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 Post subject: Grill Cloth Tips ?
PostPosted: Oct Mon 31, 2011 7:07 pm 
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Joined: Jul Wed 06, 2011 1:33 am
Posts: 591
Location: Northern Illinois
Hi - I'm new to this but what's a good technique for installing grill cloth ?

I've had 3 attempts at installing some on a table top radio, and so far I've not been able to get a result I'm happy with. Its seems hard to get the cloth tight enough when its stretched over the loud speaker hole in the baffle board and also, since I'm using cloth which has a horizontal line in the weave, you can see that it has a 'wave' to it instead of being straight. I've experimented with various ways of stretching out the cloth before attaching it, but nothing seems to give me more than just a 'so-so' result - slightly 'baggy' - after the glue has set.

I've just been trying to stretch out the cloth taut and then glue it to the baffle board with spray-on contact adhesive.

I think I'm missing out on an important step in the process somehwere.

Any ideas greatly appreciated !

Thanks very much

Chris

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 Post subject: Re: Grill Cloth Tips ?
PostPosted: Oct Mon 31, 2011 7:52 pm 
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Location: Howell, Mi
Here's a start: http://www.grillecloth.com/grillcloth/installation.php

I feel your pain, especially since good replacement cloth is not cheap.

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 Post subject: Re: Grill Cloth Tips ?
PostPosted: Oct Mon 31, 2011 7:54 pm 
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Location: Canyon Lake, TX
Spray starch and ironing the cloth will help greatly.

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 Post subject: Re: Grill Cloth Tips ?
PostPosted: Oct Mon 31, 2011 8:08 pm 
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Joined: Jul Wed 06, 2011 1:33 am
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Location: Northern Illinois
Starch ! I would never have thought of that - thanks for the ideas and the useful link !

I'll give it one final shot - I have just about enough fabric left.

PS - sorry for apparently posting into the wrong section

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 Post subject: Re: Grill Cloth Tips ?
PostPosted: Oct Mon 31, 2011 8:37 pm 
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Location: Hunter NY
The starch works well. If you have enough fabric overhanging the edges, roll two opposite sides around a ruler or dowel and give it a bit of a stretch, this way it will stay tight but you won't get waves in the pattern as you would if you pulled it tight by hand.


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 Post subject: Re: Grill Cloth Tips ?
PostPosted: Nov Tue 01, 2011 1:08 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 16304
Location: ID 83301
I have been using window screen behind the cloth . Buy some screen and cut a piece and make sure its nice & flat . Glue it to the baffle board and trim the edges then spray the face of it all over with the spray glue , enough to make the screen sticky . Lay the new cloth face down all ligned up patternwise then push the stickey board onto it . Turn it over and check for pattern alignment . Usually You can still pull the cloth back off or tug at it to align it . When thats good then lightly rub it to stick it down good .


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 Post subject: Re: Grill Cloth Tips ?
PostPosted: Nov Tue 01, 2011 1:27 am 
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I've not had very good long-term luck with starch. Moisture gets to it and it begins to sag again. My preference is to spray a few LIGHT coats of spray-bomb lacquer on the back while its stretched out.

I might try Ken's screen technique. Sounds reasonable.

In my observation, different patterns of the aftermarket grille cloth tend to behave differently. Some of it sags badly and no amount of stretching seems to overcome that.

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 Post subject: Re: Grill Cloth Tips ?
PostPosted: Nov Tue 01, 2011 1:52 am 
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Location: Long Island, N.Y.
I would also agree with ironing and spray starching. I did a console recently and was dissapointed to see slight ripples at the speaker opening when installed. From the back, I liberaly spray misted the cloth at the opening and put a hot hair dryer close-up to it - moving constantly over the entire area. That made the cloth shrink just enough to were it looked perfect. You can repeat that step as needed. So far it's been several months and it still looks great! Just don't forget that starch!
Good luck
Joe


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 Post subject: Re: Grill Cloth Tips ?
PostPosted: Nov Tue 01, 2011 1:55 am 
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Location: Richmond, VA
Also if there are screws that go through the cloth, carefully precut holes. I ruined a near perfect installation when a screw snagged a couple threads. I had to redo the whole thing.

