Author Topic: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants  (Read 4513 times)

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Offline Michael A

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Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« on: February 21, 2013, 11:58:45 PM »
There was a some interest expressed in waxed duck down in the sewing machines section, so I thought I would put up a thread about my small experience with it.  I'll add on as I get organized and/or if there are questions.

I made these last April.  Actually I think it was my first garment sewing project, other than a beret or cap or two.  Here is one view of the finished project.

side top upload by Michael A2012, on Flickr

I used a pair of Lands End cotton twill pants as the base.

The duck was 10 oz home decor duck from Joanns.  After several washings I got the treatments washed out and it was ready for waxing.  Here is a picture of the duck after waxing with a strip of unwaxed at the edge for color comparison.

Waxed and unwaxed up by Michael A2012, on Flickr

The outer layer of duck for the pants project was dyed with Butternut nuts.  I didn't go very dark with it, but it worked pretty well I think and came out the color I was going for.  Here it is wet after dying and before waxing.

wet duck by Michael A2012, on Flickr

More to come.

Thanks,
Michael

Zalin

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2013, 12:30:27 AM »
I'm impressed with your ingenuity, but forgive my ignorance. What is the purpose of waxing your fabric?

Did you notice you typed "waxed duck down"?  :D

Offline Michael A

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2013, 12:39:00 AM »
Zalin - Ha ha, I remember as a kid waxing ducks to remove the down and pin feathers.  No I didn't realize it. 

Waxing cotton makes it a fair bit of water resistant and windproof for one thing.  For the other, and the main area of my interest here, it closes up the weave of the cotton and makes it very tough and resistant to thorns.  It also seems to prevent the thorns from breaking individual yarns.

Michael

Offline peter

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2013, 02:12:24 AM »
Thanks for creating this thread Michael.
How do you apply the wax? Do you heat the wax over the stove? I remember paraffin being flammable?

Zalin, it's my understanding it's used for outdoor gear--esp. tents.

I was thinking it would be a nice way to embellish a shirt. Waxing just the collar or yoke, with the same fabric, creating a different texture and slightly different color. A friend has been looking around for a Donkey jacket and this technique would probably work well for that.

Donkey Jacket on wikipedia
« Last Edit: February 22, 2013, 03:34:09 PM by Lisa »
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Offline Michael A

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2013, 03:37:13 AM »
Peter - yes, I melted the wax on the electric stove.  Paraffin is flammable, but not volatile.  I put it into a fairly heavy pan and set my electric stove on low.  It eventually melts.  If I'm remembering correctly I started with two bars of the paraffin.  That would be 8 oz. 

After it was melted I added about 4 oz of raw flaxseed oil.  Ordinarily one would use raw linseed oil from the hardware store, but I happened to have some of the very much more expensive, but free to me, health food flaxseed oil.  I also added approximately 2 oz of jojoba oil, which is a liquid wax, and about a half ounce of vitamin E. 

I added the jojoba oil on the theory that it would help soften the final product and also help lubricate the fibers so they could slide by each other without wear.  The vitamin E I added because I saw a couple of studies that showed it was greatly beneficial in preserving leather auto upholstery in the presence of sunlight.  Waxed cotton is prone to rot in sunshine, I've read, so I thought the strong antioxidant action of the vitamin E might have the same effect as with the leather. 

Originally I was thinking I added beeswax, but at the time all I had was colored beeswax so I skipped it.  I have regular beeswax now and the next time I'll add it to the mix, most likely at a 1:1 ratio with the paraffin. 

After the wax was melted and mixed with the other ingredients I poured it into a conveniently sized jar and added about the same volume of mineral spirits.  I stirred that up until it was pretty well mixed and used it in that form.  The wax won't stay dissolved in the mineral spirits as it cools, but it can be redissolved by setting the jar, with a loose lid attached, into a hot water bath.  I used a regular bristle paint brush to paint it onto the duck fairly heavily and then used an iron to remelt the mixture and work it into the duck.  You can sort of squeegee it with the iron from areas where there is too much onto areas where there isn't enough or that you haven't painted yet.

I did all of this last part outside.  In part because the mineral spirits is also flammable and more volatile than the wax, but also because both it and the linseed oil (flaxseed oil) have a distinctive and not particularly pleasant odor.  It doesn't take long at all and once done I hung the cloth up on a clothesline out of direct sun and let it air for a day or two.  The finished product doesn't have any odor, but it takes a week or two to get there.  The bulk of the odor is gone overnight.

