Transforming old speakers

A while back i was given a pair of Mission book shelf speakers which had been painted in the past but best of all for free! .  The Speakers, tweeters and grills were in good nick and sounded good but just didn’t look very nice.  I always wanted a set of oak speaker cabinets to match my lounge furniture and decided to investigate if i could re-cover the speakers in oak veneer to achieve the look i wanted.


  1. Used Misson Bookshelf speakers (free)
  2. real wood oak veneer , pre-glued iron on (eBay £20)
  3. clear worktop oil (local diy store £5)

1. sharp contractors knife , ideally a slim type so the handle doesn’t get the way when cutting along an edge.

2.blades ,its important you always have a sharp blade else you will cause the veneer ends to chip etc.


1) I started by removing the speakers fronts including drivers, leaving the cabinet and rear bare.

2) Then i removed all the old laminate from cabinet to reveal the chipboard cabinet.

3) I used 80 grit sand paper to remove any old glue and also provide a good key for the new glue to stick.

4) I cut the veneer to size allowing a few extra mm on each size for shrinkage as well as meeting in the correct place on the corner joins. Take care using knifes !

My tip: As the real wood oak veneer can come rolled up and wants to recoil i decided to leave each piece pressed flat under a heavy bit of wood for a few hours prior to application. I hoped this would help flatten it out and stop it lifting when the glue is trying to set.


Before starting make sure you do a few tests on wood scraps ect. I even had a few failed attempts myself and practice does mean perfect in this type of job !

There are quite a few guides and methods on the Internet for the application of wood veneer you may even get one from your supplier .

This how i was successfully:

5) The wood veneer was placed on the side of the speaker in question and held in place. I decided to do the sides first and the top and bottom last so the joins would be on the sides not the top.

6) Using an iron (set to cotton heat) pressure was applied starting at one side moving toward the other going along the grain.

7) With the iron removed and the surface still warm , apply some force using a sanding block making sure it was stuck down securely paying attention to the edges.

8) With the surface now cooled i next spaced out the opposite edge with masking tape providing protection as well as an edge to run the knife blade against. This spacing would result in the trimmed edge being a few millimeters over what was required.
Make sure you allow for overlap of other side

9) I Sanded edges flush using fine grit sand paper. Also fill any imperfections using a suitable wood filler.

10) stain / oil . I tried a few different products on a few scraps and found clear worktop oil provided the correct colour required. 3 coats applied leaving a few hours between .

11) lastly re-assembled the speakers and tested them.

After getting the hang of applying the wood veneer the speakers turned out really well even the joins ! . I’m no audio expert but they doesn’t seem to effect the way they sound.
The main achievement of this project is giving something a new life and improving the look for little money £25



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