Jump to content

Vandersteens model 2

Recommended Posts

Ok, I'll play a bit.  I think if I wanted to do a project like this, I would have just built new bass cabinets with fresh materials.  I am thinking of the time needed to reconstruct a new set of cabinets vs the repairs and then figure in the cost of the materials used vs a couple of slabs of the right MDF....

I'm not sure, but knowing me, I'd rather build from scratch.  I wonder if the resonance differences will make a difference or not.  It will be interesting to see how they sound after all of this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/28/2022 at 11:17 AM, arni said:

Does anyone really care about this project or is it too far off topic? Documentation, even of the larger steps, takes a lot of time and slows things. I cannot snap pics with my phone. If no-one is particularly interested I'll skip it. Thoughts?

I am compelled to read this thread to satisfy my curiosities:

  • Will he stick with this project or throw in the towel? (What's the project owner's tolerance threshold?)
  • If the project goes to completion, what will the results be? (Will updated / improved components replace the original ones? Did you modify the dimensions of the speakers internal / external & why you decided to? Will you achieve sonic / cosmetic success, or did something unexpected happen? Etc.)

These questions keep me reading this string. 🤔

Til the next installation ...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Boom Boom,

Whatever happens, I applaud the OP for not only tenacity, but ingenuity in trying to repair the damage these speakers have endured.

As a gardener, I have found I learn more from my failures than my successes. (Unfortunately, the vast majority would dismiss my efforts).


  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@ctsooner: I like building with nice fresh material too. But if you look at the bottom there is a partition in there. As far as I can tell it is full height. Wires run through it. Some outside corners are hard and then transition to a radius. There is the plate on the back routed for the connectors and there is an electronic board somewhere with all its wiring. There are two holes to cut for the drivers.  and I have to build all the other stuff any way I play it. So a lot of detail to observe and duplicate and a lot of construction. And I would be using splines and crossed dowels in the joinery all the same. Think $80 just for the MDF and that is interior grade. Or, for just globbing on a patch and doing a few splines (just eyeballed them and it can be seen where I misplaced one) I can call it solid and walk away. I spent $20 on overpriced MDF and otherwise am using what I have ,had to buy two posts, PO  cut 'em too short, had to buy resin, mine had aged out, etc. I haven't done anything in the shop since an accident in 2016 and materials have gone bad, tools have either broken them selves or been thieved off by my little brother so much fussing around there. And I am very disabled now, so short and slow working days.


@boom boom: so far everything has been very straightforward. In the evening I plan my moves over a refreshing glass of painkiller. There is a lot of what has to be none in what order and what elements of geometry depend on what others. Richard is using a CNC and dowels for alignment. I will be using edges. So I have to create those edges and determine which edges depend one which other edges. (hint: i's all about those poles). Much of today was spent getting the top off the "good one" so I could use it for a pattern to establish the edges. And so on. A professional does not throw in the towel, a pro finishes the job and cashes their check...or in this case listens to some music. But I take your point and am wary of letting the thing turn into a big inertia laden project. As far as modifications I am planning on adding redii to the internal hard corners up on the tweeter tower and around he base box and adding a ballast box with mini toe kick (for finger lifting) to the underside of the base.


@gdnrbob: Frankly I'm scared to remove the drivers although I would like them out of the way.  They are catching dust but worse things would be catching dust with them out and thence down a rabbit hole. I did scab on bars so the cabinets can lay face or back down without them contacting the bench and I am just being very careful.


Wacked off the splines and top dowels on this one. Avoided slashing my hand with that saw (for once). Inspected other side, needs sanding. Went out and bought new tool (best part of any project). 


