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From ratfur to wood finish?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bthiemann80, Sep 18, 2008.

  1. Does anyone know if it would be possible to rip the ratfur from a speaker cabinet (say, an avatar), sand down the adhesive spray residue just a little bit and add a wood finish (say, minwax polyurethane)? I always loved the look of the old cabinets that have a wood finish, I think it would be really cool to do something like that with a bass speaker cabinet. May even go as far as to add some vintage acoustic transparent speaker cloth! Anyone done anything like this before?
  2. I don't see why it couldn't/shouldn't be done. I'd be interested in seeing the final result!
  3. jgsbass


    May 28, 2003
    Floral Park, NY
    If it were pretty wood, they wouldn't cover it in rat fur. Much more trouble than its worth and think of the downtime for the cabinet once you get started
  4. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Some plywood looks good, but some utility grades are downright ugly. If your cabinet has been covered, it's likely to be made of strong sheet goods that happen to be ugly. It could also be MDF, which paints well, but is nothing to write home about, looks-wise.

    If your cabinet covering has been glued in place, removing the glue could pose a challenge; if it's been stapled, be prepared to see lots of staple holes.

    If, after you remove the cabinet covering, you find the plywood attractive, you will have to be careful not to sand through the outer ply.

    Please let us know how it goes!
  5. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Would a peek inside the cab be indicative of the type of plywood?
  6. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Perhaps. If you can see a cut edge, you'll be able to see if it is (1) particle board, (2) MDF, (3) Veneer-core Ply, (4) Lumber-core ply, or (5) MDF-core ply.

    Plywood is sold in different grades, glued together with a variety of different adhesives that make them suitable for indoor use only, occasional exposure to moisture, or continuous exposure to water. It can be difficult to tell which adhesives have been used unless your sneak peek enables you to see a grade stamp.

    The quality of the veneer on an interior surface isn't a reliable predictor of the exterior veneer (why pay for it if you won't see it?). If I were making a cabinet that I intended to carpet, I would buy strong, ugly, plywood and save my money for the drivers and crossover.
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    If you do it, you have to get ALL the adhesive off of it, otherwise the finish won't stick to the wood.
  8. Could not agree with you more. The cabinet for sure would be of Avatar origin, thus being made of baltic birth plywood. My main concern would be that sanding the adhesive residue may take off too much wood on the first ply. But that would largely depend upon how much and what kind of adhesive was there holding the carpeting in place. I know it may not have the prettiest plywood underneath, but I think that a healthy coat of dark brown/redish stain and a few coats of polyurethane gloss will give the desired effect. After all, I'm not out to win any beauty contests with it.
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You should try to get the adhesive off with adhesive remover first, and then maybe you won't have to sand too much. But it does soak into the grain a bit so you'll have to do some sanding. Shouldn't have to sand so much of it that you render it unusable, though.
  10. lposavad

    lposavad Supporting Member

    Didn't someone strip off their ratfur and get it replaced with a truck bedliner finish?
    That would be cool...
  11. toobalicious


    May 6, 2008
    triad, nc
    i did it. the carpet was old and tattered, and peeling in spots. and it was grey, dirty, and ugly.

    getting it off was not a big deal, really, but the adhesive was a bit of a bear. among the most grit-clogging and hateful substances i have ever had the displeasure of dry-sanding.

    and underneath? the grain was meh, as mentioned above. looked like your average garden-variety AB plywood from your local big-box store. wasnt knotty or full of filler, but was unattractive nonetheless.

    the bedliner came from my local o'reillys. they have aerosol as well as the roll-on/brush-on kind. i think it came out great! however, it doesnt seem to be as strong as i had hoped---- after tens of load-in/load-outs the back of the cab has numerous ugly gray scratches. they seem superficial, and i know that i can recoat it fairly easily, but i was thinking it would be tougher than that. of course, aesthetics are really not that big of a deal to me, but YMMV.

    also keep in mind that carpet covered cabs were likely to have been designed with the covering's thickness in mind---- some things might not fit as before, like grills or grillframes. also, you may have to do some additional sealing for things like handles and jackplates--- otherwise they may leak and make all kinds of racket. the noise kind, not the tennis kind.
  12. John123z


    Jul 7, 2006
    Hershey, PA
    You could take off the rat fur and replace with really nice wood veneer.
  13. gerryjazzman

    gerryjazzman Supporting Member

    Dec 31, 2006
    New Jersey
    Sounds like instead of going through all this work with possibly iffy results you could expend not much more effort to build another cabinet with decent cabinet grade plywood that will look good with a finish. Copy the original cabinet dimensions and transplant the drivers and save the old cabinet in case you want to sell it later. Not sure how the grill is installed but you can probably move that over too.
  14. WillBuckingham


    Mar 30, 2005
    My Avatar was knotty and full of filler. The spray-on truck bed stuff came out great though.
  15. Geezerman


    Nov 28, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    I'm actually looking to do this with a SWR henry the 8x8, what type did you use? Any pics?

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