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Author Topic: vapor resto project  (Read 3218 times)
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Ca Ike
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« on: June 09, 2011, 12:59 AM »

As some of you might have gathered from my other threads I rather like challenging projects.  My lastest project is bringing a vapor back to life.  A flying friend had gotten this vapor and was told it had a few tears that were repaired.  Well thats not quite accurate.

What was wrong

WEll the first thing wrong with this vapor was the leading edge fittings.  Instead of APA minis it had APA standoff fittings.  The second thing wrong is the upper spreader instead of being .157 pultruded had been replaced with the narrow ends of g-force skinnies ferruled together.

Now on to the "repaired tears".  The previous owner of this vapor had torn the monofilm in 3 places and not just small tears either.  There are 3-4 tears at each LE fitting not from spar punch through but from rolling the sail around the frame so tight that the standoff fittings on the LE had cut through.  There are also holes caused by the center t punching through for the same reason.  All this damage was cause by simple lack of care when putting the kite away and storing.

THese tears were also improperly repaired causing further damage by using clear packing tape.  Packing tape is not a good thing to use on a kite sail for several reasons.  First off it is stiff.  Second it is not weather resistant or UV resistant.  Third and the biggest reason is the glue on most packing tape reacts to heat and sunlight and can melt mylar similarly to how PVC glue melts the PVC to fuse pipe together.  Over a relatively short time you end up not with tape on mylar but tape on tape and a hole the size of the patch when it blows out.

Here are some pics of the sail damage.


Photo0192 by Ca Ike, on Flickr


Photo0190 by Ca Ike, on Flickr


Photo0191 by Ca Ike, on Flickr
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Ca Ike
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« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2011, 01:00 AM »

Once I got into this project and had all the packing tape removed, it was obvious that a simple teldar repair was not going to work.  I have to replace the monofilm panels, which is no small task.  With a bit of patience I was able to tape together the better panel so I could use it to make a template.  HOweveer it was in to bad of shape to try separating the panel from the rest of the sail.

Making the template


What I ended up doing was taking some hardbooard and pinning the sail to it using a small staple gun making sure to staple along only the seams that would be  taken apart to avoid ANY extra damage to the good parts of the sail, pulling the panel tight as I went.  Using the original sail I traced the leading edges and marked the seams I couldn't trace.  


Panel template prep by Ca Ike, on Flickr

THen using a sheetrock square I mated the marks for the rest of the seams.


panel template by Ca Ike, on Flickr

ONce the templat was traced I cut it out using a sabre saw leaving about 1/16 in of excess.  THen sanded the edges to the trace lines to make sure I had a clean edge to cut against.  


Vapor panel template by Ca Ike, on Flickr

Now given that it is an old kite, Depending on the type of material you can not expect and exact duplicate.  Mylar however doesn't stretch like Nylon or Polyester so I can reasonably expect to be with in 1-2 mm of the original dimensions.  How much care you take in laying out the panel to be traced and tracing makes a BIG difference in the accuracy of the template.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2011, 10:35 PM by Ca Ike » Logged
Ca Ike
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« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2011, 01:03 AM »

The prep work

Now I won't bore you with all the details of the sail prep but to say that this is the most tedious part of a resto project like this.  You can't just cut the seams apart.  YOu have to remove all the stitching then pull apart the layers baeing careful not to damage the parts you are reusing. THe more care you take here the less material you will need to replace.

TO separate the seams I used a steam preassure cleaning wand (shark steamer) and mini needle nose pliers.  THe 250 degree steam helps heat and loosen the seam tape glue and the pliers give you a way to grip and pull the cloth without burning your fingers with the steam.  You can use a heat gun but its much more difficult to do it without overheating and melting the sail.  ONce all the seams were separated I used Goo Gone to remove any leftover glue.  Keep in mind this is a slow process and SHOULD NOT BE RUSHED especially with the more delicate lighter fabrics.

Here's the sail all prepped and ready for the new panels.


vapor sail prep by Ca Ike, on Flickr
« Last Edit: June 09, 2011, 03:05 AM by Ca Ike » Logged
chilese
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« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2011, 01:09 AM »

You are a magician to repair the unrepairable.

