Relining the MG TC Toolbox

Possibly one of the last tasks to be undertaken as a rebuild comes to fruition is to re-line the toolbox with new felt. A study of felt from John James’ and other original cars reveals that white woollen felt of 3-4mm thickness was used, which was stuck onto the walls and base of the toolbox with adhesive. Wool felt just like the original is available today from a small number of specialist suppliers of technical felts.

Assuming that the old felt has been removed and the inside of the toolbox has been repainted along with the rest of the bulkhead, the first step is to check that the wooden block is in place on the base. If it is missing it should be replaced now. The block is nominally 25 x 25mm in section and the length is around 3mm shorter than the 165mm inside width of the toolbox. It needs to be slightly shorter than the box width to enable it to be manoeuvred into position between the rigid walls of the toolbox. The block is screwed into position from underneath the base using two 5/8 x No 8 japanned, round-headed, slotted, wood screws. No Phillps or cross-headed screws please! Pre- drilling pilot holes in the block helps to prevent it splitting. This is easily accomplished by holding the block in place and getting an assistant to mark through the holes in the base from inside the car. The purpose of the wooden block is to locate the original Shelley jack in position.

Photo 1 – The block screwed into position ready to begin applying the felt.

With the block fixed in position, applying the felt can start in earnest. This is made easier if the bonnet is removed but it is by no means essential to do so. The first piece of felt to be applied is a single piece that covers the two toolbox ends and the base. The most convenient type of adhesive to use is carpet adhesive, which is widely available in aerosol cans from DIY stores and upholstery suppliers. Adhesive is sprayed onto the ends and base of the box following the manufacturer’s instruction, which may suggest leaving it for a short while to allow solvent to evaporate before applying the felt. Observe any warnings regarding flammability and the need to avoid breathing noxious fumes.

Photo 2 – The aerosol adhesive and tools required to do the job.

The first piece of felt is then applied starting by tucking one end under the rim at the top of one end panel and then dressing it down the side towards the base smoothing it into position as you go. At the junction between the end panel and the base and also where the wooden block is covered the felt should be tamped firmly into position to ensure that there are no voids left beneath it. An ideal tool to do this is a bolster chisel or a wallpaper-stripping knife. It needs to be tamped very firmly to avoid ugly radii in the corners. The first piece of felt then finishes under the rim at the top of the opposite end panel, where it will need to be trimmed to length.

Photo 3 – The first piece of felt is applied to the sides and base of the toolbox.

The two sides of the toolbox are then covered using identical pieces of felt. Each piece requires a notch to be cut in it to enable it to fit neatly around the now felt-covered wooden block. These notches should only be cut after fitting the first piece of felt as there will be minor differences from car to car in the size and position of the wooden block. The ideal tool to cut the felt is a rotary knife.

Photo 4 – The finished toolbox.

A kit consisting of three pieces of felt cut to size to suit the TC toolbox is available from the author at £20 +P&P. This includes a small donation to help support TTT2 magazine. Felt to suit other cars is available on request.

Peter Cole
pcoleuk(at) [substitute @ for (at)]

One thought on “Relining the MG TC Toolbox

  1. Duncan MacKellar says:

    I am in the process of doing a mechanical restoration of my father’s 1949 EXU that he put into covered storage in about
    1954. It has never had any sort of restoration done to it except routine maintenance prior to 1954. Of course the EXU has two turn signal boxes and a flasher that are bolted through the toolbox from inside the passenger compartment firewall. One might wonder if the bolting on was done prior to or after the felt was applied. I know quite a few people have retrofitted with these same signal boxes (that over-ride the stop light on the blinking side). The answer if that the felt was put on over the already bolted on signal equipment. On such cars, the nuts of the bolts should not be visible in the toolbox. To access those bolts I needed a very sharp blade, so that I could make a few slits, such that I could glue the felt back without it being obvious what had been done.

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