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Thread: Original L100 Century coming back to life

  1. #1
    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    Original L100 Century coming back to life

    About six-years ago I got these early L100s from the original owner who has been a friend since high-school and college. These were the first L100s I ever heard. He bought them because he was fascinated by my 030 system in the C37 cabinets. They are the early in-line-driver version. Serial numbers are 34314 and 34.316

    I've been quite active with them recently, attempting to repair the damage and abuse these suffered from his daze (sic) in the ZBT frat house at UVA in the '70s, later from his kids who poked in dust domes and destroyed the tweeters, and from the many moves these went through, including bad packing by the last moving company in whose packaging I received them.

    So today I completed the repair of the first grille frame which came to me with broken particle board and cracked and missing walnut strips, but with a good set of unpainted (dark grey/black) Quadrex replacements I had talked my friend into back when I first joined this group. The Quadrex required some repair and cleaning themselves but they are mostly done. Along the way I've found that the walnut strips on the early systems were at least 1mm slimmer than the later versions. I ordered a set from Steve at Huntley and that's when I found they matched a pair of free grilles from the later versions but were thicker than what was left of the strips on "my" original in-line-driver. They are fitted and the first two applications of Watco Natural has been soaking into the walnut.

    So this has brought up several questions in my mind which had me spending much of the day searching and reading the archives here, to no avail. It was fun re-reading Giskard, Zilch, and T-dome's comments on the L100 and the newbie owners who pop in here with the same basic questions. But even I couldn't seem to find satisfactory answers to some:

    1. What is the serial number range for the L100? I saw a post making mention of some earlier than these, but is the range actually known? Is there a correlation to the serial number and date of manufacture?

    2. What is that extra hole in the grille frame for? I now know that either the early or the late frame will fit the in-line versions and the cutouts seem to be intended to accommodate either version. But what's with that extra hole the same size as the four for the pegs? And this pair have wooden pegs. Was that common on the in-line version?

    3. Did anyone ever come up with a readily available substitute for the favored Krylon Semi-Flat Black #1613? I've read everything I could find on this and other sites (Mustang, Corvette) and there's nowhere around here to buy it from an industrial supplier and Granger wants almost as much to ship a case as it costs to buy a case. I shot the first post-repair coat with one of my old cans of #1613 and then, after replacing the walnut strips, used the new Krylon "Satin" #7513 to paint the bottom of the walnut strips and the "gap" where the particle-board shows and the sheen and blending is nowhere as good as #1613. In fact, many hours later, it's still not dry to the touch! I have other Krylon "satin" to try still, but the old 1613 was my favorite even before I tried painting old JBLs.

    4. I have plenty of JBL grille badges (none came with the L100s from my friend) but were they originally Velcro-ed in-place so they could be rotated depending on speaker orientation? Or were they attached in some other fashion?

    5. I did several test samples of finishes for the walnut strips using scraps after mitering them. The best results seem to come from just straight Watco Danish Oil finish in "natural". But my old can of it was starting to turn to a gel, so I looked into replacing it. Lowe's didn't carry the "natural" and I was unable to find it on the website of Watco's new owner Rust-Oleum. So, on my day off, I went to my favorite hardware store where I'd bought the last can and they had three cans of the "natural". I asked them if they could tell from their price sticker on my old can when I might have bought that to compare current pricing. They said likely 2008. That price tag showed $8.99. Today's purchase was $14.99, but well worth it just to have a new can, but also to help keep alive one of the last "real" hardware stores around here.

    I know you guys love visuals, so here's a selection of shots taken along the way, mostly to shame the original owner who told me they were in perfect condition when he sold them to me in the moving boxes. And then refunded most of that cost back to me once I sent him pictures!



















    ". . . as you have no doubt noticed, no one told the 4345 that it can't work correctly so it does anyway."óGreg Timbers

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Looking good!

    I am not 100% sure, but I believe the L100 badges originally had a pin which was pushed into a small hole in the foam.

    Keep it up and youíll have a very nice pair.


    Widget

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    Heather [Senor member] hjames's Avatar
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    Looking VERY good Mr Phil!
    The pair of L100s I bought used had the pin-style JBL badge. (As did the L36 Decades I bought new in 1976).
    Bart at Indycraft (a now-gone vendor that made foam grills) told me to use a drop of Silicon RTV to affix the badge into the foam.
    But you can't spin the badge for Horizontal use once you fix them that way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    Looking good!

    I am not 100% sure, but I believe the L100 badges originally had a pin which was pushed into a small hole in the foam.

    Keep it up and youíll have a very nice pair.

