View Full Version : New Fabric Question

07-07-2003, 04:13 PM
I am rebuilding my PA 12 and having it done for the first and I hope the last time it is quite interesting. The guy who is doing the rebuild just put the fabric on and is applying blue dope for it's antifungal properties and then will apply silver dope for UV protection followed by a lot of sanding I am told. I was informed by someone else that this is a waste of time and just to use nitrate, no blue or silver dope. Since there is no fungus problem in AK the blue is not needed and the other stuff is a waste of time and money. Also I was told that when using the blue and silver dope the paint will not adhere as well. So my question is: Is using only "nitrate" the way to go?

07-07-2003, 06:54 PM
Regarding your fabric question -- I am a Stitts guy through and through -- and the process is slightly different than the Ceconite or others but basically the same. I would check, double check the manufacturers process procedures and follow them exactly. Lots of folks tend to cover the way they have always done it, and many of the fabric processes are new --- as compared to the old school. Both Stitts and Ceconite have good web sites with lots of good information. And the other fabric folks do also.

Since I am a Stitts guy, I am partial to their stuff, but they have an excellent video and procedures manual. Bottom line is always though, I would follow what the manufacturer says to do.
have fun

07-07-2003, 08:34 PM
If I remember right, the blue dope is Randolph's nitrate dope. Don't think there is anything wrong with it if he is using that process. Don't think you want to build up the dope with Just nitrate tho. And you need some kind of silver dope for UV protection. If he is already putting the blue on, I'd just leave him alone. Unless you see him get out some automotive paint for the finish color.

07-07-2003, 08:57 PM
Hey guys!

The 'blue dope' is Dac-proofer. It's a nitrate dope with anti-fungal and a bit of blue dye so you can see it as you work with it.

Randolph's nitrate dope with anti-fungal and a bit of dye is called Rando-proof.....and it's green.

Of course, the beloved Stits product whose purpose, like the Rando-proof and Dac-proof, is to adhere well to the raw polyester fabric is the pink stuff known as polybrush.

To PA-!2: don't be second-guessing your mechanic unless you never trusted him to begin with. Sounds to me like he's doing what he's supposed to if he's doing Ceconite.

...and yes, I'm a pro.

...and yes, I'd rather work with a product that I can see and am familiar with.

Good luck.


07-07-2003, 09:52 PM
Most of the major shops here in Alaska that rebuild Cubs for a living (Crosswind STOL, Dan's, Holliday Air) prefer to use Ceconite. The process they mostly use is Ceconite 101 fabric attached with Super Seam or Poly Tack glue. Then a good coat of "Dac-Proofer" (a Super Flight Product) brushed on. Then tapes are layed down with clear dope. Then several coats of silver "Spray Fill" (a Super Flight product). Top coat is with either colored Buterate dope or a polyurathane paint like Aerothane or Imeron. For Bush work on wheels I like a Buterate dope finish because of it's ease of repair. For a float plane the polyurathane paints don't fade as fast or chalk up like a dope finish. When you thump my fabric it sounds tight like a drum, you don't get this with Poly Fiber or Hi Tek. Crash

P.S. The guy that told you to just use clear Nitrate and no silver dosn't know diddly about covering, stayaway from him!!!

07-07-2003, 10:18 PM
Crash sums it perfectly.


11-27-2003, 04:01 PM
Hopefully I'll be starting the recover process on my SC sometime next summer. I plan to use Stitts, but I'm hearing really good things about the new Aircraft Finishing Systems process, both from a guy locally who just rebuilt a supercub and from a post I saw on the short wing piper club board. Downside, have heard that painting can be a problem since this is a water based system, and some problems have developed. Don't know the nature of the problem.

So, does anyone here know about this new process...can you recommend it or not?


11-27-2003, 06:25 PM
The water based systems I know of (Blue River process) have not enjoyed much long term success. They have been discussed earlier (although that may have been on the CubCrafters site). Consider this: Stitts has been around for years, and has a proven life span - let's say 20 years depending on paint used and wear and tear. The cost of a Stitts recover job can typically be amortized over 20 years. Does the new water based system you mention have a proven life span? What if it lasts only 5 years (1/4 the life of a Stitts cover job): is the water based system 1/4 the cost of a Stitts recover?

Steve Pierce
11-29-2003, 09:46 AM
Blue River is no more to the best of my knowledge. Aircraft Finishing Systems is water based. I have not used it but know a few that have. The person I know that used it had problems with the colorcoat. The water evaporated to fast and the co. told him to keep spraying it while wet. I have seena couple of the finished products and wasn't impressed with the results. The advantage is that you don't have to deal with the chemicals. Draw back is the finish doesn't look as good. It is a trade-off you have to figure out for yourself. If you are in the SWPC contact Dan or Doug Stewart. They use it and have a website.

