Door Frames with Acoustic Fabric?

Article - May 12, 2008

This week’s question comes from Gary. He writes:

I built the cases out of MDF, and was thinking of just doing a poplar frame, and installing those push-in speaker clips on it, so the face can be removed. Speaker fabric will cover where a panel typically would be (to be acoustically transparent, of course). I’m struggling with how to do the frames though with the speaker fabric. At first I thought I’d just use the same cabinet door bit set I used on these so the profile would match. But, now wondering if it should still have the panel groove in it, and if so, how does the fabric install that way? I thought maybe, I still use a Ã?¼” piece of stock only about Ã?Â3/4” wide or something, wrap the fabric around one edge, and insert it in the groove, and pin nail it or something so it stays (??). Not sure what the best way to go is here, and so far, cant find any advice online about that type of installation. I’m guessing I definitely would want to keep the same profile on the frames, right? Not fine furniture by any means, but ldwaet me know if you get a chance, any thoughts you have”¦ Thanks dude.

And here was my response:

Hey Gary. This is actually very similar to a big built-in project I did about a year ago. Lots of frames with fabric. What I recommend is using the same bit you’ve been using (I assume it cuts the profile and the panel groove all at the same time). And instead of trying to get the fabric into the groove somehow, just rip the back end of the groove off, so that the groove becomes a rabbet. Then you can lay your fabric right into the rabbet. Now if you have an upholstery staple gun and a 23 gauge pinner, this whole thing becomes a whole lot easier. Use the upholstery gun to attach the fabric to the rabbet and be sure not to punch through the profile. Keep your gun pointed back on an angle to make sure it goes into the meat of the frame. Then stretch the material over to the opposing side and secure it in place. Do the same for each side and the hard part is done.

At this point the door looks a little ugly on the inside. Depending on the with of your tablesaw blade and the depth of the groove, that cut-off piece from ripping the groove may be just the perfect size to fill in the rabbet. So drop it into the corner of the rabbet, and use the 23 ga pins to secure it in place over the fabric. If the strips are too small, just cut some new ones.

If done properly, it will give you a nice finished look. Hope that helps.