Fabricating Tambour

You can patch, or even make, tambour if you know how. Cabinetmakers share the secrets in this thread. July 9, 2005

I recently screwed up by ordering the wrong size tambour for a job. Before I call the customer in a couple of days to delay, does anyone have experience combining two sheets (of the same tambour)? I ordered 24 tambour (47 long slats) for several garage-type doors to replace in a boat. One of the doors is 28. The doors slide laterally, and the slats sit vertically, in this application.

I have enough Tambour to piece another 4 inches onto the 24 section Ive got. Im not sure how to mend it in, though. Does anyone have any ideas? Im past the point (time-wise and cost-wise), of making my own.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor F:
I would do it right and order another roll of Tambour. The customer won't be happy even if you could splice it, and I'm sure you wouldnt be either.

From contributor M:
I would suggest buying some cotton duck canvas and gluing it onto the back of the two Tambour pieces. Overlap the canvas about three slats on each side and use carpenters glue and thoroughly coat the canvas, but not so much that it will ooze out between the slats. You could clamp it up if needed. Put a piece of wax paper between the glued up tambour and any clamping board. After its dry you may have to flex the slats to loosen up the splice. I have done this many times, and have even glued up my own Tambours from scratch.

From contributor D:
I make Tambour all of the time and it shouldn't be hard to do. There are a few options, the one that can be done that will be as good as or better than original is to remove the tambour from the fabric until you have enough to do a complete door the width you need. Then go to the fabric store and get a piece of cotton canvas (I use the heaviest they have) that is larger than you need by a few inches.

If the slats came off cleanly, as they usually do, I lay them out face up and put them in a squaring jig, which is just 2 boards nailed 90 degrees to each other to a sheet of melamine. Then use masking tape across them to hold the joints tight across the top, bottom and middle. Flip them over and spray with contact adhesive - I use 3M spray 90. Then spray the fabric. I spray it pretty heavy and let sit until its tacky, then apply the cloth to the tambour and then smooth it out and press them together as hard as I can. The result will be as good as you get from a manufacturer if you get the bonding right.

From the original questioner:
If anyone should find themselves in the same boat, here's what I did:

I bought a yard each of heavy/light duck cloth, laid up a few practice splices with TB, and 3M spray-on. Both glues performed the same, but the spray-on was infinitely more efficient fast, clean, and no clamps or worries about slippage. I decided on a full-sized backer, with the light gauge cloth the heavy cloth was just too thick over the existing cloth. I sprayed both sides, let them tack up, and it was spliced like new.