Attaching Cloth to Speaker Cabinets

Craftsmen share techniques. August 29, 2005

I have been enclosing speakers in my home theater cabinets for years. I make a glass cut door and install the cloth by stretching and using stops similar to glass installation and I never did like the way they came out. Does anyone have any suggestions for a better method? What I don’t like about my method is that if the cloth is pushed a little after a cleaning with a vacuum attachment the cloth loosens, and many times this happens during delivery to the jobsite. Any help is appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From the original questioner:
So you’re saying when the cloth loosens you can easily re-tighten it with the Screen Spline? My cloth is usually rabbited 3/8 or a 1/2" in from the back of the frame and I don’t know how I would get the groove for the screen on the face of the rabbit.

From contributor D:
We make a frame to fit in from the back in a rabbit in the panel. The fabric staples to the frame and is stretched a bit. We typically use cotton, often hand-dyed to match the wood tones. The frame is painted the same as the fabric, and has beveled edge so the visible fabric is not touching the wood. This frame is nailed in place.

If the design doesn't allow working from the back, a light frame is made to hold the fabric that is wrapped around to the back and stapled, and is fixed by rare earth magnets to a rabbit. Another way to hold fabric is to paint a surface with yellow glue, let it set for about ten minutes, then use a steam iron and iron the fabric into the glue.

From contributor F:
Here is another slightly different method. I make a door frame and leave the inside edges alone (no rabbit). Then I make a finger jointed frame (one finger on center) the same thickness as the door frame. I make the frame just under a friction fit with the inside dimensions of the door frame. Then I rabbit the face edges of the fabric frame just a hair deeper than the thickness of the fabric and by half the depth of the fabric frames thickness. Now the fabric (I use acoustically transparent grille cloth) is stretched and stapled into the frames rabbit. Of course the typical upholsterers square cut from the corners must be taken out. The finished grille cloth frame is then inserted into the door frame and fastened with brass screws through the center of the un-rabbited portion of its thickness from the back of the door.

From contributor R:
I have had the most success with the rigid speaker cloth sold by Rockler.