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Thread: Fabric pros and cons.

  1. #1

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    Fabric pros and cons.

    I am building a new cub from a kit that came from nick smith. Great guys to work with. I’m also getting some parts from jay at Javron. We are hoping to cover it this winter and was wanting some input on what you all would use for fabric and why. We plan on putting it on floats so it will sit outside all summer and be in the hanger in the winter.

  2. #2
    Bearhawk Builder's Avatar
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    This ought to be fun.
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  3. #3
    aeroaddict's Avatar
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    I thinking 3 pages on this thread.
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    Bearhawk Builder's Avatar
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    OK, I'll get you going. I like Stewart Systems because of the low VOC's of the product. The adhesive, fillers, primers are waterbourn. The paint is catalyzed urethane and the carrier is distilled water.
    Can't we just talk about religion?

  5. #5
    aeroaddict's Avatar
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    Your profile doesn't say where you are located, but when covering mine with Poly Fiber, winter didn't work well for covering as the temps were not warm enough (even with a heated hanger).

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    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aeroaddict View Post
    Your profile doesn't say where you are located, but when covering mine with Poly Fiber, winter didn't work well for covering as the temps were not warm enough (even with a heated hanger).
    That’s not a heated hanger then


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  7. #7
    aeroaddict's Avatar
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    I should have stated that I choose not to leave the heater on and burn gobs of propane since I could do other tasks during winter.

    The point being, you will need a warm place to do covering in.
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    One of the biggest questions in my opinion is do you foresee any auto gas at all in your future? If so, do your research. Multiple brands, including one previously mentioned above, are negatively affected by auto fuel on the back side of the fabric. Some just lift the topcoat, some actually release the glue holding the fabric to the airframe... All systems have pros and cons- you’re going to have to decide what’s most important to you.
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  9. #9
    courierguy's Avatar
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    I'm very familiar with working with the Poly Fiber system in a "cool" shop or hangar. Not so much the fabric work, I am able to get my shop nice and warm for that, but the outbuilding/paint booth was the tricky part. I settled on framing in a section of my pole barn, insulated, and with a insulated radiant floor heat slab. I'd get the slab warm, and start painting, but after a while the incoming cold air would draw down the rooms air temperature. As the ambient temp dropped, I'd modify my spray technique as I went, and to my surprise, the Poly-Tone finish turned out great, it just took extra work and timing dealing with the temp swings. Nowadays, with Oratex, the only reason I keep the PolyFiber products around is for repairs, and unless the finish job would look like a burlap bag, Oratex would seem to offer a huge advantage for fabric work in less then optimum conditions, we call that winter here. I'm totally not interested in a show plane finish anyway, and coming from a Poly-Tone finish, Oratex would look just fine to my eyes. Lighter also, another huge advantage. More pricey I guess, don't care.
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  10. #10

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    advantage, oratex - stewarts = sit at the kitchen table and drink beer while working
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  11. #11

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    I live in Parrysound Ontario but I have access to a heated hanger.

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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Irish linen and nitrate dope. Done properly, lasts a long time.




    Where can you buy Irish linen nowadays?
    N1PA

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    I would pick a system that you have easy access to materials when future repairs are needed. Go to your local shops and see what they are using. Nothing worse than have to wait a 4-6 weeks and pay extra 150 bucks to get a quart of hazardous material shipped up in the middle of flying season!! Pick colors that are common for the same reason!!
    DENNY
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  14. #14
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    Alaska State Troopers use Super Flight on their Super Cubs. Looks shiny all the time. I used that system on mine and it turned out excellent. Use the system that is easy to repair, obtain and store.


    Sent from my iPad using SuperCub.Org
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  15. #15
    skukum12's Avatar
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    Oratex prefers a warm environment for installation. The glue is water based and CAN NOT FREEZE(capitalized for emphasis, not yelling.) Frozen OTX glue is ruined.
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  16. #16
    akavidflyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akbushrat View Post
    Alaska State Troopers use Super Flight on their Super Cubs. Looks shiny all the time. I used that system on mine and it turned out excellent. Use the system that is easy to repair, obtain and store.


