Fabric covering choice

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Dtulenko

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I am building a VP-1 and getting ready to cover it.
Can anyone tell me which covering system would be better Poly Fiber systems or the Steward system.
I heard a lot of pro and cons on both.
 

TFF

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Pros and cons for both.

I did poly fiber. I wanted ease of repairability with the polytone.

Stewart’s waterborne makes using nice. The color is toxic like any polyurethane but if smell is a big deal it’s a good way.

Next time I will use polyfiber but with the Stewart glue.
 

Little Scrapper

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I only have experience with Polyfiber and it was incredibly easy to use and manage. The smell was pretty intense. My wife will never forget that because even in the garage and out in the driveway it completely penetrated the house and lingered for a while.
 

Will Aldridge

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There's also Oratex if you're looking for another option. Quite a bit pricier, but comes "prepainted" and uses a water born heat activated glue so no nasty chemicals and application time is considerably less. If you just go with the base color of the fabric it will be lighter as well.
 

ToddK

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I have a couple of friends who have used Superflite and like it. It looks great and seems pretty user friendly.
 

tralika

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I'm a first time builder. I used Stewart's on my Highlander and am happy with the results. I built and painted my plane in my garage attached to my house so using the solvent based paints was not an option. It is impossible to keep the noxious smell of the solvent based products out of a house with an attached garage. I had no odor issues with Stewart's. The Stewart's glue and paint are not toxic, only a respirator is needed when spraying the top coat, no separate air supply required. The glue is very user friendly, it is heat activated so no need to work with wet glue, no need to use clamps to attach the fabric to the frame when covering.

Whatever system you choose go to one of the manufactures weekend workshops to learn the right way to use their product. It may involve traveling and end up costing a few bucks but it will be cheap at twice the price whenBear Creek.jpgBear Creek.jpg covering/painting your plane.
 

Dan Thomas

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You may also look into latex house paint depending on what you are after.
I did that. Once. Topcoated with automotive urethane. By the time I was done I could have used Poly-Fiber all the way, would have had a better-looking job, and the airplane would have been considerably lighter. Latex isn't light. And the finish wouldn't have cracked up so soon.

There are economies, and then there are false economies. Some of us are determined to save money no matter how much it costs....
 

Little Scrapper

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Which system do people use where it’s super glossy and wet. I’m not a big fan of that but always wondered
 

TFF

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I agree, I would do all one standard. My biplane originally had auto paint over dope. Lots of cracks before I recovered it. Although latex is not for me, it maybe right for another.
 

Dan Thomas

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Which system do people use where it’s super glossy and wet. I’m not a big fan of that but always wondered
That's a urethane topcoat. Poly Fiber has both PVC Poly Tone (a matte finish but easy to repair) and Poly Thane Aerothane, (thanks, Dana) a wet-look urethane topcoat. Harder to repair and tends to crack as it hardens with age, but better than other urethanes as it lacks fillers that contribute to stiffness and cracking.
 
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Little Scrapper

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What’s “Ranthane” from Randolph?

Is that a top coat that’s used on the Polyfiber system?
 

Dana

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My biplane originally had auto paint over dope. Lots of cracks before I recovered it. Although latex is not for me, it maybe right for another.
My Fisher had auto enamel over Ceconite 7600, which was a forerunner of the Stewart system. Lots of cracks. When I had to make repairs, I used the Stewart repair technique, which can be used over any system, and topcoated with the original enamel.

House paint is probably OK too, there's a Minimax sharing my hangar done that way. Looks good but heavy, I think he used too many coats. I don't think it's the right thing to use if you plan to topcoat it with anything else, though.

What’s “Ranthane” from Randolph?

Is that a top coat that’s used on the Polyfiber system?
No, that's the urethane topcoat for Ceconite, over dope. Randolph was the dope supplier, but now it's under the same roof (Consolidated Aircraft Coatings) as Poly-Fiber. The Poly-Fiber urethane is Aerothane. For all I know it's the same stuff, but you have to stick to one process for certified stuff so they have both.

The Randolph dopes used with Ceconite don't smell bad to me, maybe because I grew up painting model airplanes with dope. Toluene is the solvent. The smell of the Poly-Fiber chemicals (MEK solvent) just scream, "TOXIC!!!" to me, though I don't know if it's any more harmful than toluene. But Poly-Fiber is easier, if only because it takes a lot fewer coats than dope.

If I was covering a plane now, Oratex would be my choice because I hate painting. Otherwise, I'd go with Stewart.
 

Dan Thomas

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Poly-Fiber urethane is Aerothane.
You're right. My memory was bad. The last time I used the Poly-Fiber system was in about 2009 or '10. And it was the PVC stuff all the way up, from the Poly-Brush through Poly-Spray to Poly-Tone.
 

Pops

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I painted the JMR with Poly-fiber's poly brush and poly spray. Then the color paint is Randolph's Ranthane instead of the Poly Fiber's Aerothane because the Randolph paint cover's better, less paint = less weight. You can see the weave of the fabric.

I really wanted to use the paint I used on the SSSC. Brushed crossed coat of Sherman Williams silver Polyurethane enamel ( heavy silver that you have to keep stirred) to seal the fabric. One cross coat of SW white polyurethane with 8 teaspoons of black per qt for the Gray I wanted, put on with a 4" roller. Looked very good and everyone thinks it was sprayed on and that was in 2007 and still looks as good as day one. Covers so good, you don't have to put on a lot of weight for a good job.
A friend of mine painted his Mini-Max with the SW and it was 10 years old and still looked new. Then I did a test panel and decided to use it.
Only problem, SW factory just started selling it in spray cans a few years ago. No quarts or gallons. I even got a SW dealer to call the factory.
 

TFF

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Any of the chemicals are deadly if totally abused. Amateur use is so small that lifelong exposure is almost unmeasurable. I have smelled more dope with model planes than covering materials with my big plane and gallons went on with that. Polyurethane, epoxy and the like will chemically harden in your body and stay. Stuff like regular dope or polyfiber gets cleansed like any other toxin. If you painted planes for a living, it could get bad without diligence. In reality a mask and open ventilation is all you need. Show plane paint is a different level. Most home paint jobs look better than mid tier pros. I painted a car in my moms attached garage. Bad mistake. Bad. Lacquer. Looked good. Bad.
 

Pops

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I have painted lots of cars and about ( guessing , 15 airplanes ) and the first airplane was in mid 1970's and said I would never do another. The best money that I have spent was when I bought the HVLP turbine that runs two spray guns and 2 fresh air hoods. You can paint an auto or airplane and never get a smell.

As a kid, I painted with a lot of dope building model airplanes. Now you know why I am what I am :)
 

dog

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HIPEC,high performance aircraft coatings.
Canadian.Have not tried it ,but the owner of the company is local ,and invited me to see it going on.
 

TFF

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If you’re a connoisseur of dope smell,
I propose nitrate is much more enjoyable than byutrate. Polyfiber is more plebeian. Discuss amongst yourselves.
 
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