Depending on the depth of the scratch and the thickness of the veneer. First rule of thumb, less is more in such matters. I would try a very fine grit sand paper (no less than 220, depending on the depth of the scratch) and use a soft rubber backed block or the palm of your hand, DO NOT use your fingers and focus on just the scratch other wise when you refinish it will be noticable. Let the paper do the work and be gentle and always sand with the grain, always gently. To get the sheen back use progressively finer grits of paper and 0000 steel wool. Talk to the manufacturer about the finish and stain (if any) used. I would imagine lacquer is what most use, faster and less labor intensive, although some may use an oil finish.
If in doubt about the above, leave it alone or let a professional look at it.
If you are just trying to mask the scratches, rather than remove them, a little English Leather in the right tone works quite well. It won't give the professional results that Tubegroover's method will, but you run little risk of hurting your speaker.
You may want to try colored lemon oil -- this product does not remove the scrath, just covers with colored oil to make it less visible.
The MFR may have some suggestions or products available for this purpose.
There are other products such as colored fillers that may work as well.
Since you are asking others for advise, I would assume that wood finish repair is not your specialty. With that in mind, I would avoid the use of abrasives at all costs. Some speaker manufacturers use tinted lacquer for a coating, and as you sand, you may remove layers of color, hence changing the look of the entire area that has been sanded. If you choose to use abrasives, I would use 600 grit wet sand or higher. The all advise in the above post is also good, with the exception that I do not agree with 220 grit -- to rough in my opinion.
Keep in mind you are probably working with 1/16 or less of veneer thickness. You remove too much you will have MDF visible...
J K I do see your concern but my concern with a very fine grit paper like 600 or higher is that it may bring out more sheen than the original finish and thus show up more. These grits are primarily for sheen, polishing and removing irregularities between finish coats. I do however agree that 220 may indeed be too course. If the scratch is deep it should be fine so long as due care is given. If the scratch is very slight I would go with a 320 or maybe 400 and GO LIGHTLY. This way there is less risk of matching up the sheen with the original finish. Refinishing is a learned process. Touching up a scratch without any noticable effects is a very skilled learned process. It is best to experiment on an area of the cabinet that isn't noticable, if any, especially if there is any doubt.
Thanks guys, but right now I'll try all non-sanding technigues first, I really don't trust my, ahem, skills - tearing down a wall maybe, but the delicate stuff I'll leave to others. BTW did someone mention "english leather" up there? You pulling my (AC) cord? Any other suggestions? Thanks again.
I'm serious about the English leather. I learned it from a Piano Mechanic. He used it to hide a small scratch on an almost unnocitable part of my piano. He noticed it--now I don't think anyone would notice it, even if you pointed it out to them.
Agreed that scratch repair on finished wood is a learned process with many technique approaches based on the wood, the finishing process, the quality of the original finish, etc. For me, if abrasives are out. If abrasives are used then the whole speaker cabinet should be refinished for perfect results (sheen matches) -- which exposes whole issue of finishing product compatibility with the original finish on the cabinet, removing drivers, dust free workshop, application techniques....
I think Abstract7 means Old English products, which come in several color choices.... They work well to hide the appearance of a scratch, but will not be perfect like a professional scratch removal would be - but a heck of a lot less expensive.
Personally, with the furniture I build, sandpaper never touches the piece -- IMO sandpaper is an evil workaround to proper woodworking craftsmanship. I use finish scraper planes and steel wool for the finish (not applicable for venier, such as most speakers are finished). There is no way that sand can sever the grain of wood like a plane knife can shave it... Off the subject, but my $0.02.
My recommendation still stands -- appropriately colored filler sticks / products or Old English colored oils. Other stain products may accomplish the same effect. Maybe an Woodcrafters or Rockler store can recommend other products and techniques. They forsure have books on the subject...
OK -- Thanks Abstract7 for the English Leather update -- I'll have to try this one...
Amen to a plane over sandpaper
there's an english product worth trying called BRIWAX. i found it in my u.s.a. hardware store. it's a wax and stain combined and comes in a variety of wood finishes. here's the directions from the can: "apply briwax using a lint free cloth or 0000 steel wool thoroughly working the wax into the grain. once dry, buff to desired finish using a soft dry cloth." i've had impressive results using it on dirty wood floors and antique furniture.
but as suggested earlier, for uniform results you might want to do the entire cabinets. the stuff's messy too, so protect your drivers!
I don't know if this will work with the Cherry, but I have used the raw meat of a walnut to rub out small scratches from darker furniture. Just rub the walnut meat (obviously not the shell) into the scratch and rub out with a polishing cloth. It wouldn't hurt to try it.
NO NO NO NO NO! I'm no expert on audio, just have opinions, but I restore, repair and reproduce antiques for a living.
No sandpapers, oils, colognes or preparation H!
Find a woodworkers store like Woodcraft or Constantines or Garrett Wade. If none local, they're on the web. You want colored resin sticks by a company called Mohawk. They sell a complete finishing kit caled Concept 2000 geared toward DIY'ers. You find the right color, probably have to mix several sticks and melt the shellac into the scratch.We use a special iron, you could use a soldering iron and sacrifice a tip. The kit has "plane balm" you put on your finger to protect it as you smooth the repair. The sticks flow so well, however, you can usually skip this step. The kit also has a special little plane for removing the excess resin but the back of a very sharp chisel works as well. Then smooth the repair with a hard felt pad or 600 grit wet n dry using VM&P Naptha as a lubricant. Try to stay away from the non-damaged area as much as possible. Mist on (from 18") a few coats of lacquer, Krylon is okay. That should blend the repair. Don't overdo the lacquer, you just want to blend. Practice away from the workpiece. The materials will cost about $80.
