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Reapplying tolex that won't stick?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by choosebronze, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. choosebronze

    choosebronze TDPRI Member

    52
    Feb 25, 2010
    Fullerton, CA
    Last month I finished a Princeton Reverb build. Unfortunately, I listened to the people who said spray adhesive like 3M 77 would hold tolex. I don't know what magical land these people live in (though I am jealous of them). I've read plenty of comments from people who will swear it holds. There must be special mojo in certain cans of 77 or something.

    The tolex was put on a couple weeks ago, the glue is still very gummy. I'm pretty sure I could peel the tolex off the amp, slowly and carefully. Is there any reason (chemical or otherwise) that I can't switch to contact cement and use the same 4 pieces of tolex? I'm thinking I'll use a citrus cleaner to remove the 77 anywhere the tolex overlaps and make sure the cleaner dries before reapplying the tolex. I know we're only talking about maybe $30-40 in tolex, but I'd rather use what I've got if possible.
     

  2. choosebronze

    choosebronze TDPRI Member

    52
    Feb 25, 2010
    Fullerton, CA
    Sorry this should've been in Shock Brothers probably. I can't figure out how to move it, if possible.
     

  3. 6stringcowboy

    6stringcowboy Tele-Afflicted

    You can try but my experience says you won't be happy with the results.
     

  4. Finck

    Finck Tele-Holic

    Age:
    52
    770
    Oct 11, 2017
    São Paulo - Brazil
    I've tried something like that, reapply a piece of Tolex previously glued to a surface. When you apply the new coat of contact cement, its solvents start to dissolve partially the old cement. The result is a totally irregular surface, full of small balls of agglutinated cement. Very disgusting.
    My try to remove the old cement in order to avoid that effect became one of the worst experiences in my life.
     
    6stringcowboy likes this.

  5. clintj

    clintj Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2015
    Idaho
    I've had good results with that stuff, it's just a bit sensitive to environment and technique esp. drying time before applying the Tolex.

    My favorite for trouble spots and patching is a small container of Weldwood. You'll need to remove the old glue as well as you can before trying it, though.
     

  6. choosebronze

    choosebronze TDPRI Member

    52
    Feb 25, 2010
    Fullerton, CA
    Alright, thanks guys. Maybe I'll peel the old tolex off first and see if most of the residual glue is on the tolex or on the wood. Seems like if it's on the wood I might have an easier time of removing it.
     

  7. Ringo

    Ringo Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    Memphis TN
    That’s going to be a mess to clean off, I use a product called 3M adhesive remover, and it will clean off old glue, but it’s fairly expensive. You might try some lacquer thinner.
    I NEVER use spray can contact cement on tolex or much of anything else.
    Weldwood is good stuff, made for automotive use on vinyl and convertible tops. I use a cheap quart gun and spray it but it can be applied with a brush or roller.
     
    6stringcowboy likes this.

  8. schmee

    schmee Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 2, 2003
    northwest
    Hard to clean off, and VERY hard to put back on exactly right where it was! There cant be $40 of tolex on there....? You sprayed the tolex and the wood before installing right?

    I am still undecided about contact cement or wood glue myself. Contact is tedious to get on everywhere and on the tolex too. You need a lot of space. .. and if any part soaks in too much to the wood or is still to wet when you install it may be peeling back soon.
    Wood glue you can do one section at a time, Install only on the wood. Pour it on and spread around with a brush or scraper. apply tolex and staple the edges. Trim after. I usually do the flat surface, then use a brush to glue the part you wrap around the edges as I work. Your hands are a mess though as you work with it.
     
    choosebronze likes this.

  9. choosebronze

    choosebronze TDPRI Member

    52
    Feb 25, 2010
    Fullerton, CA
    Yea I sprayed both sides and waited until it was tacky. It looked like it was going to stick, but then it didn't.

    I guess I exaggerated. It's probably over $20 of tolex, and any place that sells it has high shipping charges. So maybe it's more like $25-30. I'm just being lazy. I guess if I want it to look right I should just redo it.

    I'm not excited about having to do all the corners again. Those damn corners...
     
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  10. Ringo

    Ringo Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    Memphis TN
    I do auto upholstery so I have been using solvent contact cement for a very long time. Yes it is smelly, you have to have good ventilation, but it really isn't hard to work with once you've done it a few times.
    I've covered many cabinets and recovered amps and cabinets. I did a Super Reverb for a good friend about 20 + years ago, he still has it and has no issues with the vinyl coming loose.

    I would not recommend waterbase contact cement.
    I have bought cabinets that were covered using the WB contact, after a while the tolex started developing bubbles, coming loose.

    I can't even imagine trying to cover a cabinet using wood glue, it would take forever and it really isn't necessary.

    Fender used hide glue back in the day but most if not everyone uses solvent contact cement now.

    Try looking up some tutorials online about cutting the corners, it helps, also you can practice. One thing I found is that on the older Fender combo cabinets they didn't cut diagonal slices in the tolex, look at some pictures and you'll see what I mean.

    I just covered a small amp head recently, I used one piece for the top and sides and overlapped a piece on the bottom, on that cabinet I did do diagonal cuts on the corners but I also installed some no lip amp corners.

