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What fabric to use

Well it is about function for sure, im not lookin for a hanger gueen, or to look better than the guys parked next to me (oh wait i own both them planes also) lol, the Oratex isnt as shinny as a painted plane for sure, but damm good enough for me. CBA00974-1A48-4331-AEEE-C546EB108ED1.jpgB3C15211-BA76-430F-A7FB-E6DC92B654D0.jpeg
 

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I haven't ever really understood the negativity towards oratex. No, it doesnct give the shiny, showroom finish as you can get with a good paint job, but the simplicity, ease of repair, and weight savings seems like it would make it well worth considering. I'm more of a function over form type of person, so how shiny my plane is, isn't as important to me as it is to some people, I guess.

Does anyone have any idea how Oratex holds up after 10-15 years in cold, northern climates?
 
Ive had a covered wood frame outside here in Fairbanks for about 3 years. Still looks as good as new. You can count on it being more durable than stewarts in the cold. The other systems are also more durable than stewarts in the cold. Not many here in the interior that will use it. With oratex there isnt any paint so no ring worm or cracks. The glue is at least as good as any other system (I do like stewarts glue too, have used it for patches on ceconite and also covered an elevator using the system, would be more concerned with the glues reported petroleum susceptibility than cold issues). With oratex the only concern I have is how the finishing tapes will hold up (tapes have different glue than the primary oratex glue). There are several in the area like buckchop that havent reported any problems. Its not really a brand new system anymore, saw the first planes covered in it almost 15 years ago. People do tend to be tight lipped about problems with things they spend a lot of money on though!

A lot of people have to reshrink the oratex in the cold, but that is a onetime thing. Oratex is supposed to shrink as much as the other systems but it also gets elastic when heated so that seems to limit how hard it can pull. In other words I think it can not pull quite as tight as dacron. In the cold the frame shrinks causing wrinkles (also have seen this on several dacron planes). Seems to be you push it out in the cold, then hit it with irons or heat guns and it tightens up permanently.

If you’re going non-toxic in the arctic I think oratex is your only safe option.


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Ive had a covered wood frame outside here in Fairbanks for about 3 years. Still looks as good as new. You can count on it being more durable than stewarts in the cold. The other systems are also more durable than stewarts in the cold. Not many here in the interior that will use it. With oratex there isnt any paint so no ring worm or cracks. The glue is at least as good as any other system (I do like stewarts glue too, have used it for patches on ceconite and also covered an elevator using the system, would be more concerned with the glues reported petroleum susceptibility than cold issues). With oratex the only concern I have is how the finishing tapes will hold up (tapes have different glue than the primary oratex glue). There are several in the area like buckchop that havent reported any problems. Its not really a brand new system anymore, saw the first planes covered in it almost 15 years ago. People do tend to be tight lipped about problems with things they spend a lot of money on though!

A lot of people have to reshrink the oratex in the cold, but that is a onetime thing. Oratex is supposed to shrink as much as the other systems but it also gets elastic when heated so that seems to limit how hard it can pull. In other words I think it can not pull quite as tight as dacron. In the cold the frame shrinks causing wrinkles (also have seen this on several dacron planes). Seems to be you push it out in the cold, then hit it with irons or heat guns and it tightens up permanently.

If you’re going non-toxic in the arctic I think oratex is your only safe option.


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Every fabric covered plane I pulled out of a warm hangar into serious sub zero temps had the fabric sag initially for a bit. Always seemed to recover shortly though, so that's not just Oratex.

MTV
 
That’s a different thing- some that aren’t shrunk enough will stay saggy in the cold even when structure temps equalize. Most common place I see it is when pulling into a warm hangar when it’s cold out- fabric warms quickly but it takes the structure a while to catch up…
 
I have seen it with cold and humidity on wings I covered myself and know that I went over them multiple time with the iron at the correct temperature.
 
I had that cold weather winkle issue with my Poly Fiber, in one area only, figured I must have not done that area correctly. Just a few minutes in the sun and it would go away, but it still bugged me. Then someone here gave me the tip of using a silicone sheet under the iron, when going over finish paint, and darn if it didn't work perfect, my fabric wrinkles are gone. At least in the single digit temps I fly in.
 
I’ve tried ironing finished fabric using parchment paper to protect the paint. The temp required to shrink fabric will easily melt the polyfiber undercoatings and leaves a krinkle finish in the paint. I won’t do that again.
 
