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Thread: Observations on Stewarts System

  1. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bart23Sept View Post
    good question. i was referred to Central Arkansas Aircraft Repair. AFAIK they're not a Stewart-only shop but I was told after thirty years of refinishing airplanes they've tried everything. Haven't called yet but probably will this week unless you beat me to it and can report back.
    I won't be calling them because I'm not really intrested in trying Stewart's again cost me over $4000 in materials and a month of labor, going to take a bit for me to get over it. I was just looking to see if there was a production shop that can get consistent results that they are willing to use it day in and day out, I haven't heard of any but that don't mean much. If Centeral Arkansas repair uses it and they are willing to talk to you and share some secrets I'd try them I'm just some guy who used it once and got a bad taste so my opinion should be take as such. Now if you want help with Polyfiber or dope I'm pretty good with them and would be able to help more.

  2. #42

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    Yes, it was Les' Cub. We picked it up a couple years ago and brought it west. Very heavy, and crooked tail, but otherwise a nice looking airplane. Engine did not last very long - I think it sat too much.

    I started with Poly Fiber/dope finish in 1969, before Poly Tone. I liked it, but soon graduated to nitrate/butyrate because of cost. Although I now use the Binks Model 18, I have sprayed dope and Poly with a horrible suction feed deal that worked with an air brush compressor. A little 400 wet sanding and some polishing compound and it looked just fine.

  3. #43
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    I am not sure if what I am about to relate is relevant but I will talk about it anyway.

    Covered a Cub rudder in Stewarts. Jason provided the product, near the time he was about to leave them, to give you an idea of the era/formulation of the topcoat.

    I loved the process. I was able to spray it laying flat as I have fixtures that allow holding the control surfaces and flipping them over so I can shoot all sides in the same "go". The glue was great and foolproof. A revelation compared to SuperSeam or Polytac. (both of which I have used extensively professionally).

    I followed this with a Cub aileron with Ceconite.

    I realized then how much faster and easier the Stewarts System progressed, even with that rudder being my first experience with Stewarts, AND my worries with the waterborne topcoat Polyurethane and the scary reports of its performance.

    Not to mention the stink factor.

    I am reading all these posts since I figure my next cover will be Stewarts, on my personal exp Cub, maybe with a different topcoat, as I wonder if that rudder success was a fluke.

    You guys ever see that swatch of fabric with Stewarts that those guys carry around in their pocket? That stuff is incredible!

  4. #44
    Marty57's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bart23Sept View Post
    Thanks for the feedback. The impression I'm getting is that if you really follow the directions and maybe even use tweaks that people familiar with the system are willing to offer then you've got a good chance of getting great results. If you wing it then all bets are off. I have to admit, when it turns out just right it's pretty damn nice!
    I think this is a pretty fair comment. For success with Stewart Systems, It does require that you follow the steps laid out in the manual. If you try to wing it than the variables will stack up against you and problems will crop up. The picture below are panels shot by first time Stewart Systems users at the seminar I taught in December. These were all shot in my home shop with just the basic set up recommended in the manual. I use a compressor bought on Craigs list, a home made dryer found here on SC, and the spray gun recommended in the manual. My set up is not high tech at all. I try to teach and show that exceptional results can be achieved with out a huge investment in equipment. I'm more than happy to share the techniques needed to get this kind of finish. A couple options I'd like to offer. I'll be doing workshops in a few weeks at the US Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring Florida from Jan 24-27. We will be there and teaching all during the expo. These are free workshops. If you are in the area, come say high and sit in on the workshops. I'll be happy to share everything and answer any questions. We will also be at Sun N Fun in April, and have a booth at the Alaska Aviation Gathering May 5 & 6 in Anchorage. Oshkosh will follow in July, again with workshops the entire week. The idea here is education. The more you know and understand the system the better the results you will get. I'll be doing another seminar in California in March and I'm also available to do a seminar at your location. Please, if you have any questions, let me know. Supercub.org has been so good to me over the years I want to give back in any way I can. One of these days, I'll actually be finished with my project!
    Marty

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  5. #45
    Bearhawk Builder's Avatar
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    4th plane with Stewarts, I've been flying the Bearhawk since 2010. The Myers wings were done three years ago. Couple of Pacers and lot's of repairs over other systems. It works fine for me. I get a little sick of saying it but all systems have their quirks, you just got to figure it out. I paint lots of things (like the Cobra, not Stewart's) and I'm fussy and I can get really good results with Stewart's. photo (3).JPGMeyers.JPGIMG_0201.jpg
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  6. #46

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    Marty, any comment on the EkoPrime/fuel compatibility? My intent certainly wasn’t to bash the product- I definitely plan to keep using it- just curious if I screwed something up or if others have noticed this too...?