Moved to the other one. I need the top off and have it be clean and smooth enough to use for a pattern. I will be making both the tops and bottoms out of 3/4 material instead of 1/2" so I need two tops and two bottoms. I want to cut them tomorrow. The top had 3 different types of goo on it: clear bathtub silicone, blch tarry awefullness and white rock hard stuff. And the stubs of the T50 staples that broke off. Ground the stubs with the dremel and took some deep cuts with a cutoff wheel hoping to slash the factory 1/4 crown staples (didn't work). Then set too with the scraper. Got the silicone off and despite having one of the best scrapers made had poor luck with the black tar. Hopefully got enough off. Ignored the white stuff, it's thin. Then drilled out the dowels not going all the way through.  I could have skipped the corner ones. 3 were fractured below the plate. One was semi-intact but the post was fractured and the dowel was hanging in air. But whomever tried to fix the post dumped enough glue in it that it's really pretty solid. I'll be splining those into the top so it will need restored. On the center dowels the drilling paid off and I could see the marks of the drill on the dowels. Anyway some quick action with a BFH and the top popped off, and without breaking the posts away from the base.


Otherwise the top was a sea of 1/4 crown staples. Shot strait into end grain they are not worth much but will keep something from shifting sideways. I'll cut or pull them and I have my pattern.


Talked to Stacy next door about painting them. I watched her paint her front door. She had it half open over a nice hardwood floor. She didn't get one drop of paint on that floor doing two coats. And she painted it bright purple (some of her interior walls are gold leaf). I like her craftsmanship and sense of color for front doors. So I might do more sanding and filling for a better paint job.

13 vandersteen cut splines.jpg

14 vandersteen bottom open.jpg

15 vandersteen mystery dowel.jpg

16 vandesrteen split post.jpg

17 vandersteen top off inside.jpg

18 vandersteen top dowels.jpg

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, arni said:

@gdnrbob: Frankly I'm scared to remove the drivers although I would like them out of the way.  They are catching dust but worse things would be catching dust with them out and thence down a rabbit hole. I did scab on bars so the cabinets can lay face or back down without them contacting the bench and I am just being very careful.


Keeping wood dust and any staple steel particles out of the drivers could likely be done with some tape and plastic.

as the English are fond of saying, “mind the gap”.

Edited by Holmz
Link to comment
Share on other sites

now we are getting somewhere with the pics... Ha...  Very cool stuff.  You may still want to put cardboard over the woof's so they don't get anything on them by accident.  I noticed you used tape over a driver (or it sort of looks like it).  I hope you are tracking hours to fix as that's of interest to me, lol.  If I read correctly, the cabinets were routed to a radius on the sides of the drivers for sound propagation purposes?  Would make sense and if so, it's a small detail that makes a big difference I bet. If I'm wrong (often), then please disregard this post!  hehehehe

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@ctsooner, yes, it looks like radii have been cut to affect how sound travels around hard outside corners. I wonder if Richard would care to comment about hard inside corners. I will be adding radii there but was thinking small. If there was an audio advantage to bigger I could do that too, 2"? 3"?


First I need a router bit to cut those radii. I look through them all and only the least desirable is close. So I break out the radius gauges and they only go to 1/4. I thought I had at least one bigger one I got for something but can't find it.


Then I figure out the pattern bit. I'm going to cut from the top so I need a top bearing bit, But with the radii on my pattern only half the bearing width will engage ...and I still need enough blade to get through 3/4. I find one but only after I had bought another. So that has to go back. The project is getting to those sorts of stages.


I cut the 3/4 MDF sheet up to make the top and bottom blanks. I rip the wrong way but it will all work out. Also cut out the pieces for the ballast boxes out of 1/2" but for get to cut the strips for routing the dowels.


Whack the ends off the dowels the last guy tried to use. He attempted panel glue. Any glue made is stronger than MDF. It ain't about the strength of the  glue. Will save one to set up the  router and the rest went into the bucket o' dowels.


Throw some Dykem on a strait edge and scribe the precise height of the existing dowels (never measure when one can transfer). then cut the new dowels.


capture the angle needed for the wedge strips and set up the saw for those. Do some test cuts to dial it in. Good enough.


Pull nails on the pattern, break a corner, have to fix it. Get compulsive (mistakes make me that way) and scrape it some more to get black gunk off.