I’ve tried ironing finished fabric using parchment paper to protect the paint. The temp required to shrink fabric will easily melt the polyfiber undercoatings and leaves a krinkle finish in the paint. I won’t do that again.
I have done it with good results. I did learn the hardway to let the paper cool before peeling it off.
 
I just put that in my cart.

I have heated up wrinkles so hot that the yellow started to get dark. When it cooled the color returned. That was two years ago on a gear leg - so far, so good. Parchment, over Stitts and Airtech.
 
To me it all depends on how you’re going to use the plane. If you do a lot of off airport landing and have a good chance of fabric damage pick a process that’s easy to repair. Like Superflight is not as easy to repair as polyfiber my 2c worth. Had both liked the wet paint look until I had to repair it.


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If you use Teflon paper rather than parchment paper, you will avoid the issue of sticking.
https://www.amazon.com/Teflon-Sheet...lja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ&th=1
Marty57

It's out in the shop, maybe I mis remembered and it was Teflon not silicone paper, but I learned it here...., and it worked, without harming the PolyTone finish. I got it on Amazon, cheap, and have a few 12" squares left, I'd be happy to put one in a business envelope and mail it to anyone that wants to try it. PM me.
 
I learned about the Teflon Paper in Hardtail's class. (See post #6.) I learned how to cover there too.....and paint....using Stewarts. BTW, I had not covered nor even held a paint gun in my hand prior to this class.

No matter what system you choose take its class and make sure you get to shoot the paint. (I doubt Polyfiber's Sport Air workshop shoots coatings.) I've said this before, you can do this but you need mentoring. The outcome will effect the value of your aircraft from bad to good in the five digit range which exceeds the cost of the materials or the 3 day class, plus you come away with a priceless relationship with an expert in the field whom you can have as a mentor.

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Question, What type of fabric is the blue stuff?
Poly and Ceconite are white.
The old Blue River 7600 fabric was yellow.
I picked up a set of wings that are painted in Imron and the fabric under this paint is a blue color, not white or yellow.

I used the Blue River process and painted it with Endura. Lasted 30 yrs easy. The blue river fabric and glues worked very nice. Water base glue was very user friendly. I'm guessing the Stewarts is similar based on what's being said, I actually haven't used it. I would do it again.
Ron
 
Question, What type of fabric is the blue stuff?
Poly and Ceconite are white.
The old Blue River 7600 fabric was yellow.
I picked up a set of wings that are painted in Imron and the fabric under this paint is a blue color, not white or yellow.

I used the Blue River process and painted it with Endura. Lasted 30 yrs easy. The blue river fabric and glues worked very nice. Water base glue was very user friendly. I'm guessing the Stewarts is similar based on what's being said, I actually haven't used it. I would do it again.
Ron

Most of the blue fabrics I have seen are Razorback. That is a fiberglass style cloth system. Not even sure if it’s still available.

—Brian
 
I assume you are familiar with the blue look of dac proof that is used in the Randolph dope, process over ceconite?
 
I assume you are familiar with the blue look of dac proof that is used in the Randolph dope, process over ceconite?
I'm not familiar with the Randolph stuff so it could very well be that.
All of my work has been Stits other than the Blue River I mentioned.
 
In the Randolph dope process, it is brushed on the bare fabric before the silver spray coats are applied. Silver does not stick to that particular coating as well as some others. I have seen some separations at that point over the years and blue is what it goes to. Sometimes I have seen the paint and the silver come loose and you will see the blue coating and it appears blue tint from the bottom side.
 
Hardtail are you still doing the covering class?
If so can you share details. Thanks

Yes I am! Next one coming up will be May 26-28 here at my hangar in Montana. Then no more from me until I'm done putting up hay in the fall.
John
 
The old Cooper/superflite dope used dac proof as the 1st brush coat that was blue. Randolph uses rand-o-proof that is green tinted nitrate, they might have had blue once, it’s all the same stuff just color added.
The different colors, blue and green, were for different dopes as the first coat on dacron fabric. Nitrate or Butyrate ... I forget which color was for which. Prior to these special first coats being developed, when dope was being applied directly to the dacron, it was possible for the entire finish to peel off in sheets down to the bare fabric. The issue was the dacron fiber would not absorb the dope in the fibers. The dope would just sit on the surface. With natural fibers such as cotton or linen the dope would soak into the fabric becoming fully attached.
 
Teflon heat transfer sheet works worlds better than parchment paper.
John
I ordered some and my daughter tried it today. She didn't like it as well as the parchment paper on Poly-Fiber up through silver. Did take a small piece off and leaves an imprint of the weave in the Poly-Spray.
 
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