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Regis
12-07-2005, 05:07 PM
Did some of the JBL's from the L-100 era (4310, 4311, etc) come with blond light colored stripes in the cabs? The pair of 4310's I own have dual blond stripes running down the sides of the cabs like the picture below. Is this normal?

duaneage
12-07-2005, 06:11 PM
The veneer was cut from a part of the tree that was different in color, thats all. In a world of simulated wood grain vinyl product, it is understandable that a natural color effect would be thought of as unusual.

Regis
12-07-2005, 06:14 PM
... In a world of simulated wood grain vinyl product, it is understandable that a natural color effect would be thought of as unusual.

That too, but I thought it might have been some bizarre fading effect at first, either chemical or light induced. I thought the stain would've covered all the lighter areas (?). Interesting to see another speaker of this vintage with the strange blond stripes. Funny, that I've never seen the later 70's JBL's with any color variations on the cabs (L-150's, L-65's, L-300, etc. etc).

Audiobeer
12-07-2005, 06:40 PM
It's not too common but it happens. In the furniture trade that would be considered a blemish or unacceptable for resale. I think it looks cool! :D

norealtalent
12-07-2005, 07:05 PM
It's not too common but it happens. In the furniture trade that would be considered a blemish or unacceptable for resale. I think it looks cool! :D
Definitely! I've had a few anomally's in veneer but never any that cool...:applaud:

mbottz
12-07-2005, 07:19 PM
It is what I have heard many times referred to a "sapwood" and is usually less desirable in expensive furniture and quality hardwood products. The darker walnut is the oldest and densest part cut from the center of the tree and the lighter sapwood is the newer growth closer to the outside bark. As expensive woods get in shorter supply the mills use more of the tree (or smaller trees to get more wood to meet the demand) which results in wood with more of the sapwood. I would consider veneer with this quality a "second" or "B" grade.

Since the speakers are finished in an oil type stain the sapwood will not stain the same color as the dense walnut. One way to make it less noticeable is to use a spray type clear finish with color mixed in it to tint the lighter areas.
I think it gives it character. Just my opinion!


Mb

Regis
12-08-2005, 07:51 AM
Thanks all for the input. Blemish or not, I think they look cool! The mint cabs sure came around with an application of Old English almond oil. I had been using tung oil, but the almond oil is non-toxic, smells nice and puts a nice low profile shine on the cabs (you can see the reflections of your fingers when you hold them up close to the cab).

Zilch
12-08-2005, 10:37 AM
"This pair of rare and important figured JBL speaker cabinets...." ;)

Edwards
06-07-2006, 10:13 AM
The whiter wood as you refer to is Sapwood. Must lumber producers lessen the color variation by steaming these boards, then once stained the contrast should be even less. It may be that over time the Sap wood has given up the pigment of the stain and has caused a greater variation.

In addition to sound JBL was known for the fine veneered cabinetry. I'm surprised that they would have sold something originally with a large color variation.

Ed

Phil H
06-07-2006, 11:34 AM
Edwards,
I have wondered the same thing. I have seen several auctions on eBay with two-tone veneer. Sometimes, I suspect that the veneer is not original. While some may prefer the look, I have always considered it to be an inferior grade of veneer.

jbl
06-07-2006, 01:45 PM
Edwards,
I have wondered the same thing. I have seen several auctions on eBay with two-tone veneer. Sometimes, I suspect that the veneer is not original. While some may prefer the look, I have always considered it to be an inferior grade of veneer.
I don't believe that JBL sold pairs of that type of veneer. All the L 100s, 4310 & 4311 I've seen had a more uniform veneer.

Ron

Regis
06-07-2006, 02:39 PM
The 4310's that I described above came from the original owner and no, it wasn't reveneered. I picked these up in person in Ventura, California. It did come with the 'blonde' stripes straight out of the factory and the photo from the ebay auction I posted was what drove my curiousity. I too thought that JBL would never sell 'unevenly' colored veneer, but they did. I believe this to be a very minor detractor from what they are; a pair of finely built, great sounding speakers that usually look very, very good.

