Seam sealing tents - Fabric Glue.

Discussion about making bushwalking-related equipment.

Seam sealing tents - Fabric Glue.

Postby domonic » Sat 13 Jan, 2018 6:28 pm

I'm making a tent out of a polyurethane laminate fabric (nappy material).. It's light, strong, and waterproof.

After I sew the seams I want to seal them (hopefully inexpensively). I've looked at some of the seam sealing tapes with mixed reviews. Not so fond of the alcohol+silicone idea either. I want to make or use some strips of PUL(same material I'm making the tent with) to put over the seams.

To do this I'm thinking of gluing these strips onto the seams. Allot of the purported tent glues and seam sealers out there are expensive as hell.. too expensive. So, I'm thinking of using a fabric glue of some kind. There seem to be several out there but I'm wondering if anyone has had an experience in using this kind of thing for the seams?

Was looking at something like this https://www.bigw.com.au/product/craftsmart-fabric-glue-125-ml/p/6948672/ or maybe something a little more advanced.

Going off other posts on this forum, GE Silicone II (100% silicone) may work? Not sure.

Any arguments for or against? Any suggestions welcome!
Thanks
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Re: Seam sealing tents - Fabric Glue.

Postby Gadgetgeek » Sat 13 Jan, 2018 8:56 pm

100% silicone is too thick to use as a glue, it would need to be thinned (mineral turps) I tried it once, and it wasn't fun.
Most fabric glue isn't going to hold up to the wet and stress that you are looking for in a tent. At the end of the day, you get what you pay for, and these glues are expensive for a reason. I wish I knew of a larger format of glue that would work for tents, as I'd be getting my hands on it.

your best easy bet is to do a test run of thinned silicone, it would be pretty cheap to do.
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Re: Seam sealing tents - Fabric Glue.

Postby Avatar » Sat 13 Jan, 2018 8:59 pm

For PU fabric I would be thinking of Seam Grip or Tarzan's Grip. Try on a scrap. There are plenty of other threads here that deal with this question. Have a look.
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Re: Seam sealing tents - Fabric Glue.

Postby domonic » Sat 13 Jan, 2018 9:48 pm

Yep, had a look.
The thing with Silicone is that you mix it with spirits such as Methylated Spirits to thin it out. If it's fish tank silicone (100% silicone) then it's supposed to stick well. I'm not sure why. Someone reported this for sticking an anker point to a tent.

Turpentine will melt the fabric and after the tent has shriveled up into a molten ball to almost nothing, the smell will still be there.

There are several fabric glues out there but I'm not sure about there performance. I'm going to trial one and see how it goes.

Will also test thinned down silicone..

Any further suggestions welcome.
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Re: Seam sealing tents - Fabric Glue.

Postby Strider » Sat 13 Jan, 2018 10:26 pm

Fish tank silicone is acetic cure and quite likely your cause of molten tent fabric rather than the turpentine. If what are are trying to achieve is seam seal, why wouldn't you use a brush on mixture? Seam tape will seal the contact between panels but won't stop water wicking through the stitching.

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Last edited by Strider on Sun 14 Jan, 2018 5:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Seam sealing tents - Fabric Glue.

Postby domonic » Sat 13 Jan, 2018 10:32 pm

I was thinking of something else.

There is a product called HH66 Vinyl Adhesive which is scarce in Australia but you can get it. Pricey and there's not many places selling it. It touts all the same features as a good seam sealer.

So, looking around for Vinyl adhesives I am now thinking of thinning down something like
Dunlop Vinyl Adhesive.
http://www.dunlopdiy.com/component/zoo/item/vinyl-adhesive

OR

A clear vinyl adhesive like this.
http://tchristy.com/product/red-hot-clear-vinyl-adhesive/

Just wondering if anyone has gone down that path?
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Re: Seam sealing tents - Fabric Glue.

Postby domonic » Sun 14 Jan, 2018 12:58 pm

Strider wrote:Fish tank silicone is acetic cure and quite likely your cause of molten tent fabric rather than the turpentine. If what are are trying to achieve is seam seal, why wouldn't you use a brush on mixture? Seam tape will seal the contact between panels but won't stop water wicking through the stitching.

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A brush on mixture which I could stick some fabric over (like a tap, with no sewing holes through it) would be ideal. That's why I was thinking of Fabric glue of some kind.
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Re: Seam sealing tents - Fabric Glue.

Postby Gadgetgeek » Sun 14 Jan, 2018 1:14 pm

Vinyl adhesives are generally toluene solvent based, (the red hot stuff is MEK, similar in effect) so they actually dissolve part of the material you are gluing. Solvent based glues are very specific to the material you are fixing, so I don't think that is a good idea. A solvent bond is generally stronger since its more like welding than just gluing, but you have to get it more right. The dunlop stuff is for flooring, and I doubt that would remain flexible.