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bearhawk Builder View Post
    4th plane with Stewarts, I've been flying the Bearhawk since 2010. . I paint lots of things (like the Cobra, not Stewart's) and I'm fussy]Meyers.JPG]
    Great paint Dave, but you need a taper that can lay straight lines.


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  8. #48
    Bearhawk Builder's Avatar
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    I know, couldn't talk her out of it. Tried, hard.

  9. #49

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    When I painted my Backcountry PA-18 with Stewart's, I followed the instructions to the letter. I had never painted an airplane before or anything else for the matter, but I suppose I'm good at following instructions. Anyway, what really helped me the most was having test panels during the process for the top coat. I would spray a small test panel and then transition to the real plane part. I avoided problems using the test panels. I was pleased with the entire process and will use it again on my next project.

    Thanks,
    Blackhelo
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  10. #50
    Tim's Avatar
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    When it comes to Stewarts system, Dave is the man

  11. #51
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    Hope u arent referring to me. I just fell off the snowball truck when it comes to Stewarts. And Jason provided the product gratis, so yu know I cannot be trusted Tim.

  12. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by ak49flyer View Post
    Marty, any comment on the EkoPrime/fuel compatibility? My intent certainly wasn’t to bash the product- I definitely plan to keep using it- just curious if I screwed something up or if others have noticed this too...?
    I had a tank on my Cub split and leak, Av gas ran on the inside of the wing as well as on the outside as well as the fuselage. It is finished with the Ekofill, Ekoprime, and their top coat. It did not damage the finish. Stewart’s had told me years ago that Mogas will cause damage if on the inside of the fabric because of the various chemicals used in the formulation of the Mogas. They recommend spraying the tank bay.
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  13. #53

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    Marty,bear hawk and anybody else that has had multiple successe with Stewart's are you painting everything flat or have you been able to paint vertical without problems? I'm mainly intrested in ecofill as I found spraying ecopoly no diffrent than spraying aerothane and had good results with it, ecofill has been my only gripe with Stewart's and it seems I'm the only person who can f*@k it up. At the time I was using a Sata 4000rp but have now bought a 5000rp and 1000k pressure pot set up so maybe someday I'll give it a try on somthing small and see if what happens.

  14. #54
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    I've always shot it hanging, never had a problem. I teach the paint class at Sun 'n Fun for them...it's taught vertical. No need to shoot horizontal. It's not difficult, but it IS different. The people that seem to have the most problems are ones that have lots of experience...myself included...I have to constantly remind myself to follow procedures.
    John
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  15. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hardtailjohn View Post
    I've always shot it hanging, never had a problem. I teach the paint class at Sun 'n Fun for them...it's taught vertical. No need to shoot horizontal. It's not difficult, but it IS different. The people that seem to have the most problems are ones that have lots of experience...myself included...I have to constantly remind myself to follow procedures.
    John
    that's exactly what happened to a friend of mine, he had a lot of experience and tried to spray Stewart like every other paint he had sprayed. It didn't work and he had to sand it all off. He did it again the way the guys at the company had told him to and it turned out beautifully.
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  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by PA-22/20-160 View Post
    Marty,bear hawk and anybody else that has had multiple successe with Stewart's are you painting everything flat or have you been able to paint vertical without problems? I'm mainly intrested in ecofill as I found spraying ecopoly no diffrent than spraying aerothane and had good results with it, ecofill has been my only gripe with Stewart's and it seems I'm the only person who can f*@k it up. At the time I was using a Sata 4000rp but have now bought a 5000rp and 1000k pressure pot set up so maybe someday I'll give it a try on somthing small and see if what happens.
    I've never had a problem with ekofill flat or horizontal. That Sata 4000 is my favorite gun but honestly I shoot the Ekofill with my old Devilbiss Finishline with a big 1.8 tip. Don't know, maybe those good guns atomize the Ekofill too much? Do you have a decent primer gun to try?

  17. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bearhawk Builder View Post
    I've never had a problem with ekofill flat or horizontal. That Sata 4000 is my favorite gun but honestly I shoot the Ekofill with my old Devilbiss Finishline with a big 1.8 tip. Don't know, maybe those good guns atomize the Ekofill too much? Do you have a decent primer gun to try?
    I've got multiple tips for my Sata 5000RP so I've been using the 1.6 for priming, I have found that the 5000 is way easier to set up and more for giving than the 4000 so maybe it will do a better job if I decide to give it a try again someday. I'm also using a reduced pressure gun and not an HVLP so maybe that has something to do with it also. hope the original poster keeps us informed about his luck with Stewart's but for now I'm going to keep trucking with polyfiber have a wing to start spraying on Thursday.