    Widget
    2ch: RPi-4, Oppo, Acurus RL-11, Carver TFM-25, VonSchw VR-4, Heath AS-1348, JBL L212 (2pr)
    7: TIVO, Oppo BDP103D, B&K, UREI 809A, JBL B460

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    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hjames View Post
    Looking VERY good Mr Phil!
    The pair of L100s I bought used had the pin-style JBL badge. (As did the L36 Decades I bought new in 1976).
    Bart at Indycraft (a now-gone vendor that made foam grills) told me to use a drop of Silicon RTV to affix the badge into the foam.
    But you can't spin the badge for Horizontal use once you fix them that way.
    I believe these were from Indycraft. I'd asked him if my friend could just buy them unpainted, and that's what he got. Never trimmed the cube for the badge though.
    ". . . as you have no doubt noticed, no one told the 4345 that it can't work correctly so it does anyway."óGreg Timbers

  5. #5
    Heather [Senor member] hjames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BMWCCA View Post
    I believe these were from Indycraft. I'd asked him if my friend could just buy them unpainted, and that's what he got. Never trimmed the cube for the badge though.
    Exactly. I got the same unpainted dark grey foams from Indycraft for the L100s I refurbed years back ...
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    2ch: RPi-4, Oppo, Acurus RL-11, Carver TFM-25, VonSchw VR-4, Heath AS-1348, JBL L212 (2pr)
    7: TIVO, Oppo BDP103D, B&K, UREI 809A, JBL B460

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    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hjames View Post
    Exactly. I got the same unpainted dark grey foams from Indycraft for the L100s I refurbed years back ...
    Looks like the only difference would be that my black leather Poang chairs have black frames. My red ones have the natural frames though!
    ". . . as you have no doubt noticed, no one told the 4345 that it can't work correctly so it does anyway."óGreg Timbers

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    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    This is what Sundays are for!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    Looking good!

    I am not 100% sure, but I believe the L100 badges originally had a pin which was pushed into a small hole in the foam.
    Grilles now complete with the exception of sizing the peg holes after so much paint. Quadrex is glued in-place with spray adhesive and some original badges from my collection pushed through after snipping the cube to fit. Used the pin height on the badges to determine how much cube to cut, and took one deep breath. Had the spring washer for the badge pegs but cut some plastic spacers the size of the badges to go on the back of the foam. I have no idea how they were held on originally but seemed it needed a little something other than just the split/spring washer. Playing the S38 while working on these. Should make for a good comparison when done. (Quadrex grilles are the same color, one in sun and one in shade.)

    ". . . as you have no doubt noticed, no one told the 4345 that it can't work correctly so it does anyway."óGreg Timbers

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    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    After waiting four-days for the Krylon Satin Black to dry, I broke down and ordered six cans of Krylon 1613 Semi-Flat Black from SkyGeeks online, a Krylon Industrial seller. Once you see how much better 1613 is, the money is really no longer an issue. Six cans including shipping and state tax was about $92. Nothing is cheap these days. There are very few things that really work anymore, either!
    ". . . as you have no doubt noticed, no one told the 4345 that it can't work correctly so it does anyway."óGreg Timbers

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    Senior Member 1audiohack's Avatar
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    I just love those. Well done.

    One day I will figure out the geometry of the foam on those grills and make them for everything I own.

    Barry.
    If we knew what the hell we were doing, we wouldn't call it research would we.

  10. #10
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Excellent work!


    Widget

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    Excellent work!Widget
    Within the past two months I've salvaged an abused pair of Gen-1 L100 and an abused pair of DCM TimeFrame 600. I can't call them restored, but they are now working as they should and are mostly presentable. I feel like the local SPCA no-kill shelter: Just doing what I can because . . . what else should be done with these??
    ". . . as you have no doubt noticed, no one told the 4345 that it can't work correctly so it does anyway."óGreg Timbers

  12. #12
    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    Here's the "beauty shot" I sent to the original owner:



    That's about as far as I'm going to take them. Not looking for aesthetic perfection or resale value!
    ". . . as you have no doubt noticed, no one told the 4345 that it can't work correctly so it does anyway."óGreg Timbers

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    Those look pretty good. Pretty, pretty, pretty good!

  14. #14
    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rusty jefferson View Post
    Those look pretty good. Pretty, pretty, pretty good!
    Certainly better than what I started with!

    They were originally used with a JBL SA660, which my friend had already sold when I got the speakers from him.
    Too bad I didn't get that, too!
    ". . . as you have no doubt noticed, no one told the 4345 that it can't work correctly so it does anyway."óGreg Timbers

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    Senior Member DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    What rusty said! Real nice job. Love the vertical arrangement of all the drivers too, wonder why JBL phased that out? Non-mirror imaged cabinets make my OCD itch.
    Also, weren't the woofers on later L100's not flush with the cabinet like yours?

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