Spks. wood veneer is drying out.

Could anyone please recommend something to recondition the walnut veneer cabinets of my Snell spks. They are drying out and not sure what to use to condition the wood. I've heard of "Tung Oil" but not sure and would like to get your advise. Many thanks for any and all replies. Bill
I've used Old English furniture lemon oil on my Snell Js with great results.
I use orange oil you can usually get it an an antique dealer they use it for maintaing and help in restoring wood of antiques, naturally
Hi Kotta,

I recently used Tung oil on the wood hoops and interior shell of a maple snare drum. I used multiple applications buffing with 0000 steel wool in between coats and I am very pleased with the results.

I recommend using 100% pure Tung oil - not a mixture of Tung oil and petroleum. The Tung oil is rather thick and aggressive. Don't unintentionally get it on any surface. It will ge hard to get off.


use pure lemon oil & rub in 2 coats every couple of months,it will bring back 99% of the lustre that they used to have.
Scotts Liquid Gold Lemon Oil works great. This is what I use on my wood cabinets. Use it often and the wood will become smooth and silky over time.
(long answer...) The answer depends on what kind of finish Snell put on the speakers to begin with. Most "furniture" produced today is finished in a way that seals the wood quite effectively, and replenishing the finish is usually not an issue. The wood only needs to be kept clean for the finish to continue to be effective. If Snell took an old fashioned approach and only used an oil finish, then, yes, the finish would lose moisture over time, and some replenishing would be needed.

BTW, there is nothing at all inherently wrong with dry wood. Unstable humidity and temperature conditions, not dryness itself, stress wood, and sealing finishes are used to "insulate" the wood from these changing conditions. But these considerations are much more of a concern with solid wood, not veneer.

A natural oil often is applied to a wood like walnut, because it really brings out the depth and color of that kind of wood. If a sealing finish was not applied over the oil finish, then the oil eventually would lose moisture. This may or may not interest you, and is a fine point when it comes to veneer, but the point of applying some more oil would be to replenish the finish, mainly out of cosmetic concerns, not to protect the veneer from drying out or otherwise "condition" the wood.

If indeed Snell gave the speakers a natural oil finish and left it at that, applying some tung oil (a natural oil of excellent quality) would be a great idea. I would try to get some 100% tung oil, just to be most compatible with the original finish. A lot of tung oil finishes have other, varnish-like (sealing) components in them. Nothing wrong with that, and I'm sure they'd work just fine for your application. But if you want to stick with the original traditionalist approach of a straight oil finish (and again, that's assuming that Snell took that approach), consult a woodworkers supply store for 100% tung oil.

If you want to go farther, a good top finish over the tung oil (after it dries, of course) would be wax. This will help prolong the moisture of the oil finish and provide some extra protection against scratches, make dusting easier... the kinds of things wax does. Find a good quality, hard paste wax, heavy on the Carnauba wax as an ingredient. Use a lot of elbow grease to rub it on to get a very thin, hard wax layer, just as you would do with a fine automobile. But this step would be totally optional, since speakers are not going to get a lot of wear. BTW, stay away from furniture "polish" or oils. (Sorry, I disagree with Gmood1 here.)

Some big "ifs" here. Hope this helps.
The veneer on your speakers very likely has a factory-applied "varnish" top coat that could be catalyzed conversion type. Even if it is a lesser quality top coat you will not effectively be able to penetrate it with oils. Go to a quality hardware store and inquire about the MinWax line of finishing and wood maintenance products and you may find a good solution. Also purchase a can of Guardsman furniture polish for regular maintenance. Stay away from the stuff sold at the big box hardware stores like Homer Fornsby. And do not ever use Murphy's wax products. Both of these really dry out the wood. If your wood is generally exposed (meaning you do not see a finished top coat) try working a more out of sight area using linseed oil. I sell cabinetry so I am not faking it here. You are welcome to email me if you care to discuss further.
Thank-you for all your responses. I believe Snell used the "natural approach" and applied only oils. I do not believe a sealing finish was applied. I appreciate all your advice and will consider all your fine advice.
Bill, Just curious, what leads you to believe the veneer is drying out? What are the symptoms?
I've owned 3 different pairs of speakers that used the natural approach. All of them benefited from the use of oil in conditioning the wood. The signs I saw were dry areas in the finish. Less luster in certain areas and places where the grain of the wood didn't have that almost luminescent quality. After using Scotts lemon oil the luster has returned. I use it atleast once a month to wipe down the speakers. Whether Jayboard agrees with me or not, I know this stuff worked wonders on my speakers.

