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        Help! Ageing ripstop nylon

#1 13KenH46 Sep 24, 2012 08:03 PM

Ageing ripstop nylon
I'm building a gaff rigged "J" class yacht and just purchased white ripstop nylon from my local kite shop. After explaining what I was using it for he asked if I was going to weather the cloth to look like old canvas.

I didn't think about it at the time but but it would probably be a great idea except I didn't think you could colour ripstop nylon. It's waterproof isn't it? Does anyone have any experience with this?

#2 DanL Sep 25, 2012 07:28 AM

I've used both india ink (brown, not black) and acrylic ink (many colors available).
Both are waterproof when dry.
Dilute the ink with a 1part ink/7parts water/3parts alcohol mix and immerse the sail material, pull it out, shake off the excess ink solution and hang to dry.
You can dab extra ink solution on areas where you want deeper color.
Takes experimenting with ink color and dilution level to get the final dried color you want.
Enough ink stays on to "weather" the material without stiffening it.
Experiment with small pieces first!

#3 13KenH46 Sep 25, 2012 04:15 PM

Thanks DanL,
I've just been told that the ripstop sold in kite shops is not the same as marine ripstop. Not sure if that is right or not. The bloke in the shop said I would have to clean the fabric with isopropal alcohol anywhere I needed to apply double sided tape so it would stick ok. Must be a coating of some sort so some experiment with dying the material will definately be the go I think.

Anyway thanks for the the idea to use ink I shall have a play.

#4 aeronca52 Sep 26, 2012 11:01 PM

Here's another source for cloth although it most likely is more expensive than kite cloth.
Below is a link to the exact page in Sailrite's catalog.


#5 13KenH46 Sep 28, 2012 01:30 AM

I'm hearing now that spinnaker cloth has a coating on it, probably silicone based which makes it slippery which is the reason I have to remove it with something like IPA before I can stick anything to it. That would also make it impossible to dye I should think.

Apparently it is possible to get uncoated ripstop. I shall have to go and talk to a sail maker here in Oz. More research needed.

#6 DanL Sep 28, 2012 07:59 AM

Real sailcloth will, I think, be heavier and less supple than wanted for a scale sailing ship model.
A fabric made by DuPont, called Supplex, is a very fine thread fabric. Very supple, wrinkle resistant, wind and waterproof, etc. It is made for outdoor clothing.
It's available worldwide and can sometimes be found in off-white color (oyster).
It can be "stained" to take down the whiteness.
It is nylon and I cut it with a hot-knife that seals the edges - no fraying at the cut.
It's great stuff for sails.

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