Do the angle cut out of a thick piece of maple stock that was handy. Big mistake. It was rock maple and a very deep cut so now my blade hates me.


Get some oak cove molding (being too lazy to make any) and skim it down so I won't have such fat distortion inducing edges. Another mistake. My blade hates me even more. Skim cuts in oak? I should go back to drinking.  I'm thinking the pinner is going to hate me too. Starts raining and I have to shut down. I'll finish the other side of the cove another day  while I am set up but then I am going to have to find another blade. haven't cleaned the last one yet so I suppose I can do 2 for i and see what is left of the edges. I just traded a very sharp heavy blade that would have been perfect for skimming to a guy from New Zeeland for a drill to give the guy next door . He's taking it home with the sa he bought. . Yeah, get this on the plane.


Rather tangential, and just for Richard, two pic of the last speakers I made. These are for my van. The idea is they live on long cords and when the van is loaded they are set up on top of the load so the music does not get blocked. They need to be light and easy to move, very strong, have a grippy texture so that can be gripped with one hand and be SOOOOO ugly that no one will break a window to steal them. (those are rather nice Alpine speakers). So Baltic birch ply, some texture, flat black rattle can. They don't fully score on ugly. Lot of artsy/funky in there. Maybe some purple dots on the triangles to give a more diseased flair. But the artsy/funky crowd doesn't steal speakers to sell to pawnshops to buy crack...





21 vandersteen radius gauges.jpg

19 vandersteen pattern bit.jpg

22 vandersteen cutting blanks.jpg

24 vandersteen cutting half inch balast boxes.jpg

23 vandersteen cutting old dowels.jpg

25 vandersteen cutting precise dowels .jpg

26 vandersteen setting wedge blade angle .jpg

27 vandersteen wedge angle test .jpg

28 vandersteen cove rip. .jpg

20 vandersteen clamp corner.jpg

my ugly speakers 1.jpg

my ugly speakers 2.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd pop off the Alpine labels and put on something with Galactic Basic if you don't want the speakers to be identified/stolen.

The Galactic Script : SpaceDandy

And, thanks for posting all this. Though many will think it much ado, I find it very interesting.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Where to start? many distractions, all of them annoying and all of them concerned with finding stuff. Took a day off and did some organizing. Then another distraction, the dangerous kind. With fancy audiophile speakers I need an equipment rack so that has to be built. Expanding project syndrome. I'll put it in a separate post.


I was just guessing at the size of the ballast boxes for the underside. The only dimension I knew was the depth of the kick. So I go through them, and check the volume and calculate the weight. I was thinking 35 lbs would be good. They will come in at 40. Good enough but that audioplile grade ballast is expensive!


Then I cut some strips of glass. The glass is old and this goes poorly. The heck with it. get a coat of Partall wax on it and set aside to dry.


Do the rough cut on the blanks. It's hot out but with the aid of some beverage I get them all done.


Put in a new blade and do the fianal cut on the wedge strip. I sincerely hope I got this right. The new blade is of little use. I think the saw has gotten it self ut of alignment. The toe of the fence needs to move over .002", which is a ticklish adjustment and requires finding the fixture.


The OEM paint has made a witness line on the side. I capture it and scribe it on the inside of the cover for the plugs.


Lots of sanding before bringing in the surface with a finish coat of bondo. To my surprise it comes out rather well. Another coat will not be needed.


Put a coat of PVA on my glass pieces and also a thing piece of metal I have waxed up, having forgotten it before.

I open a fresh can of Bondo glass. Another surprise. It's better than my home brew mix of milled fiber and resin. The premix has longer fiber and like mine no talc or glass bead. But it is gloopy to work with. Doesn't want to form a standing bead.


I stuff the shattered pole and clamp the metal around it. Then stuff more in the top.


I mold the broken corners against pieces of glass. That interior partition turns out to just be a brace between the sides. maybe something to do with those screws going through the bottom?

Mold the upper corner too.


