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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The workshop » » Fabric cover for suitcase table (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

JamesinLA
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Los Angeles
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I'm building a suitcase table of the traditional design. The top section folds down over the bottom section. Wheels on the bottom, drawers, etc. I'm using 3/8 inch baltic birch, per the great advice from our members like Chance.

My question is about covering the suitcase table with fabric. I guess I'm going to cover it with trunk lining fabric. I will use fabric glue of some sort. However, how should the fabric be fastened/handled at the edges where the fabric terminates? I will bend it around the corner and then what? Is wrapping the table with aluminum the only option? Are there suitcase tables that are covered with fabric that don't use the aluminum at the edges? I think I would rather not have the aluminum trim.
Thanks in advance!

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
Michael Messing
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Knoxville, TN
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Jim,

First, I would recommend using 3M Super 77 or Super 90 spray adhesive for putting the fabric on your table rather than a glue. The spray adhesive is very effective and you don't have to worry having it show through.

Aluminum trim isn't absolutely necessary, but you'll have to find a neat way to trim the fabric and have the edges meet cleanly. That is pretty hard to do! I've tried it with vinyl and other materials before.

I wish I could give you a good method that won't take loads of practice but I don't know an easy way. Maybe, someone else can help with that.

I do have a question. Why do you want to cover the table with fabric? Suitcase tables are prone to getting dinged and catching on doors. Fabric will likely tear and be hard to repair attractively.

I would suggest using the kind of carpet they use to cover speakers (as Joe Lefler does) or using leather-like vinyl. The carpet material is a little more durable and can be used with velcro. Unfortunately, the carpet can become a little nubby and is succeptible to water.

Vinyl is pretty durable (although it can rip, also) but it's not affected by water and so you don't have to worry about covering it if it's raining.

The neatest looking table I built was covered in plastic laminate (Formica.) It looked great and was really durable. The only problem is plastic laminate really adds a lot of weight, since it's a compressed material.

I know I didn't give you a lot of answers but hopefully this helped a little.

Michael
JamesinLA
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Los Angeles
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Michael,
Thanks for the great advice. I was planning on using the trunk lining material because I thought that that was what suitcase tables were covered with. I will try to find out where I can get this speaker/carpet material.
As far as the aluminum trim, I'll do more research to see if there are any tables made without the aluminum trim. Per your durable and handsome but heavy Formica covered table, weight is part of what I'm trying to limit.
Thanks a lot!
Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
mtmagic
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Jim, Just a suggestion. Have you seen a spray on material called Linex? They use it to spray pickup beds. It is extremely durable to scatches, dings, etc, and in fact when applied to a truck bed it is guaranteed for life. It's got a hard, rubber-like feel to it. I don't know how much weight it would add. I'm going to build a new table in the near future and will be checking into it more.
Dan
Ron Reid
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Phoenix, Arizona
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Hi Jim:

I have a Lefler table; according to his description, the material is a nonwoven, poly olefin. It is very nice.

Ron
Michael Messing
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James,

The Lefler Pro Suitcase Tables, which are covered with the gray speaker carpet, do not have aluminum trim. The material is wrapped around edges and, in less visible places, is stapled to the table. He uses dark colored 1/4" crown staples. Because of the fuzzy nature of the carpet, it's not noticeable from a short distance. (the staples are along the sides, back and bottom - none in the front.)

The carpet is glued to the table and then tightly wrapped around the corners. The carpet is trimmed so that there is no overlap (except on the bottom where it isn't visible.) He has cut the carpet on the sides so that it meets perfectly and then staples it down.

Once again, I would think it would take quite a lot of practice to make it look good. It would be easy not to get the carpet aligned well where there is a seam. Plus, it has to be pulled tight or the carpet will bunch. (If I seem to know what I'm talking about, I made a road case for an illusion using the carpet for the exterior. I did overlap the carpet and staple it because I wasn't concerned about the look since it's just a case. It came out nice but I can't imagine how hard it would have been to do it the way Lefler's builder does it.)

I highly recommend that you look over a Lefler Pro Table to see how he does it.