    Sent from my iPad using SuperCub.Org

    They look shiny all the time because they keep wrecking them and having them rebuilt lol.
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  17. #17
    Hardtailjohn's Avatar
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    I'll cast another vote for Stewarts. Been using it since long before it was Stewarts. I used to own part of it and still teach and tech for them. It's not difficult, but it IS different! Getting replacement components isn't a big deal, as it all ships non-hazardous. Some certain blends of car gas will react with the fill coat, but we have ways to keep that in check. All systems have some reaction to certain chemicals. I used Polyfiber and Ceconite for many years prior to that and it works fine but the chemicals don't work with me. I haven't tried Oratex yet.
    John
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  18. #18

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    Not to pick a fight, but what steps are taken to prevent reaction with the full coat? And how about the glue? I’ve seen Alaska (non-ethanol) car gas loosen/soft/lift the Ekobond glue on multiple airplanes.
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  19. #19
    Charlie Longley's Avatar
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    If you’re only doing one airplane I would do polyfiber with PPG. I’ve been doing it all for a while and am switching to Stewart’s.

  20. #20

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    Superflight System VII. Very impressed. And my plane? Stits/Aerothane. No regrets!

    Bottom line? They all work. Use the process you can do best. It'll be what people see.

  21. #21
    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    I will throw another log on the fire. I have used Airtech on several occasions, and been very impressed with that process. I like the way the glue goes on. I like the way (and ease) of sanding the primer. It can be wet sanded. It is a very durable urethane paint. You can clean it with acetone and it doesn’t even take the shine off. It is a high solids paint, so you need to be careful not to get it on too heavy. Perhaps a little less toxic than some of the other systems.Just another option to consider


    Bill
    Very Blessed.
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  22. #22
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    You can save a lot of time by searching this site. Google "which fabric system :sitesupercub.org"
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
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  23. #23

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    I just finished covering a cub using PolyFiber. It was my first, and I liked the ability to fix mistakes with an iron. I don't know a thing about the others, though I have had good experiences with Airtech primers. I would point out the the base of everything Polyfiber is MEK, which is nasty stuff. It is now outlawed in Colorado, so I have to drive 100 miles to New Mexico to buy any.

    I started in the summer, when it was too warm, and the PolyBrush dried too quickly, and finished up in the fall, and mid-sixties seemed ideal for working it.

    John
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  24. #24
    daedgerton's Avatar
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    Disclaimer: I know nothing about the covering process...

    Seems to me Oratex would be the cats meow for a guy like me that has to pay someone to do it! I need to learn how to cover Cubs one of these days!

  25. #25
    aktango58's Avatar
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    I have been to a Stewarts class, looked many planes over, and really studied what and why.

    You really are asking the same type of question as if you came on here asking about religion, or headset brands. Everyone has their reasons they like what they have, and the other systems are junk.

    My Maule will get Oratex this winter. Once finished, it is the lightest of the fabric systems. It takes the least amount of chemical application. It can be a glue on, shrink and done system. No paint needed. Purchase cost is higher, but the savings in spray equipment helps with that- also the amount of time to do multiple coats and sanding. Repairs are glue a patch and iron. Because I am limited in room and heat controlled space, many spray coats does not appeal to me.

    The down side is that it does not offer the 'classic' look exactly like other systems. Color choice is limited. It is a plastic type material, which requires either waxing once a year, or it can get a 'dirty' look along the seams I am told. So I figure the exterior will take 8 hours a year of clean and wax care.

    Which ever one you choose, if this is your first, I will suggest you find a person experience with that system, to come help you for the finish work. There are so many tricks people learn after doing three or four planes that they don't even think to tell you- just do. It will save you as much in ruined materials and time to have them work for you two weeks when it comes time.

    Oh, I have been told that when spraying dope you want to be facing DOWNWIND!
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!
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  26. #26
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aktango58 View Post
    I have been to a Stewarts class, looked many planes over, and really studied what and why.

    You really are asking the same type of question as if you came on here asking about religion, or headset brands. Everyone has their reasons they like what they have, and the other systems are junk.

    My Maule will get Oratex this winter. Once finished, it is the lightest of the fabric systems. It takes the least amount of chemical application. It can be a glue on, shrink and done system. No paint needed. Purchase cost is higher, but the savings in spray equipment helps with that- also the amount of time to do multiple coats and sanding. Repairs are glue a patch and iron. Because I am limited in room and heat controlled space, many spray coats does not appeal to me.

    The down side is that it does not offer the 'classic' look exactly like other systems. Color choice is limited. It is a plastic type material, which requires either waxing once a year, or it can get a 'dirty' look along the seams I am told. So I figure the exterior will take 8 hours a year of clean and wax care.

    Which ever one you choose, if this is your first, I will suggest you find a person experience with that system, to come help you for the finish work. There are so many tricks people learn after doing three or four planes that they don't even think to tell you- just do. It will save you as much in ruined materials and time to have them work for you two weeks when it comes time.

