Marshall 4x12 slant cab recover 101

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Scumback Speakers, Feb 21, 2005.

  1. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

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    Ok, gents, who wants to recover their Marshall 4x12 slant cab? I said I'd do this a few weeks back, so I'll start with the tolex stripping portion of it.

    First, get a good sized area to work in, doesn't need to be clean, cuz it will be cruddy when we're done! Try not to piss off the little woman by leaving a mess, though...OK?

    Start by removing all of the hardware & screws, the speakers, the cables, jack plate, casters, and anything else that's sticking up made of metal or plastic.

    Plastic corners might not be salvagable, so get ready to buy those from your favorite Marshall supply place (if you're putting them back on). If you want to save them (they're only $25 or so for a full set), get out your dremel tool, and grind out the rivets that hold them in (or drill them out). If you've got screws, great! Unscrew them, and put them back in later. Keep the corners in a ziplock, and note where they went on the cab.

    Once the hardware is off, the baffle board is unscrewed, the back panel is off and the speakers are out, unstaple the piping (unless you're going to replace it, too). Get out the straight tip screwdriver, and pry those staples out carefully (if you're reusing the piping), and don't jam your hands with them! They're old, and probably bordering on rusty, so be careful.

    Now here's the fun part, start pulling off the tolex from the inside edges. If you want to use your old tolex as a pattern for the new tolex (assuming it's still got the edges!), be REALLY careful. Don't slip up and rip it. In some cases, there's no choice, it rips cuz it's old, glued down too well to come up in one piece, already ripped, torn or otherwise unsuitable for tracing. No big deal, we'll get that covered, too.

    Here's our test subject 4x12 cab. This is an early - mid 80's Marshall 1960 Vintage slant cab. As you can see, we've got ripped cloth, ripped tolex, chipped out wood chunks, broken logo (3 pieces), dings, dents and crap all over this one. Here's where we're going to start...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    And here's where we're headed...keep in mind this cab pic has no corners, with inlaid top & bottom gold "string" piping and we'll be putting casters back on (this is the 2x12 Marshall Handwired Cab, a mere $900 online) the cab's bottom to match our straight cab. What we're going to wind up doing is to match it up as close as possible to an old 60's cab (which are pretty pricey these days).
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012
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  2. KevinF

    KevinF Member

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    I am looking forward to this!!! I am going to build my own cab and your posts on doing the tolex/grillcloth will be very helpful. Thanks.
     
  3. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

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    OK, figured I'd better touch on a few points for removing your plastic corners. If they're old (these are about 20 years old), they're most likely dented and f**ked up. However we don't want to gouge the wood anymore than necessary, so let's try to be a bit more careful than just stabbing, and cracking... let's get the corners off quickly, without too much heartache. We're going to wind up going with smooth corners with 45 degree angle cuts just like they did in the old days, so the least amount of wood filler or dowel rods we need to fill chips, rivet holes, etc... the better. Let's start with removing the plastic corners. Get a short, but wide straight tip in there under the plastic corner.
    [​IMG]
    Then get out a nail puller, and shove or pound it smoothly under the straight tip. Go slow, and don't force it unless you have to. Using leverage on the short stubby screwdriver to pry up the plastic should be kept to a minimum as once you loosen the rivet, the whole thing pops off pretty easily. Here's step two...
    [​IMG]
    What's left afterwards...nope the tolex isn't cut real well here, they've got corners to cover their boo boos!
    [​IMG]
    Of course the bottom corners look alot better, go figure!
    [​IMG]
    Side handles took a crap, though...no big deal, we'll be replacing them with metal handles from Mojotone, and also putting in T-nuts, and machine screws to hold the new handles on.
    [​IMG]
    Here's a surprise, though. The handles fit just fine, but the screw holes don't all match. We'll be doweling up the old holes, and drilling new ones for the T-nuts. Since the flange is wider than the existing Marshall handle, when the cab is doweled up, we'll decide how many screws we want to use. The old cabs used six screws, this handle has holes for 12, so we'll figure that out when we're done with the tolex. 12 scews is certainly going to be secure enough, I'll let you decide how close you want to be to "old school Marshall". If you look for the original handles, be prepared to pay. There was a pair in eBay last weekend, opening bid of $250. Yikes! These cost under $24 shipped for a pair. You decide. Here's a comparison of the handles.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012
  4. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