Thanks for these updates.  Smiley
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John Chilese: Las Vegas, NV
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Ca Ike
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« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2011, 01:28 AM »

Thanks John.  I do enjoy a challenge and bringing back a classic is kind of fun.  Some kites are worth the effort to restore if at all possible.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2011, 02:02 AM by Ca Ike » Logged
Svolazzo
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« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2011, 02:29 AM »

Great thread, I'm looking forward to see next steps.
Some people don't deserve to own this jewel, how can you keep a Vapor so bad? 
I have 3 Vapors, two are like new, the one I use more has some very small wear and repairs on leading edges and nose is starting to show some wear, (fortunaltely no damage to monofilms) nothing special, but I'm planning to restore them in the future so this thread is highly welcome.

Paolo


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JimB
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« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2011, 10:32 AM »

Great work.
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Allen Carter
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« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2011, 10:42 AM »

Wow, that's a lot of work!

Where did you find the proper monofilm? In years past it was nearly unobtanium.

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Allen, AKA kitehead
Ca Ike
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« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2011, 11:45 AM »

Wow, that's a lot of work!

Where did you find the proper monofilm? In years past it was nearly unobtanium.


  ACtually its been around all these years.  Its the same .5 mil clear mylar film used in laminates and the balloon industry.  FInding someone that actually stocks it is another story.  Since I have my own small business I was able to order direct from the manufacturer but I have found a couple places that stock it and sell to the public.
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ae
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« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2011, 01:41 PM »

Hrm, hrmm, do you know what that mylar weights?

And very nice work so far, the sailmaker in me approves!
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Ca Ike
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« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2011, 04:35 PM »

Hrm, hrmm, do you know what that mylar weights?

And very nice work so far, the sailmaker in me approves!

ITs about 9-15 grams per square yard.  The cut replacement panels only weight 2.5 grams each (dust included Tongue) and they are about 1/3 square yard.

THanks for the compliment.  I'm waiting on a few materials to show up so this project is on hold till next week.
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Svolazzo
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« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2011, 01:33 AM »

Could you tell us the shop or the website which are selling that monofilm?
Thanks,

Paolo
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Smeagol
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« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2011, 12:21 PM »

Awesome work.  You're doing a much more thorough job than I probably would have.  I was close to just making a vented Vapor out of it.   Wink
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Ca Ike
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« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2011, 07:52 PM »

Well I've put a bit of work on the vapor since my last update.

The layup

Since i'm working with an aged sail some of the standard lay up techniques don't really work.  I had to resort to a similar method to how I made the template.  In this case I pinned the sail to my pattern board, using the thread holes already in the seams and t-pins.  Then using a good seam tape preped the edges for the new panel. Working with seam tape can be a pain, especially on curves.  To give me a bit more control as I mate the panels I don't use a solid strip of tape.  I cut 3 inch pieces and lay them on making sure to follow the original seam lines as close as possible.  THen as I mate the panels I remove one 3 inch section at a time.  When working with aged cloth you have to deal with wrinkles and edge curl so using smaller sections I can adjust as needed without worrying about the extra length of tape getting dust or other stuff on it.  I also lay out the new panel and use a few pieces of masking tape to hold the seams I'm not working and keep it in place.


panel lay up 2 by Ca Ike, on Flickr


panel lay up by Ca Ike, on Flickr

ONce the new panel is in place and while its still pinned to my board, Its time to trim the seams as they were originally.  Now I couldn't find the original dacron insignia tape so I opted for a similar insignia tape that has a bit less shiny finish.  Using the longest seam as a guide I cut a strip out of a 2 inch wide roll and measuring the existing trim cut 4 3/8 in strips (enough to do all the seams for both panels).


panel seam trim by Ca Ike, on Flickr

With the main seams trimmed its on to the accents.  using what was left over I cut a couple of 1/8 inch wide strips and mated them to the accent trim strips I left on.  Smoothing the wrinkles out as I went.


Panel accent trim by Ca Ike, on Flickr

Here's how it looks after both new panels have been put in trimmed and sewn.  There are plenty of threads on sewing sails so I won't bother with those details.  Next update will be the finished kite, leading edges back on all framed up.


FInished panels by Ca Ike, on Flickr


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DecSkybirds
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« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2011, 09:16 PM »

Thanks John.  I do enjoy a challenge and bringing back a classic is kind of fun.  Some kites are worth the effort to restore if at all possible.

Anthony has great ideas, he brought my shiva strong back to life.
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