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Inexpensive Down for a quilt project
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Joshua Kronberg
(Stitch) - F
Inexpensive Down for a quilt project on 07/26/2010 16:19:51 MDT Print View

I am looking to make my own ultra light down quilt, but don't want to spend very much on materials. Does anyone know where I can get these dirt cheap? One thought I had was trying to scour the thrift stores in the area for down quilts, jackets, and vests. So far I am not sure how to tell what the fill power is. Any thoughts on this?

James D Buch
(rocketman) - F

Locale: Midwest
Fill Power Used Down on 07/26/2010 18:53:47 MDT Print View

Figuring out the down fill power of a used garment is not likely to be easy.

If the Federal content tag, often combined with the garment care tag, contains the down:Feather content, you can make a guess.

Typically these numbers are as much as 90 or 95%%down : 10% or 5% feathers, for the best quality down with a fill power approximating 800 cu. in./oz.
More feathers gives you a lower fill power.

High quality down with high fill power is expensive.

The typical down quilt sold in a department store is somewhere around 500 fill power to maybe 650 fill power. Some may be even lower, and a custom high quality down quilt may be higher.

I have a 650 fill power down vest with an 80:20 ratio.

You could also try to learn how to build a down fill measuring instrument by modifying the test methods used in the industry. But, I wouldn't want to get that involved myself.

Or, you could search used sleeping bags that get posted here for a used but high quality bag, such as Western Mountaineering or other that originally had high quality down fill. There is an article here on how to convert a down sleeping bag into a quilt, if that is what you ultimately want.

Good luck.

Mark Fowler
(KramRelwof) - MLife

Locale: Namadgi
Down Quality on 07/26/2010 20:45:03 MDT Print View

A rough and ready way to check down quality is to rub a panel of the item between your fingers. If it feels stalky then there is a higher percentage of feather which is not good unless making a feather pillow. While you cannot really estimate the fill power of relatively pure down, it will range from around 500 up, check out how the item lofts and compacts and consider the manufacturer.

One way to extract the down from the old item is to thoroughly soak the item in water, this can take quite a while, then cut it open and scoop out the sodden down. You can do it with a vacuum cleaner setup but the soaking method is very simple and will often extract more down.

Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
kookabay on 07/26/2010 22:44:29 MDT Print View

Or you could just buy it from Bender at Kookabay.

He charges $16 shipped per 3oz bag of 750fp.

Average 30deg-ish quilt would only use 8-9oz of down.

$48 is pretty cheap.

If you're expecting to go cheaper than that I think it's gonna be hard. I don't run into that many down filled items at thrift stores, and when it comes to pillows and comforters especially, there's an extremely high chance that they've been bulk washed using detergents that are damaging to down, by the thrift store before putting it out for sale.

Many thrift stores wash any clothing or bedding without regards to proper method.

Cesar Garcia
(crgowo) - F

Locale: Desert SW
down on 08/23/2010 23:33:21 MDT Print View

There was a thread a while back on the deals forum that was 1oz of 800fill for 3$ if I remember correctly. It was a few months ago so don't know if its still for sale. I tried searching but you may have better luck then I.

George Phoenix

Locale: Joisey
900 fill down on 08/25/2010 09:47:33 MDT Print View

... and on the high side, you pay

$10 per ounce:

and for 800+ fill ...

$6.50 per ounce:

Edited by perrito on 08/25/2010 12:25:37 MDT.