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    Well, let's see. We have to unscrew the baffle board, and take off the old cloth. It's pretty faded, to say the least (fade resistant black, huh? Oh yeah sure! LOL) and it's got ALOT of staples, roughly 40 per side. Get out one of the #1 small straight tip screwdrives and start prying them up. Those cheap computer toolkits have the perfect size for this, and they also fit the really small piping staples exactly, so break out the small straight tip screwdriver, slide it under the old black cloth, center under the staples and start prying them up. Then get out the pliers and pull them the rest of the way out. See ya in about 1/2 hour. Boring work, but... you have no choice.
    Man, this cloth is OUTTA HERE, huh? Yuch!
    [​IMG]
    Staples freaking everywhere.
    [​IMG]
    How your white, gold or silver piping is cut to go around corners inside. This is the lower lefthand corner (looking from the backside). Notice the cut to the corner thru the piping bead? That's to allow it to bend at the corner and stay flat. Use extra staples here when you reattach it, too. Keeps it in place.
    [​IMG]
    Upper righthand corner (from the rear view) of the piping where it starts and ends (notice there's no cut to round the corner as in the previous pic?)
    [​IMG]
    The tolex should all just peel off with your fingers, or with a little persuasion from a screwdriver or knife blade now. Rip it all off... go ahead, get nuts!
    [​IMG]
    Get the bottom, too. No half assed stuff here!
    [​IMG]
    Someone asked how they get the angle on the baffle board for a slant cab. Here's how, take a good look. A precision angle cut I guess.
    [​IMG]
    In the next installment, we'll dowel up the extra holes, and sand the cab smooth with a belt sander, and sanding blocks for the inside corners, etc. We'll get going on this on the weekend. Check back in two or three days for more instructions! Have a good afternoon, OK?
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012
  5. el34power

    el34power Member

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  6. big mike

    big mike Administrator Staff Member

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    I dig you're tutorials Jim! When's the next installment?
     
  7. tybone

    tybone Member

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    Great stuff. I am about to do the same thing to a JCM 800 slant cab. Keep it coming!!!!!
     
  8. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

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    big mike, I'm taking the cab down to my amp designer's place on Saturday morning. I'll cover stripping the old glue remnants off, belt sanding the sides, hand sanding the rest with a sanding block and 60-80 grit sandpaper, and using a dual action sander, too.

    Then we'll fill the two cutouts that held the anti-skid trays, dowel up extra rivet holes left by handles, old casters, corners, etc., and other depressions left by 20 plus years of wear and tear, and replace the back panel with one made of 1/2" ply. After that's all done, we'll start recovering the cab. Hopefully, you can take a cab like this...
    [​IMG]
    and make it look like this (this is the same exact cab after recovering): [​IMG]
    We'll pretty much cover it all, I think. If there are any specific questions, I'll be happy to answer them here or via email. I don't check the PM function here, so try me at: sales@scumbackspeakers.com or post a question here. Better by email though.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012
  9. big mike

    big mike Administrator Staff Member

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    CooL!!!! Looking forward to the rest. Thanks Jim!

    Might be brave enough to find a beat cab and try it myself!
     
  10. RL in Fla

    RL in Fla Member

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    Great post Jim . The plastic corners are about the diciest part to get off without breaking . When I redid my Lead 12 I opted to just get new ones ( Mojo's got 'em) since the old ones were scratched to bejeezus anyhow . I drilled out/doweled the rivet holes and used #6 brass screws in lieu of rivets , and "Brass Black" by Birchwood Casey . That many rivets was gonna cost as much as the new corners if I remember right .
     
  11. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

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    I've got three slants, and two straights I'm restoring, Mike. One is going to get BluesBreaker reissue cloth and silver piping. Another one is getting checkerboard and white, and this one is getting Basketweave/S&P cloth with white piping to match my old 69 cab. I haven't decided on the other straight cab I just picked up, but the old 69 cab is getting new cloth and tolex... nothing like a perfectly restored old resonant cab with G12H30 014 cones. :dude
     
  12. IPlayHamers

    IPlayHamers Member

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    This is very interesting and could be quite useful to those of us that find old cabs that need some TLC.

