Last spring when I decided to make new speakers I wasn't intending to make speaker building a hobby. These weren't to be the first in a long line of speakers built as a way to pass the time, they were to be the most exquisitely crafted pieces I'd ever attempted. Without the normal time and monetary budget constraints that accompany carpentry for hire, I spent endless hours in the pursuit of utter perfection and enjoyed every moment.
As an example of how far I was willing to go in my quest, the curved corners of the cabinet could have been machined into a radius with a router. Had I wanted a radius this step would have taken me about 20 minutes total for both speakers. But I didn't want a radius. I wanted an ellipse. I don't have a tool for an ellipse so I chose to call on the experience I gained shaping my own sailboards back in the 80s and shape the curve by hand. This hand shaped curve needed to be nearly perfect, not because the imperfections would be obvious to the eye, but because the veneer to be applied later is absolutely unforgiving of imperfections. If the corner isn't virtually perfect a bubble or crease could form in the veneer, or it may refuse to wrap the corner at all. With this in mind I spent at least 6 hours, maybe even 8 hours or more, working these curves. In the end the veneer wrapped the corner perfectly and I got the ellipse I wanted.
Other aspects of the project went about the same way. I spent hours under bright lights with +2 reading glasses detail sanding the veneered surface in preparation for finish. Every step was a labor of love. I put every ounce of skill, patience, and craftsmanship (and my heart and soul) into these speakers. Of all the things I've ever created I think I'm proudest of these speakers. I wanted something I could enjoy for the rest of my life. I wanted something that looked and sounded beautiful. I swung for the fence and the outcome was a home run.
The other night we had some people over for a holiday party. We had a lot of people over, in fact. When I noticed someone had moved a wooden chair directly in front of one of my speakers, about 2 inches away, I cringed. But they're just speakers, and we're all adults, right?
I was sitting next to the woman sitting in the chair directly in front of my speaker when I noticed her reaching down toward the seat of the chair with both hands. In that moment I thought "Oh no, you wouldn't………" And she did. She abruptly moved the chair back, crashing into my speaker, knocking it over into the wall. I quickly grabbed the speaker and kept it from falling into the media cabinet ( another piece I built that I'm very proud of) and settled it back to the floor upright. I didn't say a word. I was both heartbroken and dumfounded. I noticed the chair was now about 1/4 inch away from the speaker, and I couldn't help but stare at that gap and the damage, and worry about the potential for additional damage from the chair placed so close. The woman never turned to look at the speaker for damage, nor did she glance back at the damage to the wall (a wall that I had patched and textured and freshly painted in September) but instead asked me in a confrontational tone if I was worried about my speaker. I replied, "Well, if you could move your chair a couple inches forward I would feel better." She begrudgingly obliged, then said "Are you really worried about your speaker? You love me more than the speaker don't you?"
There was never a hint of an apology, nor did she ever look at the damage to the front and the back of the speaker, or at the damage to the wall. She seemed rather indignant, and acted as though I had done something wrong by being concerned.
I still don't get it..........
Repairing the speaker would take me so much time and effort, and there is no guarantee I'd pull it off. The damage is minor. You have to look for it to see it. I may have to live with it and remember that they were once perfect, or at least, as perfect as I could make them.