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My latest Tolex adventure

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  • My latest Tolex adventure

    So I did my very first Tolex side panel on a Bassman combo I was building, and I was proud so I posted it on my FB page. Next day a local guy asks what it would cost to do his Marshall head and cab in red. I tell him I am new to this, but he thinks I did a fine job on mine, so how much? I tell him $400, thinking I could scare him off, because I really didn't want to do it. He took the deal.

    So he brings me his ripped up, STINKY cabs, and gives me 2 -3 weeks. Stripped them, went thru the learning curve of adhesives, rivets, etc in other threads. When all is said and done, I have so many hours into this project, I can't even believe. Expenses have been over 50% (I did have to buy an apoulstery stapler, so that's kinda part of it). I used contact cement and spray adhesive combo, and man does that take like forever waiting for that stuff to set up. I have to have the shop door open with a fan, so that means working at night with the heat and humidity down here. And when I say night, I mean ALL night. Then, for some reason, the seams that looked excellent the night before, shrunk and looked not at all excellent the next day. So that means more hours of gluing in small patches to make everything look like it is worth $400. You can get away with a LOT more with black tolex on black painted wood then you ever will with red. Hell, I was surprised just how sloppy some of the original Marshall factory covering was.

    He will be happy with the end result, I'm sure, but damn, I think I made less than Burger King money on this. He says he will be sure to tell everyone who did the job, but I'm not sure I want him to.

    Anyway, I think I am all hopped up on contact fumes, so here is a before and after pics.

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    Last edited by Randall; 06-11-2019, 05:14 AM.
    It's weird, because it WAS working fine.....

  • #2
    And welcome to the learning curve.

    That happens to everyone. Maybe that amp repair that should have been easy but took eight hours? Or this...

    If you decide you can't get efficient enough at it, just refuse the work. Tell them the fumes make your wife/baby sick.
    Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.


    • #3
      Looks great from 4400 miles away


      • #4
        I think it looks great!
        I use the Weldwood and 3M spray, and here where it's dry, I still need 15 min. or more before it's tacky.
        I want to try the "string" in the groove on my next cabinet. I haven't found a suitable white yet, may have to settle on silver.


        • #5
          NICE JOB!! I know what ya mean with regards to how much time it required. I'm guessing shops that do this sort of thing on a regular basis charge about the same, and having done enough to have it down to a science, can make profit at it. The first one ALWAYS takes you for a ride on the unexpected details that crop up, such as material shrinkage that you ran into. I tend to limit those custom projects to a minimum, knowing I'm doing it more for the joy of doing it, and will be lucky if I make anything on it. My expenses are ALWAYS covered, and the rest....I'd be lucky to even make Burger King wages on the job. Sure a whole lot more satisfying than Working at Burger King!
          Logic is an organized way of going wrong with confidence