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How to:
Remove the grills from early EPI speakers

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Most of the early EPI models were made with essentially non-removeable grills.

In order to access the drivers for service or upgrades, however, the grills must be removed (and subsequently reinstalled).

They were usually made from Masonite boards, and attached with random patches of hot-melt adhesive and a number of small nails.

Luckily, the hot melt of that time wasn't that great, and will break free readily easily. The nails will usually stay embedded in the wood of the cabinet, and the heads will pull harmlessly through the grill frame, although some do tend to come out with the grill.

The hard part is actually applying force in a way that pulls out the nails and breaks the glue free without wrecking the Masonite, which is vulnerable where it is cut thin to go around the drivers - especially on the 50.

First, locate the irregular cutout in the grill that is over the drivers. You will note that some uncut areas of the grill are larger than others. You want to work with one of the larger corners to minimize the risk of breaking the thinner parts.

Now drive a coarse-threaded screw about 1/4" into the grill itself, about an inch or so in from a corner - the goal is to go through the fabric and Masonite completely, without actually screwing into the cabinet itself. Pull very firmly on the screw with a pliers. Pull in such a way that you are planning on stopping as soon as things "give", rather than as if you were trying to throw the grill across the room.

This will get things started enough that you should be able to get behind the grill and pull the rest of the nails and glue loose.

Once the grill is off, drive any nails that stayed in the cabinet flush. Remove any nails that stayed in the grill. Carefully scrape off any chunks of hot melt, slicing carefully through any grill cloth that may be enmeshed in them.

You may need to press the Masonite where the screw was flat after taking the screw out. Gently rubbing the fabric a bit should remove any sign that a screw went through its weave.

To remount your grills, use 7/8" Velcro squares (the Velcro is included in appropriate HUMAN upgrade kits) near the corners, and halfway along any long edges if necessary. If you need to buy them, the package with twelve sets of these squares in it is Velcro number 90072.

First remove all traces of the old glue that held your grills on. If there were nails, remove any that are in the grill, and hammer flush any in the cabinet. (I know, I said this twice. Do it again.) Then fold each piece of Velcro with backing still on it over on itself and cut it into four pieces. Remove the backing paper from one side only and neatly attach each set of pieces to the grill frame. I usually pick one side of the Velcro to be consistently on the grill side. Now remove the backing entirely, and carefully position the grill on the cabinet face and press down to cause the "other half" of the Velcro to stick to the cabinet in perfect alignment with the half on the grill.

I like to mark the grills and cabinet faces with a series of numbers or letters, to facilitate reinstalling them in the right place at a later date.

Note: Velcro often attaches to itself far better than the sticky material does to other things, so be careful how often you remove and replace the grills.

The worst case scenario is that you might ruin the grills. At least that does not spoil the speakers - and you can always make new ones out of Masonite/hardboard, using the old ones as templates. Cover them with cloth you find attractive and attach them with Velcro this time.

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