As for how the silicone works, its a mechanical bond, the glue fills in all the microscopic gaps, and itself is quite strong. i've only ever done it with normal clear selly's multi-purpose or roof and gutter, and both low-odor and regular turps, and I've sealed both sil-nylon and sil-poly tarps. Seems to work pretty well. I've had it not stick to some mystery fabric, and some polyurathane stuff, but others have had it work, so I don't know what I did wrong.

Please don't take this as an offense, you seem to be trying to re-invent the wheel. That's fine, but then you will have to do your own testing, and put your own time and money into it. If the normal methods won't work, I don't see how we would know what else to try. I feel like a downer telling you why I don't think ideas will work, but unfortunately, I don't have much else to offer.

Can you post a link to the type of fabric you are using, as well as some more of your overall design ideas? That might help us give better feedback. Right now I'm not so sure I fully understand your goal.
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Re: Seam sealing tents - Fabric Glue.

Postby Moondog55 » Sun 14 Jan, 2018 2:24 pm

What Gadgetgeek says
My experience is that the vinyl glue is a very specific product and it only works on vinyls and not all vinyls at that
Ve are too soon old und too late schmart
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Re: Seam sealing tents - Fabric Glue.

Postby domonic » Sun 14 Jan, 2018 4:20 pm

Gadgetgeek wrote:Vinyl adhesives are generally toluene solvent based, (the red hot stuff is MEK, similar in effect) so they actually dissolve part of the material you are gluing. Solvent based glues are very specific to the material you are fixing, so I don't think that is a good idea. A solvent bond is generally stronger since its more like welding than just gluing, but you have to get it more right. The dunlop stuff is for flooring, and I doubt that would remain flexible.

As for how the silicone works, its a mechanical bond, the glue fills in all the microscopic gaps, and itself is quite strong. i've only ever done it with normal clear selly's multi-purpose or roof and gutter, and both low-odor and regular turps, and I've sealed both sil-nylon and sil-poly tarps. Seems to work pretty well. I've had it not stick to some mystery fabric, and some polyurathane stuff, but others have had it work, so I don't know what I did wrong.

Please don't take this as an offense, you seem to be trying to re-invent the wheel. That's fine, but then you will have to do your own testing, and put your own time and money into it. If the normal methods won't work, I don't see how we would know what else to try. I feel like a downer telling you why I don't think ideas will work, but unfortunately, I don't have much else to offer.

Can you post a link to the type of fabric you are using, as well as some more of your overall design ideas? That might help us give better feedback. Right now I'm not so sure I fully understand your goal.



No worries, the stuff I have isn't up any more so I'll look around for it.
As for a seam sealer, I agree that the vinyl sealant will probably be too heavy and hard.

I think I have found a solution though and have heard that this can be workable.

I just bought some Bull Glue (Cheap Shoe Glue $5 for a 50ml tube) from BIGW. I just glued two pieces of Polyurethane Laminate together that I'll be using for my tent and it works great! The only thing is the smell. Maybe that will go away with a wash and dry in the sun.

It's very strong when dried, and will easy to apply my strips of PUL to the seam. I can see that it's chemical welded the pieces together quiet well. I've wet it, scrunched it up, placed it in the sun and it has bonded well and is very flexible. Very happy to have found this stuff.

It's just the smell that's the issue now. Any clues how to get rid of that?
I thought I might paint over it with a silicone and spirits mixture. That would possible work!

Not re-inventing the wheel, just looking at alternatives. It's just a 1 man tent I'm making so I intend to make a few different colors and shapes.
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Re: Seam sealing tents - Fabric Glue.

Postby Gadgetgeek » Mon 15 Jan, 2018 7:32 pm

Okay, the bull shoe glue looks to be a pretty standard contact cement, so that should work pretty well, contact cements tend to be pretty hard to use, but if you get the hang of it, they do tend to be quite strong. One thing I would suggest is to make a sample patch, just glue two scraps together well, but leave some glue exposed. Once its fully cured (24-48 hours) soak it in water for 4-5 hours to see if it starts to discolor become opaque or loss strength. Some glues are not as waterproof as they claim and will actually absorb water, so its just a way to test before you spend a few days in the tent in the rain, and have it fail. Not saying it will, but its worth testing beforehand. As to the smell, give it a few days to air, and the smell should go away once its fully cured. Don't paint over it until you are very sure it is cured, some contact cements can take up to a week, but I doubt the bull stuff would take that long.
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