11-29-2003, 11:00 AM
I have a friend that just did a tri-pacer w/ the above mentioned system and he was not happy w/ the product, I think he had the same problems that Steve mentioned. personally I think it's pretty hard to beat Randolph butyrate dope, it's long lasting, durable, easy and safe to apply. And w/ a little elbow grease you can have a beautiful finish, ever see supercubc37 and wiflier's Cuby?


Steve's Aircraft (Steve)
11-29-2003, 04:17 PM
It seems the water based stuff (finish) cracks out pretty bad at around five years. I personally use Stits all the time now, I have covered stuff with almost all the various systems. The Ceconite process works ok, but I have a hard time believing that the highly flammable nitrate dope is sufficiantly retarded with a top coat of butyerate dope, which also tends to flame a little more than the Stits. If you are covering with cotton or linen
(my last job with that was around 25 yrs ago, some ag Stearmans) than the dopes are the stuff.

11-30-2003, 10:02 AM
Which paint do you use with your Stits? I seek every opinion I can get. I'm using Stits, but haven't painted, yet.

Steve's Aircraft (Steve)
11-30-2003, 10:42 AM

I stay with the Poly tone on the fabric, much easier to repair or refinish down the road. I usually use an acrylic enamel on the metal. The drawback is the difference in the 'shines'. There is a flattener for the enamels, but I have never used it. I have used Polytone on the metal, but it seems to scratch easy and does't adhere all that well. Have heard that if you shoot the Polytone into wet primer on the metal it sticks good, have not tried it to find out. One trick on the Polytone for a better shine is to shoot a coat of Poly rejuvinator right after the final coat on the Polytone. The theory is the longer it takes for the final coat to dry the shinier it gets.

11-30-2003, 03:57 PM
I have used the Stitts (now Polyfiber) process on 2 cubs with Polytone as the topcoat and had good results. For a bush plane I prefer the Polytone/dope topcoat for it's ease of repair.

The Aerobatic plane I have right now is Polyfiber up through silver with the final color in PPG Durethane with 1 capful of flexative added per quart of final color. This has proven to be an extremely durable and beautiful finish. I don't look forward to the time I have to match color over a repair though.

I thought nitrate dopes were pretty flammable, thats why I always chose the Polyfiber process?

11-30-2003, 04:46 PM
The only approved Finish coat materials for Stits-Polyfiber are Polytone and Aerothane.

Any other topcoat is unapproved for a certificated aircraft covered using the Polyfiber process.

The problem with CAB Dope (Butyrate) on top of Stits undercoatings, as stated by Polyfiber, is that the CAB will shrink over its lifetime, while the undercoatings will not.

The problem with shooting automotive poly-urethanes over Stits or any other fabric, as stated by Polyfiber, is that automotive polyurethanes are high-solids materials. This means lots of silica fillers. They allow high build of the finish and a much more foolproof application than Aerothane. However, Aerothane, a LOW-solids polyurethane product, is FAR more flexible than the automotive products. Aerothane will flex instead of cracking and lifting off the fabric as auto-polyurethanes will do when applied as one would spray a car. Some have had OK results with auto-p-urethanes by spraying very few, very light coats.

I like to stick to the prescribed process, whether it's Polyfiber or Ceconite. Definitely hard to make money at this when I have to re-do stuff.


11-30-2003, 05:57 PM

You are correct about the approved finishes for the Polyfiber process. The PPG Durethane I used is on an experimental.

Durethane is not an automotive paint, it was developed for the aircraft industry and is resistant to all aviation fuels and fluids. The PPG product sheet states that Durethane is flexible enough to spray over fabric as is (no flex agent) but most using it over fabric are adding the flex agent.

I have flown the Polyfiber/Durethane for the last 4 years now (to a VNE of 240) with no cracking problems. I have repeatedly dropped screwdrivers and other tools on the Durethane expecting the worst only to find I can't even see where the tool landed!

I will agree that the automotive Polyurethanes are a bad choice to put over fabric for the reasons you stated.

Steve Pierce
11-30-2003, 07:07 PM
PPG is what a painter at Aviat told me they are using now on top of Randolph and I believe CC is using it over Poyfiber. I used to shoot Air-Tec over stits silver because it shhots better in my opinion than Aero-thane. I did a SC last winter with polytone and it came out glossy because of the cold temps and chilling the paint. I like the easy repaiability. We used to shoot dope over Stits silver because it was shinier and never had any problems. Know it doesn't jive with their STC.

