Tweed Adhesive and Fabric for an Old Bassman

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Intubator, Oct 17, 2019.

  1. Intubator

    Intubator Tele-Meister

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    I'm getting ready to recover a late '58 tweed Bassman, (the existing tweed is a 20 year old recover that is falling off everywhere, and not cut quite right) and I would like to duplicate as close as possible the original adhesive type/ method and source the correct type tweed fabric the factory in Fullerton would have been using back in the day.
    Anyone with thoughts or experience? Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    The tweed is unobtainable, ime. The last time I saw accurate tweed was back in the ‘90’s. That said, what Mojo or tubes and more are selling is as close as you can get. Tinting with amber shellac will then get the tweed closer to ‘accurate’. Adhesive....Fender used animal based glue.
    Fwiw, unless I knew I could get professional results, I would have the recover done by a pro. I have paid for several retweeds and it is worth it from a value stand point. The difference between a proper pro job and even a decent amateur job could mean many hundreds if not a couple of thousand of dollars difference in the value of a 5F6A Bassman. these days, a pro recover is not a hard sell, but a couple of decades ago even a pro recover was hard to sell. If someone offered a 5F6A that had a less than pro recover today, I am probably not going to be able to give them what they might think it is worth...,because for my purposes it would have to be recovered....and that is problematic because they might have used a modern glue that makes such a job much more difficult.
     
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  3. LowCaster

    LowCaster Tele-Afflicted

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    @Wally what kind of glue would be suitable to you?
     
  4. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose Tele-Holic

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    Hide glue is toxic, expensive and hard to find. I find tweed to be much harder to work with than tolex. For those reasons, and that this is a vintage amp, I'd second the motion to take it to a pro.
     
  5. zook

    zook Friend of Leo's

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    I can do tolex very well, but balk at tweed. I spent the money and waited a very long time to have my 57 deluxe recovered by Gregg Hopkins. He did an excellent job, but his communication was terrible and he took 15 months to get it back to me. There are many fine workers out there that wll do the work in a timely manner with excellent results. Mojo comes to mind. Before.jpg Fiinished cabinet front.jpg Fiinished cabinet rear.jpg
     
  6. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    For a 58 Bassman I would have it done also. I have used wood glue on tweed. (Titebond or Elmers)I think the hide glue was done hot? There used to be some guys over on the Weber board that swore by hide glue. Cant remember which though. Dr Bob? or Bob Arbogast? ?
    If you shellac it after, I would go maybe 50-50 amber - clear. Today's tweed is thicker and more rough than the old stuff though. I wish you could get thin smooth flat tweed like these old suitcases!
    [​IMG]
     
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  7. LowCaster

    LowCaster Tele-Afflicted

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    Natural Hide glue is supposed to be collagen (and a preservative only if you wish). How is it toxic?

    I used to mix my own hide glue for artistic purpose. It’s not complicated either, you just need some cook ware to make a hot water bath.
     
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  8. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Yeah, never heard of hide glues being anything but inert.
     
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  9. Nickfl

    Nickfl Tele-Afflicted

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    If you shop around at fabric stores you can find stuff that is fairly close to suitcase Tweed. Cotton twill and denim have the right pattern but the ridges are usually a little smaller and it can be hard to find the right color.

    This cab was done with twill and then shellac.

    IMG_20190908_144243.jpg

    It probably would have been better if I made the color darker, but it's not too far off from what I was going for.

    As for the OP, a vintage amp with non original tweed might be the one time I'll agree with those saying to take it to a pro. Is there anybody out there doing relic tweed? I'm not usually a proponent of such things, but a vintage bassman with perfect new Tweed just doesn't seem right.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
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  10. Intubator

    Intubator Tele-Meister

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    Thats a nice suitcase! And yes the tweed on that looks spot on for a 50's amp.
     
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  11. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Hide glue is non-toxic....even if ingested. Elmer’d white glue works fine.
    Tweed..... I have four chairs that are covered in the most accurate tweed I have ever seen. Had I known that tweed would go out of production some 20 odd years ago, I would not have had those chairs covered in it. The difference between it and what is available anywhere else today is that the modern stuff has a slightly olive tint to the brown stripe. Most people these days would not notice at the modern with some amber shellac on it. That shellac takes the stripe to a more acceptable color....and ages the cloth’s color a bit. An old original tweed amp that has not been yellowed by UV looks nothing like a modern tweed, ime. That is why a vintage shop in L.A. finally gave me what Inwas asking for a ‘57 5F1 that was unyellowed....it looked new. After payment, the buyer had to tell me that he had never given so much for a tweed ?champ. He had been trying buy it for about 8 years. I can’t count the number of other .fenders he got from me, but he had to pony up for that one.
    Gregg Hopkins does great work. I had to wait about 7 months for the last amp cab....a 1952 5B5 Pro that was a total rebuild with all original major components. Fantastic amp...lives in Oklahoma last I heard.
     
  12. Intubator

    Intubator Tele-Meister

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    Well here's the thing, everything is about weighing the positives and negatives. I am quite capable of doing the job myself with professional results. While I haven't done tweed on an amp, i have done several car restorations which involved a great degree of detail on interior areas like recovering dashes and seats with leather, door pockets, carpeting, etc... I've also painted many cars. So I'm willing to take the chance, well 90% there... Down side, I would hate to ship this cab somewhere and not have it come back, or not as I sent it out, and If I had to wait more than a month or two to get it back I would probably go bonkers... Also, there are some subtle details that are not really correct about Mojo's and some other folks cabs tweed covering methods that I've seen. Although they look great, they're just not close enough to correct for the period imho. I currently have two from Mojo and one from an indy in NH, namely the fabric overlap dimensions are off compared to how Fender did them in the 50's. My observations are also based on a late '57 Champ I own and several Bassman amps I've seen with the original tweed intact.
    Here's what I'm talking about, a Mojo cab I just built an amp into a couple of weeks ago compared to the Champ from '57. The Mojo cab overemphasizes this seam and the there is a lot more material overlap.

