Cleaning old grille cloth.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Ringhammer, May 9, 2018.

  1. Ringhammer

    Ringhammer Supporting Member

    Sep 3, 2016
    S. F. Bay Area
    i have a Ampeg V4 and a ‘73 SVT and the original grille cloth seems really discolored and/or dirty and/or has a lot of patina. The V4’s cloth is virtuall black.

    I’d like to know if anyone has ever tried and successfully done anything to clean this fabric and sort of get it back to the silvery/blue sparkle like it was originally?

    I don’t expect it to look like new (nor do I want it to), but my cabinet grilles are noticeably lighter and brighter looking. I’d like them to be a little closer in appearance.

    Being a perfectionist take a lot of my time energy....o_O
     
  2. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast

    Aug 7, 2008
    The TB Portaflex Wiki might help: Exterior Cleaning. The wiki has a lot of useful tips that apply to any amp.

    Some colors fade when exposed to light and with time. Looking inside a cabinet can help you see more of what it looked like originally.

    I find that they best way to clean the cloth is to remove the staples and remove it. When it's clean, it is easy to replace it as the folds are in place. If the cloth is loose it may be able to be shrunk with some heat. Ampeg used to recommend this. The problem is, it can only shrink so much. If it is at the limit, that is all it will shrink.

    It helps to glue a layer of fabric store felt onto the frame. Cut away material in the cutouts. The felt acts as padding and makes the grille cloth look better. On baffle boards, Ampeg did this, only they used a foam. With time it would break down so you often don't see it on vintage amps. But it was there to give the padding.
     
  3. Ringhammer

    Ringhammer Supporting Member

    Sep 3, 2016
    S. F. Bay Area
    Thanks. I will definitely try the suggested methods. I will probably need to get a T-50 Staple gun. I have plenty of T-25, as I do low voltage wiring work (Alarms, Cameras, Access, etc.).

    Unless there is a better stapler for putting it back on...
     
  4. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast

    Aug 7, 2008
    I use T-50 staples with a ¼" leg. The hand squeeze type work, I have a couple of them. I bought an electric one from Home Depot which is less tiring for big jobs. The absolute best are the pneumatic ones.

    With any of these staplers, you need to hold them down so that they don't bounce and the staple drives in all the way. Hearing protection is a must with these staplers.
     
    Ringhammer likes this.
  5. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis

    Dec 11, 1999
    Canada
    In my 50 years of playing bass I've never owned an Ampeg rig so I really can't give you any suggestions on how to clean up the grill cloth on your cab but I was faced with the same problem about 8 years ago with my Traynor YC-810. Fortunately the grill cloth is mounted to a wood frame which in turn is held in place to the cabinet with Velcro. To clean the stains off the grill cloth I gave the entire grill cloth a good soaking of Spray Nine Cleaner and let it soak for 3-4 minutes then I hosed it off. I repeated that twice and then towel dried the cloth and frame and let it dry completely in the sun before putting it back onto the cabinet. The results were incredible as you can see in the before and after photos below.

    June2010 012.jpg YBA-3_July15_2_2010.JPG

    TD
     
  6. Ringhammer

    Ringhammer Supporting Member

    Sep 3, 2016
    S. F. Bay Area
    Looks good. Never heard of Spray Nine before though. Also, My concern is years of dirt being gently pulled (or pushed) by the fan through the cloth on the head. But there seem to be plenty of safe methods, including the the link B-o-T has in his post.
     
  7. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast

    Aug 7, 2008
    Whatever you do, be conservative in your approach. You want to do no harm. Try the least aggressive things first.

    It helps to look up products and review their MSDS, safety data sheet, to see what the composition of the cleaner is.