I owned Living Voice speakers in natural maple that darken except for the area behind the grill. When I removed the grill cloth a line was visible and the area behind the grill was much lighter, so I left the grills off until the light area darkened up.
That is what occurred on these speakers over a period of 7 years. I would suspect that it will take years before colors eventually match-up. I was looking for something quicker.
This would be a job requiring a very dextrous and skilled craftsperson. Veneer is very thin, there's near zero material to sand out. But somehow, you'd have to have a clean, unsealed, & stainable wood surface if you're going to retouch. You can strip the old finish off, but that has a host of different problems and challenges. Assuming you can get to bare wood, you then have to be able to mix and apply the stain to match. But the stained wood and bare wood are going to oxidize and change colors again and they won't match in the future. In short, leave it alone. It's not cost effective or likely to turn out as nicely finished as you'd hope. However, maple changes color much faster on exposure to light than you might think. I've refinished several maple tables and they all started to turn darker within days of the finishing work when left in a reasonably well lit location that received sunlight.
My speakers have a "yew" finish. I think that I better leave them alone and just wait and see. They sound great anyways!
I have a pair of ProAcs in the Yew finish. Try simply applying some Pledge (Extra Moisturizing w/lemon oil) - available at any grocery store. Spray it on a clean cloth and then apply (DON'T spray right onto the finish). Apply it liberally, but carefully (careful to ONLY get it on the veneer, not the hardware, any matte finishes, or, especially, the drivers/tweeters themselves). Let it soak in for a week. Reapply. It does a great job of conditioning the veneer (mine was starting to get a little crackly-looking around the knots in the finish) and it will slowly darken the finish slightly, but more uniformly after several applications.
It's inexpensive, and it won't (in my opinion and experience) hurt anything. It's not waxy either, so no discernible buildup.
Just be aware that only oil or wax finished veneer will be affected by what Steveaustin suggests. Most speakers are finished with a catalyzed impermeable finish that no oil or conditioner is ever going to penetrate.
Every year or so I use Scott's Extra Gold Wood Cleaner and Preservative on all my furniture and audio gear wood; never a problem, always an improvement, with regard to luster and color. I'd recommend trying it, being careful not to overly contaminate drivers and other areas not made of wood. The biggest factor, of course, is keeping sunlight consistent on all areas; that will only take time!
So I take it that Proac's "yew" finish is an oil or wax finished veneer ?
Thanks for your recommendations, I appreciate it.
If you leave the grills off, they will darken surprisingly fast. I had the same issue with a pair of Spendor 9/1 speakers. They looked even after about 6 weeks of normal light exposure.
Even if Steveaustin's ProAcs weren't an oil or wax finish, an oil would have penetrated through the sides of the cracked veneer. Veneers with tiny little knots (like some Yews) or burls have a distinct tendency to craze & crack over time. Once the surface is broken with a crack, then oils can get in and do their thing. As Lars says, things like Scots do make wood look pretty. But, it's just a surface film that doesn't penetrate most wood finishes. Furniture polish manufacturers tend to suggest their products can accomplish things that are unlikely, such as nourishing wood. Rather like the implied promises of women's cosmetic moisturizing products :-)
I had a pair of Proac Response 1.5s in cherry finish with same problem. I left the grills off the entire time I owned them and never noticed any improvement. When I sold them the difference in the finish was noticeable in the pics.
Proac uses plastic coat. What you have is sun shadow so exposing area under grille to UV will cause finish to match up shouldn't take more than a few months.
I can wait a few months. I may just put them in direct sunlight not too far from the window while I am away on holidays this summer to speed things up.
Many things can darken or lighten a finish. In this case it is most likely UV, but could be a reaction to the grill cloth and/or the grill frame from the off gassing of the finish. Common catalyzed lacquers (the most popular finish) can take over a month to cross link and fully cure. Prior to that formaldehyde amongst other things are emitted that reacts to the finish or veneer. I'd try putting it in direct light for a few weeks. A lot depends upon how much UV blocker is added to the finish by the finish manufacturer.
I know you are a fan of shellac and the process called french polishing, however, shellac is a plastic too. Furthermore, anything beyond the first coat of finish or common penetrating stain is all of the penetration you will ever get. Once it is sealed, you maybe able to melt into the finish, but not through it.
Shellac is a natural polymer and is chemically similar to synthetic polymers, and thus can be considered a natural form of plastic. It can be turned into a moulding compound when mixed with wood flour and moulded under heat and pressure methods, so it can also be classified as thermoplastic.
Thanks for all your help guys, I appreciate it.
Hi all ! I had some discoloration on my pair of Thiels . A woodcraftsman looked at them and in 5 minutes they looked new again . He used a small amount of vegetable oil and a clean rag .
Unfortunately oil does not do it in this case, the contrast/fading is simply too significant.