Building high-end 'tables cheap at Home Despot II

“For those who want the moon but can't afford it or those who can afford it but like to have fun and work with their hands, I'm willing to give out a recipe for a true high-end 'table which is easy to do, and fun to make as sky's the limit on design/creativity! The cost of materials, including 'table, is roughly $200 (depending, more or less), and add to that a Rega tonearm. The results are astonishing. I'll even tell/show you how to make chipboard look like marble and fool and impress all your friends. If there's interest I'll get on with this project, if not, I'll just continue making them in my basement. The next one I make will have a Corian top and have a zebra stripe pattern! Fun! Any takers?”

The Lead in “Da Thread” as posted by Johnnantais - 2-01-04

Let the saga continue. Sail on, oh ships of Lenco!
About 2 weeks ago a huge box was delivered to my doorstep. It could have been a hot tub, full of water, considering the weight. But no, it was the super-Lenco! Burgandy Bomb!

Packed to withstand the most disgruntled UPS worker, I was astonished to find hard foam, cardboard, more cardboard, another box, more hard foam, big thick perfect fit boards of foam, more fitted boxes and cloth cover. It was like finding Tutankamun’s tomb and peeling the layers off. Underneath was a beautiful, shiny burgandy red hunk of lacquer-covered art. Above it sat a small LP box neatly protecting the workings of the Swiss made Lenco machinery. It was a marvel to see. I quickly got on the phone, called my friend, Ben, who is as strong as an elk, and anxiously waited for him lest I herniated a disc by going any further. While I waited I cleared ample space for the beast.

With care, we removed the last few layers, knowing very well that if there was any damage to this monstrosity, it would be our fault, considering the meticulous way in which it was placed and packed in the onion-like layers.

Ben and I were, and still are, astounded by the perfect symmetry and finish of the plinth and how the table plate sits in it. Every detail was attended to- holes for the arm(s) I plan to use, position of plate, color, finish, etc. I can see why there were delays, luckily, I was patient and in constant contact with the Masta Builder.

Of course, there was a tad of skepticism lurking within, having read about the sonic attributes of this vintage, old school, left behind, long forgotten folksy turntable. Especially when one considers how good some CDs do in fact sound. But with over 1200 LPs and a love for vinyl, and the fact that I have built 4 Lencos myself with very good results, I decided to take the plunge and order a Monster from the Masta himself- Jean N.

Setting up the MG-1 linear, air bearing arm was fun, since the holes and geometry were all set by Jean.

First LP was one of the most challenging to get good separation of instruments, bloom, and that PRaT thing- rhythm, pace, stomp your feet thing. Bruce Springsteen’s first Lp, The Wild… From the drop of the stylus (Denon 103R) I was surprised. Instantly I could hear clarity. This LP I consider a good test because the band consists of 5 or 6 musicians almost fighting to be heard. Usually sounds kind of jumbled as if thrown together. I was very pleased to hear and feel what the band was doing together. No longer did I concentrate to hear the organ, bass, guitars, now I could feel the bass and drums as a driving unit, Bruce leading the way and the sax laying down some texture.
My favorite Classical LP was next- The Budapest Quartet with Clarinet, playing Vulfies Eine Kleine Nachtmuzik.
Ahhh… The sweet, soaring clarinet sneaking up so quietly from behind the woody, melancholy violins and cello. I could hear the tone of the wood and feel the attack of the bow striking the strings with gentleness and verve. I could sense the emotion of the music, hear the musicians move in their chairs as they relaxed to breath. Man, those guys are... excellent! I thought I didn’t care for classical music. Shame on me.
Then, some good ole Rock (I know, Bruce) which normally sounds good. I just had to check some favorites. Buffalo Springfield just made me melt, the beginnings of country rock. Gram Parsons never sounded so good, letting Emmy Lou in on the fun. Los Lobos rocking it, just like they did at Garfield HS. Old vintage Hot Rock Stones were clean and fresh. Of course, Let It Bleed bled all over. Some Beatles. Then, John Lennon- like syrup at times, then raw and pissed, with a tight band driving the pulse!
Now that the fun started, it was time for Jazz. From Miles to Hugh Masakela to Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys (yes, Jazz) to Flora Purim, Joe Pass, Herb Ellis and too many to mention. Before I knew it, my LP clock said it was time for bed, but my brain said “how about some Ray Charles, Ry Cooder, A Clockwork Orange…” By the time I played Coltrane, Django and Beethoven, it was 6 am!
The “Kundalini effect”- if it means grooving with the beat, tapping and stomping, reaching for another album, feeling the hair on your neck go buzzzz and getting the goose bumps- was there. Otis and Aretha, Marvin, Smokey were all smoking.
Jean’s Super Lenco is a beautiful monstrosity. It has balls like a raging bull, and it can purr like a kitten. I will continue to enjoy the magic inside those little grooves.
Thanks Jean. Show those crazy audiophiles over in Greece what vinyl is all about. Then come back and share some more.
Hi Tessera,
I, as Lenco Lovers' admin saw that you registered over there. According to the series number, you are probably the owner of one of the oldest known L75. Another member has #005790(but there is a date on the motor: 20 oct 1967) and I have #006687 (date on the motor: 03 oct 1967). I think it would be of great interest, for all of us, if you would post on Lenco Lovers some pictures of your, as we call them, "Lencosaurus". It seems that a the very first days of the L75, features were not "stabilized" and each released piece was quite unique. Mine has a tonearm without the decoupled back stud and the other Lencosaurus has no rubber V-Blocks: all one plastic piece....
Hope to read some interesting things from you!
Hi Michael, thanks for the encouragement, and for the excellent, detailed and informative review!!