Are Epos speakers expensive? You might get the repair done for $150 by a refinisher. If they are really expensive, look for a conservator. Antique dealers know who's good.
Good luck and let me know how it turns out. BTW, after all that, if the repair is out of the way, even us conservator's have been known to use a Minwax blend pencil or even a magic marker followed by a little of the wife's hairspray!
WOW ! What an amazing range of responses. I picked up a minwax blend pencil at lunch and am going to give that a try. Fortunately, I have two scatches, one on the underside of the speaker and one on top. I'll experiment with the one on the bottom first and see how it goes. Luckily, I am not a perfectionist. I'll be sure to do this after a few glasses of wine and report back in the AM. Thanks.
Prfont: After reading what you said, I believe you have only two options: Either rub on [Old English] they make it dark or light oil. It is made for furniture scratches and such. As someone else said above it won't take the scratches out it will camaflauge, look better, and add lustre to your wood. Or pay someone profesionly to fix them. Each person has a differant solution. But trust me 220 grit is way to strong of sand paper. Good luck.
Try a product called Color Putty. They make colors to match most woods. It never really hardens so if you don't like it you can wipe it off with a little elbow grease. You can mix colors togeather to get a perfect match.
Prfont I would certainly take more stock in what a professional restorer offers. I am a hobbyist although I have extensive and many years experience in such matters but in reality my advice isn't for novices. Listen to the expert.
It's great to see that we have serious hobbyists like Tubegroover and JK keeping ancient woodworking skills alive.Some of the juried shows I've attended and judged have had beautiful, original pieces by accountants, lawyers and plumbers. And we've all seen the DIY Utopias built with hand tools in a basement.
The fact is, however, that the skills are ancient and many of the "truths" of today's hobbyists are not in tune with the practices that begin with the Egyptians of the Fourth Dynasty (they invented frame and panel construction)up through the Moors of Spain and to the modern with Sheraton, Chippendale and Hepplewhite.It's like tube design: lot's of variations but all still basically the Williamson amplifier.
As far as finishing and restoration goes, like doctors, conservators try to "do no harm". That means choosing finishes that can be restored (no polyurethane, please)and never disturbing the effects of aging upon the wood.
Audio speakers are a kind of architectural furniture and should be treated with the same care as fine furniture. There would be no reason to strip a complete cabinet to repair a few scratches no matter how deep. Wood develops a patina from exposure to the environment and refinishing should always be done with an eye toward maintaining that. In any case, it's comparatively easy for a craftsman to make an invisible repair to a scratch.
All the products mentioned, including briwax will damage the finish. The Lemon oils, English Leather (?), Pledge, Liquid Gold etc. contain either silicones or alcohol or both and will eventually break down the ability of the finish to maintain it's film. Briwax is a fine wax but the instructions maintain application with fine steel wool which, in the hands of novices, will spread the damaged area by changing the tone of the finish.
In regard to planeing versus sandpaper, there is no controversy. Planing is for smoothing and sandpaper is for leveling the planed surface and opening the pores closed by the plane. Two different functions. If the piece is not much subject to wear, beautiful results can be obtained by waxing or applying lacquer directly to the planed wood. Keep in mind that planing and scraping burnishes the wood and does not allow proper penetration of oil based finishes. When using varnish, linseed or tung oil, the surface must be lightly sanded prior to application. Two part catalysed lacquers will also have difficulty adhering to a burnished surface.
I suppose I've gone too far with all this explanation but I hope it will be useful to speaker builders and scratch repairers. For the scratches, however, taking the speaker to a competent shop will cost no more than a set of NOS tubes. I would be pleased to answer anyone's e-mail questions in regard to finishing, veneering and restoration. You wouldn't believe how beautiful a grungy old speaker cabinet can be made with $10 worth of Naptha and Johnson's Paste Wax. Tune in next week.
I am a woodworker with many years exp in furniture and cabinet building and finishing. I have built most of my wooden furniture at home and for others. I have built and matched finishes of new cabinets to match existing cabinets. I am not the final authority but I can tell you that you had better leave the planes, scrapers,sandpasper, steel wool and any other abrasive alone. There is no way you can get the scratches out without refinishing the side where the scratch is. Therefore your alternative is to hide the scratch as best as possible. You said they were hairline scratches. It has already been said, that you can use Old English furniture polish. This is correct. Old English has stain in it and that is what hides the scratch. Another alternative which i like better is to get some matching stain and use it. Don't worry about getting it on the finish of the cabinet. There should be a clearcoat of some kind (probably oil) which will keep the stain from penetrating any area except the scratched area. Just wipe it on and wipe it off. Let it dry. Repeat until you get the right color. Remember you can make it darker but you can't make it lighter. You should have no trouble at all. Depending on how dark your cabinet is the scratch will probably cover first coat. remember perfection is not possible at this point. We are trying to camaflage the scratch. Best of luck to you.
It might be wise to use a Q-tip for application of the stain and try to get as little as possible outside of the scratch area. Use Minwax stain. It has less pigment than something like Zar
Done stuff like this a 1000 times. This will work if the scratch is not too deep. Use 600 grit wet/ dry paper with water. Then finish with 1500 grit wet/dry. DO NOT USE 220. This will only produce more scratches I guarantee. Do be a little careful as wet sandpaper can cut pretty fast.
Well, looks like the blending pencil is not the way to go, the scatch just isn't that deep. I think the Old english with a cherry tint to it will do the trick. As stated above I just want to camoflage the scatch and have no trust in my skills to undertake a full scale repair. Great feedback though.