12-01-2003, 08:39 AM
I notice lots of comments about the easy of repairability of polytone vs. Aerothane finishes or other enamels. Polytone finishs are very easy to repair but I have also found repairs over Aerothane finishs easy also. If you treat it just like you would with a polytone there is no problem. For small repairs just wash the damaged area with poly reducer, apply a coat of poly brush and let it dry, followed by more polybrush (larger repairs use poly tac) and then the tape or fabric, applying it just like new tapes, one or two coats of polybrush and then the poly spray (brushed on for small repairs) then the color. I have never had a repair done this way come loose and find it quicker then working with dope. Have never had polybrush "boil" up any enamel finish like dope will. Dope repairs require you to remove the enamel first which is a pain. I am personally sold on the polyfiber process and Aerothane finishes.

Dano Bardwell
01-02-2004, 02:19 AM
I have used both processes & they both have good qualities about them. over time I have leaned to the stits process because of its lower burn rate, or it wont support a flame, once you seen a cub burn its sobering.

01-02-2004, 11:35 AM
My plane is experitmental covered in the Stits(Polyfiber) process and painted with PPG durathane. I have a few small holes in the tailfeathers (from going through the brush) that I need to patch. I have been planning on removing the durathane (in the area of reapair) with epoxy paint remover before doing the repair. Ed states that removal might not be necessary. Think I'll try doing the repair over the paint like he suggests. The holes are on the bottom of the elevators and stab, so if it comes off it won't be too big of deal. I really like the Durathane, but it tried to kill me when I did the painting. I thought I was being careful using a freshair system, but it still made me sick. 5 years ago and I'm still not the same.


01-02-2004, 10:36 PM
imeron is too brittle to be used over fabric aircrafts

Bill Rusk
01-03-2004, 08:51 AM

You made the comment that the Durathane tried to kill you even with fresh air. That scares me a little. I worked really hard to get to where I could own and build airplanes and I'm not ready to lose my medical yet.
What would you do different now? Was it the product or your technique? I've sprayed a lot of different products but am still trying to learn how to do it safely. I'm looking to learn from those wiser than myself( which includes just about everyone). We could all benefit from your experience.


Dave Calkins
01-03-2004, 02:51 PM
Having shot lots of polyurethane (Imron, Durethane, Aerothane, etc.) on more than just Cubs, and never having gotten sick yet, I have 3 items of advice. Maybe Don/Guest will point out mistakes or precautions he had not taken. I hope you get well soon, also. We shouldn't kill ourselves over a damn airplane finish guys.

1. Fresh air source. PERIOD. However, if you lack a good seal of your mask, you could suck fumes. And if your fresh air source isn't really fresh, well.....

2. Cover your skin to protect from contact with the spraying material. The stuff can get in your bloodstream other ways than simply breathing it.

3. Wear your fresh air and protective clothing and gloves while MIXING the product, and also while CLEANING the gun. This is most-likely where people screw themselves while using these iso-cyanate-containing products. They figure they're preparing to spray or now that the project is sprayed they're safe.

If we are lazy, and I have been at times, about protection, we'll be exposed. I recall a story of a model-airplane builder who had one small part to paint and just "spritzed" it in his basement and continued to work there for the evening. He fell over dead in 10 days. He'd have had a lot more fun flying models if he'd taken the couple of minutes to go outside or to use the protection at hand for a "larger" project. what a shame.

Be safe.

NEW TOPIC. I've had an Idea of spraying Aerothane on the top of surfaces, and maybe also the sides, but spraying Polytone on the undersides or where damage is likely. This way the tops will always be shiny. Also, the bottoms, which don't get as much sun aiding the oxidation, and which get dinged first will be easily repairable.

Anyone ever do this? The way I read the STC process for Polyfiber, this is completely legal and proper.

I'm interested in your thoughts. Thanks. DAVE

01-03-2004, 07:06 PM
Would be legal Dave since both are Poly-Fiber products. Would be a slick way for repairs as you say.


01-03-2004, 08:14 PM
Just use butyrate period.

Dave Calkins
01-03-2004, 09:30 PM
Most recent guest, would you please give some reasons why you prefer "..butyrate, period.." ?

Many of us have used most of the systems out there.

There are plus's and negatives to each.

Come on, there must be some background to your strong preference for dope, "period". Or was that "..butyrate, period..." ?

01-03-2004, 10:06 PM
dope period.

Dave Calkins
01-04-2004, 01:14 AM
What kind, oh wise one?

01-04-2004, 02:12 AM
Painting Protection: Before I even walk into my paint booth to mix the paint, this is what I do.

1) Open outside door a few inches and get exhaust fan going to give my paint boot a negitive pressure (no need to cover things outside the booth from overspray and it keeps fumes inside the booth).

2) Suit up in tyvek spray suit with hood.

3) Put on two pairs of "Thickster" blue chemical gloves, not the cheap latex surgons gloves!!!

