Hello, on behalf of a friend who is working on making correct-as-possible XK120 tool rolls, I am seeking some information for him. He is trying to find a source of the black “Rexine” that was used to pipe the edges. It was made by the old, now gone, Imperial Chemical Industries. He has gone through many versions of the tool roll in his quest, has steadily improved them but there are still some missing ingrediants to insure a truly faithful reproduction. Any input as to a Rexine source greatly appreciated! Yes, he will market them but the profits will be small. The real quest is his desire to make an XK120 tool bag as authentic as possible. I really have to admire him because he is as tenacious as the bulldog used on the famous logo of the British made “King Dick” tools. It seems that Rexine must be out there even though ICI is defunct and the material is probably superceded by newer, better material. The late Urs Schmidt, author of the two volume “Jaguar XK120 The Anatomy of a Cult Object” said that his book covers were made of Rexine in honor of it being used in the XK120 trimming. A really nice touch that makes the books even better! Quite honestly, I really have to get a life when the mere word Rexine get me cooking because of it’s Jaguar associations! By the way, I read these forums every day, like a lot of you do, and I am not the only one in this “state of Jaguar”! Thanks, Gary
A number of years ago I looked into the rexine available to the (antique) book binding industry to use on the interiors of XK’s. It wasn’t as close as I wanted to the old stuff, so when I looked at a stack of old XK and MK door panel material, it looked like really cheap cloth material that was painted in a slightly flexible paint. I tried to “paint” a few samples and they ended up very close. In the end, we used the standard materials that were offered from the usual jag suppliers and the judges at the time didn’t know the difference anyway. I’m not near my box of old tool kit rolls, but I imagine book binding rexine in black will be as close as you can get.
As I type this I am sitting in a desk chair about 6 or 7 years old I got from one of the big box office supply stores. It is covered with a simulated leather or vinyl with grain. The brown vinyl is coming off in patches, revealing the tan cloth it was molded to. The same thing happened to another chair in my house about 5 years old, and to the arm rest in my Volvo. I’ve never seen this happen in older vinyl covered upholstery. The original remnants of rexine in my 120 and from my Mark V are stiff with age but the covering is not coming off. So I think the new stuff probably coming from china is inferior garbage and I would not buy it. Try rolling some paint on a bed sheet and see how it turns out.
I think Rexine is now made in India.
I was told many years ago by an upholsterer that modern vinyls, foams & I assume rexine don’t last now days as long as they used too, due to lead no longer being used in the manufacturing process, H & S issue.
I have written up/had published detail on all the many different XK120 Tool Roll variants, that are made of three different main materials but in a number of different colours.
The black edging tape is common to all variants, as is the Buckle and the leather strap, all three things being apparently of no priority to the overwhelming majority of XK120 Tool Rolls readily available on the market - apart from one small volume enthusiast, who indeed has far better addressed buckle and strap accuracy, as well as two of the three main materials - if anyone wants a ‘premium accuracy’ reproduction XK120 Tool Roll at a fair/non-premium price, contact me directly for his details.
But the question at hand - the REXINE binding tape. The main issue that needs to be appreciated is that ‘Rexine’ was a leather cloth material developed in the 1910s/20s by actually the REXINE LTD company in Manchester - see below 1924 advertisement.
I do have an extremely detailed technical paper on exactly how REXINE was originally made, but essentially you start with a 100% natural cotton woven mat, which is fed through an incredibly specialised/purpose made machine that allows a hot Cellulose based paint (so natural material, not oil based synthetic material) to be sprayed/layered to desired coating thickness that soaks into the cotton mat to a greater/lesser extent dependent on the cotton weave and the cellulose paint viscosity, and as the cellulose paint coating suitably sets, the layered mat is fed through a huge steel roller that can be smooth or patterned to give the final Rexine its desired surface texture. The cotton mat can be various thicknesses/weave pattern and dyed to colour, and the Cellulose Paint layered coating can be made to desired thickness, desired colour and desired embossed or smooth texture, thus giving a huge range of colours, thicknesses and surface textures of Rexine material.
I am not sure exactly when, but by the immediate post-war period, Rexine Ltd. had been bought out/taken over by Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd (ICI) who continued to make REXINE but now simply as a product/proprietary name, and indeed persevered with making what by the 1960s was well and truly an obsolete cellulose based product in the era of synthetic plastics, but still used for Series 1 E-type tool rolls to mid-1968. From 1968 on, introduced for the Series 2 E-type and XJ6 tool rolls were now made using a vinyl-based ICI material called “VYNIDE”. These days, reproduction XK140/150/Series 1 E-type tool rolls are made using synthetic PVC based materials, in an effort to replicate the Cellulose/Cotton based originals which was obviously a major effort by someone, its just a shame that the lining mat/material weave is not all that accurate and the belts and buckles are terrible, but sadly the best there is…
The REXINE tape used for the binding tape of all XK120 tool rolls has to the best of my current knowledge not been accurately reproduced, definitely not of an appropriately thin Rexine material. The only source of faithful reproduction Rexine that I am aware of only makes it in one thickness/one colour/one texture, and that does not suit tool roll binding tape, nor indeed 1954 XK120, and all XK140/150/Series 1 E-type main material.
My best suggestion is to chase up the antique book binding specialists, as the leather cloth they use is similar to Rexine, so maybe amongst their sources there may well be something of appropriate thickness, colour and backing mat - I have had a brief dabble but no success. Otherwise there is more chance of finding something synthetic/PVC based tape that may be a reasonable match.
1949 to 1953 XK120 Tool Rolls do not use Rexine base material of course, but still do use black Rexine tape edging…
But can I suggest, anyone wanting to make better more accurate reproduction XK120 tool rolls, indeed all XK and E-type tool rolls really needs to do a lot lot better with the leather strap and the buckle used - as above, I only know of ONE small back-yard enthusiast who has properly addressed belt/buckle accuracy, and NONE of the major outlet/suppliers…
Woolies UK. has “special Jaguar” vinyl that looks quite good.
best option I have found in the world unless someone has some old stock somewhere.
I have been through all the book cloth companies and upholstery shops.