the purpose of tolex

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by whitespike, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. whitespike


    Nov 28, 2007
    Austin, TX
    The tolex on my Ampeg V4 cab is shot and I'm broke. I thought about ripping it off and staining the wood for fun. I can recover later. Any reason not to do this?
  2. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    You need to do a lot of sanding to get the glue off. Other than that, good to go. Also consider Duratex or other roll on tough finish.
  3. depending on what sort of stain you use it may limit what glue options you have should you decide to recover it later. There are water based contact glues available now which are may or may not be a problem when applied over a stain so you may want to research that before deciding.
  4. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Rob made a good point. Stains penetrate the wood and can affect adhesion should you want to re-tolex later. A water based stain might be best.

    Not sure how old your cabinet is. The earlier Ampeg cabinets used hide glue.

    If this is what you have, the glue is water soluble and you can carefully peel back a bit of the tolex, then use a warm wet cloth at the edge of the tolex to loosen/dissolve the glue. The tolex peels away easily. You can also use an iron with a cloth under it to soften the glue. It makes removal easier. If you are impatient and use too much force, splinters of the wood is going to come up with the tolex. They would need to be filled before staining and it won't look as good.

    Once all the tolex is removed, continue washing the cab. I use a razor blade as a scraper. Most everything will come off. Then some light sanding with a coarse sandpaper. Not too much. Be careful with the edges, you don't want to change the round-over angle. The corners won't fit.

    The quality of the wood varies. Sometimes there is wood filler. I've even seen wood patches in place. There can be crumbling of the filler that they used along the box joints. All this would need to be fixed.

    Tolex can cover a multitude of sins.
  5. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    Another issue is that some glue used with Tolex will penetrate the wood and you can't stain it.

    You can almost bet that Tolex-covered wood is ugly underneath.
  6. Crabby


    Dec 22, 2004
    The carpet covered cabs have their drawbacks but they sure seem to wear better then tolex. The carpet picks up smells easily and hair but they dont seem to rip and with a good vacuum can look almost new again.
  7. bwoodman

    bwoodman Supporting Member

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