4) Turn on fresh air pump and place it on in coming fresh air flow. I use a full face mask with tear off shields. I hook the face mask short whip hose with quick disconnect to waist belt and connect to fresh air hose.

5) Enter booth, mix, paint and clean up. If an outside glove gets to sticky or a hole in it then I stop and change the glove. Upon leaving the booth, I take off my suit and hang it away from my work area to off gas. I leave my paint booth fan on until there is no more fumes.

I worked at IBM with bad chemicals and painted all my (early) life without any protection. My pancreas and liver are about shot. Don't be stupid!!! Protect yourself so you can have fun when your project is done. Crash

P.S. If you get paint on you skin (anywhere) never and I mean NEVER clean your skin with any thinner of any kind!!!!! Soap and water or wear it off!

Bill Rusk
01-04-2004, 05:25 AM
Crash/ others

I thought I read somewhere that the dopes never stop shrinking the fabric and that after 15 years may be the cause of warped wingtip bows and broken ribs, bent trailing edges etc. Is this only on the cotton or does it also apply to ceconite? If so that would seem to be a pretty significant negative re butyrate dope.



01-04-2004, 05:40 AM
That is good advice Crash. I've seen a few oldtimers go from horrible cancers, more than likely due to many dope and fabric jobs.

01-04-2004, 07:27 AM

Steve Pierce
01-04-2004, 09:25 AM
Nitrate and butyrate, tauntening or non will continue to shrink through the years. That in my book is a negative along with the flammability. I have used Air-Tec, Poly Fiber (Stits) and am currently recovering part of a Taylorcraft wing with Butyrate. My thoughts through my covering experience which has been mostly using Stits:

Air Tec is faster in my opinion because everything is glued on with their glue which I prefer to any other fabric glue because you can iron it and smooth out any wrinkles without it balling up on the iron. Then you spray two cross coats of their filler UV block which is a tan colored polyurethane type paint. Lightly sand and one more coat of primer then color.

Stits envolves more processes but a lot easier to make a repair that is never seen and their silver builds up faster than butyrate. Glue the tapes, brush Poly Brush, spray at least one more coat of Poly Brush, iron the tapes, spray two cross coats of Poly Spray (silver), sand, silver and color. I like the fact that if a tape curls or some other defect pops up I can usually fix it anywhere in the process except if I have shot Aerothane over it. You can iron it up thru the Poly Brush and even into the silver and color if it is Polytone if you use parchment paper and are very careful. I like David Calkins idea about polytone on bottom and Aerothane on top. It is a lot easier to clean a plane with polyurethane paint in my opinion. Bugs, exhaust, etc. wipe right off.

My experience with Butyrate has been though it is simple to spray it requires lots of sanding and you can't have much humidity if you want to prevent blushing. To undo anything you must use thinner or MEK and is still continues to shrink and is extremely flammable. It is very easy to repair though. Wipe the entire process off with MEK or blow it off with a blow gun if you can get it started.

Any of the polyurethanes I have seen can be repaired by scuffing the finish and glueing a patch to the scuffed area. It works great but looks like hell. Depends on the individual.

Like I said this is what I have found out over the years and take it for what it is worth to you.

01-04-2004, 11:47 AM
Can anybody verify that Airtec weighs 20-30 lbs less than Stits or Randolph on a cub type aircraft?

01-04-2004, 11:55 AM
Weighs 20-30 lbs MORE. Their advertising is full of B.S.. I like Ceconite 101 and a Randolfe dope finish. It is a tighter product that will not bag and loosen up like Stitts (Polyfiber) will. When you thump it, it sounds like a drum...tight! Polyfiber to me is "rubbery". Most of the guys (Charlie Center, Dans Aircraft, Holliday etc) up here that do covering for a living use Ceconite - (a) Dac Proofer - (b) Spray Fill - (c) then Randolf Buterate Dope to finish. To me it is the easiest to repair. Piper used it for years. Piper's last PA-18's were Air Tech covered but some have had to be recovered since. Mine (Coconite -Dope) was 25 years old and still going when I cut it off the plane to rebuild. Crash

