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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently picked up a used but newer Ampeg 8x10 cabinet because my 4x10 wasn't cutting it for me anymore. The cab was pretty beat up with majority of the tolex ripped off. It gave me an idea to completely refinish the cab in a stain and clear coat. ANYWAYS I wanted to share my process of how I refinished it in case anyone else ever wanted a rough guideline for doing a similar project. Luckily this particular cab was made with birch plywood. Ampeg also uses MDF and particle ply on other cabs and if mine was anything other than birch I wouldn't have even bothered.

Tools used:
-heat gun
-3” putty scrapper
-adhesive stripper
-paint thinner/mineral spirits
-100, 180, 240, 320 grit sand paper
-6” orbital sander
-Tack cloth
-oil based stain
-oil based polyurethane

Since most of the tolex was gone it made my job a bit easier. I used a heat gun to warm up sections of the tolex to pull it off (you could probably get away with a hair dryer but it may take a bit longer to heat up the glue and tolex).



Once I removed the tolex there was a considerable amount of glue remaining on the cab. I tried using the heat gun to get the glue hot and use a scrapper to take it off. This was painstaking and I wouldn't even bother trying because this didn't even get all the glue off. You want to get as much of the glue off at this step as possible because leaving it on the wood when you go to sand will gum up your abrasive paper. Ampeg uses strong adhesive and using an adhesive stripper I got from home depot worked very well. Apply the adhesive stripper on the wood liberally and let it sit for 15 mins. Use your scrapper to peel off the glue by following the wood grain. Don't worry about scratching the wood because you'll be sanding it down later. The glue came off very easy and left virtually none behind.



Surface of wood after removing the glue with an adhesive stripper.
I used an orbital sander and started at 100 grit to remove any remaining glue. I then moved up to 180, and went to 240 for the final grit before staining. I DID NOT use any pre wood conditioner, I didnt care about having a blotchy stain. I applied stain with a brush and let it sit on the wood for roughly 5 mins before wiping off with a cloth. One coat of stain was applied and that gave me a nice rich red.



I applied the first coat of poly wayyyy too thick. You can kind of see on the side of the cab how streaky and inconsistent it is in the light. I tried to even this out by sanding in between coats and paying more attention to the thicker areas.
240 grits was used at this point.



The second coat I tried to brush it on much thinner but for whatever reason it gave me a hard time. Once again the finish was inconsistent and too thin in many areas and I thought I would have to sand it all back down. If you want a furniture grade finish then I would have started back at square one and sanded to bare wood and stained all over again. I didn't do this, I was able to get the second coat sanded pretty even and I decided to go a bit higher with the grit, starting with 240 and then up to 320. After the third coat went on I was very happy with how it turned out.



Starting to dry

I still have to reassemble everything so i'll post pictures when im done.
Feel free to ask me any questions on things I may not have covered.

PS. my garage is a disaster.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)


3rd coat drying

I let the cab dry over night and the stain leveled out quite nicely! (more pics to come) I could have gotten a more consistent finish but I'm more then happy with how it turned out. I have a stained emperor 2x12 and this finish holds up pretty well compared to that cab. However, this is my first time staining and finishing anything.
 

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I'm just jealous that you have a garage (and a double-wide at that).

Anyway, nice work; that's a big job (and I know because I have built an 8x10 - I covered mine with heavy canvas though - sewn into shape so not glued on and easy to replace - use the original as a template). I find that damping the wood with a wet rag which raises the grain, and then a quick med-fine sand just before applying the first coat goes a long way to making it take the stain nice and evenly. There is not always much helping it with an old piece like this (vs new build) because you have dried adhesive and physical damage, wood that is very dry in some spots but not others etc. What you did works too (sand a bit and then apply another coat - evens out). Then again, who can tell on a dim stage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm just jealous that you have a garage (and a double-wide at that).

Anyway, nice work; that's a big job (and I know because I have built an 8x10 - I covered mine with heavy canvas though - sewn into shape so not glued on and easy to replace - use the original as a template). I find that damping the wood with a wet rag which raises the grain, and then a quick med-fine sand just before applying the first coat goes a long way to making it take the stain nice and evenly.
Thanks for the advice, I'll have to remember that if I do this again. I had fun though despite the frustration with the polyurethane.
 

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Have you tried water based poly? I got hooked on it after I did my basement stairs. Diamond Wood Finish I think they call it. Goes on so easy (slap it on as quick as you can, thick is fine - dries pretty quick) cuz it self-levels. Easy cleanup and no fumes/headache.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
No I haven't, I heard oil was the most robust so I went with that. It seemed to spread pretty thick and the label said NOT to thin it so I just went with it.
It's cold here so I didn't open the door to vent the garage out and I didnt want to mess up the curing process, I was buzzin pretty good
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Didn't have time to clean the grill cloth, I'll get around to it this weekend but here it is!





 
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