Tube Amps / Music Electronics
For current discussions, please visit Music Electronics Forum. The sunn still shines online!

ampage archive

Vintage threads from the first ten years

Search for:  Mode:  

Tweed amp Lacquer

8/10/1999 12:05 AM
Joe Movich
Tweed amp Lacquer
This past weekend I went to the guitar show at Pomona Fairplex and noticed how the old Tweed amps had lacquer on them, some of them a pretty thick coat. I own 2 tweed covered amps (a RI Bassman and a blues deluxe) that I would like to protect. Sometime ago I remember seeing a post on how this can be done. Anyone have experience lacquering tweed? Thanks in advance.
8/10/1999 1:28 AM

I saved this post last spring...worked great on my bandmaster converted blues deluxe.  
"Posted by Chris Greene on March 12, 1999 at 18:46:12:  
Guys, this is a GREAT and easy project to get the vintage look on your tweed repro amps (Fender or otherwise).  
I learned about the techinique on the TDP from Bill Hullett whose son, Clay makes very nice Fender tweed repro amps.  
First strip out the cabinet (chassis, speaker and baffle board, and any badges, etc). Clean it of any grease and grime as best you can  
(mine was thrashed to begin with). Use a 50-50 mix of Zinnser Bullseye amber shellac (ACE hardware is where I found it) and  
denatured alcohol.  
Use a natural bristle brush and apply 2-4 coats letting it dry for about two-three hours (perhaps longer) between coats. Put on as many  
coats as your eye tells you. No need to sand between coats.  
It's a thin mixture and will run and drip if you over apply it. Not a problem, just be aware of the possibility and blend it in if it does  
with the brush. This typically wil happen on the bottom.  
Some guys have top coated the finished shellac with a clear lacquer coat to protect from alcohol stains, etc. I didn't as the tweed was  
already so scruffy.  
The finished product looks like a forty year old amp (either a Closet Classic if you started with clean tweed or a Relic if you started  
with scruffy tweed).  
Lots of guys are doing their Bassman reissues but it is awesome on the little Pro Jr.! Give it a try.  
Fender Discussion Group"
8/11/1999 6:28 PM

I have applied the amber shellac to new tweed, as the method supplied by Dave. This gives the correct aged color, but not the same texture or gloss as seen on the older amps.  
I looked closely at an old tweed Deluve amp, and noticed that the finish was fairly smooth, somewhat glossy. I believe that the factory finish was just multiple coats of clear lacquer (at that time, probably nitrocellulose), just like the finish on typical suitcases of that era.  
In order to mimic the early finishes, aged to the darker color that we see today, two things need to be done. First, apply the amber color coats of shellac until the cabinet covering looks as old as you prefer. Second, apply multiple sprayed coats of clear lacquer so that the surface texture is considerably leveled. I don't know how much (how many cotats) of lacquer is sufficient, yet. It probably requires a lot of lacquer. That stuff was cheap in the '50s. Not today, of course.  
Did you notice that the fender amplifier tweed cloth is already sealed with some type of clear finish? Probably to resist soiling and fraying. The custom shop tweed guitar cases come covered in the same cloth, but the vintage reissue (and purchasable accessory) cases are covered in a different, untreated cloth with the stripe pattern going in the wrong direction.
8/11/1999 8:36 PM
Joe Movich

Thanks Dave and Doc  
My primary reason for lacquering the tweed is to protect it from liquids etc. I did see some recovered tweeds at the show that had been lacquered quite a bit but the lacquer was clear, i.e. the amps looked new until you looked in the back at the cabinet and speakers.

  Page 1 of 1