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!
Hi Mike!
Glad to see you back. Missed your irreve"rant" ways on many a forum over the last few months. Whatcha been up to? Any progress on Peter's designed top plate?
Mine is still mired in the design application phase -probably more dreaming than practical application (not having the tools to match my visions).
Anyway, great to hear from you!
- Mario
Hey, it's Mario! I check in from time to time, in fact, I made the post above because I couldnt stand the inactivity any more. Right now I am a guy with too many projects. I had my Lenco #2 well on the way when a bearing fell off a router bit and I ruined the top veneer (a large glued up piece of bandsawn and hand planned veneer - sigh). Oh well, I hope to get back to it as well as my other furniture projects soon. Peters plate will be #3 - I am a little surprised that so few people have finished theirs. Regards

Greetings from Jerusalem all! I am here, and can you believe it, the Lenco is still stuck in Cypriot Cutsoms, as untouchable as the Ark of the Covenant (seems appropriate, considering where I am). Lenco-wise, this trip has been a daily logistical nightmare and disaster, I waited three weeks on Cyprus in the hopes of setting up the Lenco, and finally threw in the towel, and will spend the next three weeks travelling this part of the world - Israel, Egypt, perhaps Jordan - before returning to Cyprus in the hopes that by then all the items will be together for the set-up and review. I've had to extend my Lenco voyage, and of course, the earliest available flight back is...Sept. 11th.

In all the nightmares, confusions, late deliveries I have to thank - PROFUSELY - two individuals: George Karaolides on Cyprus, and John Thomson back in my home town. George, when I was desperate thinking that none of the associated hardware necessary for the review - which was being handled by others generously contributing phono stage, tonearms and etc. - would arrive, answered my plea for help (to source the necessary items if none did show up), picked me up at the airport in Larnaca at 3 am, and helped me out and introduced me to the audio movers and shakers on Cyprus and elsewhere (very well connected). He also entertained me for much of the three weeks, and through him I got to know the secret life of Nicosia, very fasinating. For instance, he took me for a beer one night across the Green Line into Turkish controlled Nicosia, after which it became my habit to have my coffee on the Greek side, and takle my lunch in the caravanserai on the Turkish side, my hotel being only twenty minutes walk away great fun. He will have some idler tales to tell, but for now it will remain a mystery.

John Thomson - "vinylcanuck" on eBay, the source of much of my vinyl and my master turntable packer, not to mention avid Lenco Lover and now owner of my Garrard plinth - handled the sale of much of my collection of audio goodies to fund this venture, and collected moneys owed to me, as I left on a shoestring with insuffient funds and a prayer. At every step (from Athens where I landed via the islands to Cyprus where I finally ended up) it looked like I would be forced to return to Canada, and John came through, wiring me the moneys to allow the continuance. He also took a looonnnng drive out to the country to my abode to dig out my RS-A1 from storage and ship it in time for the review (more misunderstandings), should it ever happen.

Finally, I have to thank the still-shadowy distributor helping me out in this venture, as well as ESELAB, whose identity will be made clear in the review - again should it ever happen ;-). He is a great fan of the Lencos, hence his participation. And of course I have to thank Srajan Ebaen at 6moons for handling all this, and most of all for giving me/us/the Lenco the chance!

With all the negativities so far in this trip (relating to the Lenco, the trip itself a fabulous adventure), it's no surprise the Yahoos, baboons and hyenas on VA continue to sling mud and deny the evidence - as all good Yahoos do - of three years and more of Mighty Lenco success, of the rise of dedicated forums and the creation of special sections in pre-existing forums, and even more, the creation and manufacturing of specialised top-plates to further realize the Great Lenco Potential. VPIs have fallen and been sold off in numbers, as have Linns, Well Tempereds, various Nottinghams, and so on. Even EMTs - the one thing Status-Conscious prejudiced Garrarders (which is NOT to say ALL Garrarders are this way, but many, some very well-known on Yahoo Asylum) quake, quiver and fawn before (of course, because of the price/Status).

Using the principles developed in Da Original Thread and this one, a Giant Direct Coupled Garrard whooped the ass of a top-of-the-line Platine Verdier, which a low-mass Cain & Cain plinth could not touch. Remember all, the Mighty Lenco is merely a tool (being cheap, and this is the real reason for the attacks, not to mention lowly envy/personal attacks/gadflies) to make the Greatness of the Idler-Wheel Drive known, and this has been a tremendous success, despite the Yahoo (not as in the organisation but as in Jonathan Swift's feces-slinging tree-living cretins) Forum's endless efforts to stop the Mighty Lenco Machine. I fought tooth and nail a couple of years back on that forum and others to have both the Lenco and idlers recognized, and encouraged them all to try their hand at it and roll their own: a matter of public record and easily verified by combining my moniker there - "melomane" (music/sound lover) - with various combinations (Lenco, idler, etc.). But of course, Yahoos and dog packs aren't interested in the truth, they merely follow the leader and like Mandrill baboons, let their aggression control what there is of their brains. Men (meaning thinking people), on the other hand, would investigate before unquestioningly playing the old dog pack routine. I'll return to battle another day, as demonstrated by the post/reply which Audiogon deleted a while back when one of these characters dared to post one of his ugly remarks on this very thread (and to those who asked for a copy, sorry I didn't save it ;-)). George related to me a Cypriot joke: "Hey Nikos, Pandelis is going around town bad-mouthing you to whoever will listen, what's the story here?" Nikos: "I don't know, I can't recall doing anything good for him lately."