Good luck Bill
Gmood1, You would be better served using an oil/varnish type oil finish like Watco to rejuvenate the original oil finish as it would be closest to what the manufacturer used. The reason you have to use the "lemon oil" as frequently as you do is because it's nothing more than an oily petroleum distillate (no lemon oil at all) and it evaporates rather quickly. With a Watco type finish you'd only have to rejuvenate it every couple of years or so and you'd save time and money.

Jayboard's comments are solid and his suggestion to use tung oil will work nicely too.
Thanks Merganser for your suggestion. Once I finish up with my Scotts, I may try this. FWIW the original oil on the speakers was Tung Oil, it was drying up rapidly after the first 2 months from the original coats. I only use the Scotts once a month ..not because it dries out but because it's quick and easy to use. I have went several months in between coats without any problems. I paid $4.00 and some change for a can.This can should last me almost two years. So cost isn't a major concern.
Jayboard, in response to your question, it's obvious that the veneer is drying out. Not really bad, but I would like to restore its condition. I've never used 100% Tung Oil nor do I know very much about this product. Will it produce a strong smell? Also, will it make the veneer have a lasting slippery/oily condition? I will also consult w/Snell and see what they recommend as well. I really do appreciate all your fine advice. Thanks, Bill.
Kotta, the tung oil doesn't smell too much when it's applied. I'd rather do anything like this with windows open, or in the basement away from living quarters. But the smell is mild compared to something like polyurethane varnish.

Usually, the directions tell you to wipe it on, then, say 5-10 minutes later (before the oil begins to dry) wipe off any excess that doesn't soak into the wood fibers. Natural oils that haven't been treated with drying additives may take a little while to dry, but after sitting overnight, the wood should be dry. The oil will continue to cure for a couple of days, hardening in the wood fibers (something that furniture oils and polishes do not do). It will give the walnut a deep lustre with no oily residue.
And the 100% tung oil isn't absolutely necessary unless you want a purist approach that matches the original finish method. Any good penetrating oil finish (most have synthetic hardening agents mixed in) will do. I think Merganser mentioned Watco Danish Oil finish above.
Just an update: Bought 100% Tung Oil at "Home Depot." It was around $15. Haven't had a chance to apply yet. I'll post the results shortly to let everyone know the results and my opinions. Thanks, Bill.
Well, finally applied the product which I bought at "Home Depot" which was NOT 100% Tung Oil as I was lend to believe from reading the label. They only carried "Minwax Tung Oil Finish." This is a blend of oil and varnish I believe. (Maybe should be labelled as "Tung Oil Varnish.") I applied only one coat w/a cotton rag and I wiped off the excess after five minutes as directed. Product went to on easily and was a very simple process. It worked very well. I wanted to see how one coat would look, feel and smell before applying another coat. Very little smell. The speaker looks very nice. Much better than before. I'm not sure I'll apply another coat because I've read that this might make the surface too glossy. I think this project turned out fine and I have no regrets. I hope this follow-up has been of help and I appreciate all the responses from everyone! Bill
Kotta, have you cosulted Snell Acoustics?
What brand use Snell for speskers?
Tung oil? What brand?
What is your final tought?

I've seen some pretty old threads replied to, but this one.........