KLH Model 17 Restoration

Around 2008 I used frequent the local Salvation Army Family store.  It used to be a nice place to keep your eye open for stuff, but it was  always a hit or miss thing.   But on my first visit I stumbled across some KLH 17’s.   I wasn’t to familiar with them, but thought I’d check out Audiokarma.org first to get an idea if they are worth grabbing.  Much to my surprise people had good things to say about them so I headed back and grabbed them.  Only cost me 14 bucks for the pair.

They didn’t look all that special, but everything looked original and intact.

KLH17 before 2KLH17 before 1

If you click on the images above you’ll see the high resolution versions.  In those you can see the minor scuffs on the wood, and a few minor nicks.  Also the grill cloth is not the orignals, and we’re missing the KLH badges.   Good news, the drivers worked, and they are the originals.

Over a couple of weeks, I gathered the materials I would need for this job.

Materials purchased

  1. Grill Cloth – purchased a natural cotton cloth from Hobby Lobby
  2. Capacitors – Used standard Dayton crossover caps from Partsexpress.com
    • qty 4 – 2uf Non Polarized 250v caps, use two caps per speaker
    • qty 2 – 8uf Non Polarized 250v caps, uses one cap per speaker
  3. Clear Latex Caulking
  4. Tung Oil – High Gloss Tung Oil

I spent roughly 20 to 25 bucks on materials to do this job.

First thing I did was to begin work on the cabinets.

  1. Sanded the finish very lightly with 300 grit sandpaper to remove rough areas.  Being very careful not to sand down through the wood veneer.
  2. Applied 2 to 3 coats of Tung Oil on the wood.  Do very then light coats, and let it dry between coats.  I just used a paper towel to apply the finish, but what ever you use will need to not fall apart otherwise fibers from the cloth, or rag you use will be on the finish.
  3. Next step was to pull the old grill cloths off, these weren’t the originals and they weren’t put on very good.
  4. Laid out the new cloth and cut about an inch and half of extra around the wood grill frame.
  5. Used a hot glue gun to attach the cloth to the back of the grill. aligned the cloth so that the grain of the cloth matches on both speakers.
  6. Replaced the 3 capacitors in each speaker with new ones.  One original capacitor has two leads coming out one end.  This particular cap is basically two capacitors with one side of the two caps wired together.  So thus you order 2, 2uf caps and wire one end of both to the same terminal.
  7. Redoped the surround cloth of the woofers with Latex Caulking.  I watered this clear caulking to the consistency of white school glue.  Applied it in two separate applications 12 hours apart on the woofer surround cloth material.  This helps reseal the woofer like it was originally.  Helps improve Bass response and a better controlled motor action of the woofer.
  8. Reassembled everything and tested

Final results now look like this.

KLH17 after    KLH17 after 1  KLH17 after 2 KLH17 after 3 KLH17 after 5 KLH17 after 4

9 thoughts on “KLH Model 17 Restoration”

  1. These are beautiful. I’m planning on mirroring this process on some old AR’s I picked up for free. They also need their crossovers rebuilt, but that shouldn’t be a problem. Great work here!

  2. The wood on these old speakers just looks great. Nice job bringing it back. The KLH 17’s have a great sound. For future reference, Vintage AR on ebay sells woofer surround doping which was formulated to be as close as possible to original doping that was applied when new. Good stuff, i’ve tried it.

    1. Thanks for the comments. I wish I would have known about Vintage AR’s store on Ebay back then. It probably would have saved me a lot of time researching solutions, and finding the most accurate refinishing solvents.

  3. fantastic site simple no frills and right answer . thoses sites its full of misinformation and you ask an question and expertises ” give another question about diferent matters or create an mess in the communication . mr ron ineed to know if i can use klh model six as replacement to my no original klh model ? and with klh choices ihave to replacement in tweeters ? isee at ebay model six tweetwers & woofer . i know the woofers are 4ohms ,maybe ican use as future replacement . ia not sure . model 17 are 8ohms woofers . your opinion . thanks very much . paulo wilson

    1. Sorry for the extremely slow response, but day job has kept me rather busy the past few months and finally noticed a post. To answer your question on using KLH 6 speakers, I honestly don’t know the answer. I’ve never had a pair of model 6 speakers and haven’t done any research myself into it.

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