This behaviour is destructive, the whole "attack the Lenco/idler thing" which was pretty well dead two years ago after the many vicious and endless battles I waged (you'll recognize some characters here who now present themselves as Captain Idlers, for those who want to investigate) has now returned, old issues of rumble and so forth revived. These attacks - based on nothing but prejudice (status/cost, belt vs idler, Garrard vs everything else) and ugly personal feelings (which defines them) - makes those just tuning in, so to speak, and unaware of the history, take these attacks seriously, as if no prejudice/ugliness were involved. This attitude then leads to an undoing of years of work, participation and development.

But in spite of this destructiveness, these tactics have failed, as the idler thing has taken SUCH wing that, what I wrote long ago and which I never thought to come true - to force the indutry to recant and bring back the idler - is actually happening. First of all Teres, which has introduced a rim-drive, but instead of a detached idler-wheel, has mounted the wheel directly to the motor. It is evident the idea is due to the Idler Wheel Revolution, due to the very reasons I wrote down so many times : wheels do not stretch, and they do not react, providing a much stronger motive force. Ironic then, that Teres - which continues to build and sell belt-drives - and considering I used the Lenco/idler comparisons to demonstrate the inherent speed instabilities of belt-drives - claims their new rim-drive does not suffer from the speed instabilities inherent in both belt-drives AND idler-wheel drives.

So let's consider this new rim-drive. Being directly attached to the motor, this invites noise problems, which the idler-wheel (wheel not directly engaged to the motor but stood off) was designed to reduce (in this sense like the belt in belt-drives). This design, in turn, means that a powerful motor such as used in Lencos (1800 RPM and four pounds), Garrards, Rek-o-Kuts and EMTs (ditto) cannot be used. And the wheel itself - not stretching and contracting or slipping - is only half the story. The other half is torque: it takes POWER to overcome the nefarious and dangerous stylus force drag, which is very significant (a ton of pressure per square inch where the stylus meets the groove), and so what you're hearing when you hear a Mighty Lenco, Garrard or other large idler-wheel drive - i.e. speed stability so convincing it is audible as speed stability, incredible dynamics, razor-sharp transients/speed, better imaging, incredible detail retrieval and organization of such, and so on - are the large and powerful motors, designed specifically for the task of overcoming stylus force drag (they were created when tracking pressures were in excess of ten grams). These powerful motors could and can be used due to the idler-wheel. The old boys understood fundamental engineering. Amd more so: an idler-wheel, as it wears down and changes diameter, does not affect speed, which is regulated by the motor pulley and other surface. The Teres rim-drive, in addition to necessitating a less powerful motor, will also change speed as the wheel wears down. In the end, this is still a step in the right direction, they're half-way there, and if they want to compete sonically with true idler-wheel drives, they will eventually have to start producing true idler-wheel drives.

And now Dave Pogue informs me that VPI is also entering into the act, though I don't know the details of this design. It's actually happening fellows, and it's due largely to the Lenco/DIY phenomenon which we started Lo these many years ago! To the pinheads who continue to badmouth the Lenco and attack it, I suggest they get their brains in gear (if possible) and overcome their many [largely status-oriented] prejudices, before the egg on their collective faces drowns continents (already very deep :-)). It is telling, that whenever I offer to bring a Lenco, free of charge, to challenge whatever pet they have decided is the end all and be all, they, to a man, decline. Those who are interested (intellectually curious, open-minded), contact me, not I them, and to a man, convert (and STILL they find, sometimes, excuse to atack the Lenco and go Garrard, etc...status/prejudice again, which shows prejudice is sometimes teflon). In order to preserve the Idler-Wheel Fraternity I have always refused to declare one idler-wheel 'table superior to the other, as doing so leads to the situation on VA/Yahoo Asylum. I have also tried to keep the deisgn simple (which, it turns out, is the superior way), and to showcase/demonstrate my less-than-professional early plinths, so as to encourage the participation of novices and amateurs and bring in large numbers of converts, and to avoid the number-diminishing pissing contests again a feature of Yahoo Asylum. But some day, I may break my silence on this issue. In the meantime, enjoy your idler-wheels all, whichever the type. I look forward to testing out the Rek-o-Kut Rondine when I get back, as I heard true Greatness back when I heard it in mono, over a single tube monoblock and via a sinle Quad ESL-57.

Wish me luck all (I won't post again for a while), and Vive la Lenco, Vive la Idler-Wheel, Vive its Return!!
Hello JEAN !!
So good to get word from you... and of the world wide Lenco campaign. How very refreshing to read a long rant... been quite a while.

Good Luck in your travels - and let's hope the pieces finally come together for "The Review" !

...and DO get home safely when all is said and done !

Andre Hanekom put a Garrard 301 inside a radically custom plinth fifteen years ago, and many people in the Far East have been making "monster plinths" for decades. The idea is not at all a new one, nor is direct coupling, etc. What is new is the proliferation of idler project photos on the Internet from various sources. Most of the ones that would entice a manufacturer to consider an idler option to his current lineup are those expensive Garrards exhibited by those who consider cost not to be an object. While it is true that Lenco building was partly responsible for idler interest, Lenco builders cannot lay claim to the current state of affairs regarding decisions made by manufacturers, in spite of all the hype and hoopla propagated about the Lenco's merits by certain individuals. Dropping an old turntable inside a huge block of wood sounds like a great idea, but it is not the panacea some would have you believe. It would be nice if turntable design was that easy, but that simply isn't the case.