    20191017_122834_resized.jpg 20191017_122920_resized.jpg
     
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  13. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    That is the thing....those little details like that seam being rotated toward the front of the amp. I know a fellow who did recovers on a few amps for me. His work would pass many people’s inspection, but he never got everything quite correct.....some little detail would be wrong. Therefor, I never let him recover an old Fender. Gregg Hopkins is the only person to whom I have entrusted my old tweed Fenders....the few that needed new tweed. His work passes inspection, ime. Mergili has a great reputation. Mojo is not particularly a vintage amp specialist, imho. Vintage specialists have backlogs, I am thinking. Old adage....good things are worth waiting for.
    If you are confident, go for it! You are not a newcomer to upholstery work, it seems....and that is what this is albeit more demanding because you are working with entirely hard, flat surfaces. Unforgiving it is.
     
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  14. intensely calm

    intensely calm Tele-Meister

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    I recently covered a Champ Clone build.
    A learning experience all the way through.

    The Tweed I used is
    Mellotone Tweed Amplifier & Speaker Cabinet Covering Olive/Yellow, it came from Parts Express - or Amazon in this instance.
    Tweed-Fabric.jpg
    cabinet-cloth.jpg

    I spent a bunch of time researching what glue to use and I want to say there are 6 or more “preferred” glues, depending on who’s opinion you listen to.
    I went my own way and used 3M Super 77 Spray Adhesive, it was quick and sticky.
    The spray adhesive was applied to the cabinet, and the back of the Tweed cloth panels.
    I taped everything off to avoid having adhesive over spray - everywhere.

    I know this spray adheasive will likely kill the value of a "Fender" amp, but I don't have a Fender - so it don't matter.
    Also, the spray adheasive may cause headaches for the next person in line wanting to re-wrap. I'll be gone by then...

    26-Tweed-bottompanel.jpg

    I sprayed both surfaces liberally, then once the cloth panel was aligned where I wanted it, I used a roller to crush the panel to the cabinet.
    I may use 3M Super 90 next time, as it is a it more aggressive I believe.

    30-Finished-Tweed-Assembled-Cabinet.jpg

    Good luck with your project, I enjoyed mine!

    OH MY - I forgot the most important thing I ran across..
    The diagonal pattern for the tweed. I really hadn't given it any thought, and could have easily miscut the fabric in an attempt to get a better yield.

    23-Tweed-Pattern-Arrangement.jpg

    click to enlarge
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
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  15. LowCaster

    LowCaster Tele-Afflicted

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    @Intubator , I look forward to see your work.

    Well, I wouldn’t like to ingest hide glue, it smells funny. :D

    I would like to add that it is not really expensive as said by moosie. Stew Mac is selling it at the highest price on the market. You could find something equivalent for 1/3 of that price if you look at artists supplies: look for « rabbit skin glue » (the best quality) or other names for hide glue (bone glue...) it’s all collagen. I’d bet Fender would have used « bone glue » which is the cheapest usually, maybe someone knows about it?

    I don’t know what would be the best dilution for this use? Most of the time the dilution is around 10% (5 to 15% of dry glue to water). 100g will make you approximately 1L of hot glue. That’s a lot. You can keep it in the fridge for the next days (it turns into gelly). You can cut small portions of gelly and heat them again for small work that next day.
     
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  16. Wyatt

    Wyatt Tele-Afflicted

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    o_O

    Chairs??? Pics?

    For the OP, hide glue is pretty forgiving and gives a relatively long work time, but also messy and requires prep equipment. It has to be mixed and heated "fresh" because it has a lousy shelf-life (weeks?). If you have access to a potdevin gluer, it helps a lot.
     
  17. Intubator

    Intubator Tele-Meister

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    Interestingly, the white side of the tweed your showing is probably closer in color (than the amber side) to what actually came out of the factory in the 50's. I've heard Fender applied a single layer of clear (or amber?) nitrocellulose lacquer to the bare tweed as a protectant and that's it..
     
  18. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    here you go. A lady upholster wanted an inexpensive fiddle, so we traded work for a fiddle. Shop chairs they be.
    ECA4935A-BEDD-41BF-B0FA-DB4931A5A6A9.jpeg
     
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  19. intensely calm

    intensely calm Tele-Meister

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    I was tempted to glue the amber side to the cabinet, leaving the white side out for a topcoat.
    The white/brown fabric really does look nice, but then I learned that glue/adhesives don't bond well the the amber-coated side. I'm guessing it is a very superficial coating and may separate from the fiber easily - just a guess.
    When I applied my coating to the amber side, it didn't really penetrate to the fabric, other than on the cut edges. The super-absorbent edges were a bit of a problem.

    It was a fun project and it's good enough for me!
     
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  20. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Ha !

    The Gibson rubbery Tweed of the late 60’s early 70’s was a lot tougher. I had a couple GA 20’s that were pretty roached otgerwise but the twubber was in great shape .

    Zook, I would have kept it black but that retweed is pretty immaculate.
     
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