A quick note on mineral spirits.  It is commonly sold as paint thinner, but one particular formulation of it was compounded in the 1920's as a less flammable replacement for the dry cleaning solvents that were in use at the time.  This was called Stoddard solvent after it's inventor.  So it should be safe to use on printed fabrics or colored wovens.

That's about it for the procedure.  If you have any questions about that ask away.

Waxed and oiled cottons have a long history as weatherproof gear that retained breathablity.  It might be interesting for a color or yoke.  You won't need interfacing.  It's very stiff when fresh and still firm after considerable wear.  The downside is that it's not washable.  Look at the Filson's site or Burberry for care instructions.

It's not unlikely that the original donkey coats were made from waxed cotton or waxed wool.

Michael




Offline Michael A

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2013, 06:31:50 AM »
Here is a pic of the dyed and waxed duck.

hanging by Michael A2012, on Flickr

It gets this very cool distressed leather look going on.  As it ages I think it retains something of the leather look.
This is what it looks like after it's been out in the woods a few times and suffered the ignominy of falling into a creek once.

no seam side by Michael A2012, on Flickr

The hems are suede leather.

Michael

Offline sdBev

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2013, 05:57:21 PM »
Very interesting. I'm glad you decided to put your posts up here where I can read it.

Wondering if soy wax could be used in place of the parafin or bees wax.

Offline Michael A

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2013, 02:05:47 AM »
Bev - I don't know how soy wax would work.  It has a pretty low melting point on it's own, but in a mixture it might be ok.  My understanding is that it is just hydrogenated soy oil, so like Crisco I guess. 

Before they used wax in this process it was all linseed oil.  Linseed oil is a drying oil, which means that over time it polymerizes on it's own to form a varnish.  Modern commercial waxed cotton is usually advertised as using microcrystalline wax, which may just be a specific fraction of regular paraffin wax.  Anyway, I want to emphasize that this cloth does not look or feel in any way waxy or oily.  Here is a closeup that I think should show that even though the focus is varied at this close range.  You should be able to see the surface isn't at all waxy looking.

GEDC0012 by Michael A2012, on Flickr

The wax absorbs into the yarns and lubricates them as they slide by each other.  This is one feature that makes these cloths wear like iron.  I think it also swells the fibers and makes the weave very tight which gives the waterproof, windproof and thornproof characteristics.

I can definitely recommend making some pants like this if you like mushrooming, birding, nature hiking or whatever where there are thorns, or dew for that matter.

Michael

Zalin

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2013, 02:45:20 AM »
I have a couple of more questions because I find this fascinating - if you don't mind.
Isn't linseed oil sometimes combustible? And does waxing the cloth make it hot to wear?

Offline Michael A

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2013, 03:31:22 AM »
Zalin - I'm guessing by combustible you are asking if it starts fires sometimes?  The linseed oil available in hardware stores comes in two product types, raw and boiled.  Raw linseed oil is very slow drying, i.e. polymerizing, and it isn't much implicated in starting fires.  Boiled linseed oil is actually misnamed.  Some chemicals are added to linseed oil that initiate and speed the polymerization.  Boiled linseed oil is used in wood finishing and rags soaked with boiled linseed oil are well known to start fires.  So rule number one is "Don't use boiled linseed oil".

Now that rule number one is understood, boiled linseed oil starts fires because heat is given off when it polymerizes and the heat speeds up the polymerization process which gives off more heat at a faster rate.  Rinse and repeat.  Now, if the heat can radiate away the polymerization never really speeds up and so the process doesn't start a fire.  So it is most commonly a pile of oily rags that starts a fire.  If the cloth that was oily was hung up to dry it wouldn't start a fire.  If it is bunched up the heat in the center can't escape fast enough and the runaway process proceeds.  This is all background though as rule number one applies.  Also the chemicals added to boiled linseed oil may well be toxic whereas raw linseed oil, called flaxseed oil when it is actually food grade, is edible.

As for is it hot to wear, I haven't found it to be uncomfortable in that respect.  It retains some breathability.  I find it more comfortable to wear than Wrangler jeans with heavy Cordura nylon facings that are sold for the same uses.  Part of that is just that the Lands End dress pants are so much more comfortable of a construction for walking pants.  I may have to try waxing the Lands End part this year because I see I have some thorn damage on the unprotected backside.

