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Cuben Fiber - Q&A
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Steve Peterson
(spetersodlb) - F
Re Tape/Sewing on 02/27/2006 19:33:01 MST Print View

Bill, I think I see why your needles gum up and mine don't--your tape is 5 mils thick and what I use when I sew through it is only 2 mils thick. The 9472LE is the 5 mil stuff I use for structural seams and the 2 mil stuff I use for holding parts in place while sewing is designated as 9471LE. Also, the adhesive type used in your tape is different from that used in mine, so that might also contribute to the difference in needle gumming up.

Incidentally, the reason I use these tapes is the guy at 3M's technical help desk recommended them. I didn't exhaustively quiz him on the differences between the various adhesives, figuring I'd test the tape out myself anyway, and call him back if it didn't work out. So far I've had no reason to call him back.

Steve Peterson
(spetersodlb) - F
Cuben material part numbers on 02/27/2006 22:48:40 MST Print View

If you go to the Cuben site and look through their offerings you'll see a bunch of numbers like CN1K.08 together with weights in units of ounces per sail makers yard (which is not 36x36). Bill lists the materials he uses in terms of weights per square English (36x36) yard. You'll have some trouble translating between the two and eventually when you talk to Cuben, you have to use their designations. Maybe Bill can fill in the part numbers for his materials.

As for me, all my stuff has been the CN1K.08 stuff. Which, just to confuse the issue, is sometimes referred to by the Cuben folks as CT1K.08 (go figure). This stuff weighs about .65 or .66 oz per square English yard. I've always bought "ends" which are pieces shorter than 9 linear yards--they offer a 10% discount on these pieces.

Leonard Rice
(lrrice) - F
Re: Taping cont'd on 03/04/2006 23:07:59 MST Print View

I've never used cuben, but you might try cuting it with a rotary cutter. Available in the fabric section at wally world or other such store. Make sure you get a cutting mat to go with it, it will make your blade last much longer. I have cut every thing from saran wrap to 1/4" leather with outstanding results. They're easy to cut curves with, and you can cut straight lines by running them right down the side of an aluminium yardstick. There are varying grades/prices, The brand name of the better one is Olfa.

Does the tape make the seam a bit more ridgid? I am looking for an easier way to sew these "slimy" fabrics together so that my seams dont look like crap. I've been toying with the idea of taping the seams then sewing through the taped seams. But I dont want to wind up with something that reduces flexibility or creases in the same place repeatedly when you stuff it in a sack. Any ideas?

Steve Peterson
(spetersodlb) - F
Re: Re: Taping cont'd on 03/05/2006 04:35:06 MST Print View

Thanks for the comments on the rotary cutter--I have seen them but didn't know how well they might work on something thin/flimsy like cuben. I'll look into them some more. One issue I'd have is replacement blades--cuben seems to dull cutting edges pretty quickly.

Re taped seams being stiff: I use taped seams in my pack bags and dry bags, both of which have roll tops. The seams are only slightly stiffer than the rest of the material--the seams do not in any way interfere with the roll tops. I don't sew through those particular seams.

Michael Martin
(MikeMartin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Cuben Taping on 04/10/2006 17:38:19 MDT Print View

Hi All-

I've been following the "taping" thread with interest for some time in the hopes that it might save me from my meager sewing skills. ;)

I wanted to pass along some info I recently got directly from Cuben Fiber:

They recommend 3M 9485 or Dimension Polyant Ultra Bond adhesives for permanently gluing their products. In fact, they carry them! I don't have any experience with either of these; I just thought this might be useful to someone, as several different adhesives were previously mentioned.



Edited by MikeMartin on 04/10/2006 18:03:39 MDT.

Joe D'Paz
(wolfythelobo) - F

Locale: Hawaii
cuben fiber on 04/28/2006 14:36:23 MDT Print View

This is a real cool posting...I've been wanting to make an ultralight hammock under 1lb. and a multiday pack under 6 oz. I like the Hennesy ultralight asym but I want it less than 1 pound and it seems than cuben might work.
I was wondering if anyone is used this tape....1,000 M.P.H. tape: The U.S. Navy uses duct tape to repair radomes. A Radome is the dome that fits over a radar antenna. On an airplane, that's usually the nose cone. It has to be transparent to the radar waves. (Any repairs must be radar-transparent, too on fighter aircraft.) Since the planes fly so darn fast, they call it “thousand mile an hour” tape.

Steve Peterson
(spetersodlb) - F
Tarp/Pack info on 05/02/2006 10:11:21 MDT Print View

Back on 2/26/2006 I indicated that I would try to post some photos/text describing my Cuben Fiber projects. I've been mighty busy prepping for my PCT thru-hike, but I've found a bit of time to throw together some stuff. The tarp is here.

The pack is here.

I've made separate threads for these in MYOG because I anticipate some questions/discussions. I'm repeating the links here for the sake of completeness.

In my 2/26 post I mentioned a drybag. This is made exactly like the bag for the pack, except without all the pockets and other stuff, so there isn't a separate article for it.

Hope this gives people some ideas.

Leonard Rice
(lrrice) - F
3M #9472LE Problems on 06/09/2006 21:32:09 MDT Print View

I have been having problems w/this stuff. It doesn't seem to like tafeta at all. some times when it is comming off the roll it sticks to the kraft paper stretching the adhesive out and making a general mess. What fabric does it seem to work best on? Has any one else had these problems or did I get a bad roll?

evan parsons
(freestyleparsons) - F

Locale: Dowtown LA
Breathability? on 07/24/2006 19:14:43 MDT Print View

Hi there-

I was curious, Bill, and everyone else, how Cuben "breathes." What type of fabrics does it compare to in breathability?

