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Accurate fabric weights
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Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Accurate fabric weights on 10/19/2005 16:00:35 MDT Print View

Am I the only one who keeps finding that fabrics weigh more than advertised?

Yeah, I know that nominal 1.1 silnylon weighs 1.3 and other coatings also increase the nominal weight. What about uncoated DWR (not Teflon)ripstop that is supposed to weigh 1.1 oz., but actually weighs 1.5. Converted to sailmakers yardage 28.5X36, it weighs 1.2. Just got some of that, but it is not unusual.

Does anyone know how much weight DWR adds? Does anyone know if retailers regularly use sailmakers yardage?

Caviat emptor?

Edited by vickrhines on 10/19/2005 16:01:21 MDT.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Accurate fabric weights on 10/19/2005 16:10:27 MDT Print View

res ipsa locutor

Neil Bender
(nebender) - F
Re: Accurate fabric weights on 10/19/2005 18:10:34 MDT Print View

Sometimes retailers don't know what they have and mislabel them. All of the material I have bought from Thruhiker was accurately "gauged" except some 0.8oz ripstop that I measured to be closer to 0.9, but that could just be the variability normal for some fabric that light. Fabric from OWF, Oware, Noah Lamport, and Quest all were accurate where weights were stated. As to the weight of DWR, I treated some 1.6 oz polyester taffeta with Nikwax wash-in and the weight only went up to maybe 1.65 oz/yd^2. I tend to be pretty stingy with the stuff, Polarproof, handwashing in a small tub and dosing about half the recommended level. Works for me. YMMV.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Re: Accurate fabric weights on 10/20/2005 10:10:22 MDT Print View

Yeah, Paul, I know "the thing speaks for itself" but sending stuff back because the weight is seriously out of line gets old ( and in legal terms 'res ipsa loquitur' implies a shift of burden of proof to the defendent - in this case, the retailer.) I just got some cloth advertised as 0.5 - The actual sailmakers weight was .91 and the square yard weight was 1.15 either one was way out of line. The excuse was the treatment -- but it wasn't treated.

Generally have had good luck, but the exceptions burn me off. I'm just wondering how widespread this is and how often other people encounter it.

Who's Quest? Ain't seen them before.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Fabric Weight on 10/20/2005 10:29:56 MDT Print View

Hi, When I want to try a new fabric I will buy a small amount and the weigh it when I get it. I have a very accurate OHAUS Triple Beam Gram Scale. If it is light enough or better in some way than what I am using I buy more.

Quest Outfitters sells a lot of fabric. I buy a lot of stuff from them. They ship your stuff the day you order it almost 100%.
Link to Quest Outfitters

They are really good and can answer most questions about material for backpacking gear projects.

Kay or Kim should answer the phone, if it is Kay tell her Bill in San Antonio said hi. Oh no, now everyone will know where I live.

PS: Check out their "Remnants" section. I get remnants a lot. Most is really cheap so you can try different materials without spending very much.

Edited by bfornshell on 10/20/2005 10:34:45 MDT.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Re: Accurate fabric weights on 10/20/2005 10:43:45 MDT Print View

i've found your posts on this subject very informative. was aware of coated vs. uncoated weights and the deception sometimes used there. didn't know that some of these fabrics are quoted in the sailmaker's yard, however. i'm sure that this accounts for some of the numerical descrepancies. you've already found your answer - hence my use of "the facts speak for themselves". i've read from mfr's of UL gear that their wts could be off by +/- 10% due to the varying wts of fabric that they get from the fabric mfr. seems like it's usually plus 10%, right? hardly ever the minus 10%. go figure. this just reinforces what you have already discovered on your own. don't know anything about textile mfr, so can't offer an explanation of why. maybe they just weigh a bunch of samples and pick the outright lightest? this would be very misleading.

Edited by pj on 10/21/2005 02:15:52 MDT.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Re: Re: Re: Accurate fabric weights on 10/20/2005 20:46:15 MDT Print View

Bill and Paul; Thanks,

RE: Quest -- i had a senior moment. Yeah, they're good.

I think what happens is a mill gets an order for a certain fabric spec, then orders yarn from another mill. So, for example, they want what we call 1.1. Most mills call it .75 for reasons obscure and occult. The yarn may be 30 denier and it may be nylon 66, but it may vary in specifics enough to change the weight of the finished product. So, lets say they order 30 denier yarn which in their experience will get within the ballpark of the target weight with their equipment and settings. They run it, ship it, and let the buyer decide whether to hassel with a contract suit. The buyer uses what they need for their run and remainders the unused portion to jobbers who downstream it to retailers we buy from. Sometimes this stuff sits in a warehouse until the polyurethane turns to syrup before it gets remaindered. Through the 70's you could get true .75 coated ripstop that had been made for lifeboat sails during WWII. Good stuff. Totally unavailable today. Probably would be rotten by now.

Anyway, the only way to get exactly what you want is to do what the big boys do and contract for a specific fabric within specific parameters. If the mill misses the target, the mill remainders it to us little guys. But the big manufacturer gets what he ordered maybe eventually. Manufacturers tell me that finding a good mill is a big hassel.

I figure the only way we can get weights that are advertised is if the retailers will make the effort to test their stock. Otherwise, I guess they are guessing.