For particulars on the Review Lenco I'll be sending to Cyprus to further the Lenco - and Idler - Name, it will be a two-tonearm Lenco, as asking a novice to use an RS-A1 regularly and exclusively is just plain cruel (though NOT sonically) :-). The RS will sit in the back left corner, and the second tonearm - still to be determined - will sit on the front right.

As written, it'll be finished in '57 Chevy colours, to emphasize the roll-your-own freedom and fun aspects which have always been central to this and the original threads. I'll be rebuilding a used older Swiss Lenco L75, no NOS parts, so everyone will know the astounding quality of these old machines, again as already developed since the early days of the original Home Despot thread: this beast will be a proper and fitting Ambassador of these threads, and I thank all those who have contributed to its success - and the consequent bringing to light of the mightiness of the Mighty Lenco - over the years, and those who have offered encouragement. This'll be a review of the Child of Da Thread(s)!! Which means: Giant Direct Coupled Glass-Reinforced birch-ply/MDF Lenco L75, with all original parts.

I'm working today on rebuilding the motor and associated hardware while the plinth sits at the lacquerer's, and hope to have it all together, tested and ready to pack by early next week. Then it begins its sea voyage to the Eastern Mediterranean where, lucky me, I will meet it for a musical love-fest in Srajan Ebaen's various soundrooms!!

Anyway, back to work, have fun with your Lencos and various idlers all!! Vive la Lenco, Vive la Idler Wheel!!
Hi Francois,
The serial # on my L75 Lencosaurus is 002734 with a date of
Feb 18,1968 as date of manufacture. I can't post pics as I don't have a digital camera, also, mu computer is a pentium
II running windows 98 and I doubt I could upload pictures. I can say that I played my lenco nude on a couple of bricks and it did best my LP12 Lingo Rs a1 arm shelter 501. That is, with the arm and cartridge hopping between set-ups.It was unfair really, because the Linn has a dedicated stand and is levelled, the Lenco was plopped on a dresser beside it. Now,that was a few days ago,I have cut out five sheets
of the Baltic birch at 3/4 inches thickness since then, and stacked them. I dropped the Lenco innards on the makeshift plinth and spun some vinyl. Now we're talking. Bare and on
bricks it was better than the Linn, now onstacked sheets, it gains real body and depth while retaining everything that made it better in the first place. There is a sense of real flow now, liquid. And best of all the base has solidified and become quite more extended. On the Linn it was fat,lazy and hazy sounding in comparison. I can't wait till I cut out the MDF sheets, along with all the gluing and screwing and bolting, and then sitting down.
Regarding the original tonearm, it was not in the greatest of shape, so I stripped it. If you guys want the parts, you're welcome to them,(SASE)I can check for details if anyone is interested.I have aa few L75's now, and truth be told, I don,t care about the arms as I have the Rs a1 arm. They are the original arms. The Lenco does have the mounts for the four bolts, just that the bolts were missing on mine. All thigs considered, it was in really good condition when I aqcuired it. Rest of my set up;a highly modified Grant pre which replaced an MFA Magus, driving highly modified Bruno Kruegger Monoblocks (210 Glowing watts per)
replacing MFA D75 amp, driving Sonus Faber Cremonas. All mods done by Mr. Israel Blume of Coincident Speaker. All cabling is Coincident, after trial and error. For the money you can't touch his cables. Also, for the last couple of years I have been demo-ing a lot of higher end speakers to replace the Cremonas. Vandersteen 5, Hanson The KING,Stradivarius,Utopia,the big Macs,Colncident and lots of others. The Strads stood out,but I cant afford them.They
grab a hold of you and don't let go. But the Coincidents did so too, at less than a third of the price. They had a tighter, punchier base and were more open sounding, the strads were a little on the dark side but still very much open. I am leaning towards Coincidents as my next speakers for the sound as well the ease of driving them. There is something that seems effortless to me with higher sensitivity and impedance type speakers.
Well that's a lot for now, Cheers
I feel kind of bad for asking these questions here and not contributing much but I do hope to share my experience later... I came to the point that I have the Birch Plywood, it's 12 sheets of 0.75 inches and 20x19 size( 18 mm thick and 60X50 cm) . I need some advice-I can go for a Birch Plywood plinth only and for the MDF/Bply -I know Jean's advice is for the CLDamping and mixing both but man, do I hate MDF... Anyway, if someone has experience with an all birch plinth please advise. The other thing is a little more serious (at least for me). I know that if I mount the rega arm on the plinth the VTA will be off. I was thinking that I can cut the top layer of BB a few mm wider than the size of the armboard and make the board thinner so it sits below the surface of the plinth and thus adjust the VTA. But how thin should I make the board to achieve that? My cartridge is Denon 103 and I am not sure which dimensions I have to measure to calculate the right position too... I have seen people including Jean use this method to correct the VTA but I don't even know what size to make the armboard-is there a standart booad size for Rega arms or should I just experiment? My plan is to make several boards from different woods but first I need at least some guidance about the size of the board. Assuming that the top sheet of plywood is 18mm how thick should I make the board guys? Or to put it that way-how many mm lower should the rega arm be seated as compared to the top plywood sheet? I hope you understand my question... Thanks in advance, this is the last thing I need to make clear before I start with the router :))

Tessera, I am really interested in your experience with the RS-A1-this is the my dream arm and I would really appreciate a few more words on how you find it soundwise and setup wise, does it match weel with the Shelter? Please share...