    Oh, I have been told that when spraying dope you want to be facing DOWNWIND!
    Has Oratex got an STC. Friend covered his Super Cub in it and never did get an sTC. They ended up giving him his money back and now he has to recover his Cub to be legal.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

  27. #27
    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Last I heard the Oratex had an FAA STC now. Or at least the Canadian STC is being made to work in the US.
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  28. #28
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    If you can find out if that is legit I know someone that will be very happy.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

  29. #29

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    Ask Skookum.

    Their website says they have STCs. A friend did his Champ in it last year. It's legit.

  30. #30
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I don't know who that is but Oratex gave this guy his money back. I am guessing that is about 10k. They had promised him the STC through out the entire covering process.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
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  31. #31
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    I don't know who that is but Oratex gave this guy his money back. I am guessing that is about 10k. They had promised him the STC through out the entire covering process.
    Yow!!

    MTV

  32. #32

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    Common Questions about Oratex600® and Oratex6000®

    General Questions

    Is the fabric proven?
    Oratex is currently being used on over 300 flying airplanes, with many more under construction, and the oldest being over ten years and still looking very good. Oratex has been tested extensively in Alaska and has been found to hold up extremely well to the most rugged conditions imaginable.

    Is Oratex more expensive than other covering systems?
    If you factor in the cost of painting (which is not required with Oratex) the price is about the same as the legacy systems. If you include the cost of a compressor, spray gun and respirator (none of which are necessary with our system) or if you factor in the time you will save, then the cost of covering with Oratex will be significantly less. [Click Here for a more detailed cost comparison.]

    Is the fabric certified?
    Oratex is certified in Europe and Canada and FAA STCs are now available for many aircraft, including Pipers, some Aeroncas, Stinsons, as well as all Maules and Huskys. We also have field approval for Cessna 120/140s.
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  33. #33
    skukum12's Avatar
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    Oratex is indeed an approved process. The individual that was refunded his money probably installed the "backsislde coated" version on his certified plane. The "backside coated" otx has a layer of color on the inside of the fabric to make it far less translucent. For whatever reason, there has been a holdup in the approval process and someone jumped the gun hoping for approval by the time installation was complete.
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  35. #35

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    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	86ED55D7-A236-4D5B-B4A8-C764C35EEC3A.jpg 
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ID:	52507
    The left side is an unused sample of Oratex. The right is from the same piece except shrunk to a frame and leaned up against an out building outside for approximately 1.5 yrs.....I’d want a hangar if I used it.
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  36. #36

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    I think Oratex is a good tough fabric and for some might be the right answer, however. Things to think about. The glue turns brown after a while so if you have ANY that seeps out the edge of the tapes it looks like crap. Simple fix is to spray a topcoat over the job and it will look great. Unless things have changed the only paint you can use according to the STC comes from GEMANY, and the company will not allow the paint to be mixed in the US!! Other paints will work, but if you are certified and want to follow the STC that is a big factor. It is lighter but if you topcoat not so much. Easy to patch. Price is kind of a wash when you consider time and effort saved without painting. No right or wrong just stuff that can come back to bite you if you don't know about it.
    DENNY
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  37. #37
    skukum12's Avatar
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    ^^^Part of the otx maintenence procedure is to apply the supplied wax not less than once per year. It provides additional UV protection, luster and allows squished bugs to be wiped off.

    Otx has a built in UV protection. The factory is confident enough to offer a 10 year guarantee against this type of thing, even parked outside.

    KevinJ, do you know if that test piece was ever waxed?

  38. #38
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aktango58 View Post
    Oh, I have been told that when spraying dope you want to be facing DOWNWIND!
    During the early 60s, one of my coworkers was standing on a ladder spraying nitrate on the top of a wing, when he was overpowered by the dope and fell off the ladder. This was inside the shop.
    N1PA
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  39. #39
    skukum12's Avatar
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    Denny is correct. These and other important points are clearly lined out in the "Tips and Tricks" manual supplied with each purchase.

    You would not believe the number of folks who disregard the instructions.
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  40. #40

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    Can anyone explain what the base fabric of Oratex is, and if it’s affected by UV? I’m not asking about color, but rather the integrity of the actual fabric after spending 10-20 years in the sun. I’ve seen non-topcoated Oratex planes sitting out on a sunny day, and they look like a greenhouse inside- especially the white versions. Maybe this doesn’t affect the fabric at all, but my frame of reference is polyester and cotten, and I know what those would do in short order with that amount of light penetration...
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