  18. #58
    Marty57's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PA-22/20-160 View Post
    Marty,bear hawk and anybody else that has had multiple successe with Stewart's are you painting everything flat or have you been able to paint vertical without problems? I'm mainly intrested in ecofill as I found spraying ecopoly no diffrent than spraying aerothane and had good results with it, ecofill has been my only gripe with Stewart's and it seems I'm the only person who can f*@k it up. At the time I was using a Sata 4000rp but have now bought a 5000rp and 1000k pressure pot set up so maybe someday I'll give it a try on somthing small and see if what happens.
    Not sure about the gun set up you are using; specifically the pressure pot. No idea how that will effect the paint or Ekofill; something we haven't worked with as far as I know. I teach with the Finishline 4 with 1.5 tip for Ekofill and 1.3 tip for Ekopoly. As for vertical or horizontal, no difference. I taught with both methods in December with no difference in results.
    Marty
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  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak49flyer View Post
    Marty, any comment on the EkoPrime/fuel compatibility? My intent certainly wasn’t to bash the product- I definitely plan to keep using it- just curious if I screwed something up or if others have noticed this too...?
    I wanted to see for my self how Stewart Systems held up to fuel. I tested two different samples of painted fabric; one in 100LL and one in California Auto Gas with 10% Ethanol (nasty stuff). One (orange in attached picture) is a sample finished as per the manual. The second, (dark olive and white) is finished as recommended inside a tank bay; the inside and outside of the fabric are both finished in Ekopoly. When tested in auto gas (87 octane with 10% ethanol CA auto gas) both samples reacted very poorly and the paint lifted. The two samples on the blue paper towel were in auto fuel only a couple minutes before lifting. The orange sample in the auto fuel (left jar) shows how the fuel causes the finish to crinkle. When I tested the same samples in 100LL there was no reaction to either fabric samples. After 2 weeks soaking in 100LL there is still no reaction to the 100 LL fuel on either samples. I have attached pictures of the samples for you to see. The sample of yellowish fuel is the auto gas, the blue is 100LL. No opportunity to test in Mogas without ethanol; not available anywhere close to me here in CA. The unknown additives in CA autogas is what causes the issues. The reaction of the Ekobond to the Ethanol is exactly why it's not recommended for Aircraft use unless engine and air frame are specifically set up for it. CA regular with ethanol has ruined every small engine carb I have used it in. Back to 100LL, no reaction with samples. I would stick to 100LL or the new Swift UL94 regardless of the paint system as the additives in auto fuel today are so unpredictable from one state to another. If you really want to use MOGAS, I would suggest testing how your local MOGAS reacts with Ekopoly or any other system.
    Marty
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  20. #60
    Bearhawk Builder's Avatar
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    Interesting Marty, you wouldn't happen to have a strip of Poly Fiber process to test for comparison?
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  21. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bearhawk Builder View Post
    Interesting Marty, you wouldn't happen to have a strip of Poly Fiber process to test for comparison?
    I don't have a strip handy but it would be a good test. CA gas is nasty stuff; it would be good to see how it reacts.
    Marty
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    Interesting- thanks Marty! Both planes I referenced use almost exclusively auto fuel- no ethanol here but evidently some additive that it doesn’t like... I’ll try to do a test in the future- I’m pretty sure it’s only the ekoprimed areas that had any trouble, but who knows. FWIW I did spray the interior of the bays with ekopoly, but that doesn’t do any good behind the spar...

  23. #63
    Steve's Aircraft (Brian)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty57 View Post
    I don't have a strip handy but it would be a good test. CA gas is nasty stuff; it would be good to see how it reacts.
    Marty
    I can send you a piece of poly fiber coated via snail mail... inspection hole cut outs...

    Brian


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  24. #64
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    The auto fuel incompatibility issue seems like a big deal to me. Fuel spills happen, with certain colors like yellow, Ekoprime can’t be avioded, so I wonder how big of issue it is in the real world. Could be a deal breaker for some folks.

  25. #65
    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    I have Stewarts, the formulation from 2011.

    I occasionally accidentally spill a little fuel while adding gas to the tanks. There has been no apparent effect on the finish, with either non-ethanol mogas or with 100 LL.

