Page 1 of 2

Fabric Process

PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:55 am
by BucF16
Good Morning All, With the warming of the WX here in Ohio, I can move to the (unheated) Hangar. So it is time to think about the Covering process. Not to start a firestorm, but I would like to get your ideas on which process you have used, and why.

For My background, I have only used Poly-Fiber. The east coast distributor was Jim and Donde Miller (now retired) who happened to purchase one of our family farms when they set up their operation. They are 10 miles away and have some inventory left. Preferred Air Parts bought the remainder and moved the operation to Kidron Ohio, 70 miles away, with an airport. Stewart”s Just moved to Johnstown Ohio (5 Miles) from my farm. I’ve not used that process, but my build partner (full time aircraft restoration business) used the Blue River process (Stewart’s predecessor) and hated it.

I spoke to Troy yesterday, and he personally uses poly-fiber up to silver and then Superflight for top coat.

So, what was your process? Would you use it again?

Fire away.
Bruce

Re: Fabric Process

PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 3:52 pm
by FredHoffman
Well looking back at the covering process, I would liked to have tried Oratex. If you factor in the cost of setting up a spray booth, your air delivery system, spray equipment and vent system it might not be any more expensive. Given that Oratex its done once its covered I would have been done in half the time, as It took me as long to paint as it did to cover when all is factored in. Once my spray booth was set up I lost my shop as there was no more room until I was done and took the booth down. Also being a bit space restricted parts sat in the booth until completely dry each time, that adds up to lots of days.

Re: Fabric Process

PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 6:04 pm
by gkremers
It was an easy desicion for me, my wife made it for me! Our friend was covering another plane and we visited to get a few tips. He was using the poly fiber system, she hated the smell. Since our hangar is attached to the house there was no way she was going to let me use anything that smelled not to mention the health issues.

I used the Stewart System Echo Bond to attach the fabric, zero smell and very easy to use. Also used the Echo Fill product to fill the weave and prime. I did not use their paint since mine was going to a shop I've used in the past for final paint.

Overall I was very pleased with my wife's desicion!!!!!


Gary

Re: Fabric Process

PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 6:36 pm
by BucF16
Fred, Gary; Thank you for the feed back! My hanger is 100 yards from the house. We have all of the hobby air and venting systems already in place for paint booths and have 3000 sq ft for 1 plane project. I looked at Oratex, mainly for the time saved, but in the end, we already have the items that Fred discussed in our shop, so too costly. So, the question is Stewart's vs. Poly-fiber, Both are close, so no hazmat issues. We can drive, fly to pickup all products.

Gary what top coat did your paint shop use? My 13 year old son is working with me and MEK is an issue for me. But I've heard Stewart's (maybe rumor) is more Glycol based than water based.

Can anyone despell this rumor?

Thanks again to all!

Bruce

Re: Fabric Process

PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 6:56 pm
by gkremers
Bruce,
My painter used Acro Glow. He shot a light primer coat over the Echo Prime. I don't believe there is glycol but can't confirm, that would be a question the manufacturer should be able to answer.

Gary

Re: Fabric Process

PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:50 pm
by User GDS
I used Superflite to attach the fabric to airframe, it is easy to use but I had plenty of exposure to MEK by inhalation and through the skin. I think it is very similar to Polyfiber. Invisible gloves is supposed to prevent some of the exposure through the skin.

My buddy is covering an old sailplane with the Stewarts system adhesive. It works fine (unless it's cold) and there is no exposure to MEK or acetone, but he doesn't like it because he has covered several airplanes with the solvent based system and it's not as quick and easy. It's still not real warm here, so he spends a lot of time waiting for the adhesive to dry.

Other guys I know who have used Stewarts system really liked it, especially if they never used one of the other simpler systems.

I don't know if Stewarts uses glycol or not, but if they do, exposure through the skin is minimal. If I had a 13 year old helping me I would use the Stewarts system and avoid solvent exposure.

Re: Fabric Process

PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 1:38 am
by warlev
We used the Stewart system and found it very easy. I have covered with Superflight and MEK and would never go back to that. Stewart system is our only choice. Painted with epoxy; Imron. No problems.

Re: Fabric Process

PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:23 am
by sonex293
I'm planning on attending the Superflite workshop in May to understand that process. http://www.wingsforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=218&t=23788

My build partner and I had originally planned to use the Stewart System but after reading a few of the auto fuel horror stories, we got a little gun shy. As far as the MEK/Acetone exposure, we're just planning on strict use of Personal Protective Equipment.

