28 Feb Making Your Amp YOURS (D.I.Y Part 2)
So here is the second part for the Di-It-Yourselfers here. As with the first this will be a basics tutorial. Also, as with the first, I’m trying my best, since alot of my “as I was doing it” pics were destroyed along with the flash drive. The good thing here is the fact that ANYONE can do this to their newly built box or they can replace their existing tolex on a factory box. This allows people to have something other than the “stock” look. You don’t need any special skills or tools to do this. Just MAJOR PATIENCE. 😉
Be sure if you’re working on a new box to have all of your drilling, sanding, ect… before you begin covering.
Here are links to the Tolex and parts suppliers that I used:
Mojo Musical Supply
Parts is Parts
Same disclaimer “this is just my way, not the only way.”
These are the only tools you’ll really need. The bondo spreader helps with smoothing the tolex during application and to push it tightly into the corners.
I use 3M spray 90 adhesive for tolex. Unlike contact cement, you can remove the tolex and try again if the alignment is wrong. To use this glue spray a coat on the box AND the tolex. Wait ’till the glue is “tacky” and not wet to apply. Try to work fast. If it becomes non sticky a hair dryer or heat gun will tack it back up. If you happen to get some on the finish side of the tolex don’t worry. After it’s dried alot of rubbing with your finger will take it off.
The spray adhesive makes a MESS. Be sure to mask-off the areas that are not being covered at the moment. I also put down craft paper on the floor for spraying the tolex.
Corners are the trickiest part. Here is the head’s rear panel. As you can see, when you split the tolex for the corner there is a gap. To solve this, make a little triangle piece an install them in the corners before you do the main piece.
Here is the face panel corners. No need for the triangle infills here. The curve is big enough for the tolex to stretch and conform to. This also gives a good look at how the piping is installed. Alot of staples is the key for piping.
These 2 pics show how to “end” the small piping bead on the face panel & head. On the head be sure to extend it back far enough to clear the face & rear panels.
The big outer corners are the worst part of doing any covering job. In the above pics I’m attempting to show the process in which to cut for the corners.
First: slice the tolex straight out from the corner. Then wrap both pieces in place, overlapping them. Cut through BOTH pieces to get a smooth seam.
If it is not perfect don’t worry. Tolex stretches!!!!! Work and stretch the seam until you’re happy. (or use the corner bumpers to make life even easier)
As seen above PRACTICE with paper a few times before the tolex application. This will give a feel for what you will need to do and help you to work faster with the drying adhesive. The method does change a little bit depending on the type of corner you are doing. So I’ll stress again PRACTICE.
(If you’re recovering an existing box, pay attention to how the corners were cut and wrapped when you remove the old tolex.)
Here are some inner/outer shots of the various corner types. Note the “crushed” corner on the cabinet. This helps with the fitting of the corner guards. Just shave off the corner after the routing is finished.
Rear views of the cover panels to show some of the wrapping technique. The patience comes in big here. The rear panel being the hardest. Each of these panels took about an hour to cover. The front panel is 2 pieces of tolex separated by the small bead piping. (be sure to leave enough material in the bead channel so the piping will help pin it down and keep it in place.)
So, these are the final product shots. The head’s main box is 4 separate pieces with the beading holding down the ends. This is another BIG patience part. For me, the upper & lower pieces took around 15min. to install. However, the end pieces, which include all of the tough corners, took around an hour & a half EACH. There is so much cutting and shaping here that you will end up reheating the glue several times before you are done.
The amp cabinet is only two pieces. One for the top and sides and the other for the bottom. Corners are much easier when you have the guards covering the hard part of the corner.
SO, that’s all I can think of to put in this one. As before if you have any questions feel free to ask.
If you want to see the pics in full size and quality just search my user-name (06AngusSG) on flickr to find my page. There are also some pics there that I omitted from the article to keep it from being to lengthy.