Michael
JamesinLA
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Thank you to all! Michael, your information on the Lefler table is exactly what I needed to hear. I'm going to hit the fabric stores for the correct fabric. I had to stop construction last week because of these issues. Namely, 1) will I need aluminum trim, 2) what thickness is the fabric. Of course, these two issues affect the measurements! I have to top/folding section built and will now be able to finish the rest!
Thanks to all!
By the way, I really could have used that table tonight at a kid's b-day party. Had to use my street table and a real suitcase to carry the show in.
Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
Snidini
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Jim, I covered my case with a material that the Fender guitar amplifiers are covered with called Tollex. Quite durable and I ordered it by the yard from my local music dealer. I has served its purpose now for going on 7 years and wears well. Good Luck.

Snidini
JamesinLA
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Los Angeles
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Snidini,
Thanks for the lead. I didn't find the olefin fabric at the one fabric store I hit this past weekend. I am going to try an auto upholstry store. I will also now call the local music supply store. I'll keep this thread updated with my progress.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
David Garrity
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James,

If you have trouble finding that particular fabric, you can use what I use on illusion bases.

It is Marine Vinyl (woven backing), it comes in a bunch of colors, it looks nice, cleans well as it is water repellent, and will be easier to cut straight and clean at the corners. The only issue is that it is not velcro friendly as some of the fabrics that have been discussed in this thread. But it may be a good substitution for the fabric you can't find.

Let us know how it goes!!

David
Daktari
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USA
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I have had several trunks covered with spray on liner mentioned by mtmagic. The local Rhino Liner dealer is a client and we experimented with it and it is extremely tough, durable and it is available in several colors.
JamesinLA
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Okay, here's where things stand: I found the olefin material at Lincoln Fabrics in Venice, Ca. It's an attractive charcoal color, which, I discovered as I put it in the trunk of my car, exactly matches the fabric that lines my trunk. I also got spray adhesive at the same place. They said that by spraying on both surfaces and letting the adhesive become tacky before attaching them, it would act like contact cement and formica. She warned though, that if I did this, I wouldn't be able to move the fabric once they touched. She said if I did this, you wouldn't even have to use staples at the edges.
Also, per Michael's advice, I'm going to drop by Hollywood Magic Saturday to get a good look at the Joe Lefler table. I would have considered buying that table but it's too high for me. I'm making my 36 inches high rather than 38.
Thanks again for all the help, everyone!
Best,
Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
WolfgangWollet
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I am experimenting with a 1/4" plywood that has a 1/8" black ABS sheet laminated on the outside (Haircell facing out). It is very sturdy, weight is about the same as the 3/8" birch but it is already colored. I will then later have a design airbrushed or silkscreened on the outside. It seems to work pretty well and because of its stability might also work good for larger items.
JamesinLA
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Los Angeles
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Keep us informed of your progress and what you learn, Wolfgang. Thanks.
Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
mfreno
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Dexter, Michigan
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Does anyone know where to find olefin material in the Michigan area? I've searched the internet but have not found anyone that sells it.
Tom Bartlett
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Our southern border could use
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You might try upholstery suppliers, Autozone, Pep Boys or NAPA, ask for automotive carpet.
Our friends don't have to agree with me about everything and some that I hold very dear don't have to agree about anything, except where we are going to meet them for dinner.
wcz
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John Martin
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http://www.ozite.com/

All the best,

John

Also very good for covering illusion bases. Apply a coat of spray adhesive to the ozite and to the prop, stick together and trim. Works great...beats painting.
mfreno
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Dexter, Michigan
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I recently built a suitcase table and bought the poly olefin from http://www.partsexpress.com. I used spray adhesive on the front and top of the cabinets and pulled the material tight around the corners and stapled one seam along each side and on the bottom. The material is fuzzy so you can fluff it up to hide the staples on most occasions or buy some touchup paint to match the cloth and touch up the staples. You will never see them. PM me an e-mail address if you want to see pictures.
mfreno
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Dexter, Michigan
72 Posts

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I recently built a suitcase table and bought the poly olefin from http://www.partsexpress.com. I used spray adhesive on the front and top of the cabinets and pulled the material tight around the corners and stapled one seam along each side and on the bottom. The material is fuzzy so you can fluff it up to hide the staples on most occasions or buy some touchup paint to match the cloth and touch up the staples. You will never see them. PM me an e-mail address if you want to see pictures.
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