And while we are on the subject, I would like to confirm that it is about as waterproof as silnylon and close to as durablew as a light ripstop?

Thanks for all the posted input so far, all very valuable as I dive into this new material.

And I appologize if this question is repeditive, I may have missed this bit of info in the other posts.


Benjamin Smith
(bugbomb) - F - M

Locale: South Texas
Re: Breathability? on 07/26/2006 12:04:40 MDT Print View


I think if you browse back through this thread, you'll find that there are too many varieties/weights of Cuben to answer your durability question directly.

From what I understand, it is not breathable - think a mylar space blanket - but is very waterproof.


Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Breathability of Cuben on 07/26/2006 12:34:30 MDT Print View

Evan, The standard Cuben Fiber is not "Breathable".

However, since the backpacking interest in the really light weight of the Cuben Fiber, the company has made one or more test runs of a "Breathable" material. That material to my knowledge is not yet being offered for sale. I was told the test material was in the 0.7 ounce a sq yard weight range.

Edited by bfornshell on 07/26/2006 12:36:12 MDT.

evan parsons
(freestyleparsons) - F

Locale: Dowtown LA
thanks again, Ben and Bill, for the reply... [re: breathability] on 07/26/2006 20:42:40 MDT Print View

thanks againn, Ben and Bill, for the reply... [re: breathability]...

Please keep us posted on this breathable Cuben!

Edited by freestyleparsons on 07/26/2006 20:45:30 MDT.

(jhaura) - F

Locale: Trail
Cuben Weights, Part Numbers on 09/05/2006 10:07:43 MDT Print View

Hello Bill,

I was wondering if you knew about current cuben part numbers and corresponding 36"x36" piece weight?

I'm interested in making a bivy bottom and have read some posts in this thread regarding ~.4oz and ~.6oz cuben, but don't know which part numbers those would be on the cuben site. I looked on the Data page of their site ( and found weights in sailmaker's yardage (27"x36").


PS. If you or anyone else has any extra cuben I would be interested in buying it instead of buying from the company directly.

Edited by jhaura on 09/05/2006 10:13:23 MDT.

Benjamin Smith
(bugbomb) - F - M

Locale: South Texas
Re: Cuben Weights, Part Numbers on 09/05/2006 10:38:13 MDT Print View


I would think it would be fairly easy to convert the weights from sailmaker's yards to standard yards.


Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Cuben Weights - Product Number on 09/05/2006 11:53:09 MDT Print View

Jhaura Wachsman

The Cuben in the .35 oz to .44 oz a sq yard (36" by 36") range is CTO.3K.08 and comes 48" wide. This is the product that I use most of the time and is the two fiber/cord?? kind. What I mean by that is that it has fiber/cords running north and south (1 fiber) and one fiber/cords running east and west (2nd fiber).

The cost, plus S&H, comes to about $17 a yard. They sell only in 9 or so yard pieces unless they have what they call "shorts" . If they have no "shorts" you may have to wait awhile.

I have never used their standard (2 fiber) .6 oz weight product. The closest to a .6 oz product I have is some of the 4 fiber product. The extra 2 fibers/cords run at different angles to the n-s/e-w fiber/cords and give the fiber much greater strength. This comes at a dear price however.

You can buy small amounts of the CTO.3K.08 from Quest Outfitters but I believe it is sold for about $25 a yard. It is or was listed on their web site.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Cuben Fiber Tents? on 09/06/2006 17:32:29 MDT Print View

I've noticed that people are selling Cuben Fiber tarps, stuff sacks, packs and plenty of do it yourself stuff. However, I'm surprised that no one (to my knowledge) has started using Cuben Fiber for single or double wall tents. Is this just a matter of time, or is there some other reason for this? I would think you could save a lot of weight just by replacing the rain fly/roof (you could leave the floor as silnylon as it is much more likely to tear). I know this stuff is expensive, but I think people would pay for the weight savings (just as they pay for down instead of synthetic).

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
cuben fiber scraps on 09/07/2006 21:04:27 MDT Print View

I have small strips and bits of cuben fiber ck2.
Contact me off list and i can tell you more. Make
me an offer.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Cuben Fiber - Q&A on 03/10/2007 23:09:16 MST Print View

Posting this now in case some of you new to working with Cuben Fiber never saw it before. You can read over some of the questions and answers asked in the past.

ed hyatt
(edhyatt) - MLife

Locale: The North
Cuben Fibre - UK tarp example on 03/11/2007 03:20:09 MDT Print View

I know nothing about this topic at all; yet thought there may be some interest in this article on a guy from the UK who is prototyping tarps in this fabric:

Edited by edhyatt on 03/11/2007 03:20:45 MDT.

Erin McKittrick
(mckittre) - MLife

Locale: Seldovia, Alaska
Don't tape Cuben Fiber in the cold on 03/25/2007 13:37:15 MDT Print View

I'm a newbie to cuben fiber, but thought I'd share something I just learned to save others from potential misfortune. Working on a cuben fiber shelter, stuck things together with tape (the Quest outfitters tape, and one other kind). Took it outside, where it's 10 degrees here in Anchorage this morning. All the tape unstuck - instantly.

So what seems bombproof when you tug on it in the house, may completely fall apart on you on a cold night.

Wild Coast Journey