Pop the glass off with some difficulty. Why do I think I put wax on one side of the glass and the PVA on the other?Any way I got all the molds off.


The pole is very nice. Lot rounder than it looks. The layers of different colors throw the eye off. And oh boy is it solid. I am seeing the air grinder for the top....so much fun with anything that has glass in it.











29 vandersteens check ballast box.jpg

30 vandersteens cut and wax glass.jpg

31 vandersteens rough cut blanks.jpg

31 vandersteens done roughing.jpg

32 vandersteens cut final wedge strip.jpg

33 vandersteens capture witness line.jpg

34 vandersteens sanding.jpg

35 vandersteens ceck sanding.jpg

36 vandersteens pva on glass and metal.jpg

37 vandersteens metal clamped on.jpg

37 vandersteens metal clamped on.jpg

38 vandersteens mold lower corner.jpg

39 vandersteens mold upper corner.jpg

41 vandersteens pole mlded.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Meanwhile all I have had to listen to are my mystery bookshelf speakers and a pair of  Realistic 11's, both of which lack bass. So I broke down and bought a woofer. But both my dollys are under the model twos so I got another from harbor Fright to get the woofer off the floor. I make a wooden platform for it based on some marble shelves That have been leaning against the garage for years. I can cut them to length and set them side by side and have some mass under my woofer, eventually. I need to keep the momentum going on the 2's.

But then I realize that if I am going to have fancy speakers I need an audiophile grade equipment rack. So I looked at racks. They cost thousands, are ugly things with big pillar legs. people put sand in the legs for ballast which is right up there with using  granite surface plates for granite bases.

I have been getting rid of my entire library leaving me with an almost empty bookcase. It's tall, shallow, 3/4 oak veneer ply with oak tape on the front of 3/4 ply shelves. Thick solid oak trim. Very thin ply back. Tippy, a drum, the shelves are on pins and will vibrate and most importantly it isn't on wheels.


My dollys are under the model twos so I got a pair from harbor fright to move the thing around. I cut one up and with some shimming I glued the cross bars and wheels to the underside. Then I put my lead collection (80-100#) on the bottom most shelf.  End of tippy and I got wheels. Plan is to build a shelf that duplicates an existing but a touch stiffer and screw it into the carcass. Then make a double thickness heavy shelf that is narrow and short so it will not touch the carcass and float it on the fixed one to control vibration. Order some Sorbothane, I'm running low.

I root around in the shed and find some long old 3/4 ply shelves. Quick work to rip them to width. Not quick work to chop to length. My neighbor still has my chop saw so I have to set up the table saw to do it.

Get it done and also cut some masonite for the surfaces. I laminate two pieces of 3/4 and a pice of masonite together for the floating heavy shelf and just add some masonite to the duplicate shelf.

Then rip and plane some 1/4" oak for the front edge. i hate setting up the planer for less than a big run but nothing for it.

Trim the masonite with a laminate trimmer then glue on the oak edging. With formica I do it  the other way.

Then trim the oak with the shelf edge trimming jig (I make a lot of shelves with solid wood facings. I hate wood tape. So that router is dedicated to the jig))

THEN I realize I need yet another floating shelf for the CD players. Not enough 3/4 left for a double thickness and I want heavier anyway. So I will screw one of the existing shelves into the carcass and make a weighted floating shelf for the disc machines.

Cut up an old pine shelf for spacer strips and lay out a pattern of lead biscuits. Almost 20# worth. Shoot expanding foam around the lead and slam the cover on and nail it. Throw two cinder blocks and two pavers on for clamps.