Phil Kite
01-04-2004, 12:34 PM
Dope had its' day when planes were covered in cotten and linen. The dope soaked into the natural fibers and stuck very well. The shrinking ability of the dope was required to tension the fabric also. The continous shrinking was always a problem with stringers, wing tip bows and tail surfaces. Polyester fabric (Ceconite) is very slippery and nothing sticks very well to it. This feature is taken advantage of in fiberglass layups where the polyester fabric is layed on top of the epoxy resin and used as a peal ply. Of all of the approved aircraft fabric coatings, dope sticks the worst. Even if the nitrate is forced through the fabric on the first coats, it still does not stick worth a hoot! I worked in a lab at a coatings manufacturer where I was testing aircraft coatings. I made a device that pumped compressed air on the back side of covered fabric samples to try to blow the coating off the fabric. Using Ceconite 102 (2.7 oz) the dope would blow off at 40-60 psi. Polyfiber (PF) and Air-Tech (AT) would not blow off and the fabric would blow apart with a large bang at about 300 psi! If you strike the fabric with a small ball peen hammer to simulate a rock, the dope will chip off requiring a repair. The PF and AT would bounce off not requiring a repair. Dope is only 10% solids (10% resin, 90% solvent) and then you thin it to 5% to spray it. PF is about 18-20% solids in the can and 10% in the spray gun. AT primer ready to spray is 46% solids. Therefore it takes 9 coats of dope to equal one coat of AT primer in film build and 4.5 coats of PF to equal AT. The last 100 supercubs that Piper made in Vero Beach were covered using the AT process and they turned out great! AT can be applied in hot or cold conditions and humidity is not a concern also. As per weight, If you keep the coats thin and to the minimum, AT will be very light. If you keep adding extra coats the weight can add up quickly because of the solids content. Since I am not a very fast typer, I should get back in my woodshop and go work on my '41 Culver Cadet

01-04-2004, 12:34 PM
All I have ever used in the past 12 years is Airtech. It has, for me, been the easiest to use and patching is not a problem. You glue on the fabric.....shrink it.........put on a couple coats of primer and a couple coats of color.......done !! You have the option of keeping it lighter by using the minimum number of coats per Airtech. While I appreciate the quality showpiece work I see on some cubs, mine is glue and paint.......not the prettiest, but functional ( that stems from doing spray planes I guess). I like the Airtech paint.......bugs come right off, you can clean with MEK if necessary, and it keeps a nice shine.

I have painted a Pawnee using Airtech outside in January ( 15 degrees) with great results. Everything warm in the hangar.........shove outside and paint......push back in to dry.

Anyone considering Airtech or polyurethanes remember to use an outside airsource for breathing........it's wicked stuff to be inhaling.

Dave Calkins
01-04-2004, 03:13 PM
Nice to hear some new opinions on the subject.

It might be interesting to note that the clear butyrate most-often sold for use from local retailers like Reeve or Stoddards is the Randolph TAUTENING Butyrate No. 9701. No wonder a/c covered in it are "drum tight". I've seen the stuff bend longerons on Cubs. We all have seen a tweaked tip bow or two!!

Only recently have the non-tautening Randolph A-1690 and tan-tinted W-8350 Butyrates been stocked in local stores.

This is not a bitch at Randolph, by-the-way. I'll cover in whatever the customer wants. Like I said before, each system has its pros and cons.

Crash made the statement that Stits jobs he has seen are ".....bag[ed]-up and loosen[ed]....". I believe that some of it might be caused by guys using a heat gun instead of a calibrated iron. I've watched a local well-know guy(one of those that Crash mentioned) as he shrunk a Ceconite job with a heat gun. He had a telephone cradled under his chin as he ran the heat gun along the fabric watching it get taut, a little in this area, a little in that area. This unscientific and non-uniform method of tautening is likely actually melting the fabric, as polyester will shrink up to 350 degrees F. and then melt somewhere around 400 degrees F., as stated by Polyfiber. The heat from the gun is not uniformly controllable, no matter what the local "expert" claims. Using a dope-based process allows the slackened fabric to get shrunk by the shrinking butyrate, and also the shrinking nitrate that's hopefully the guys first coat. As noted above, most of the clear butyrate sold in this area from local retailers is of the TAUTENING variety, Randolph No. 9701. So most likely the reason for drum tight covering is that it is actually drum tight.

So, a properly done Stits job works just fine, Crash. Old habits die hard, and I'll bet that old habits are what have caused slack Stits. Plus, don't most people brag about never reading the instructions.

I don't want to sound like I'm bitching at Crash, but Crash, I usually turn off the exhaust fan in the booth as soon as I'm done spraying. I believe it helps eliminate at least a part of the dust that might find its way onto my finish job.

Oh, I cut some Aerothaned Polyfiber off a stock Cub wing and it weighed 9.5 pounds. That's the whole piece of fabric, top and bottom...9.5 pounds. And this was some heavily sprayed-on Aerothane...pinked edges nearly hidden, etc.

I'd be surprised if a guy could save much weight with some other type of coating, even if it was 1 coat of nitrate followed by 2 cross-coats of silver.

Not that I'm talking up Stits, as I said, I'll spray whatever is best for the customer. These processes each have their merits.

And Crash, you have your merit, too. I'm not at all trying to fire you up.


