Two Pairs of JBL Speakers
This photo-essay details the restoration of a pair of JBL L100 Century,
and a pair of JBL 4311's. The L100's are going to be re-veneered with
quarter-sawn sapele mahogany veneer from "Certainly Wood". The 4311's will
simply be sanded and refinished. I'll be installing new cane grill cloth on both
All the components work on these speakers. The only flaw is
one tweeter has the dustcap pushed in. I'll take some photos
of the components later, they are beautifully made, like all the JBL
speakers of the 70's.
Here's the "before" shot! These originally had the
segmented foam grills and someone replaced them with similar foam.
You can tell it's a replacement because the squares on the foam are not
evenly centered in the grill. I was not able to find replacement
foam grills, so I'll be installing cane grill cloth.
The 4311's had a few issues with the veneer, like this chip.
I'll have to repair a few chips like this.
ON the L100's, here's what I was facing. With this kind of
problem, there's not much you can do. I thought about filling
the gap and painting the grain back in. But that still really
wouldn't look right. So I'll be reveneering these.
L100 grill all cleaned up. But I'm not even going to use
the grill frames for these.
Another 4311 repair.
The L100 tweeter foams will be replaced. The L100's are
quite a bit older than the 4311's I'd say.
L100 grill without the foam.
I cleaned them up for nothing! Oh well!
Maybe I can sell them as is on ebay.
I had to straighten out the grill frames because they were slightly
I sprayed water on the wood and then weighted them down over a
piece of wood. This actually worked!
Prepping for sanding.
A couple of AR4x's snuck into the shop to be refinished too.
The 4311's are sanded to 120 grit here.
I'm adding an edge molding to the front of the L100's.
This will be covered with the sapele veneer on 2 sides and then painted
black on the inside edges.
L100's with the moldings and new grill frames that will inset into
the space made by the moldings. I'm using cane grill cloth.
Sapele veneer glued on the sides and trimmed. The darker areas
are where I wetted the
veneer tape to scrape it off.
Glue on the strips for the front of the speaker.
The veneer has been sanded to 120 grit and the fronts and backs
of the L100's have new black paint.
The new veneer is all on the L100's and sanded to 120 grit.
The fronts and backs have new black paint. Now I'll start the
detailing process to the veneer with woodfill and final sanding.
Once the detailed sanding and filling are done, I put a coat of Watco
Danish oil on them and do even more detail work to make sure that no
glue shows. You can see how red the Sapele veneer is now.
It really is a striking veneer. Definately a candidate for my own
Klipsch Khorn project when that day comes.
Here, the walnut 4311's are all set for finish. I'll be using
multiple coats of Minwax wipe-on poly, sanding with 400 grit paper in between
I'll be making new grills for both pairs of speakers with cane weave
cloth. I think the light color of the grill cloth along with the
redish wood tone will look very classy.
Here's the driver set from the 4311's.
Mids and tweets from the L100's.
These are really coming together now. I still have the final detailing
and cleaning to do.
I'll be making additional grills with plain black grill cloth, so the new
owners will have a choice between the two.
The L100's are now finished. I made black grills for them so the
new owner would have a choice of grills.
I purchased new foams for the tweeters.
The fronts and backs have new black paint.
One of the shortcomings of the L100 line was the small spring-loaded binding
posts. Here I've installed new gold-plated binding posts that will accept
larger wire and connectors.
One of the woofers has staining on it. I thought it best not to try and
clean this because I didn't want to damage the woofer cone.
Just another couple of photos of this most beautiful wood veneer, Quarter-Sawn Sapele.
The rest of the photos below are of the 4311's.
Speaker binding posts on one of the 4311's. Notice the serial number, which
was originally on the front as part of the plate at the bottom.
I did not repaint the backs of the speakers, perhaps I should have. The backs
are not perfect, they have some marks/scuffs.
The refinish of the walnut veneer really made them pop back to life.
I did repaint the fronts so they are very clean. Drivers are very clean too,
with the exception of one tweeter that has the center pushed in.
I'm sure replacement dust covers are available, and I've seen tweeters for sale on
ebay pretty regularly. I just decided it wasn't too noticeable and not really
worth getting a new tweeter for.
The L-pads for the mids and tweets have been cleaned and they work well.
I installed walnut veneer around these knobs to replace the worn out metal plate that
was originally there.
I cut out the JBL logo and installed it over the veneer.
I made new black grills.
Here they are with the cane grills.