Mr. Widget
06-07-2006, 03:16 PM
I have seen several L100s that have had sapwood (the blonde bits) and other unmatched grain patterns. It seems that at the rate they were cranking these out they simply didn't bother to consider the grain much ( or at all). Even the L300s will sometimes have surprisingly mismatched grain from one side of the cab to the other.


Widget

Phil H
06-07-2006, 05:52 PM
Thanks for the information. I am happy to learn that my suspicions were wrong.

garyl
06-11-2006, 12:41 PM
I have seen this a few times with JBL cabinets. All of the above are good points in that the veneer grade is somewhat lower when sapwood is involved.
What surprises me is you have two completely diffrerent shades on your pair of cabinets. JBL tried to keep them as closely matched as possible.

Veneer is cut from the log and like pages of a bookit is layed one sheet on top of the next. Quite often you will see almost an identicle grain from one sheet to the next. I suspect someone was asleep when pairing your speakers or the shop where they were purchased mixed them so there might be another pair very similar in the locale where these were sold.
I would bet if the serial numbers are consecutive, the cabinets would match quite well. If you could ever locate the consecutively numbered speaker, you would find it very close in color and grain.
I bought two pairs of Altec 19s back in 1976 and one of the pairs were consecutively numbered. The grain pattern on top of each speaker was what is refered to as "Book Matched" and nearly identicle from one cabinet to the other.
I recently bought a Lot of 6 sheets of Burl Walnut and each sheet is nearly identicle to the one above and below it.

I like the way your cabinets look and would be proud to own them!

Gary

Edwards
06-25-2006, 11:30 AM
There are at least 2 ways to manufacture veneer.

The first is to get a very clean log, ie no branches, and thus no knots, place it on a large lathe like device and spin the log slowly while aplying a long very sharp blade. this will yield very long sheets of Veneer. This is a very expensive process, and only used by the most expensive furniture manufacturers, and plywood producers. This way does not yield any Sap wood as the wood is all cut from the same diameter from the center of the log.

The second method is more common, and much less expensive. This requires one to mill the log into standard boards, and dry them. Select the only the good boards, Steam any un-even colored boards, (Cherry, and Walnut), and then slice the board into veneer slabs. This is the method that JBL employed, along with most of the rest of anyone. So they were most likely forced to source in grades of veneer that had a wider range of color variation.

You have to remember that back, starting in the early 70's and thru the early 80's, America had a huge appetite for anything Walnut. At one point Walnut trees were on the verge of almost hitting the endangered speicies list. Walnut became so expensive, that other companies started using plastic wood grained finish, IE Advent, Cerwin Vega, Jensen...etc.

The availability of very good walnut was diminishing to the point that obtaining good walnut veneer had to start to cut into not just JBL's profit margins, but anyone in the furniture industry. I suspect that that is one of the reasons that JBL started to use Oak veneer on the Decade series, and then other finishes, for follow on models like the Ti series, using Teak from offshore sources.

Since that time America, has moved some of it's furniture appetite to Metal, Glass, Plastic and a slew of lighter colored woods, or painted woods. Today nice red and pink Cherry boards are the hard to come by comodity. Walnut has not dropped in price much over the past 10 years, but It has not been going up like good cherry.

The walnut veneer on the earlier JBL speakers should be much more uniform in color, and match from strip to strip, than the later speakers. Non matter how bad the mismatch is, I think that it sure beats any Vinyl coating, or any black painted ash.

Enjoy!

garyl
06-25-2006, 01:11 PM
Well said Edwards! The lathe process which is very similar to a hand help pencil sharpener with razor blade is a fantastic way of producing large, wide veneers. Mighty expensive and tuff to find for us DIY guys.
Pretty tough these days to find Walnut trees large enough to yield 30" wide planks for skimmimng veneer sheets from. Thats why we see alot of seams on the cabinets.

I still think alot of the veneers we see on current speakers are stained or dyed to get color matches that are uniform.
I like the looks of some of these variations of color while others may not.

As you said, any of it beats the Poop out of the trashy Vinyl or painted alternatives.

Gary