    However I did have a small leak in one of my fuel valves, that dripped some gas down the inside of the fuselage cover. That did cause some lifting. I don't recall how much of it was 100 or mogas, but probably mostly mogas.
    Gordon

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  26. #66
    Marty57's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve's Aircraft (Brian) View Post
    I can send you a piece of poly fiber coated via snail mail... inspection hole cut outs...

    Brian


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    I'll pm you my address, thanks. Curious to see what the effect is with our nasty fuel here in CA.
    Marty
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  27. #67
    Marty57's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimboflying View Post
    The auto fuel incompatibility issue seems like a big deal to me. Fuel spills happen, with certain colors like yellow, Ekoprime can’t be avoided, so I wonder how big of issue it is in the real world. Could be a deal breaker for some folks.
    Ekoprime isn't an issue. When I tested the fabric in CA auto gas with ethanol, the Ekobond is what let go; the painted surface came off un-touched. Ekofill, Ekoprime and EkoPoly all seemed to be unaffected. One of the additives in the fuel attacked the ekobond. Andy tested the same fabric sample I used at Stewart Systems home base in Ohio. Auto fuel with ethanol there had no effect on the finish, same for clean Mogas. Ohio gas had no effect if the fabric was first shot in Ekopoly, followed by Ekofill than the top coat of Ekopoly. That's the problum, regional fuel uses what ever additives they want to achieve the octane and other ratings they want. Unpredictability with ethanol fuel is the issue. Mogas seems to be ok in most areas; none available here in CA.
    Marty
    Marty
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  28. #68
    Steve's Aircraft (Brian)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty57 View Post
    I'll pm you my address, thanks. Curious to see what the effect is with our nasty fuel here in CA.
    Marty

    Mary,

    Got some on the way to you...

    BTW... My cub in my avatar fuselage is covered in Stewarts...

    Brian.
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  29. #69
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    bummer on the ekobond

    That means fuel attacking and debonding your work. Not just cosmetic. But a serious airworthiness issue.

  30. #70
    Marty57's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Calkins View Post
    bummer on the ekobond

    That means fuel attacking and debonding your work. Not just cosmetic. But a serious airworthiness issue.
    So far, only an issue with CA auto gas with ethonal. Mogas without ethanol was tested without any issues. There is some kind of additive in ethanol based California fuel that is culprit. Same test with ethanol fuel in Ohio showed no lifting of the paint and no debonding. Samples I have in 100 LL still show no lifting after three weeks. I’ll run same test with CA ethonal fuel on Polyfiber to compare.
    Marty
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  31. #71
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    Marty, I got some lifting with WA non-alcohol mogas, that was slow-dripping on the inside of fuselage under the fuel selector valves. 2011 formulation.
    Gordon

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  32. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon Misch View Post
    Marty, I got some lifting with WA non-alcohol mogas, that was slow-dripping on the inside of fuselage under the fuel selector valves. 2011 formulation.
    Gordon,
    Andy (Stewart Systems owner) and I have been discussing the issue of auto fuel lately. His Stinson is a Poly-Fiber finish and he has tapes lifting from a previous owner's use of auto fuel. That being said, the difficulty today is predicting what is in the fuel, ethanol or non-ethanol. Your situation is rare from Andy's experience but it has happened, similar to his Poly-Fiber tapes lifting.

    I'm very curious about the different fuels around the country. This coming summer, on my way to Oshkosh, I plan on taking fuel samples at each state I pass through and testing them with fabric from the same painted panel I recently tested here. By doing this, the variable will be the fuel by state, not the fabric application. It won't be a truly scientific experiment but it will give me an idea of the different blends. When traveling from California to Wisconsin, I am amazed at the different smell of auto gas from one region to another. Here's a link to the standards adopted in CA: https://www.arb.ca.gov/fuels/gasoline/cbgupdat.htm

    When you read the changes made to CA fuel, it mainly is in the form of reducing different ingredients in the fuel to make it burn cleaner, one being ethanol. My limited knowledge of fuel additives makes me think that if you remove additives A,B, and C from the fuel, you must add X,Y, and Z to keep the fuel performing at required levels. Again, what is being added? The link above mentioned the EPA requiring major metro areas that have high pollution to adopt the CA standards for their region's fuel supply. So, what is in the fuel? Not sure. It will be interesting to conduct some tests as I travel this summer.
    Marty
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  33. #73
    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    Good for you Marty - that should be an interesting experiment!
    Gordon

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  34. #74
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    So the bottom line would be stay with 100LL for the time being. I'm sure it won't be that long before we have a good answer to all this. I plan on telling the folks that I've used the Stewart's system on there aircraft to only use 100LL , but I think they already do.