    Thanks for the tutorial and I look forward to reading more.
     
  13. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

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    OK, we left off with stripping the cab, and now move to the most enviable task of all... taking off the glue residue. Thrilled, aren't you? (Yeah, me neither...barf!)

    My advice is get one of the workbenches you can raise and lower, get two clamps, an electic belt sander of 4" or wider, a hand sanding block, 40 grit & 80 grit sandpaper for the sanding block. Outfit your belt sander with 50 grit, get two belts in case you find that hidden staple, screw, whatever. It happened to me during this..

    OK start by getting your workmate bench up to a comfortable height you can reach WITH the cab on top. At 6'2" I had my bench about the height of my upper thighs, then added on the 30" of the cab height and got just around shoulder height. Do what's comfortable for you. Then clamp your cab with diagonally so it won't flex. Or use more if you want, it's up to you.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Make sure your clamps are tight, no deviations. Get out the belt sander. Keep two things in mind right now.
    1) 50 Grit sandpaper cuts quick. Do not push in, let the sander's weight be your only force. I'll show you why later...
    2) Hold on tight! The 50 grit paper will grip the wood and take off if you're not holding on. Forget the gym today, I did!
    Use the belt sander going with the grain (side to side the long way, usually) of the wood. Move quickly, go back and forth. Typical time to do one side with FRESH paper, 2-3 minutes.
    Back sides of the cab, you can do with the belt sander the long way only, and very sparingly, it will strip these small width pieces LIKE THAT, and if you hang on too long you have ruts, or rounded edges where you don't want them. We'll fix with wood filler, but it's easier NOT to make that mistake.
    After 20 minutes of sanding your cab you should be looking like this on all four sides, but here's the top for reference:
    [​IMG]
    Now you get to clean out the back indents. That's where the back panel fits in flush to the back of the cab. You have to get that goop, glue, sawdust, and crap out of there to finish the tolexing. I knew you'd be thrilled. Get a single edged safety razor, the 40 grit sandpaper, and a sanding block. Put the 40 grit in the block. Sand a little of the indent to get it warm, then take the razor and scrape the goop out. Here's the area I'm talking about: [​IMG]
    After you get going on it, you'll get a feel for how much sanding you need to do, before it needs to be scraped with the razor. The glue will dry up alot, but still be sticky, but you can still get a nice little ball of crap each time you scrape. Anyway, angle the blade to scrape the goop off, and angle it into corners, press in and scrape those corners out good. When it starts looking like this, you're close. Remember to alternate the sanding block and the razor. Neither does it all, but they do well in tandem.
    [​IMG]
    This operation should take around 30 minutes to an hour. Depends how diligent you are, and how many beers you've had, right? Stay focused, razors are shop, belt sanders can tear your skin off and screw up your hands, so let's celebrate after we're done, OK?
    While you're tired of moving your hands with the sanding block and razor, take the time to brush off your baffle board with a whisk broom or similar, get the dust off, and the lint, then spray paint it FLAT BLACK. Get it looking like this, and you're good to go. The edges where the screws are don't show, so don't waste any extra paint on them, unless you want to.
    [​IMG]
    OK, when you're done, it should look alot like this. That's right THIS WHITE! All of that black goop was glue. Make sure your back indents, and your inside cab edges are all this clean. We need that area to wrap new tolex around, so if the old glue is there, it won't stick as well. Want your tolex to unroll? Didn't think so. We'll reconvene shortly for new cloth for the 4x12 baffle board. Thinking of BluesBreaker reissue cloth with white piping... whaddya think? Here's the cab before today...
    [​IMG]
    And now...
    [​IMG]
    Check in with you later for the grill cloth installation...
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012
  14. big mike

    big mike Administrator Staff Member

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    WoW!!! Looks GREAT jim.

    Oh boy. I gotta find me one to re-cover.
     
  15. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

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    Well, you can't see it in this pic but there's some minor wood putty fills that will happen to this cab, man... dings, dents, dowel up some holes.....sheesh...I've decided to order in some more gold piping, do some routing for channels for the piping, and we'll make this one be a mate for this straight cab. Then we'll have a potent looking stack, for sure...
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012
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  16. tonedaddy

    tonedaddy Member

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    I am here as you are here as you are me and we are
    Jim,
    that straight cab look great!!
    And thanks AGAIN for posting these threads.

