i am thinking of using dovetail edges on the top/bottom sides. So i am looking at a dove tail kit/jig, and they only seem to come in 1/2 inch widths you think that would be cool with 3/4 inch ply?

    thanks for any help
     
  2. Dan Wesnor

    Dan Wesnor Second Unit

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    Don't know about your local stores, but for what my local Home Depot charges for birch plywood, I can still do cherry veneer on MDF cheaper.
     
  3. Brian Fellmeth

    Brian Fellmeth Supporting Actor

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    you can get nice veneer lots on ebay for 10 bucks
     
  4. Allen Ross

    Allen Ross Supporting Actor

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    its about 45 buck for a 5X5 sheet of BB, yeah i did a double take on the dimensions and if my calculations are correct i will need just one sheet to get the pair of speakers. BTW this is the cabinet grade BB.

    i can see that the veneer can be had cheaply but i still want to look at BB, for the simplicity of not having to use an iron or glue, just make box and finish.

    I do plan on using veneer on my version of Pee-Creeks once i get started on those [​IMG]
     
  5. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    Allen,

    Based on the picture you linked to, I'd suggest using the Behlen Solar-Lux Medium Red Mahogany dye. You can find it at a local WoodCraft store or order it online from woodcraft.com.

    It's so easy to use even Dan Hine was able to get a good finish![​IMG]
     
  6. Dan Hine

    Dan Hine Screenwriter

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    Yeah, and one day I'll get pics up. Eight rounded corners and all! [​IMG]

    And yes, using the medium red mahogany dye on birch will give you the finish you're looking for.
     
  7. Allen Ross

    Allen Ross Supporting Actor

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    cool thanks for the quick response, On top of that dye should i poly or varnish?
     
  8. Dan Hine

    Dan Hine Screenwriter

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    Allen, pics as promised:

    Sub pics

    I don't recall how many coats of dye I used. But I have half a bottle left over. And I used about 8-9 coats of Minwax wipe on poly. I think you'll be pleased.

    - Dan

    Thanks to Brett for hosting some pics for me!
     
  9. Allen Ross

    Allen Ross Supporting Actor

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    thats baltic birch, wow i am in aw, i am def going to do it then.

    So it only took you one of those 10 dollar bottles?

    Also what did you use to apply it, foam brush, rag?

    Did you have to do anything to the poly, buff it? steel-wool?

    thanks for your help and those pics took my breath away.

    BTW if you want any pic hosting let me know i got tons of room, drop me an email its in my profile if you need anything
     
  10. Dan Hine

    Dan Hine Screenwriter

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  11. Allen Ross

    Allen Ross Supporting Actor

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    hahaha thanks again man
     
  12. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Dan acheived one drop dead gorgeous finish on that sub..
    And the way he did it with the hardwood at all the joints
    it adds to the look...

    I give it... [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  13. Hank Frankenberg

    Hank Frankenberg Cinematographer

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    Allen, you might want to apply a coat of Minwax Pre-Stain Conditioner to minimize blotching of the dye.

    Dan: your finish came out super!
     
  14. Allen Ross

    Allen Ross Supporting Actor

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    i might try that thanks

    what exactly does it do? i am guessing its kinda like a primer for the wood to accept the dye?
     
  15. Todd Nichols

    Todd Nichols Auditioning

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    I suggest a coat of 1lb cut blonde dewaxed shellac prior to staining. It really helps to even out any woods stain uptake. You can get something like Zinssers sealcoat which is a 2lb cut and reduce it with 3 parts denatured alcohol to 2 parts sealcoat or just buy shellac flakes and make your own. What I like to do is 1 coat of 1lb shellac and then 1 coat of 2lb that I dye with something like transtint or wizardtint dyes. All of this stuff is available on-line or in any good woodworking store and none is that expensive. While you are there, pick up some lint-free cloths, tack cloths, 0000 steel wool, and if you really want a great looking finish, some furniture wax.

    I build shaker furniture for a hobby and the finishing is almost more time consuming than the building, but is also just as important to the final appearence.
     
  16. Allen Ross

    Allen Ross Supporting Actor

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    okay that just made the entire process 5 times more difficult [​IMG]

    i think i will pick up some reading material, finishing and cabinet joining.
     
  17. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Honestly I think Dan's finish is superb and certainly a lot
    easier for a first timer...

    Sure you can go through the steps Todd listed but is the
    end result going to be that much better? Maybe it's just me
    but the finish on Dan's sub to me is absolutely gorgeous.
     
  18. John E Janowitz

    John E Janowitz Second Unit

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    Dan, sub looks nice. Dye stains are usually the way to go if you want a very even color. A lot of times you can even out the color between heartwood and sapwood with it as well. The only problem is on course grain woods like oak, a dye stain won't soak into the grain at all. On a few cabinets I did a combination where I would put on a coat of pigment stain first, just your typical off the shelf oil based stuff. That fills up the grain well. I then wiped it off immediately so the surface had a very minimal amount on it. I let it dry overnight, then the next day sprayed it with a coat of alcohol based dye stain. That made a nice even coat over the rest of the cabinet. It also dries in about 30sec.

    Allen,

    Another method to use to avoid blotching is a washcoat. One way is what Todd said above. Another simpler way is just simply putting on a coat of mineral spirits first before your oil based stain. The mineral spirits will soak in filling the wood up and keep your stain from soaking in too much. This leaves your stain up near the surface and creates a more even coat.

    John
     
  19. Allen Ross

    Allen Ross Supporting Actor

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    well i got my order of baltic birch in yesterday, two sheets of 3/4 13 ply 5X5 and one 1/2 9 ply 5X5 sheet, total is 126 even. [​IMG]

    it took one entire 5X5 sheet for the cabinets for my pi speakers with a little excess. I finished all the cutting and every thing came out golden. So good that i had an orgasm right there, well not really.

    I haven't ordered any stain, dye or poly yet, but i think i will pick up some poly tomorrow and see what i can do on some scrap pieces.

    I still have wiggle room with the enclosure that i cut out, and if the edges of the baltic birch take a nice stain well i think i might leave them exposed cause i think the contrast between ply will look good.

    If not i think i might use a lock miter and make it really snazzy, but tear out might be a problem, my 60 tooth blade has some small problems with it, but i guess thats what i get for buying a cheap blade [​IMG]

    i will post back on how the progress goes, and possibly start a new thread on how the speaker actually sounds [​IMG]
     
  20. Mark_E_Smith

    Mark_E_Smith Second Unit

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    Test the dye on some scraps first. I found that parts of the wood came out beautiful and whole sections blotched solid red. I have found out but not tried yet, the dyes are soluble in shellac so I have some garnett shellac that I'm going to add some Sol-lux Blood Red to and see what happens. Acording to my finnishing book this might just do the trick. I think Todd was talking about this, as the sanding sealer is shellac, however only non grain raising dyes use alcohol. If you use dewaxed or dewax your shellac you can put a poly coat on top if you want, but if you take your time and apply several thin coats of shellac the results will be stunning. Also shellac dries fast so you dont have to worry about dust as much.
     

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