Hauling those pavers across the yard I suddenly rethink cutting up the marble. Quick to resize the dolly and move the feet on the woofer. Slow to get out the stone saw and cut up a bunch of marble. And I have the height to work with.

dolly on platform.jpg

1-cross cutting shelves.jpg

press masonite on double shelves.jpg

trim masonite.jpg

plane oak edge strips.jpg

nail oak edge strips.jpg

surface plane oak edge strips.jpg

lead blocks laid out.jpg

lead blocks foamed.jpg

cinder blocks and pavers on shelf.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@gdnrbob, actually the poles are oversize. I was looking further into this today. i have circle templates in increments of 1/32" and couldn't find one to fit. I could have replaced it but then it wouldn't match the other three which has implications for the end caps. And then I would have had to spend money and I am saving up for a new CD player that will replace my now dead music server. I am also trying to use up (or otherwise get rid of) as much of the stuff I have around as possible so buying new stuff is a last resort....I have a HUGE amount of stuff around. I haven't dipped into the exotics yet. I figure I should listen to these things before I hit them with the carbon fiber.  Anyway what I was doing there was restoring the shattered end of the pole by stuffing it with reinforced resin then wrapping it with thin aluminum held by the hose clamps as a mold. Another pole on the same speaker has a damaged end but not screwed up by a previous failed repair attempt so I can just wrap it in glass and that will do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@CTsooner: so I go out in the morning to see if that foam has blown my shelf apart. It didn't. Buy speaking of the twilight zone, the foam had continued to expand from the can, dribble out the nozzle then reach over and get..uh..intimate...with the wood glue bottle.

foam attacking glue bottle 1.jpg

foam attacking glue bottle 2.jpg

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Today was not exactly rainbows and unicorns. First the bit with the foam. I have a bunch of low expansion around but I didn't know that meant kinky too. But I get the shelf trimmed, edged and the edge trimmed. Then I notice that in the overnight darkness of the shop one pole had detached itself from the carcass of the 'good' speaker and was hanging by the dowel.  One more #$(&^  thing! So I go have a smoke and think things over. I realize this  is an opportunity to make the missing wings with the pole more out of the way. So I get into the geometry and lay it out on my last bit of 3/4 MDF. I had been wondering about clamping but turns out the wing have parallel edges across the carcass. Also they have a handy gap at one end so they can go in after the poles.


After laying it out 4 times it still ain't right. So I get into the drafting gear and do it on paper and find the persistent error I have been making. I need to connect to a point that is in thin air. When I fill it in with short straightedges things come together. The paper pattern fits like a charm. I transfer to wood and start cutting. Holes are easy. Then, thinking I'm clever I go to the pocket hole jig so I can set it up while itstill have something to clamp it to. If I had any brains I would have then cut the final holes seeing as I won't have anything to clamp to later. Then I start cutting the parts out and things go south in a hurry. On the first cut, A simple strait cut, I get a kick back. Only the second one in my whole life and I ain't young. I get hurt. The part now has a curve in it. 

The pics slow down here. I don't want to get blood on the camera. I manage to rescue things somewhat but I make another error and one come out a bit small, and come pocket hole time nothing to clamp to so that gets strange. I really, really don't want to make these things again. The on;y 3/4 I have left is under one of the 2's on the dolly and it is..worn. I need to sleep on things and see if my patience recovers, I need to see if I saved a copy of my pattern. What I have will do but it really isn't what it should be. And I'm not getting back on the saw until I can go through it which is probably a two day job seeing as I have to move my meticously organized woodpile to get to the service hatch.

42 vandersteens postpulled off dowel.jpg

43 vandersteens lay out wings on wood.jpg

44 vandersteens cut paper pattern.jpg

45 vandersteens set up pockets on wood.jpg

46 vandersteens fit wings.jpg

47 vandersteens pockets on wings.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Needing at least some illusion of glory I jump back on the equipment rack.  Lead filled shelf gets trimmed, edged, planed. The fixed shelves get their pocket holes, 4 each end, two from above, two from below. I might get  them in tonight.

Still thinking on how to make a proper vibration absorber. Have to make a trip out to the plastic and metal tubing pile.

