The Silvertwinkie Illustrated Guide To Repairing Tambour

(click each image for larger views)

I've tried a couple of methods of repairing tambour. Below I show the one that has worked the best for me. (That is to say, your mileage may vary.)

The methods that haven't worked for me are:

Method 1: Using an iron-on flexible vinyl I found in a fabric shop. The product is called HeatnBond, made by Therm O Web (motto: We like kute product names). I had great hopes for this product, since my idea of a good repair project is one that goes together quickly. This method actually worked pretty well for a quick repair; it held up for nearly a year, but when it started breaking down, it broke down fast. The procss was to heat up the iron, use a press cloth, cut the material to size and essentially melt it to the backside of the damaged tambour. It took about 15 minutes start to finish; the cleanup required un-plugging the iron and putting it away so my wife wouldn't know I'd used it for a non-clothing related project.

Method 2: Double sided carpet tape using canvas duck cloth as a backing. This may work better with scored cardboard as a backing...the carpet tape I used (InterTape brand) didn't adhere to the cloth well enough to stand up to being rolled into the tight cylidrical shape required of tambour.

Method 3: Spray glue (Elmers brand) again using a canvas duck cloth as backing. This didn't hold up for even a week. Again, different materials might work better. I've read on the Airstream Forums about people who have had good luck with white glue and cloth. The gimmick of the spray glue of course appealed to the lazy side of my nature. Maybe I should have ironed it as a final step.

Method 4: Using gauze and some type of glue, possibly contact cement. I didn't actually try this, but as you'll see below, I had to clean up after a previous owner "repaired" several of our tambours with gauze. As the gauze got older and weakened the slats started to literally fall out of the spiral holders. I found it impossible to remove from the individual slats without causing further damage, so I just followed the procedure illustrated below and went right over the top of the gauze.

tambour1.jpg
tambour2.jpg
tambour3.jpg

1.Materials and tools

2. Leave room for the channel

3. Don't use gauze as a backing

tambour4.jpg
tambour5.jpg
tambour6.jpg

4. Duct tape holds aligned pieces

5. Cut the backing cloth

6. Leave some overlap in the backing

tambour7.jpg
tambour8.jpg
tambour9.jpg

7. Put the contact cement on the cloth

8. Put the contact cement on the strips

9. Don't put glue in the channel guide areas

tambour10.jpg
tambour11.jpg
tambour12.jpg

10. Use a slip sheet as you join the cloth and strips

11. Check to see that the cloth isn't glued to the edges

12. Flip the work and glue on the handle strip

tambour13.jpg
tambour14.jpg
tambour15.jpg

13. Cover with board, weight and wait

14. Almost done

15. Trim the excess backing cloth

tambour16.jpg
tambour17.jpg
tambour18.jpg

16. Trim the cloth from the guide areas

17. Check the guide spirals for fit

18. Clean the guide areas if necessary

tambour19.jpg
tambour20.jpg
tambour21.jpg

19. Assemble the panel and run into the spirals

20. Insert top of assembly first

21. Put the trim pieces in place

tambour22.jpg
tambour23.jpg
 

22. The finished tambour panel

It rolls open smooth and wide