Considering Kestrel Hot Rods, but I'll want to refinish them

After losing out on a set of Kestrel 2s, I'm looking at a set of older Hot Rods. Price isn't bad, but I'll have to drive a few hours to fetch them. The problem is the finish. Seller thinks they were originally Cherry, but now they're painted black. I really hate painted wood, black most of all. So if I go for them, I'll have to strip and refinish them. This obviously isn't a speaker issue per se, but are there things to watch out for, or recommendations beyond removing the drivers before starting?

I undertook similar work a few years ago when I picked up a set of Ohm Walsh 2XO, finished in what looked like white wall paint. They were cheap, and I needed a new project. I stripped down to the bare oak veneer, added a little more stain, and finished with a poly coat. Never could get them to sound right in my space, so I sold them.
Depends on how well they were prepared for painting I guess. I believe Pat used a clear coat of some sort (lacquer) on his speakers (chime in here Pat) and that should help keep the paint out of the grain. How much they were sanded is the other unknown. And why were they painted? May have been beat up enough that the best way to cover up the damage was filler/bondo, sand and paint over.

A good stripper works best.


Junior Member
It may be easier to re-veneer than to strip paint. Commercial veneer is super thin and can be sanded through in a heartbeat if not very careful.
It's the risk that has me hesitating vs the potential reward if what lies beneath is good. I have a bit more experience stripping than veneering. Aside from the work on the Ohm Walsh, a few years ago I picked up a couple of Snell K7 bookshelf speakers. I say couple and not set because one speaker was Cherry, the other was gloss black. I managed to strip the black down to the MDF, then layered a 1' square of Cherry on the left and right sides using contact cement. (I couldn't do the back due to the terminal cutout and the port.) The contact held, even around the curved corner, but aligning it just right was a pain as the stuff is unforgiving. One side came out straight, the other not quite. (I sold the pair, and found another plus an LCR7, all in Cherry, earlier this year.)

I suppose I wouldn't know if there's healthy veneer underneath unless I went forward with this. (If it's not, new veneer won't be cheap.) That, and the hours of driving to fetch it, are why I'm still mulling the purchase.