01-04-2004, 09:36 PM
For those that don't know, Polyfiber and Ceconite are owned by the same company. I asked one of the owners of that company, in person, exactly what the difference was between the two fabrics. He told me they both come off the same loom. The only difference is the ink stamp. I wonder what it is that makes Polyfiber bag when Ceconite doesn't????????

01-04-2004, 10:24 PM
I've never seen where dope keeps shrinking, if it is non-tautening. I've seen a lot of times where people get there fabric to tight to begin with and it will cause the longerons and stringers to bend (I'm not saying this is not true I've just never seen it happen). Also has anyone actually tried to burn a piece of Stits compared to Randolph, I know a guy that has and said Stits burns too. A friend of ours has a Cheif that was painted w/ Aerothane just a couple years ago, and it's got "ringworm/cracks in four different places, and it's not even flying yet! A nice dope finish looks so much more "genuine" than anything else, I just don't like the "plastic" look of a urethane, but some people love it, to each his own. If you seen the Cub that Joe Fleeman restored at Oshkosh last year, I think you would agree that he does about the nicest finish ever w/ butyrate dope.

Steve Pierce
01-04-2004, 10:24 PM
Nitrate and Butyrate tighten the fabric more after it has been ironed. Poly-fiber is a vinyl base and doesn't shrink anything. Take some tautening or non-tautening dope and put it on any type of cloth, tee shirt or what ever. It will amaze you.

01-04-2004, 10:27 PM
I just looked at a 76 cub with original fabric. Looked fine to me. It didnt shrink enough to do anything. How long does it take to shrink enough that it does damage?

01-04-2004, 10:31 PM
Stits will burn if you put a little gas to it.

Steve Pierce
01-04-2004, 10:32 PM
If you take flame away from Stits it goes out. Dope keeps burning once ignited. Tried it about a month ago. Fleeman does awesome work. There was a Stinson 108 at OSH in 99 or 2000 that had Stits Polytone on it that had been rubbed out like Joe does Butyrate. It looked as good. I was amazed. If you saw where Joe painted you would realy be amazed. He had an awesome homebuilt PA-11 he built using a Univair fuselage before they got the PMA at Sun & Fun a few years ago, also the J-5 and several Buckers. He does awesome work. I agree that a nice dope job takes you back in time. Also some people put the polyurethanes on way to thick and they crack and ringworm.

01-04-2004, 10:43 PM
I was taking a picture of the prop but you can see the wing was covered in Stits and still burned or melted.


01-04-2004, 11:03 PM
ANYTHING will burn with enough applied fuel and flame. Vinyl products will not sustain combustion once the source is removed. It's referred to as "self-extinguishing." That is very different from dope finishes. Dope burns. It's probably academic in a crash, but if all else is equal, I'll take self-extinguishing.

Dave Calkins
01-05-2004, 01:51 AM
A couple of days ago I saw a T-craft with I don't know how old ceconite and butyrate on it. Faded medium blue butyrate topcoat. Ugly, chalky, not attractive. With a little bit of carnauba based wax "...like the Blue Angels use..", as the owner put it, the thing looked shiny again, and respectable. It was amazing.

Why does he want it shiny? 'Cause the snow, bugs, and air slip off it easier that way.


But never use a silicone based "polish" or "waxing system" as you'll truly have a tough time getting touch up or repairs to stick to it.

Guest, I've seen shrinkage in 18 years, and I've seen it in 8 years, and I've seen it in 10 years. I've seen 12 year old Polytone that looked new, also. And I've seen "..who knows how old.." chalky blue butyrate on a T-craft that looked pretty nice once it saw a little bit of lovin'.

What? are we down to personal preference again?

Guest, won't you register and introduce yourself? Or is that you, Diggler, inciting the masses again?

01-05-2004, 07:04 AM

Had a gascolator leak a over a period of time, now I have some belly streaks of blue. Is their anything to get rid of the streaks, or do I have a nifty new stripe under the plane?

Thanks Jeff

01-05-2004, 05:14 PM
Do any of you use cotton tapes, w/ the real fine pinked edge? Joe Fleeman uses them and says thats how he can get such nice results around petrusions like gear fittings ect. I question the life of the cotton tape compared to the rest of the cover. Also does humidity effect Stits?

Steve Pierce
01-05-2004, 08:17 PM
Never had a problem with humidity and Stits. Cotton tapes don't hold up to good. Look at a Bellanca Viking dorsal.

What kind of finish do you have a fuel stain on?

01-05-2004, 10:52 PM
As for dope shrinking, the reason Ceconite is only shrunk at 240* is to allow for the dope (even the non-taughteing type) to have some room to shrink. It's stated very clearly in the Ceconite manual. Polyfiber is shrunk at 325* because the coatings don't contribute to the tightening. It's free reading on the Ceconite website.

