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Cleaning old Tolex

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by BeeMo60, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. I have a combo amp from the early sixties that was stored for a long time in sketchy conditions. Is there a simple, safe way to clean the grime off the Tolex on the cabinet?

  2. skychief


    Apr 27, 2011
    South Bay
    1st step, clean with mild soap & water with toothbrush.

    wait for dry.

    2nd step, follow with a liberal appliance of F-21 (or similar) protectant.

    wait for dry.

    3rd step, buff with clean, dry cloth.


    Repeat every 20 years.
    fcleff likes this.
  3. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    What kind of amp is it?
  4. grey area

    grey area

    Sep 2, 2009
    almeria spain
    avoid anything with silicone in it.theres a thread somewhere,with a bunch of recomendations.
    good luck.
  5. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    Any vinyl cleaner will work, as well as Simple Green, dish soap, hand soap, laundry detergent, etc. Real Tolex is vinyl top material, so it's more durable than regular vinyl, but even regular vinyl is pretty durable but the surface isn't quite as hard as Tolex. Vinyl is often called 'Tolex', but it isn't. The backing on regular vinyl stretches more, too. Tolex stretches less because the original contact adhesive didn't hold as well and when it released, the front edge would allow air to get under and inflate the top, like a big balloon. It was fairly common in the early/mid '60s to see this on the highway.

    You can use some solvents- naptha is OK, as long as you don't let it pool or remain in contact for too long. I wouldn't recommend anything stronger because the vinyl will dissolve.
  6. If it's the really durable Tolex, like the stuff Peavey used in the 70's and 80's, it would handle quite a bit of abuse.

    For one amp which had some paint and junk on it, I stripped it completely down to the Tolex--all the hardware off, corners, handles, everything. Then used a cleaner like the Simple Green and a soft brass wire brush. Took all the bad stuff off without chewing through the Tolex. Then hosed it off thoroughly and let it dry in the sun--it was a hot summer day so the water didn't have a chance to get into the wood.
  7. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Here are some tips.

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