GEDC0017 by Michael A2012, on Flickr

Michael

Zalin

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2013, 04:35:36 AM »
Thanks, Michael. You know lots of stuff. :) I appreciate you taking the time to give such a thorough reply. It amazes me what I learn on this message board.

Offline blue mooney

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2013, 12:53:35 PM »
This is all very interesting, Michael, and now I'd like to find a use for waxed duck. I could certainly have used some pants like you show for protection when doing my spring yardwork! But I get so dirty that my clothes really have to be washed. Peter's donkey jacket looks like a good idea. Do you think the waxed duck would be tough enough for cowboy's chaps?

Thanks for posting your process and for all the background information!

Offline su-sew

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2013, 04:30:12 PM »
Interesting to learn more about how this is done.  I was watching Wartime Farm this week and Peter was re-waterproofing his coat in essentially the same way.  He melted beeswax, paraffin and linseed oil and then brushed it over the coat.  (Do they truly spend an entire year living on the farm or do they spend a few days or weeks to prep and film each segment?  From watching several in the series, Edwardian Farm, Victorian Farm, etc they seem to be located on living history museums.)

How long does it take to dry?

And where does the name "donkey" jacket come from?
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Offline Michael A

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2013, 04:59:54 PM »
Zalin - I'm happy to tell you what I know about this stuff, but I have to warn you my personal experience with waxed cotton extends only to my own product.  I've not had any of the commercial clothes.

Robyn -  This link to a book on riding suggests that waxed cotton can be used for riding chaps.

This link to some Filson's hunting chaps has quite a lot of detail about the after care.  Mine had been getting rather muddy and dirty, but when I fell into the creek (and I mean up to my neck fell in) all of the old dirt seemed to wash right off.  I'm guessing the wax prevents it from actually working into the fibers.

ETA: waxed cotton diaper bags have been quite popular lately as well as messenger bags.  I would think it would work well for a shopping tote too.  Waxed cotton caps and hats are fairly common.  Just some not strictly clothing ideas for if you want to try out making and using it.

su-sew - I've not seen that series, but it sounds interesting.  The cloth dries for the most part almost immediately.  It still has a waxy feel and there may be areas of actual wax on the surface.  After hanging for 24 hours most of the odor is gone, but it takes a week or two for it to totally dissipate.  It is very stiff at that point and only softens with wear.  Here is a little essay about the donkey jacket.  Don't know that it explains the name origin, but certainly touches on the laboring class origins.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2013, 05:43:52 PM by Michael A »

Offline bessiecrocker

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2013, 07:24:01 PM »
I'm impressed with your ingenuity, but forgive my ignorance. What is the purpose of waxing your fabric?

I'm pretty impressed by this method, too. I have a jacket that needs re-waxing...this looks like a "wait til summer and do it outside" kind of project...but worth a try.

In some fashion circles a waxed jacket counts as a style statement:


Close up of the rest of the outfit:

Believe me, I can rock the look as well as Queen Elizabeth.

I have a waxed jacket like the Queen's. Mine is about 20 years old, and I bought it used (think it had never been worn, however.) I've worn mine constantly...very good for dog walking in wet weather. The waxed fabric does not catch on brush, so you can go directly through the woods and fields. It is slightly hot...but great when it's cold as the wind doesn't go through it. Big pockets, inside and out. Flannel lining.

About 2 years ago I decided I needed to retire my jacket because it was too ratty. For sentimental reasons, I never got around to throwing it out; it just went to the back of the closet. Then I saw a gentleman, obviously affluent, in the London airport. He was wearing a jacket like mine, but even more worn and disgusting. So that may be the look to aim for. 

Offline Threads

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2013, 07:48:21 PM »
Rose City Textiles is selling it if you don't want to wax on your own.  I made a coat for my sister out of it, and it has that English country look.
https://www.fabricline.com/ProductDetail.php?rctno=66198

Zalin

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2013, 08:07:35 PM »
They call it "oilskin." I know what that is. I think I have some. I never had heard of waxed cotton. How interesting.