    Here is a pic of a cabinet that I covered for a Bassman head that I made into a 1-12 combo, if you look close you can see the cuts on the corners.
    Another trick is to wick some thin CA (superglue) under the overlaps and into the cuts , again practice on some scrap first.

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  11. choosebronze

    choosebronze TDPRI Member

    52
    Feb 25, 2010
    Fullerton, CA
    That amp looks amazing!

    I originally watched Uncle Doug's videos and I actually feel pretty good about doing all the right angles (cut one side, lay them both down, cut diagonal, remove the cut flaps). They weren't perfect, but close enough. The harder part was the front angles on top, like on the Bassman you posted. The top angle, and then the notch. Is there a trick for getting those angles? I think on mine I cut the top front corners diagonally. But it looks much easier the way you did it - doing them both just as straight cuts.
     

  12. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

    Jan 12, 2011
    Snellman MN
    On tolex I've settled on the old school stinky solvent contact cement. The spray stuff, 3M and otherwise, while stinky just never worked for me without staples all over.

    On tweed I use Tight Bond II, might work for tolex but my technique is, apply to cab and tweed, let dry almost dry, apply, then hit with a hot iron.
    I'm thinking that last part and tolex wouldn't work out too well.

    At any rate cleaning old glue just off the cab is a royal pain. I can't say use XYZ Cleaner because every time I do it I have to try ten different things to fund what works on that glue. Next one is always something different !
    One tip though. The citrus things and Goo Gone need time to work. Something like lacquer thinner will evaporate pretty fast but usually work fast, if they're going to work that is.

    Honestly I've spent more time stripping glue off a cab than it takes me to build a new cab.
    Good luck !
     

  13. Ringo

    Ringo Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    Memphis TN
    I stripped an old Carvin SX amp cab with the gray fuzzy carpet, that was the worst one ever!
    Took a long time as the carpet was really stuck on, I soaked it with the 3M Adhesive remover and finally got the carpet off but I had to let it dry and use a power sander to get the glue off. I recovered it with blue sparkle Zodiac Naugahyde like the old Kustom amps but not rolled and pleated.

    It looked pretty cool, that stuff is like wallpaper though as it shows every blemish in the wood, no wonder they did the pleats.
     
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  14. Ringo

    Ringo Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    Memphis TN
    In my experience the problem with using 3M or other spray glue is they have to thin the glue so much to get it to work in an aerosol, so it’s mostly solvent. Plus it’s not cheap, for not much more you can buy a quart of Weldwood contact cement.
    We use a lot so I buy it in 5 gallon cans.
     
    BobbyZ likes this.

  15. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    70
    Nov 3, 2003
    North Louisiana around Many
    My experience with the 3M has been bad also. Last head cab I built I used the contact cement that usually holds good but immediately it started coming loose along the edges. I got some gorilla clear glue and pulled the edges back up, installed a lite coat of gorilla on both exposed surface areas taping the edges down with masking tape to hold it in place until it had thoroughly dried. That seemed to do the trick for me. I didn't have a problem with bubbles in between the edges--so that is another issue. It's been several Months and it is still holding solid. I think in a case like this you have use a real strong glue to overcome the existing failed glue emulsion that's almost impossible to remove---so far so good! Platefire
     

  16. sds1

    sds1 Tele-Holic

    Age:
    41
    589
    May 4, 2017
    Orlando, FL, USA
    My first tolex attempt was 2 coats of Weldwood on the wood, one coat 3M 77 spray on the tolex. The edges all peeled up within a couple weeks. A real mess.

    My second attempt was identical to the first, but I used 3M 90 spray instead, and tried to use more spray than on the first attempt. This job held (and continues to hold) up great. I can definitely recommend this combo.

    I do wonder if I had simply used more of the 3M 77, that would have been OK. The 3M 90 definitely grabs a lot quicker, peeling it back to adjust once it's made contact with the Weldwood is really tough.

    Anyhow, that's my experience with 3M + Weldwood so far.
     
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  17. dqami

    dqami Tele-Holic

    898
    Feb 11, 2004
    I've had the same problems. I think part of the problem may be you are in Cali as their strict Enviro laws require different formulas (could also be a US law) of solvents and paints. Not like the old days. You might try some E6000 found at Walmart as that stuff really sticks. I use it to fix lifting tolex with some masking tape to hold it down until it drys and it works well
     

  18. SngleCoil

    SngleCoil Tele-Holic

    520
    Apr 13, 2010
    Charlotte, NC
    This is exactly what I used on my last build (Weldwood and 3M 90). It is not that old so time will ultimately tell, but there are no signs at all of lifting on any edges so far.
     
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  19. sds1

    sds1 Tele-Holic

    Age:
    41
    589
    May 4, 2017
    Orlando, FL, USA
    You used 3M 77 or 90? If 77, how much of a can did you use and on what sized cab?
     

  20. SngleCoil

    SngleCoil Tele-Holic

    520
    Apr 13, 2010
    Charlotte, NC
    Sorry, edited my post above. 3M 90. 2 coats of Weldwood and very liberal spraying with the 90. It was a Matchless sized head cab
     
    sds1 likes this.

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