    At the price you can find old trashed cabs, you're really making it affordable for anyone to get the cabs they want.

    Like a 4x12 for every room!!
    VERY COOL!
    :dude
    :D
     
  17. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks, tonedaddy, appreciate the kind remarks!

    I found this cab for $226 including s/h, and with the stereo wiring. I figure the recover costs go something like this:
    1) Tolex $45 for real Marshall black elephant (three yards needed).
    2) Grillcloth $40 BW/S&P (one yard).
    3) Handles (metal), Mashall plastic corners $35-$40
    4) Plywood back $20 (1/2" baltic birch 5'x5')
    5) Piping $40 (all new piping in gold 3/16" around baffle, 1/8" over top and bottom in four channels we'll cut)
    6) Glue and 3" paint roller $14
    7) Gold/Brass screws & Tnuts for handles $9

    You're still into the cab for $434, plus your "sweat equity" but with significantly upgraded hardware and coverings, plus you get to say "I recovered this cab." with pride if anyone asks. Sure.... you can buy a new cab at Mojotone for about $600 or so including shipping, but it ain't the old wood.

    Probably alot easier, though! LOL
     
  18. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

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    Well, after some serious consideration, I decided to go with something completely different on this cab. I figured since this would be my "Scumback demo cab" that I'd go ahead and make it unique. So I'm going with the BluesBreaker grill cloth and SILVER piping. I loved that look on my first client's Scumbag () and the extension cab I made for a 10 & 12 extension cab (1x12 extension on top, 10 & 12 extension cab on the bottom), so I figured WTF and go with it for the 4x12 demo cab, too. We're going to put back on all of the standard plastic, too, except the plastic corners. We'll still upgrade to metal handles for durability. So...here's where we're at. Start with getting your cloth as straight as possible. Put extra staples at the corners so the cloth doesn't move as you'll have to stretch this "by hand" to make it tight. Start on a corner, and line it up...staple very close to the edge and evenly. This cloth needs to be stapled through it's weave. If you just staple between the weaves, it moves when stretched. So staple it as shown, you don't want to pull out 20 staples...do you?
    [​IMG]
    You want it this straight.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I start on the top of the baffle board, and get it dead nuts straight as possible. There is some "weave wandering" in this cloth, as in any of the Marshall cloth I've used/seen/bought, so line it up tight, straight, and staple carefully on top. Flip the baffle board, then pull it over the bottom. Do your best to have it straight and staple in the center, this will keep the cloth from "flexing" as much towards the sides. So pick a good line on the cloth, FOLD IT along that line across the entire bottom, staple 3 times in the center, then start pulling the cloth even to match out to the sides. Check your line, and stapling technique every 2-3 staples. I got lazy and had to pull out about 15. Don't get lazy, it just costs you staples and time, and you get to redo it cuz it looks crooked. After the top and bottom are stapled, you do the sides the same way. Pull the cloth tight, then fold the cloth over the baffle board edges and start stapling again, right on the edge closest to the front of the baffle board.
    It should look like this when you're done...or real close.
    [​IMG]
    Now just trim up the excess, and staple down the loose ends and you're done. Here's the finished product (before trimming).
    [​IMG]
    We'll do the piping install this weekend, after the new piping gets here, then start recovering the cab... stay tuned for more.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012
  19. 594life

    594life Member

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    Ok, I built a straight 4x12 to vintage marshall specs (13 ply, box joints, gold vein channel, etc.). It's beautiful! I started to cover it with tolex, but can't get the front corners right. I already know I'm going to have to remove the tolex I have on it. I've got more tolex and am eager to figure these out. Can you please help me with these carzy corners?
     
  20. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

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    Well, you're in luck. I got a straight cab myself that I'm recovering at the same time as this slant cab. If you wrapped your tolex all the way around the corners and have a pile of tolex that's UNCUT, I can help you out. If you already cut out the corners, or tried to do something, then the chances aren't so good.

    Can you send me a pic of what you've done to my email address? Then I can tell you whether you've "screwed the pooch" on this cab's tolex or not.

    Email the corner tolex pic to:sales@scumbackspeakers.com
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012

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