I wish I had gone to RCT when I was in Portland. I just didn't have enough time.  :(

Offline Pina

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2013, 08:12:33 PM »
Michael,thanks for sharing how you make your waxed duck cloth !  :)

I never watched when DH made his "oil cloth" for his outdoor items,I only know it's not easy to sew.  ;) Here is a very short video,the fellow uses a paint brush and a heat gun.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2013, 08:16:08 PM by Pina »

Offline Michael A

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2013, 08:43:15 PM »
bessiecrocker -  The pics you posted look like Burberry Barbour.(edit to correct)  IIRC they add an extra step to the process called cupro-ammonia treatment.  A mixture of some copper salt and ammonia will dissolve cotton (cellulose) and that is in fact the method they use to make the true Bemberg type viscose rayon.  Burberry's Barbour's cloth supplier doesn't dissolve the cotton, but with a controlled application it does change the surface of the cloth and make it tighter.  It also gives it a distinctive color which is why their jackets are that color of green or brown.  After that treatment the cloth is dyed and then waxed.  Mind you, I'm going from memory here.

Sounds like you have a nice jacket.  Dressing compounds are available from a number of places to retreat the jacket.  They are kind of pricey, but may not suffer the aroma problem of my method.  It is amazing how the cloth just slides by the thorns and snags isn't it? 

Threads -  How is the coat you made aging?  I have an old Orvis fishing jacket that is more or less worn out and I have been thinking of treating it and adding it to my woods walking collection.  The fabric you linked looks nice, though they don't seem to have a weight for the duck that is used.  I can make a lot of my own for that price, but by the bolt theirs would be hard to beat.

Zalin - Are you sure you have "oilskin" and not "oilcloth"?  Oilcloth which was used in the past for tablecloths among other things was oil treated, but today it is a different material.  I believe it is vinyl bonded to flannel nowadays.

Pina - My first trial was waxing a cotton cap.  And my second was a messenger bag.  For those I used a mix with beeswax and paraffin and without the mineral spirit.  I applied it hot and then used a heavy duty blow dryer to melt it into the yarns.  It worked ok, but it was quite time consuming and more than a little of a pain.  For an already constructed item that's not too big I would do it again.  For cloth the method I described above is much easier, quicker and I think gives a nicer product.  Traditionally I think they used turpentine instead of the mineral spirit.  I haven't tried that yet, but will give it a go when I run across some turpentine.

Michael
« Last Edit: February 23, 2013, 10:29:35 PM by Michael A »

Zalin

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2013, 09:51:27 PM »
Zalin - Are you sure you have "oilskin" and not "oilcloth"?  Oilcloth which was used in the past for tablecloths among other things was oil treated, but today it is a different material.  I believe it is vinyl bonded to flannel nowadays.


No, I'm not sure. I know it isn't vinyl and it isn't flannel. It's a very strong firm cotton with an unfamiliar finish that I inherited and thought I should make a jacket out of it for lack of any other use.  ;D  Perhaps I should check it for water resistance. I'd have to dig it out of wherever I've buried it, so I probably won't.

Offline Bunny

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #20 on: February 23, 2013, 10:11:38 PM »
I could be wrong but this looks like the same type of finish used for the " Australian  Drover's (?) Coat", one of those old Threads patterns. I've always loved those coats and have seen them here and there, very expensive. They are very dark in color. I wonder if that is because they start out as a dark fabric.

Thank you, Michael for sharing this. I have found it fascinating. We do a fair amount of woods walking and this is very intriguing.

Offline bessiecrocker

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2013, 10:18:35 PM »
I think the Queen is partial to a brand called Barbour. I'm not sure if that is the same as Burberry.

Cupro is the European name for Rayon.

Can you supply more info about the dressing compounds? I'd really love to re-do my jacket (waterproofing has worn off.)  I think I'll give your method a try...but I'd like to see what else is available.

Waxed fabric (if it's the same as oilskin) feels well, "waxy" and it is heavy. Oilcloth, the kind I've seen for tablecloths, has a very slick surface...more like plastic.

I've got a great project for someone:

This is an Australian Driver's coat...made from what they call oilskin. I think Folkways has a pattern for a coat like this. Bunny just posted while I was spell-checking. Look at the Folkways patterns!

Offline Michael A

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #22 on: February 23, 2013, 11:02:24 PM »
Zalin - Sounds like it could be oilcloth, or waxed cotton.  I think the names are sometimes interchanged.  Oiling was the original process.  After wax, other than beeswax, became available that was either added to the mix or used as a replacement process.  And most of this stuff was either folk methods or trade secrets, neither of which are commonly documented.