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 Post subject: Re: Grill Cloth Tips ?
PostPosted: Nov Tue 01, 2011 2:27 am 
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Location: virginia
absolutely iron first. i dont use spray starch. i use contact cement. paint it on the wood or backing liberally and let it dry to the touch. do NOT put it on the speaker cloth. start at the top center and pull tight to the bottom center. work your way to the edges, top to bottom.
if you need to bridge a large speaker as in 12 or 15", i use mesh drywall tape. again, use contact cement at the top and bottom, but you should put it on the drywall tape as well. let it dry to the touch. you will be able to stretch it 'guitar string tight'.

in the pics the wood, tape, and cloth appears to be curved or crooked, it is not. something with the lens i guess.
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 Post subject: Re: Grill Cloth Tips ?
PostPosted: Nov Tue 01, 2011 9:08 am 
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Location: Nr London, England, SS1 3PT
I have tried all ways, sometimes it works but a fair number of failures. I like the drywall tape idea across large openings.

Current favourite is a version of the contact cement way but I also use material glue.

Chris you dont say if the radio has a baffle board or not... very much easier to fix to this if it has. Many times if there is enough space I have cut one if there isnt. Doing it inside the cabinet needs a glue with some slip and then a good solid grab.

I have just done one in a cabinet and used the contact cement (a clear one called UHU here). Applied to the cabinet and pressed the cloth too it, then peeled it back and allowed to dry. Then applied a little more to the cabinet for slip and then got it into place, stretching but not distorting the weave, and pressed down. I always do the top edge first , allow to dry and then, on this one, did one side, stretching it out with fingers. After this was dry I did the other side and bottom in one hit.

For baffles I use the material glue, it give a little more time for correction. Again I start with getting the top edge fixed and correct, allow to dry and then do all the other edges, working the fabric out with fingers, in one go.

I prefer these methods over ones where the baffle board has the glue applied and is put down on pinned out cloth. I like being able to see what is happening and adjust as I go.

You dont say what cloth you are using: too thin is very hard when you first start and so is too thick, that has no stretch, like cold weather country curtain material. So if you can, try to choose a weight of cloth that helps. A medium thickness is best: see if you can stretch it a little.

I have never had problems with sagging 'cos I used spray starch. It may happen if the radios are put out somewhere damp but mine are indoors and nice and warm.

My method for baffle board holes is not to precut as someone suggested but to make up a ball ended punch, from a piece of steel. I then hold this in Mole Grips and heat it to cherry red with a blow amp. With the baffle against the light it's easy to see the holes and it burns right thru the cloth sealing the edges as it does so.

Hope this time it works for you... It does get easier as you do more and more, honest

Gary


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 Post subject: Re: Grill Cloth Tips ?
PostPosted: Nov Tue 01, 2011 12:12 pm 
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Location: Indianapolis, IN
I use the spray starch method, with 3m super 77 adhesive. I also mist it with water right before applying. When the cloth dries, it will shrink slightly and pull even tighter.

Peter


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 Post subject: Re: Grill Cloth Tips ?
PostPosted: Nov Tue 01, 2011 6:31 pm 
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Joined: Jul Wed 06, 2011 1:33 am
Posts: 591
Location: Northern Illinois
Thanks to everyone for the many creative and ingenious suggestions !

I'm suitably inspired to take another shot at this; somehow the grill cloth makes a huge difference to the overall look of a radio.

I have been trying to glue the fabric to what I would describe as the baffle board, which is a removable piece of plywood about 1/4 " thick which the speaker is screwed to the back of.

I am always impressed with the workmanship on the radios seen on this site, often with huge, immaculately clad speaker grills.

