Best way to strip Tolex-covered amp down to the pine?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by RoscoeElegante, Sep 19, 2019.

  1. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    Hey, all. Autumnal day here in southwest Virginny. Time to find my socks, and the acoustics sound crisp.

    I've got a beater Princeton Chorus with meh Tolex that I'd like to strip down to the bare wood and stain. Lazily so, leaving the chassis and speakers in there if I can while doing so. Stained pine cabs are just much more appealing to me.

    So what are the suggested steps and tools here? I assume that there are yuck-swirls of glue under the Tolex. Any advice/product suggestions about dissolving/scraping it off? I don't mind a scuffy result, as I can always just sand and stain, and the beaten-up look fits that old amp. Just tired of looking at plastic when I could be admiring nature's own stuff.

    (By the way, as solid states go, if you use it for dry cleans stereo'd with something tubey and lush, it works pretty well. It also handles a bass surprisingly well.)

    Thanks!
     
  2. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I would suggest pulling the chassis and speaker out for this work....Reverb tank as well. Electronic circuits and speakers and tanks do not like sanding dust, stripper residue, or any other thing associated with getting that cab stripped and stained. If one doesn’t want to pull everything out of the cab, I would suggest leaving everything just as it is. YMMV.
     
  3. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

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    I'd also suggest a heat gun or blow dryer. I have stripped tolex before but it was a long time and don't recall it being difficult at all. I do recall a blow dryer helping to soften things up a bit.

    I've got a Princeton Chorus too. I never play it, but I'd never sell it either. Great SS amp.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
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  4. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    Do the same beware-the-zappery cautions apply to a solid stater? It hasn't been turned on in many months, but do I need to discharge caps or something before I de-gut it?

    Thanks.
     
  5. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

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    The caps are probably empty, but drain them anyway. Only takes a second and there is no downside to it, and it reinforces safe habits.
     
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  6. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks. Which ones in the schematic should I drain, and any particular way to do so that you recommend?
    PrincetonChorusGuts.png
     
  7. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    It is difficult to drain an amp until it is pulled. I have never worried about a SS amp....I don’t stick my hands in there....maybe one hand...never two hands. Pull the chassis and set it aside....keep your hands outside of that chassis while doing so. With a tube amp, I could tell you where to find the point(s) at which one could drain the caps. I would have to search for that in this amp....and I might expect to find nothing there when I did find it.
    Fwiw, I don’t worry about the caps in a tube amp, either, unless I am going to work on the circuit. I keep my hands out of the inside of the chassis...away from any contacts with the circuit...when I am pulling one or putting it back in. Ommv....and one should never do something that will endanger one’s life unless one is aware of those dangers...and again....keep your hands away from that circuit, right?
     
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  8. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

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  9. Paul G.

    Paul G. Friend of Leo's

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    Just as an aside, I don't think you're going to find pine under that Tolex. At best it will be paint-grade plywood.
     
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  10. Commodore 64

    Commodore 64 Friend of Leo's

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    Slit, tear, pull, push, yank. Sand off the rest of the glue and crap with really coarse pad on a palm orbital, then sand it like 3x more with finer and finer sandpaper.

    Blow your nose, revel at the black gunk, etc that comes out. Wonder what kind of crap you just ate and inhaled. The stuff you ate you will excrete. The rest might never leave your lungs.

    At least, that's how it worked for me.
     
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  11. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    Ah, the moon.

    As in, it woke me up last night, as I fell asleep having forgotten to lower the blind. And I immediately thought, "Wait a minute--I bet that's just plywood under there."

    I'll stain it anyway. Autumn air makes me miss Canada too much.

    Thanks for the clarifier.
     
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  12. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks for the step-tips. With my iffy lungs as it is, I'll go respirator, and do it outside.
     
  13. Commodore 64

    Commodore 64 Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah, I should have added " Resolve to wear a dust mask next time" to my original post. ;)
     
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  14. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Tele-Holic

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    It might be OSB rather than plywood, and if it is, I think it would be a good idea to coat it with something that really seals it to combat moisture making it swell or fall apart.

    How about getting a sample pack of Duratex and doing it up like a modern PA speaker? It would be black, but sealed up and you can vary the texture by what brush, roller or spray setup you use. I have a bass cab that came duratex-ed and it is tough stuff.
     
  15. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    If it's not suitable for stripping & staining after all, I'll tweed it up, as I don't have a tweeder. But thanks for the suggestion.
     
  16. RottenTheCat

    RottenTheCat Tele-Meister

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    The only one I ever did that needed an uncovering first, I pulled off all the tolex which left fuzzy stuff behind. I hit that with brush on lacquer and let it dry real well. Then I took an electric sander to it. That was a twin reverb cabinet that was coming apart at the joints.
     
  17. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    First: A Princeton Chorus in not pine, and not plywood, it's particle board. If I were you I'd buy some pine boards and make a cab to start over. I had one for years and eventually used the cab as an extension cab.
     
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  18. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    Damn. I swear mine's wood of some sort, but I also did put the milk away in the oven yesterday, so maybe my mental Depends has begun....

    If it is particle board, then it's on my re-house-the-music list. Did my 1936 Silvertone radio into an amp project and it came out great. Got an Excelsior-->'50s TV cabinet project going now, and after that, the AC15 -->something to be decided.

    I don't want furniture. I want stuff that talks back. When I can summon Wendell Willkie into the room and ask him where he got that fun name, and if he knows Van Lingle Mungo, I'll be done.
     
  19. drumtime

    drumtime Tele-Meister

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    Making a new pine cab would be more work, but not much more, considering what you'd end up with. Look into a beehive box
     
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  20. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

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    If stripped a few amps to recover them, I also build a few cabs. I'm to the point where I'd rather just build a new cab!
    Getting the old glue off is the hardest part. The weasel pee that takes the glue off one cab won't touch the stuff on the next and you'll use up all the sandpaper at the local Ace trying to get it off that way.
    On a vintage amp you're probably better of with an all new cab anyway if you're going to sell it at some point. Just save the beat up original.
     
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