Look over the cement pavers again. I can cross stack them. 4 will come out at 16" square, 3" thick and 74 lbs. And the price is so right being free and all. probably cost a dollah two thurty if you had to go out and buy them. I got some black spray paint too so I can make them look more technical.




pockets on shelves.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a job you are doing. Wow...  As a builder, I always wanted to make my own speakers, but I didn't understand the most important part.... the electronics, lol. I helped a friend years ago build a cabinet out of Corian.  They were bookshelf speakers and the Corian was easy to mills, but they sounded like ass, lol...  This whole thread has brought back some of those memories I think!  Hang in there Arni.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, ctsooner said:

What a job you are doing. Wow...  As a builder, I always wanted to make my own speakers, but I didn't understand the most important part.... the electronics, lol. I helped a friend years ago build a cabinet out of Corian.  They were bookshelf speakers and the Corian was easy to mills, but they sounded like ass, lol...  This whole thread has brought back some of those memories I think!  Hang in there Arni.

Maybe they were Varken speakers?
Motto: ”Our speakers squeal”

There is a whole slippery slope to fall down with diffraction and I am not sure cabinet resonances with Corian would be good or bad.
(Hence god only knows why they sounded bad.)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Read through the instructions on th model 2s yet again. maybe a newer model than mine. The biwiring stuff makes no sense. Take two 10 ft wire pairs and jumper them on one end vs the other makes no difference. So why the big deal. But my Klipsck towers have two sets of binding posts and they come jumpered with very nice jumpers. The manual says it's for bi wiring and consult with your amp manufacturer. I thought this very odd, no mention of the extra binding posts in the sales literature (and I would expect it there if it was just audiophile phluff). i hunt around the web and everyone else is wondering too. Turns out they different posts are for bi-amping: they feed different sets of drivers. I never forget what P.T. Barnum said, but the important thing to remember about him was that he was in the entertainment biz and he delivered. One was not supposed to apply critical thinking. Sit back, pass the popcorn an enjoy the show. So anyway I made up a set of bi-amp cables anyway, figure I can try them on the model 2s seeing as there is such great emphasis. (and despite any reasoning for that emphasis...never mind despite all the derision I ran into on the web or "fools bi-amping") Pulled the jumpers and wired them up. Couldn't tell the difference. Then all the smoke leaked out of my preamp (problem on a patch cord) and that was the end of testing. 

So I have a cheapie amp coming in with volume and tone controls and most importantly a usb stick port and some sort of DAC chip. make a good garage stereo or I can play with bi-amping the low end of the Klipsches.


Meanwhile my health has been poor and I've been out of the shop for a few days. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Corian was a counter top material in vouge for a while. Supposed to look like granite and it would take a machined edge like granite. But it was expensive and easy to scratch. The market moved to real granite. MDF has a hard surface and a very soft core. And it's cheap. The exterior grade is denser and harder.


I have noticed that guitars and violins and the like are not made of mdf. They are made of thin, resonant clear grained wood. Clear cedar resonates. MDF does not....or not easily.

Edited by arni
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, arni said:

Corian was a counter top material in vouge for a while. Supposed to look like granite and it would take a machined edge like granite. But it was expensive and easy to scratch. The market moved to real granite. MDF has a hard surface and a very soft core. And it's cheap. The exterior grade is denser and harder.


I have noticed that guitars and violins and the like are not made of mdf. They are made of thin, resonant clear grained wood. Clear cedar resonates. MDF does not....or not easily.

Arni, there is a big difference between and instrument and a transducer!  An instrument is made in such a way that everything used is part of what makes that instruments unique sound.  A speaker is supposed to be a transducer with as little sound of its own as possible, none would be best!  MDF is a very useful material for this purpose when properly designed and braced would be used even if it was more expensive.  Multiple materials, multiple thickness and carefully chosen adhesive's can allow Constrained Layer Damping which is the one of the only ways to handle the tremendous amount of energy to which a speaker cabinet is exposed.  You want the cabinet to be silent so the drivers can speak clearly.  I know some designers make speakers with the cabinet contributing to the sound but this is like a tone control that is permeant.   I believe in tone controls but I don't know of one setting that would serve all music.  RV

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...