Greetings to Radio Fixer - I'm a Brit myself but living in Illinois the last 8 years.

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 Post subject: Re: Grill Cloth Tips ?
PostPosted: Nov Wed 02, 2011 3:25 pm 
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Joined: Oct Mon 02, 2006 5:18 pm
Posts: 1838
Location: Alger, MI
Ed Morris wrote:
Also if there are screws that go through the cloth, carefully precut holes. I ruined a near perfect installation when a screw snagged a couple threads. I had to redo the whole thing.


Yes, this is very important. Once the cloth is glued down, poke a hole through the cloth with a pin to mark the screw or bolt holes. Then, use your soldering iron from the front side to melt the cloth and open the hole.

As far as applying the cloth is concerned, I have used various methods. The one that worked best for me involves clamping the cloth to a flat surface such as a large piece of plywood or plexiglass. Be sure that the pattern is straight before clamping. I hold the cloth in place with pieces of 1 x 2 wood and clamp them with 'Quick-Grip' type woodworking clamps. Then, I spray the baffle board with 3M 77 glue and set the baffle onto the clamped grill cloth. I usually, set some smaller boards or pieces of plywood on top of the baffle board with some weight on them to press the board to the cloth until the glue sets. This methods seems to have worked the best for me. YMMV!

Ed

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 Post subject: Re: Grill Cloth Tips ?
PostPosted: Nov Wed 02, 2011 3:42 pm 
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Joined: Oct Fri 21, 2011 11:11 pm
Posts: 1879
Location: Rochester NY
All great tips!
I especially like the screen idea. Keeps the grandkids from pokin' at the speakers with their fingers. I won't have to "cut off their fingers" :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Grill Cloth Tips ?
PostPosted: Nov Thu 03, 2011 12:38 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Nr London, England, SS1 3PT
I have found that the soldering iron isnt hot enough for all materials Ed. Hence the use of the ball ended punch heated cherry red.

Gary


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 Post subject: Re: Grill Cloth Tips ?
PostPosted: Nov Thu 03, 2011 6:39 pm 
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Joined: Jan Sun 06, 2008 3:28 am
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Location: Richmond, VA
I've also had good results with 3M's 77 adhesive mentioned above. Here's a photo of one I did using 3M 77:

Image

The cloth I used was from JoAnn Fabrics and had a backing. I glued directly to the backing board as the original was. The center piece is glued to a circular metal screen.

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 Post subject: Re: Grill Cloth Tips ?
PostPosted: Nov Sat 05, 2011 3:36 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 1095
Location: Oklahoma City Oklahoma
Frequently I use wooden rings like the ladies use for their needle-pointing, embroiding, or whatever it is. You know, those where one wooden ring slips inside the other one, and holds the cloth tight for their work. This permits us to position the cloth tight and even before applying the cloth to the mounting cardboard or baffle board. The wooden rings come in many different sizes, and one can easily obtain quite a few at garage sales etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Grill Cloth Tips ?
PostPosted: Nov Thu 24, 2011 6:47 am 
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Joined: Nov Thu 24, 2011 6:26 am
Posts: 4
Starch,
This will be useful for you.Thanks for taking this opportunity to discuss this.

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 Post subject: Re: Grill Cloth Tips ?
PostPosted: Nov Fri 25, 2011 2:15 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 16304
Location: ID 83301
You guys are showing some pretty thick cloths , those are not so bad to install . Many of these delicate silk-like fabrics are real hard to work with and they dont shrink with water . Most of the radios i do have real thin cardboard where the cloth glues to . Every time i use contact spray glue and try to tug it all tight it always creeps back inward and sags a bit . If i apply more glue its hard to tug the cloth at all . The screen solves all these problems period .

To install cloth inside a cabinet face prepair the proper size piece of screen and get it all nice & flat . Spray the screen and then lay it on the back of the cloth then apply it to the cabinet with either tacks or glue . Again it resists finger poking .


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