What kind of top coat do you have? I can't think of a finish you can't get the stain off of, but the stain removal may end up to be more noticeable than the stain.

01-05-2004, 10:57 PM
Hey....how'd I do that? I thought I was logged-on.

01-06-2004, 07:37 AM
For those that don't know, Polyfiber and Ceconite are owned by the same company. I asked one of the owners of that company, in person, exactly what the difference was between the two fabrics. He told me they both come off the same loom. The only difference is the ink stamp. I wonder what it is that makes Polyfiber bag when Ceconite doesn't????????

I thought Polyfiber was flat thread and Ceconite was round thread. did they change? which way are they now?

Steve Pierce
01-06-2004, 07:53 AM
My Poly-Fiber Manual says 350 degrees. Air-Tech using Ceconite fabric says 375 degrees.

01-06-2004, 08:29 AM

By Ron Alexander
The next step in our ongoing discussion of fabric covering using nitrate and butyrate dope, is to shrink the Ceconite fabric. This is a critical step in the covering process. Proper shrinkage is essential to a long lasting finish. The process of shrinking the fabric that will be covered with nitrate and butyrate dope takes on a special meaning due to the shrinkage of the dopes themselves.

Nitrate and butyrate (even the non-tautening variety) will continue to shrink throughout the life of the airplane. This will occur both on Grade A fabric and on polyester fabric. As the dopes shrink they tighten the fabric they have encapsulated. So today when you use Ceconite fabric along with nitrate and butyrate dopes to cover your airplane, you must be aware of this fact. Use only non-tautening dopes to cover your airplane even though they will shrink (to a lesser degree than regular dopes) with age. When using this process you will not shrink the fabric to its maximum prior to applying the dopes. You must allow for the resulting shrinkage caused by the dopes themselves.

-cut and pasted right from the Ceconite manual.

Steve Pierce
01-06-2004, 08:38 AM
SB, Good to know. The Randolph procedure manual and old Ceconite #101 says 400 degrees and even refers tothe dreaded heat gun. Guess if I am going to use nitrate/butyrate I need to get the new Ceconite manual. I still prefer Stits because it only shrinks with heat. I do see Crash's point though, I do like it a little tighter than 350 degrees yields.

01-06-2004, 11:35 AM
It's probably academic in a crash

You got that right. Heres a picture of the rest of the plane. It was covered with Stits. It hit the ground hard and flat. Had header tanks. Left tank was melted and the right one was split and still had gas in it. Ive posted this picture before but thought I would post it again for those who havent seen it. Its a good reminder to be careful.


01-06-2004, 11:45 AM
Did the NTSB attribute the fire to the header tanks? Just curious.

Dave Calkins
01-06-2004, 01:12 PM
I noticed in the first KASE photo that the fabric on the wing did not completely burn. Only part of the fabric burned, it is clear in the photo.

01-06-2004, 02:00 PM
It looked like where the fuel ran out of the ruptured right tank is were it burned. Figured they had about 30-32 gal on board. NTSB said nothing of the header tanks.

01-06-2004, 09:28 PM
So the fuel burned where it was splashed on the fabric.

Did the burning fabric extinguish once the fuel had burned away?

Sorry, Kase, I know this whole thing sucks, assuming someone was hurt in this wreck.

01-06-2004, 10:45 PM
So the fuel burned where it was splashed on the fabric.

Did the burning fabric extinguish once the fuel had burned away?

It appeared that way on the right wing. However the fuselage and the left wing burned.

01-07-2004, 12:15 AM
Ceconite and Polyfiber will always be a Chevy vs Ford debate. They are both good systems that have their own merits.

Last summer I landed the PA-14 out on a remote strip and a couple of other guys were there, one with a PA-12 and the other with a PA-18. They came over to BS and check the 14 out. They both commented how good the fabric looked and how tight and solid it was. The guy had recovered his other plane, a Maule, in Ployfiber and said it just felt floppy and rubbery. He said next time it would be ceconite and dope.

My brother covered his Maule in Polyfiber and when it went full throttle for take off the fabric would roll in waves down the side of the fuselage. He sold it. I saw the plane later and it had been about 4 years since it had been covered. Cracks were all over the tail feathers and fuselage sides. I was not impressed. Just my 2 cents. Crash

01-07-2004, 09:22 PM
You look at any super cub with Stits and with in 200 hours it will have cracks along all the longerons and tubes in the stabilators. It takes a dope finished cub 1000 hours to get that many cracks.

Dave Calkins
01-07-2004, 09:36 PM
Crash, did he do it by the book??

And Guest, how many hours does it take for a Cub to grow "stabilators"?

SJ, you are right about that posting thing! I think maybe a guy would take a bit more time to consider his comments if he were to take the time to register first.

