Tolex lifting...what adhesive to use?

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by telewacker, Dec 23, 2009.


  1. telewacker

    telewacker Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,268
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Clayton, CA
    I have a custom made cab with Ampeg style blue diamond checked tolex that is lifting at a couple of seams. What's the best glue to use that will hold and can be cleaned off the tolex without leaving any residue?
     
  2. zzmoore

    zzmoore Member

    Messages:
    6,546
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    Location:
    USA, California, 94585
    Elmer's white glue is fine. You might want to pre-paste it a bit, just for added strength. But whatever, glue it down and then tape it down overnight.
    Good Luck
     
  3. SatelliteAmps

    SatelliteAmps Member

    Messages:
    6,180
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    Location:
    Normal Heights, Calif
    Superglue is fast and easy. Works really well.
     
  4. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,507
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca
    I used to use Super Glue, but have gone over to the Gorilla Snot Super Glue. It isn't as runny as regular super glue, and that keeps you from making a mess. Available at Home Depot for sure, probably elsewhere, too.

    I use it on all of my seams, corners, etc. on my cab recovers, and repairs.
     
  5. telewacker

    telewacker Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,268
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Clayton, CA
    Thanks for the info. It's more of a problem than I thought though. The tolex has shrunk enough so there is a gap even with the seams pressed flat. I going to try and get the builder to re do the tolex because this is faulty workmanship and even though the cab is a few years old it's been babied, covered, and should last decades, right?
     
  6. Prairie Dawg

    Prairie Dawg Member

    Messages:
    1,934
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    Location:
    Windsor Heights, Iowa
    How long did you say you'd owned it? You could probably do a good job of repairing it with contact cement properly applied and a seam roller.
     
  7. telewacker

    telewacker Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,268
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Clayton, CA

    3or 4 years. The problem is that the seams are the diagonal corner seams of a wide front panel and the tolex has shrunk enough so the the two pieces no longer meet. It's not a seam with overlap but one where the two pieces have to perfectly align.

    The tolex has lifted in other places too. It just wasn't a good gluing job. Done properly it would still be intact. I want to sell this piece and this really hurts it's saleability.
     
  8. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,507
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca
    There is a problem with most of the inexpensive tolex, IMO. It shrinks no matter what you use to glue it because the backing isn't solidly attached to the vinyl/tolex. The shrinking you get is because of the reaction between the tolex backing and the glue.

    I always use the Marshall tolex because it's higher quality and with the right glue it doesn't shrink/stretch/distort the tolex. So getting the cab builder to do this right for you will involve completely stripping the cab back to bare wood and recovering the entire cab. After 3-4 years, I would think the answer will be "You're on your own." Sorry to be such a downer, especially on a holiday. :hide
     
  9. telewacker

    telewacker Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,268
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Clayton, CA
    I hear ya. I guess I could try and sell it as is. It is a powered speaker with an old tube power amp and 1 12" speaker with the same internal dimensions as the speaker box of an Ampeg Gemini that I built to slave the Gemini into when it didn't have enough power so I built it with mid 60's Ampeg correct appointments to match the amp sitting on top of it. I didn't anticipate the shrinkage problem. Oh well...
     
  10. Prairie Dawg

    Prairie Dawg Member

    Messages:
    1,934
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    Location:
    Windsor Heights, Iowa
    I had a similar thing happen on an older Supro I had. The corners where the covering joined had separated about 1/8 of an inch-not much but enough to make it unsightly. What I did was remove the back panel and harvest some of the covering material which was some sort of vinyl ty[e stuff like Tolex or Vinyde. I carefully cut filler patches, widened the uncovered areas, fitted the patches, glued them in and then rolled them with a seam roller. It wasn't perfect but you couldn't tell the difference from a couple feet away. It'll improve the appearance some.

    Cheers and don't work on it today. Christmas and all, y'know.
     
  11. telewacker

    telewacker Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,268
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Clayton, CA
    That's a good idea. Thanks!
     
  12. roadhog96

    roadhog96 Member

    Messages:
    240
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2008
    I've seen a lot of original vintage Fender amps with shrunk seams. They used a water based adhesive that allows the glue and Tolex to move from the expansion and contraction of the wood cabinet other wise it would tear. The Tolex is cloth backed. Over the years the glue has dried out and the seams tend to open and lift. I wouldn't suggest using a permanent glue like super glue because it would be impossible to remove if you ever had to repair the cabinet. If you were to get a good ding in the cab it can be repaired by filling it with wood filler, sanding then re-gluing the original Tolex down. I've had get success repairing tears and dings, so good that I couldn't even find them using a 6X magnifying lighted lens. If it had been previously glued with a permanent glue I wouldn't have been so lucky.
     
  13. reaiken

    reaiken Member

    Messages:
    1,784
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    Greenwood, SC
    If the seam is not too wide, you can heat the tolex with a hair dryer or heat gun and soften it up enough to push it back into place before you glue it together with super glue. Go slowly and be careful, tolex can take a lot of heat, but if you get too hot, it will melt.

    Randall Aiken
     
  14. Prairie Dawg

    Prairie Dawg Member

    Messages:
    1,934
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    Location:
    Windsor Heights, Iowa
    Yankee ingenuity is a wonderful thing to behold.I think that this gambit would work even better with a wideish roller to sort of move the covering over a scoche.
     
  15. 5881

    5881 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    925
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2006
    Location:
    Phila. PA
    Contact cement. Apply a thin film to cab and tolex, let dry 5 min. and stick together. I have had really good luck with a product called Barge, comes in a yellow tube. Don't use the weak stuff made for arts and crafts projects like Elmers. If it doesn't smell like it would get you high it's no good! If unsure squeeze a half of tubes worth into a paper bag.........
     
  16. carbz

    carbz Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,203
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2006
    Gorilla glue. It takes a while to dry but when it does forget about it....
     
  17. telewacker

    telewacker Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,268
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Clayton, CA
    LOL!!!!

    I appreciate all the good advice folks. Thanks!!
     
  18. FFTT

    FFTT Member

    Messages:
    28,439
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    I'm doing a serious hard scrub cleaning of my '73 SVT 8X10 cab and see where the Tolex has pulled loose, so this thread is timely for me.

    Looking for a klutz proof solution that also retains the integrity of what was used originally if that matters.

    Looks like it's going to be toothpicks and mini sponges to get the adhesive back in there
    without making a mess on the exposed Tolex.
     
  19. Ronsonic

    Ronsonic Member

    Messages:
    3,313
    Joined:
    May 14, 2006
    Location:
    Sunny Tampa, Florida
    Hot melt glue gun. Heats the tolex enough to let you push it back into place even where it has shrunk away and holds this stuff very well. The burning sensation in your thumbs goes away after awhile. Seriously. I don't much like hot melt for most anything, this is one place where it works well. Cleans up perfectly, just roll up the excess as it cools.
     

Share This Page