Jump to content
Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

How to fix ripped tolex?


Recommended Posts

  • Replies 7
  • Created
  • Last Reply

I took some clear marine bonding glue and used in on a torn tolex corner once. It worked great. The tear was not actually repaired but it was glued up nice and did not tear any further.

I tried some super glue first, but the material underneath the tolex was too porus and the super glue did not hold.

The marine glue is kinda like JB Weld. You get two tubes of stuff and mix them to make the bonding material. Spread them over the torn area and overlap the good area and let it dry. Holds in all humidity environments, even right out wet.



Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It really depends on how big the "rip" is and if there's some ripped off.


If it's just a dog-ear tear, you can stick it back on with contact cement. Scrape off any old glue then clean the back of the torn tolex and the cabinet with naptha and give it a couple of hours to dry completely. Then put the cement on both pieces and stick them back together after the cement is "dry" but still a little tacky. Roll the patch back into place with a glass bottle or jar or a J-roller if you have one. The patch should be immediate.


If it's a hole torn out, you can patch it with a piece of tolex the same color and texture. You cut out a piece that's larger than the hole and tape it over the hole. Then cut through the new piece and the original and peel off the section you cut out of the original. You now have a patch that should be exactly the right size and shape to fit where the old tolex was. Scrape off any old glue from the area to be patched. Clean the cabinet where the old tolex was with naptha and let it dry for a couple of hours. Then coat the bare spot and the back of the new tolex patch with contact cement and wait for it to dry tacky. Then _very_ carefully align the patch to the hole and place it in the hole. Roll out the patch with a glass bottle or J-roller.


If you don't have matching tolex, you can do something "custom". A friend of mine has an old red Marshall JCM800. The side of his amp got a couple of pretty bad scratches (down to the wood) on one side. The red tolex has faded a good bit (it was made in 1984) so we couldn't match the tolex color. I told him we could strip the whole cabinet and recover it but that would take a lot of work. So we cut out the scratched area on the right and the same area on the left and cleaned the old glue off. Then we took two pieces of blue and white tolex and cut them into strips to fit the "stripe" we cut out of his case. When we got done, he had a red tolex amp head with a blue and white stripe on each side. It looked pretty good. Much better than those deep scratches.


So, you can do a patch job or you can get creative and customize your cabinet.


Just remember it's very important that you get the old glue and other crud off the tolex AND the cabinet before you try to glue something else on.


Tolex is glued on with a rubber based cement because it needs to be flexible. The wood will expand and contract with changes in temp and humidity. A "hard" glue will not continue to stick but a rubber based glue will. Even rubber cement is better than using super glue.


BTW, cyanoacrylates (super glues) are not good for porous surfaces, either.


Hope that helps.

Born on the Bayou


Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...