==
Michael

Re: Fabric Process

PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 10:14 am
by gkremers
The fuel issues with Stewart's is easily overcome on a new cover project. I've had zero issues in 2 years and 150 hours. Steve tipped me off to the potential issue just as I started covering. The high risk areas (fuel caps on wings and quick drain) are just handled a little different..

No way I want to deal with MEK.....been there done that on other builds.

Gary

Re: Fabric Process

PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 12:54 pm
by Familyflyer
You do so much gluing that the smell of Poly Fiber is terrible. No matter what kind of ventilation you have the stuff stinks. Many hours are spent gluing and taping. Long time users will totally disagree, they are just so use to it they don't smell it anymore :shock: Its not fun working with a mask all the time to be safe. I have used the Stewarts right through to color twice. It is so nice to not have any smell. At least use it up to primer and paint something else if you like. The Stewarts color really pops though. Go see Andy at Stewarts, he is a great guy.

Re: Fabric Process

PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2016 11:05 pm
by BucF16
Thank you all! I have just returned from an Asia trip with the employer, and have read your posts. I'll let you know what the family decides. Blue MAX and I will continue to build our Highlander Extremes over the next few years, and will post our progress.
Cheers,
Bruce

Re: Fabric Process

PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2016 9:29 am
by moving2time
Gary, What do you do different around the fuel caps to protect the paint from the fuel when using the Stewart's system? I am not sure that I have heard what needed to be done in that area. Everything I have seen about the Stewart process looks so much easier than the other processes. That is the system I plan to use.

Warlev, Anything important you can share about using epoxy Imron over the Stewart's system? I would not think that the two would be compatible. Is the Imron flexible enough to be used over fabric? Thanks guys! Joe B

Re: Fabric Process

PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2016 5:11 pm
by warlev
In reply to the question about Imron over Stewarts; we covered the plane three years ago including painting and have not had any issues with the fabric or paint. PS The Imron sealed the gas caps perfectly; I have spilled my share of avgas filling up with no problems. My only complaint is the cost of Imron.

Re: Fabric Process

PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2016 10:20 am
by Tralika
When I was at the LSA Expo in January I spoke to the folks at the Stewart's booth about sealing around the fuel filler caps, sump openings, etc. They recommended using SEALALL around edge of the topcoat to prevent fuel from getting underneath and coming in contact with the primer.

http://www.amazon.com/Seal-All-380011-S ... B0000AXYZG

Re: Fabric Process

PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2016 12:37 pm
by Jack L
I would like to share my experience with Stewart's Systems and automotive fuel so other builder's can learn from it. Steve Dentz has a comprehensive post on this forum explaining what he did to resolve the issue, I read it and spoke to Steve about it and decided to try something different. I took the fabric and paint to the metal flange and than sealed the transition with Pro Seal also known as PRC. One of the tanks was fine but after about 120 hours the paint around my fuel cap looked like this:
IMG_0227.JPG
I should have listened to Steve!


To repair it I cut the damaged area out from around the cap and filled the transition from flange to fibreglass tank with Hysol:
IMG_0231.JPG


I glued a patch on with Eko-bond taking it just beyond the Hysol, the area was than covered with Eko-Fill, I primed the entire area onto the flange with Eko-Poxy and finally covered everything to the cap with the Stewart's topcoat. Throughout the process I was consulting with Andy at Stewart's but like me this fuel blistering was new to him as well, the process I described above is what the two of us came up with. It is the Eko-bond and/or Eko-Fill that is not compatible with automotive fuel so as long as the paint goes beyond the fabric and onto the flange a person should not have any issues with the Stewart's process. One of the nice things about the Stewart Systems process is that I was able to do the entire repair under a small hood and using a hobby airbrush. I did not require and ventilation at all:
IMG_0260.JPG
Just needs a little buffing to blend the two top coats


I would highly recommend the Stewart Systems Eko-Bond through Eko-Fill as it is very easy to work with and very forgiving as well, If you decide to go with Stewart's topcoats follow their instructions to the letter, be prepared to invest in quality equipment and don't cheap out on any of the preparation consumables, if you ignore any of these you may not have a pleasant experience.

I hope that this helps someone.