Bunny - Yes, I think the drover's coats and chaps in waxed cotton are fairly popular in Australia.  If they use the cupro-ammonia process it is my understanding that a dark cloth is the result.  The waxing process does result in some darkening as well.

If you woods walk you are probably familiar with getting into a bramble of blackberry and how the thorns catch on your pants and then when you move forward the interlocking canes are pulled along and attack your upper body from the backside?  The waxed duck greatly lessens that problem because the thorns just slide by your legs and so you aren't subsequently attacked from behind (or the side).  I went from avoiding whole woodlands that were infested with multiflora rose or thick with blackberry to not even paying attention to where I'm walking.  And even at that I usually return home unbloodied. :)  I usually carry either my waxed messenger bag or a cordura day pack for tools and collections and I use that as a shield to fend off the errant cane or vine and together they have just made it so much more enjoyable.

bessiecrocker - the well known downside of trusting my memory.  You are absolutely right, I meant Barbour not Burberry.  I didn't know they called rayon Cupro in Europe.  That is an older process, perhaps more favored in Europe than in the USA.   I think there may be only one or two plants that still use that process due to pollution issues.

Here is a link to one dressing compound.  If you look at websites that sell waxed cotton they usually have the dressing for sale somewhere on the site.  I don't know much about it.  Some sites may supply a bit in the way of application details.  I think some clothing that is sold now as waxed is described as dry waxed.  I think that is more related to "Scotchgard" than to wet waxed cotton.

The waxed cotton I made does feel waxy when it is fresh.  That faded fairly quickly with use.  It could be that mine isn't waxed heavily enough to be as waterproof as some, but I was mainly interested in the thornproofing and it has worked admirably for that.  I will say it is heavy, but it is made out of heavy cloth to start with so I guess that is to be expected.

I don't think the names oilskin or waxed cotton or oil cloth are regulated.  So I think there is a local variability in what they mean and also a variability in the production materials and methods.  When I was searching for the methods to make this I did run across a lot of listing for Australian drivers coats or dusters.

Michael

Offline bessiecrocker

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #23 on: February 24, 2013, 09:51:13 AM »
I feel very lucky that I didn't throw out my old jacket. It will be redressed! Thanks for the info.

I looked at Folkwear Patterns (that's the correct name). Folkwear. The Drover's Coat is #137, good jacket and pants pattern: #130, and an interesting riding skirt (culottes) is #231.

Kwik Sew 2198 is a vest with lots of pockets that would be great out of waxed fabric. Threads, thanks for the fabric source. I may finally get around to making this pattern for me.

If you are interested in making messenger bags you should look at this company: Freitag They started the recycled bag trend. They use old truck tarps as their fabric. It's like very heavy waxed fabric. European semi-trucks mostly have a metal frame covered in a waterproof tarp...rather than a closed container type bed. The frame and tarp is lighter and saves on gas, I think. Freitag uses the old tarps, cuts them in interesting ways, and each bag is unique. The bags will last forever.

Michael A, I think we walk through the same kinds of territory! Ripstop nylon has some of the same properties of waxed fabric, but it's not as strong. Ripstop does rip when caught on old raspberry canes! Waxed fabric is better able to stand the abuse.

Offline dscheidt

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #24 on: February 24, 2013, 02:36:44 PM »
I feel very lucky that I didn't throw out my old jacket. It will be redressed! Thanks for the info.

I looked at Folkwear Patterns (that's the correct name). Folkwear. The Drover's Coat is #137, good jacket and pants pattern: #130, and an interesting riding skirt (culottes) is #231.


I've got Folkwear #137, and have an unfinished (wool, not waxed cotton) coat in a box.  It's a lousy pattern.  Seams don't match, the sizing is odd, and it's not really well constructed.  It's a costume, basically, not a real coat.  I've heard the same thing about other of their patterns. 

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #25 on: February 24, 2013, 04:42:10 PM »
dscheidt, it said the pattern includes instructions on waterproofing and some other things. Do you remember anything about the waterproofing instructions? I'm just curious, so don't make yourself crazy digging it out. I'm just fascinated by this entire project. :)

Offline peter

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #26 on: February 24, 2013, 06:48:28 PM »
Really enjoying this discussion. It's getting the creative juices flowing which is always a good thing.