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    Ca fuel? Awk! It used to have MTBE, whatever that is, and it would eat tank slosh - but not digest it.

    I run very small Stromberg carbs, and can tell you that California gas doesn't seem to harm them. It also doesn't seem to bother my ancient Mustang convertibles, and has no effect on dope, acrylic enamel, or poly tone. I cannot tell you that I use gas with alcohol in it, because that would be an admission of guilt, at least in airplanes not certificated experimental.

    But I have had my Cub in California since 1967, and fly it every darn day. So far, so good.

  36. #76
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    It isn't necessarily state to state. When I hauled fuel, we were a Union 76 dealer. We loaded at the same Texaco loading rack as the Texaco, Arco, Shell, Conoco, and a few independent dealers. I remember the Texaco guys used to have to add the "Texron" to their loads....about 2 quarts to a 10,000 gallon load. They got it in big plastic bottles at first, but if it didn't get used within a few days, it ate through the bottle! They wound up using steel bottles. We also bought a million gallon load of unleaded car gas from an outfit in Ballard, called "Time Oil".... it was just the color of tea. And it stunk. We started having issues with the valves in our piping systems on the trucks not long after we started hauling it. I guess what I'm saying is that there's some absolutely AWFUL stuff that goes in car gas. I'd rather not run it through my airplane. The quality control is nothing like it is for aviation fuel. I've tested Stewarts (long before it was Stewarts) and Poly fiber in different car gas and had mixed results throughout. The other thing to keep in mind is that quite often stations or stores will change suppliers so you really never do know what you're getting with car gas.
    John

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    Stewart Paint solvent blister.jpg
    This is just out of the paint booth and I should have quit 2 minutes before I did. Solvent blister on the trailing edge of the flap. I'm out of practice spraying Stewarts but it will bite if too thick. I have had these blisters come up weeks and months after the paint was applied in areas that are thick.
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  38. #78

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litecub View Post
    Stewart Paint solvent blister.jpg
    This is just out of the paint booth and I should have quit 2 minutes before I did. Solvent blister on the trailing edge of the flap. I'm out of practice spraying Stewarts but it will bite if too thick. I have had these blisters come up weeks and months after the paint was applied in areas that are thick.
    I saw in one of the videos that you have about ten minutes to spray once the catalyst is added and the mixed is diluted/stirred to the right viscosity. Do you go strictly by time or is there something to watch or listen for as you're spraying to indicate time's up?

    Thanks.
    Bart

  39. #79
    Hardtailjohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bart23Sept View Post
    I saw in one of the videos that you have about ten minutes to spray once the catalyst is added and the mixed is diluted/stirred to the right viscosity. Do you go strictly by time or is there something to watch or listen for as you're spraying to indicate time's up?

    Thanks.
    Bart
    Potlife is 3-4 hours, not ten minutes. So don't hurry!! I've been teaching this stuff for over 20 years and the number one problem people have with the topcoat is that they get in a hurry!! Any polyurethane has a definite window when it's ready to receive the next coat. Some solvent based polyurethanes I've shot have a very narrow window, and some have a very wide window. Stewarts actually has a very nice wide window. Take your knuckle and rest it on the painted surface. When it's ready to receive the next coat, you wont have any transfer of paint to your knuckle when you remove it, but it will feel very sticky, like fly paper. Sometimes with the right conditions and coat thickness, that takes as little as 10 minutes to happen.....sometimes it can take 40. Airflow across the surface and temperature/humidity have a big influence on this. I don't care how long it's been, as long as it's ready. You don't want to let it get too dry before the next coat...optimum is to monitor the surface every few minutes until it is ready. Too long and you lose the sticky feeling (I tell students that it should feel like fly paper) and you have to let it dry overnight and hit it again tomorrow. Remember, water is the carrier or solvent for this topcoat, and it doesn't evaporate as quickly as solvent. Usually I have to leave the booth and go in another room or I get impatient and screw it up. (old habits die hard!) In that same sense, this paint will flow out longer than solvent borne paints, so as I tell students, 5 light coats will look better than 3 heavy ones in a day or so.
    John

  40. #80
    jimboflying's Avatar
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    I covered and painted the wings with the Stewarts system. The custom yellow color doesn’t match the tail feathers which were done in Polyfiber poly tone. It has been suggested that I rejuvenate the polytone before topcoating with the Stewarts polyureathane. Will the rejuvenator process interfere with the bonding of the Stewarts topcoat?

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