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Handling down
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Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Handling down on 10/10/2012 22:09:56 MDT Print View

I would like to hear any and all strategies for handling down on MYOG projects. And of special interest is what techniques/methods folks are using to measure amounts of down to fill each portion of a garment or sleeping bag. I am considering adding some down to a bag and would need to be able to measure and transfer fairly small amounts of down.
Thanks in advance for your help.

Ozzy McKinney
(PorcupinePhobia) - F

Locale: PNW
shop-vac? on 10/10/2012 22:15:20 MDT Print View

the shop-vac method is very popular, as detailed by BPL hero Jamie Shortt at here-

full deal is under the "Summer Quilt Instructions" pdf link.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Handling down on 10/10/2012 23:37:17 MDT Print View

You need good scale to measure - 0.01 oz or 0.1 g resolution. Probably 0.1 oz or 1 g would work.

Turn off fans. Breath very slowly. Move your hands slowly.

Measure down in a container. Grab down and compress into your fist, and then grab between thumb and fingers. Stuff into baffle. Push down into baffle with rod. Maybe several times to get all the down for that baffle.

This has worked for me. Simple method. Many ways to do this, this is just one way.

Amy Lauterbach
(drongobird) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
shop-vac? on 10/11/2012 09:50:07 MDT Print View

+1 on shop-vac, as described by lytw8.
I used a KD-7000 one gram resolution scale.
Easy, clean, no fuss. Handling down turned out to be a non-issue.
Biggest problem for me is that my house is too small to store a shop-vac, so instead of buying one I borrowed one from a friend.


Locale: Northwest Mass
shop vac on 10/11/2012 10:02:50 MDT Print View

plus two on the shop vac!

just dont blow when you mean to suck! its a mess, happened to me once, but its the kind of mistake you only make once!

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: shop-vac? on 10/11/2012 10:09:20 MDT Print View

I attempted the shop vac method and had a somewhat funny mishap. After inserting the vacuum wand into the baffle and turning it on, a majority of the down flew back out the opening of the baffle. I suspect that my vacuum's blower mode was far to powerful for the small baffle and lightweight down. Instead I inserted my pre-weighed bags of down (I saved newspaper bags for a few weeks) and emptied them by hand from within the baffle. I moved slowly and it was a success with minimal down escaping.

Fronkey over at Hammockfourms has a YouTube video illustrating a very similar technique.

I would likely follow his directions in my next project but pre-weigh my down in larger mailing envelopes to reduce the plastic bag clinging to some of the down.

Also, I used clothes pins to seal each baffle after the down was inserted and waited to sew the baffles in one pass.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: shop-vac? on 10/11/2012 10:37:13 MDT Print View

I just put one hand stitch for each baffle to keep down in. If you push it way down, and don't manipulate it more than necesary, down will stay there.

And it just seems like doing it by hand is simpler. It takes less time than if you construct something with vacuum.

I wonder how professional down fillers do it?

If you had to do a bunch of sleeping bags, then it would make more sense to construct some device.

But, it would be more fun to do vacuum cleaner device. Especially if you had a down explosion. That would definitely put me on the floor rolling around in laughter. Nothing's better than a good laugh.

John West
(skyzo) - F

Locale: Borah Gear
Re: Re: Re: shop-vac? on 10/11/2012 11:50:25 MDT Print View

When I made my bag, I just went with the old stuff it in hand technique. I didn't own a shop-vac at the time, so that was really my only option. Far less messy than I imagined, maybe only 1-2grams of down escaped in total. Just move veeeery slowly with your hands, and make sure there is no air current in the room. Once you get the down in the baffle, tape or hand stitch it close.
Good luck!

Tim Marshall
(MarshLaw303) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
Re: Re: Re: Re: shop-vac? on 10/11/2012 17:23:37 MDT Print View

Eductor much?


Ozzy McKinney
(PorcupinePhobia) - F

Locale: PNW
eductor on 10/11/2012 22:06:46 MDT Print View

I want to see pics.

Tim Marshall
(MarshLaw303) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
Re: eductor on 10/12/2012 07:19:11 MDT Print View

Mine isn't exactly what a home user would build but you can make something simple with a little PVC and one drain kit. Lance Marshall posted on it years ago I've been using one powered by two leaf blowers for a year but a simple shopvac powered one would work fine


jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: eductor on 10/12/2012 07:34:50 MDT Print View

You must use an eductor to blow down into sleeping bags?

I googled it. Uses venturi effect. Blow air in one port. Down sucked in another port. Down and all the air goes out a third port into your sleeping bag.

You never have a down explosion?

It seems like there'd be so much air flow that it would "blow out" the baffle you were blowing down into. The fabric must be breathable enough.

Tim Marshall
(MarshLaw303) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
Re: Re: Re: eductor on 10/12/2012 08:15:53 MDT Print View

Jerry is right. You can't use it with all fabrics as they need to have high enough air permiability

Fabrics that work
M90 v3
Impetus 1.0
1.1 ripstop

Fabrics that will pop like a balloon
Impetus 1.1

If you use one of the safe fabrics as liner you can use one of the unsafe ones as shell and still be ok

A homemade eductor would have much less air volume than mine and may work in the unsafe fabrics but I've not tested that.

Will post a few eductor pics to our Facebook (not sure how to do here from phone)



Locale: Northwest Mass
KAro on 10/12/2012 11:05:06 MDT Print View

At least for sleeping bags, I have used a Karo pattern, which eliminates the need to fill individual baffles, just blow the whole lot in, stitch it up, and shake it around.