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trying to figure out how much tolex I need

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by sickest beast, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. hey guys,

    so the Marshall style tolex is 56'' wide and is ordered by the yard (36'').

    the cabinet I have to cover is:

    18'' deep x 30'' tall x 30'' wide

    how many yards do I need? what's the most economical way to cover this cabinet? keep in mind I have the back 30''x30'' to cover as well.

    the problem arises due to the fact that the cabinet is 18 inches deep. Normally, with a regular Marshall 4x12, I could order 2 yards of tolex, cut it in half lengthwise and it would cover the entire cabinet.

    i think I may have to order about 5 yards, just because the cabinet is 18 inches deep. and this way I would have a bunch of leftover tolex.

    if there's another way I can do this and not have to buy a ton of tolex, let me know.

  2. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Geometry...measure the surface area to be covered then buy the appropriate of tolex based on how many seams you're willing to have.
  3. do it for me

    with the least amount of seams possible
  4. Hi.


    If You can't figure that out by yourself, what makes you think you can actually do the job?

    Rip the existing tolex off and measure, that way it'll look the same.

    Marshall cabs are a PITA to tolex cleanly, with the templates You'll avoid most of the cutting mistakes.

  5. I was kidding.

    I guess I didn't state my problem clearly enough.

    There is no question about whether I can do this job or not.

    I was only giving a snarky response to what i thought was a less than informative post about "geometry".

  6. The problem has to do with the size of the tolex sheets that i'm able to order, and the odd size of the cabinet i'm trying to recover...
    If you look at my numbers in the OP, you can see my problem.

    i'm not asking for tips on how to retolex... on how hard it will be, etc.

    I don't think there is a way I can do it without ordering 5 yards of tolex. This way I could do the whole cabinet with only 1 seam, BUT I will probably have enough tolex leftover to cover an average Marshall 4x12 guitar cabinet.

    If there is a way I can do it without having all the leftover tolex, I would love to hear it.
  7. If someone sold Marshall style tolex that was 62'' wide, I could cover the cabinet with 3 yards instead of 5. Saving me almost $40.
  8. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Using geometry, you'd know that it would be impossible to do three sides in one continuous piece. That'd require at least 66". The best you could do is two sides. Using geometry again, you'd know you could pull that off with one yard.

    Using geometry again, you'd know you had three more sides to do and that another yard would yield enough if you cut carefully.

    BUT...you didn't mention how much you'd need for the sixth side.
  9. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    Order 8 yards, use what you need, and have a seamstress make you a totally awesome tolex shirt to match your swanky looking cab.
  10. Hi.

    Ok, then.

    Snarkiness, humor or sarcasm among other moods, is very hard in the written form I've noticed. Perhaps that's why the emoticons were invented ;).

    Having left-overs is the nature of any upholstery job, just the nature of the trade, nothing more, nothing less.

    That's the very reason one-off low cost item re-coverings are not economically feasible when above average cost material is used. Why do You think "rat-fur" was (is) so popular? Or bed-liner more recently?

    The key is to have more than one piece to cover, and to be able to cut the material in the most economical way. Incidentally (according to the legend anyway), that's the reason why a Marshall 412 cab has the dimensions it has, the least amount of plywood scrap from a standard sheet at that time. Piping was installed to ease the manufacturing and economize the tolex cutting, etc.

  11. f64


    Oct 31, 2009
    Five yards sounds correct. You'll need one sheet to go around all 4 sides with only one seam. That seam should be on the bottom about 3" in from the side. Expect to have some waste here. With only one seam you will have a more durable exterior. In the industry that waste is called the drop. Take a look at the existing seams on the back. You'll want to duplicate these as much as possible. Good luck! Last year I recovered an 810 and I was surprised how well it turned out.
  12. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    There is always a seam on the edge of the tolex that needs to be trimmed so it is not a full 56" wide.

    This is one way to cover it. It might help to draw what I am trying to say in order to understand it. Trim the tolex edge(s), then split it down the middle. Wrap about two inches around the bottom, up the side, the top, the other side, and two inches around the other side of the bottom. Then use the other half to do the bottom and up the back.

    The two bottom seams turn into the corner at the front and back at about a 45 degree angle, starting about two inches from the front and back edge. The corners are covered with metal or plastic corners. So when looking at the front of the cab, you don't see any seams. The bottom will have two seams but you normally don't see them. The back will have a three sided seam.

    It makes a difference if there is a removable back panel. If so, you will need more tolex for the back.

    All seams are butt joints. You overlap the seams and cut through two layers at once. Remove the overlapping piece from underneath and mate the two edges. This results in a flat seam. It is harder to pull off than overlapping seams but looks better.
  13. hahahaha
  14. Looks like I'm going to have to order 5 yards...

    1 yard for each side of the cabinet, plus 1 for the back panel. Pro = one seam, easy application Con = Lots of leftovers

    I'll have enough tolex left over to cover a whole 4x12, so I guess if I ever find an old Marshall 4x12 for cheap that needs a tolex job, I can pick it up. :)
  15. I've seen this done on youtube. Works great for corners too.

    the corners will be covered with plastic, so i don't have to make the corners perfect. I will try anyways, just for the challenge.
  16. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    I pays to do a lot of research and think everything through. Having some extra tolex to do some practice seams and corners helps. If you don't want to use the good Marshall stuff buy some cheap vinyl from a fabric store.

    Building jigs or using, for example, a two inch ninety degree aluminum angle iron like the stuff available from a hardware store makes a big difference. One surface clamps onto the side of the amp holding the other edge solidly in place to cut against.

    I use water soluble contact cement. With this type of glue, I have found that narrow strips of kitchen type wax (parchment) paper against the glue works well when doing butt joints. The paper doesn't stick to the glue and can be easily removed with the bottom layer of tolex after the cut has been made.
  17. Thanks for the tips. I have some angle iron and the perfect sized clamps, I'll use them to get a super tight seam.

    What brand contact cement do you use? I need to consider a few brands before choosing. I'd prefer something I can pick up at my local hardware store.
  18. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    I get mine from Home Depot, Lepage Pres-Tite Green contact cement. The tolex glues that tolex sellers sell is also a water based contact cement. These products are more than sufficient for tolex work. For an even stronger bond you can use the original solvent based yellow contact cement. This stuff is toxic and requires a well ventilated area to work in. It is also less forgiving when working. It helps to have a good razor knife, razor blades, a heavy putty knife, and a veneer roller for pressing the tolex onto the cabinet. All hardware store items.

    Wood prep is important so that the glue will adhere properly. I remove the old glue by scraping with a razor blade, then I sand down to about 250 grit with an orbital sander. Some of the old glues are water based, so try a warm damp rag with a scraper first. If it isn't water based, there is more work involved. Solvents or sanding is necessary. Remove as little wood as possible to do the job. Fill any gouges and holes, build up edges, or repair any major problems. I use a wood epoxy stick called QuikWood. The nice thing about this product is that it is tough but water based. Wet sanding removes it much easier and quicker than dry sanding. Yet is it tough enough to build up problem areas. It also sticks like crazy when hard. There should be some roughness for the glue to bond to. Be careful not to change the edge round overs when sanding or the corners will not fit.

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