Pina posted a youtube video link showing wax transfer using a heat gun on a cap. After watching that I was presented with this video.

Waxed Jeans
She uses "Otter Wax" on her jeans. Looks very simple.

Here's a link to Otter Wax site with more videos.
OtterWax

I basically want to make everything that's being discussed here. Of course that's not realistic for me. I'm not that prolific. Still, I'm going to try something. I have been wanting to make some simple messenger bags and using this technique for the fabric is motivating me. That Feitag link was an eyeball opener. Fantastic company with a really nice online site. I do remember when they started using tarps for bags. Their HQ is beautiful.

Michael, I've got an Elnapress (Swiss!) and wonder if I could use that in this process. Of course I would be careful with covering everything to keep wax off the press. What do you think?

edited to add Otter Wax link
« Last Edit: February 24, 2013, 06:52:44 PM by peter »
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Offline Michael A

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #27 on: February 24, 2013, 09:44:19 PM »
bessiecrocker - Glad to hear you are going to revive your coat.  That Kwik Sew vest looks very cool.  If you added sleeves it would be almost identical to the Orvis coat I'm thinking about waxing.  I'm trying to wrap my head around the idea of doing that vest in a tartan with all of the pockets and flaps matched.  ha ha. ha ha ha.  Freitag looks like an interesting little company.  I first caught wind of them here a year or so ago.

Another source of waxed cloth is Fairfield Textile  They have a wide range of weights and colors.

Heavy Cordura nylon  in a 600 or 1000 denier are thornproof, the ripstop that I've seen I would more classify as able to stop the damage at small tears.  Raspberries I'm afraid are the well behaved cousin of blackberries.

dscheidt - I've read similar complaints about the folkwear patterns here.  Both that they fit poorly and that they are not drafted properly in terms of seam lengths and marks matching, etc.

Peter - I remember running across the Otter wax when I was originally looking for info on waxed cotton last late winter/early spring.  It looks interesting, but rather pricey for my wallet.  I'm assuming it is a mix of beeswax and some lower melting plant waxes.  In some of my early experiments I even tried cocoa butter.  People have used all sorts of combos and claimed satisfactory results. 

For my work I used a cheap teflon bottom steam iron thinking I would dedicate it to that use, but I pulled it out for some reason the other day and used it for normal ironing and I was somewhat surprised that where was no odor or residue that I could see.  So the Elnapress might live through an experiment without ill effects.  I kind of like the idea of the pressure forcing the wax deep into the fibers, but don't know if that would actually happen or not.  I don't think I had yet acquired my Singer Magic Steam Press at the time that I made my duck.  To describe what I did, I used a smallish formica topped table set up outside.  I laid the cloth onto it and painted on a fairly heavy coating of the liquid/semi-liquid wax with a small paintbrush.  Then I took the iron and went over the area many times sort of using the edge of the iron to squeegee the wax from areas where there was too much to areas that could use more.  My memory, already proven to be a fragile thing, tells me I worked on a 2 ft x 2 ft area for something like 2 or 3 minutes.  The longer you work on it with the iron the more the wax gets absorbed into the fibers.  And in the end you would add more to areas you had originally thought to have excess.  It's not a surface coating you are after, you really want every little fiber in the yarn to have a wax coating.  That is what gives it it's hard wearing characteristic, the yarns are lubricated as they slide by each other and so don't fray.

I still need to post a couple of pics of my seams in the pants.  Here is one.

GEDC0001 by Michael A2012, on Flickr

Pretty rudimentary.  I used V69 (I think that is what the size is called) bonded nylon thread.  It seems to be holding up.  After I had sewn the seam allowance on the right line I added a few rows of stitching on the theory that if the first one ripped out I would have backup.  It was good sewing practice anyway, even though it wasn't necessary.  I used a zigzag overcast on the duck to keep it from unraveling.

Michael

Offline dscheidt

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #28 on: February 25, 2013, 02:38:03 AM »
dscheidt, it said the pattern includes instructions on waterproofing and some other things. Do you remember anything about the waterproofing instructions? I'm just curious, so don't make yourself crazy digging it out. I'm just fascinated by this entire project. :)

It says use something that hasn't been made since 1985.  It might mention the Micheal A. method, but not usefully.


Unless you get the pattern for real cheap, I'd stay away from it. 

