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Replacing Tolex on cabinet

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by QORC, Aug 2, 2012.

  1. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    If anyone was ever curious about the subject, I replaced the tolex on my Ampeg 8x10 Classic cabinet. After almost 5 years of road use, it was pretty nicked up along the sides and bottom.

    After doing some research, I knew that replacing the Tolex would be difficult. You'd have to cut perfect pieces (how?) and there basically folded seams on at least two of the sides. I knew it would be beyond my expertise.

    After doing some research, I found out that removing the Tolex and replacing with a Duratex finish wouldn't be that expensive or difficult.

    And it wasn't! I got a gallon of it shipped with a proper texture roller for about $80.

    It turned out great!


    1. Removed all the hardware (not the speakers, however, unnecessary). Pretty easy. Put all the different size screws into separate baggies and labeled them so it would be easier to put the stuff back on. I removed the electronics under the back panel as well. Not hard. Just clips on.

    2. Removed Tolex. The Tolex was harded to remove than I imagined. The glue is very uneven underneath. I basically used a razor to cut horizontal strips, loosened and end with a spackle tool, and then used a hair dryer to start to slowly peel it back. However in some cases, the backing still came off and I had to go back with the flat tool and the hair dryer to scrape away pieces here and there. Total time: 3-4 hours

    3. Sanded the entire cabinet. The remaining Tolex glue made this a necessary step. I used a belt sander and a lot of belts!! Total time: 2 hours

    4. Filled in areas here and there with vinyl spackle. Areas with imperfects in the wood. Small gouges. Let dry and sanded them. Total time: 30-45 minutes

    5. Put on a coat of Duratex per day for 3 days (to let each coat dry).

    6. Put hardware back on. Darn near looks new!

    And of the gallon of Duratex, I probably used 10% of it. Which means I have a lot left over. For example, if I scratch an area, no problem! sand the spot down, duratex the spot. Easy.

    Duratex cleaned up really easy from the roller and hands. I would recommend using clothes you don't care about when putting the stuff on. Doesn't come out of fabric from what I can tell.

    Anyway, it's got a nice, textured finish to it that's as hard as nails. Duratex is not dissimilar from the stuff used for truck bedliners. Limited places to purchase it however (I got it straight from the manufacturer). Gallon was the smallest size, which is a shame because I have far more than I would ever use. You could do 10 cabinets of that size with this gallon.

    I will post a picture when I get one.
  2. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    It feels great to try something like this and it turns out well. Taking your time and thinking things through helps. It's the best way to learn. Even at $80, the coating is a lot less expensive than the tolex would have been.

    Looking forward to seeing the pics.
  3. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    I have to admit, because I never tried anything like this before, I was nervous. But it really was easy and looks even better than I thought it would. Will take pics tonight and post them.

    Of course, I also took a step I should have years ago -- I also bought a heavy, custom vinyl cover for the whole cabinet for use while moving it!
  4. if i want something re-tolexed i go to my friends dad since he is a upholster guy and will usually do it quite cheep. i dont think its the kinda thing i would try myself however
  5. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    going to probably paint an orange cab black with montana flat black primer, retolexing might require more patience than i can muster:)
  6. skychief


    Apr 27, 2011
    South Bay
    Congrats, QORC

    I sailed on the same boat a while back. Got the "trial size" kit for $20. Plenty for the 212 cab I needed to cover. Im no master craftsman by any stretch, but it was really easy to get professional results with the stuff. The cab looks new.

    Highly recommend it.
  7. Alex1984


    Jan 16, 2010
    Congratz, I wanted to do mine a long time ago, but I just wasn't that handy. :(
  8. does it add much weight to the cab? I could see, like, an 8x10 maybe getting a little bit heavier, I was wondering of you weighed it to find out?
  9. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    There was a trial size? Dang!!
  10. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    It wasn't hard at all. It took me a while to figure out the best way to get the old Tolex off (very hot hair dryer and a spackle tool, box cutter to score of individual slices before peeling it away and a bit of patience), but other than that, it was easy.

    The company has a couple of videos on youtube related to putting the stuff on. Again, not hard. Just gotta do it thinly, with the proper texture roller, and just roll it on, and just like if you were painting a wall, keeping smoothing it out so you get no paint bubbles.
  11. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    No, I didn't weigh it before or after.

    But, would 3 coats of paint (which is what we're talking about here) really differ from a coating of vinyl covering (tolex) in any way that anyone would notice? Might even be less
  12. skychief


    Apr 27, 2011
    South Bay
    I didnt weigh mine, either. But id wager the weight of 3 coats of the Duratex is very close to the weight of a vinyl (Tolex) covering.
  13. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    I wish I had taken a "before" picture. How nicked up and torn the tolex covering was. Other than the hardware is the same, it pretty much looks brand new again.
  14. That looks really nice! This makes me think I should get rid of the carpet on my Bigfoot and refinish with this stuff.
  15. 0utlier


    Feb 21, 2006
    Hattiesburg, MS
    I used the aerosol rust-oleum bedliner spray (3 cans) to do mine. I think I'll go back over it with some duratex or some other roll-on in the near future. I did document my journey which may help someone looking to do this...

  16. robertebooker

    robertebooker Supporting Member

    Feb 15, 2013
    upstate NY
    Id love to see the finished project.. I need to do the same to my 410 nd 15. They are beat up pretty bad..
  17. robertebooker

    robertebooker Supporting Member

    Feb 15, 2013
    upstate NY
    I see the pics.. Wow that looks amazing.. Im going to follow your steps and get my cabs done..
  18. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    I built a rolling cabinet/rack for the scrounged PA from hell a couple years ago and finished it with Duratex. That stuff holds up really well. It has needed no touchup to date. Since that worked as well as it did, I'm considering using it to coat ductwork in our basement, since the basement is getting renovated into office space on one side (where the ductwork is) and a room for noise on the other side. Painting ductwork with Duratex seems like a good way to make it look better than galvanized sheet metal and maybe slow down noise just a little. The best part is you don't need a supplied air respirator or a new set of brain cells when you use it, since it is water based.

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