This guest is an idiot and my vote, if I get one, is now that we only let registered users post from now on. I never thought I'd want to require it.

Diggler, if this guest is you, just keep drinking and keeping us in stitches with your dumb-ass comments. At least if we knew it was you, we'd know the source and be able to take the useful with the useless.

...And Guest, ".. a 1000 hours.."??? A thousand hours over how many years, you dumb-ass? I don't know you, or what grand lifetime experiences you've had, but your vague, but opinionated and somewhat incomplete posts sound like second-hand preferences blurted out uncontrollably like diarhea of the mouth, ya' dumb-ass.

01-07-2004, 11:38 PM
Dave, you got him.....I spit my beer all over my keyboard. By the way what is a Stabilator?

01-08-2004, 12:34 AM
I'll second the registration to post. STABILATOR: I think my wife thinks she is the :crazyeyes: stabilator :crazyeyes: in the family

01-08-2004, 12:44 AM
Ya, and only registered users that agree with Dave can post anything! You got it you dumb ass guest!!! Dave you need to get laid or drunk or something, take a deep breath, peaceful thoughts, peaceful thoughts..... Crash

01-08-2004, 12:47 AM

Steve Pierce
01-08-2004, 07:21 AM
I don't think Diggler would stir the pot as a Guest. After all he has a reputation to up hold.

01-08-2004, 09:24 AM
Crash, did he do it by the book??

And Guest, how many hours does it take for a Cub to grow "stabilators"?

SJ, you are right about that posting thing! I think maybe a guy would take a bit more time to consider his comments if he were to take the time to register first.

This guest is an idiot and my vote, if I get one, is now that we only let registered users post from now on. I never thought I'd want to require it.

Diggler, if this guest is you, just keep drinking and keeping us in stitches with your dumb-ass comments. At least if we knew it was you, we'd know the source and be able to take the useful with the useless.

...And Guest, ".. a 1000 hours.."??? A thousand hours over how many years, you dumb-ass? I don't know you, or what grand lifetime experiences you've had, but your vague, but opinionated and somewhat incomplete posts sound like second-hand preferences blurted out uncontrollably like diarhea of the mouth, ya' dumb-ass.


Don't hold back, say what's on your mind!... I love this post, it's a classic, got me laughing this morning...


Dave Calkins
01-08-2004, 12:14 PM
Listen, I don't expect everyone to agree with me. Crash, you got that wrong. You shouldn't have said that. I'm an easy-going guy, but sometimes a heckler in a dark comedy bar can eventually get the goat of the comedian.

I'd love to hear the REASONS why someone disagrees, though, so I can maybe learn something new. If I seem to disagree with someone, it's because I've already learned a better, different, or acceptable approach that works just fine for me. I work on Cubs and other types for a living, guys. I can't afford to have it come out not right. If I disagree with you, it's because I've made a mistake in the past that I never want to again. In this case, Polyfiber is NOT a mistake. I have great results with it. Yes, as I've said, I will put on Polyfiber, OR Dope, but I've never done razorback. I don't hate dope. I use it. And I use it properly and by the book.

Diggler, I've got no problem with you at all. The reason I thought this "guest" might have been you is that his answers and comments were abrupt and short. Alot of times yours are short. It just kind of pointed to you, but would only make sense if you were trying to stir the pot. Diggler, your comments on this .org seem experienced and well-informed.Period.

If you follow along the discussion, this guest jumps in with an abrupt, incomplete response, then another blurted out response. I asked him to give a bit of background. I don't need any background on the reasons why Crash, for instance, likes dope. But I requested information from this guest and still all I get is stilted, abrupt, mis-informed, or at the very least incomplete, replies. I suggested that he register and give himself an identity and background. Nothing. With even just an alias, I'd know that the comments from "SC GUEST DRVR" were all from the same guy.

Then there's this Stabilator thing. And the "200 hours" and "1000" hours".

I could jump on some computer discussion site and blurt out "128 megabytes", and it would mean something, but what? I could even call my monitor a "screen", and the readers would know what I meant, even if the statement was not correct. But it would be kindof rude of me, and especially if I jumped in there anonymously, with further, mis-informed or half-thought-out replies and attempted to be counted as a knowledgable user with an opinion.

Crash, I'm on your side. I like this site. I like the banter. I like the info. I like to help fellow Cub lovers.

I'll not always agree with you, Crash, or anyone else, but I respect you from reading past posts of yours.

Guest, come on back and have some fun with us. Please take the time to register so we can know it is you. Use an alias, I don't care. But please, when asked for further info on your opinion, give it, or fess up.

That request goes for anyone else lurking here who thinks it might be time to actually enter a post.


PS Crash, on your brother's Maule.....I asked if he did it by the book. Did he?

01-08-2004, 01:21 PM