Offline bessiecrocker

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #29 on: February 25, 2013, 09:27:38 AM »
That's interesting about the Folkwear patterns. Other ideas if you want a Drover's Coat....there are several patterns for Western/Riding Dusters. Look at "Suitability" and "Jean Hardy" pattern companies. Men's, Women's and Kids versions.

Here is Suitability website because they have some good links in their Fabric section.

I got my coat out of the back of the closet...it's in bad shape. I've been thinking how to revive this...really seems like a project that needs to wait for warmer weather. In the meantime I'm reading up on products. Must admit, I'm afraid of this stuff catching on fire!

And I don't even have a fancy press to use...I'm thinking of just using a hair dryer to melt the wax into the fabric...oh wait...I do have an old iron in the basement. It was meant to go to Goodwill... this project will use all the old stuff I never got around to getting rid of.  ;D  Got to check the shelf with the old paint...maybe there is some yucky old  mineral spirits in one of those cans.

Offline Michael A

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #30 on: February 25, 2013, 07:10:17 PM »
Bessiecrocker - I was doing a little more reading on the subject last night and found a recipe for Greenland Wax.  It is reputedly 90% paraffin/ 10% beeswax.  The instructions for that, as for the Otter, are to just rub it on from the bar and heat it with a blow dryer or iron to work it in.  Should be no smell with that and much less worry about fire.  In any case, I ran across a lot of recipes and they seem to run a continuum of ingredients.  The more oil (linseed, jojoba, palm, coconut) you add to the wax the less stiff the final product, but perhaps the less waterproof.  Also I remember some of the commercial waxed cloth producers saying they used microcrystalline wax.  That may help give a softer and more tenacious product as well and is available from candlemaker's suppliers or sculpture supply houses quite inexpensively.  Other folks use straight beeswax.  Since I acquired 4 or 5 lbs of beeswax last fall for around $4 or $5/lb I may try that on a bicycling cap soon.

Have fun,
Michael

Offline bessiecrocker

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #31 on: February 26, 2013, 09:33:50 AM »
Other folks use straight beeswax. 

Thanks for expert advice and some hand holding. I can order Otter's Wax and Greenland Wax. I could also order some product from the UK, I think. (more research needed). The straight beeswax concept is the one I'm likely to try...because I can easily put my hands on some local beeswax.

The one thing with this jacket is that it's so ratty, I feel totally free to experiment. The jacket can't get any worse!

Offline peter

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #32 on: February 26, 2013, 07:58:18 PM »
I really liked the sheen that Otters Wax put on the dark denim. I could see sporting that look.

Question: What does applying paraffin wax and other petrol derived compounds do to the flammability of the garment? I'm not afraid of chemicals or things not labeled organic or natural. But the idea of coating something you wear with paraffin and the unspeakable/unpredictable happening...  Am I being paranoid? A cap you could whip off quickly. Messenger bag, same. But a coat? And I would guess that beeswax is less flammable? Or am I wrong there? They do use it for candles.
"If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito."

The Dalai Lama

Offline Threads

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #33 on: February 26, 2013, 09:48:34 PM »
I'll ask my sister how the coat is holding up.  I used a Kwiksew pattern http://kwiksew.mccall.com/k3123-products-19821.php?page_id=3344, with the upper collar in leather, and a plaid flannel lining.  I sent it to her with a tin of wax for touch-ups.

It was not difficult to work with, as I recall, just needed a denim needle to punch through the fabric.

Offline Michael A

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Re: Waxed Duck and Brush Pants
« Reply #34 on: February 26, 2013, 10:37:03 PM »
bessiecrocker -  Try the waxes you get on a scrap of heavier cotton fabric and see what you like best.  I would suggest trying a few different loadings of the wax as well as different products.

Peter - I burn test a lot of pieces of fabric so I will propose an experiment.  Take a few threads of cotton fabric and bring a match up to them.  Do the same with a candle wick.  My guess is that the waxed fabric would burn longer, but is harder to ignite.  If you use mineral spirit or other solvents when you apply the wax, not an issue with Otter Wax, they are all evaporated and gone before you will be wearing the clothing, so although they would have a flammability issue during application that is where it would end as well.

Threads - That looks like a really nice coat pattern.  I bet it looks great with the leather collar.  Is the yoke one piece that wraps over the shoulders?  That would be great for raingear if it does.  I used a jeans needle as well and also didn't find it difficult to work with.

Michael

 

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