I'm assuming you are talking about sanding/stripping and restaining the black ash with a cherry stain. If the black ash is a veneer (which it probably is...check with the manufacturer if you can't tell), then the answer to your question is 'not in a million years'. Don't even think about trying it unless you want all the veneer to peel off the speakers when you attempt to restain. Sorry to be the bearer of that bad news, but it just won't work and I can imagine that you'd hate to ruin a set of speakers, no matter how low the price. Paint would probably work, as long as it was not oil based. Somehow though, I can't imagine a painted finish that would look any better than the original black ash. Hope that helps and good luck.
I once asked Thiel about staining their teak finish on their CS3s a darker shade to better fit in my living room, and was told the same as Goinbroke stated. Most speakers, like the Thiel, are veneered, so you may be out of luck.
Andy, first of all a lot of people like the look of the black ash. That is why so many of the manufacturers make them, and sell so many. Choice one would be to sell them for a tidy profit and use the proceeds to get what you want. If you don't like that option, and you are handy and have woodworking and refinishing skills, my experience is that you can refinish black speakers. See my Alon's under my virtual system "time to listen." You need to totally disassemble the drivers and x-overs from the cabinet, then strip the black using a combination of a heavy duty stripper (multiple coats) and varying types of brushes and pads (plastic bristle mainly, but maybe brass bristle for tough spots). Mine were black laquer which is probably easier to remove than stain, because the stain would likely penetrate the wood deeper than laquer. You would probably want to refinish with a medium to dark stain to hide any nonuniform areas, so cherry or maple may not work on your ash. Also, you may not want to take them to a commercial stripper unless you are sure they will not dip them in a chemical vat, since that procedure could very well delaminate your veneer, as mentioned above. Finally, you may want to try a small test spot (like on the bottom) first before proceeding with the whole speaker. After stripping and staining, use several coats of a good sanding sealer to fill in grains on the ash, sand with very fine paper (some use steel wool) and my recommendation is multiple thin coats of laquer to look very nice. Good luck.
These, like 99 percent of speakers, are veneer. Veneer can be stripped and restained. You must remove the speakers from the cabinets. Use a remover that doesn't require water for a final wash. Use liberal amounts of stripper with a brush...after finish is liquified, carefully use a plastic putty knife to remove the loosened finish. Repeat if necessary. when majority of finish is removed, recoat the cabinet with stripper and use #3 course steel wood with the grain to remove the remaining finish. If any black color remains in the grain, recoat with stripper again and use a stiff natural bristle brush in the direction of the grain. Finally use the steel wood again with mineral spirits to remove any residue. Finish up with a alcohol wash and a rag. It may very well be that a black lacquer was used instead of stain. Either way you can get the desired results. Sand with 220 paper, wipe with a tack rag and stain. Finish with two or three coats of polyurethane using xxxx steel wool between coats. If you use a water based poly, do not use steel wool, but #320 sandpaper.
If you got them for a very good price, then maybe it would just be better to sell them and buy the ones you want. I've used plenty of paint stripper when painting my house and let me tell you...if I never see it again it will be too soon...I think that to get the results you want, you will have to put more time and $ into the supplies than it is really worth...and then...what happens if you aren't satisfied with the result? Are you gonna re-do it or possibly kick yourself in the a** for the time and money wasted.
Take the easy route...sell em
just my 2c
p.s. remember...I dont know what kind of speakers these are...if they are $20,000 speakers and you got them for a steal refinishing becomes a more viable option vs my $1200 B&W CDM1nt's...so I'm just looking at mine (they are black too) and judging off that...but I liked black anyways. to each his own huh?
I'll add my vote to those who have said restaining is difficult and not worth the trouble unless you can't get what you want. I spent a good part of last summer breathing toxic stripping fumes, cleaning toxic debis, scraping, sanding, refinishing with steel wool, applying polyurethane etc. If your really in the mood you could attempt it but the black will have penetrated the grain of the veneer in places as mentioned above, making a good outcome very uncertain. If you can tolerate a dark streak here or there and are a real DIY then try it. Realizing you may not get the finish you really want.
While I agree that this is a difficult feat, and NOT worth the effort, it potentially could be done. As opposed to stripper, which you will need to remove the polyurethane, acrylic, or lacquer, you will need to bleach the wood to remove the stain. There are three types of bleach(including clorox) used for this, and you may need to try each to find the type that will work.
There is absolutely NO gurantee it will work, and you should either get a different pair of speakers, or look into replacing the veneer completely. In the end, because you are working with black and trying to achieve maple(your cherry would be more attainable), my advice is to LEAVE IT ALONE!
Here's a though:
Why not re-veneer them. I had a pair of B&W DM302's veneered by a local cabinet maker a few years ago. He removed all the drivers, sanded them and attached new veneer using a vacuum press. Granted, it cost $300, which is about what the speakers cost new, but the wife is happy which is the important part.
PS-I'm a weekend woodworker. I haven't done any veneering myself yet; I like to work with solids.
As a few people mentioned above, some types of veneer can be refinished if one is very careful. These veneers are usually used on furniture meant to withstand daily contact (like an armoir or dresser) and are MUCH thicker than those typically used on speaker cabinets which are usually only slightly thicker than a childrens colored contstruction paper. Unfortunately for your situation, it is highly unlikely that you have a refinishable veneer, unless these are VERY expensive speakers.
However, Prpixel has a good idea and probably the only workable option mentioned in this thread (other than reselling the speakers and buying the ones with the finish you want). Having them vacuum veneered is the proper (and best) way to do the job to insure good veneer adhesion, but if you are fairly handy you could attempt a re-veneer yourself to keep the cost down. All you would need is the veneer, adhesive, several sharp blades, a good smooth roller and plenty of time. Be careful and take your time...that is the key. Keep in mind, though, that trimming veneer can be a real PITA. Hope that helps and good luck.
I like the idea of reveneering over the old veneer. While there are pure veneers to work with (ick), I tend to favor the pre-glued veneers--either PSA (pressure sensitive) or iron-ons. I realize it doesn't sound as secure as using hide glue and a vacuum press (and it probably isn't) but you aren't making something that is going to suffer a lot of abuse (and how many of us have vacuum presses anyway?). B'sides, its a helluva lot more secure than I guessed before actually using it.
I tend to think the heat sensitive veneers will probably work better for you--you can get it trimmed and squared up, and then apply heat. I've used PSA veneer to edge band a desk--2" veneer cut back to 1.5". Trimming is relatively easy with a very sharp knife and some touch up with 400 grade sandpaper. I also highly recommend the rub on poly coatings. Very easy to apply and you get a great finish with 4 or so coats.
Er, I wouldn't exactly try this on my ProAcs, however. Might do it on the Monitor Audio B2s used as surrounds, however. YMMV.
Thanks for all responses. According to the provided info, it looks like there are two options that will make my life easier: reveneering or having a local woodshop performing all the works after I have removed all the drivers.