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Author Topic: How I Cover With Silk  (Read 17424 times)

larry borden

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How I Cover With Silk
« on: September 13, 2011, 07:08:56 PM »
After being away from the hobby for a gazillion years, I decided to start building control line airplanes again. It also helped that we had moved to a place that allowed me to have a circle in my back yard. I decided to go 'old school' with my planes, silk and dope.

I did a how to cover with silk on the other forum, but it was lost when the forum crashed.

It seems there have been quite a few out there that have an interest in covering with silk, so here goes.

After I have the plane sanded to my satisfaction, I brush on a few coats of nitrate dope to seal the wood. Nitrate seems to seal better than the butyrate.


larry borden

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2011, 07:20:20 PM »
The next step is to cut a piece of silk to cover the wing. I cut it about an inch or so larger so I'll have something to pull on when it comes time to stretch the silk. I cover the wing with the grain/threads of the silk going span wise.

After I have the silk in place, I take a spray bottle of water and spray on the silk. This helps to keep the silk in place while I apply the nitrate dope to attach it to the wing. I then stretch the silk to make it tight and then apply nitrate dope to the perimeter of the wing.

After applying the dope, I keep stretching the silk as the dope is drying. I still use t-pins to hold the silk in place around the tips.

To avoid warps, I silk the top and bottom of a panel and then do the other panel the same way. The excess silk is easy to sand off after the dope has dried.

larry borden

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2011, 07:32:24 PM »
After I have both wing panels covered, I apply nitrate dope the perimeter of the wing until the LE, TE and tips are smooth.

I spray several coats of thinned tautening nitrate dope to fill the silk. I spray the wing panels, with several coats of clear until the silk is filled. At this point, I spray a couple of coats of non-tautening butyrate, before applying color coats.

After I have applied all my color coats, I let the plane gas off for a couple of days. I apply any graphics and then spray the plane with several coats of Brodak's crystal clear. At this point it's time to finishe the plane and go fly.

If anyone has questions please feel free to ask. Hope this has been some help.

Offline Jim Thomerson

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2011, 08:09:43 PM »
What Larry says is good stuff.  My experience is with Esaki silk, some packages which I bought for $1.95 many years ago.  If I am doing a diesel powered airplane, I go nitrate all the way. If a glow airplane I go butyrate all the way. I put enough non tautening dope on all surfaces which will touch the silk to make the surface shiny.  If you don't do this, the open bays will get shiny and the wood will still show the silk grain because the dope will wick through. I put the silk in place, then wet it.  I get it really wet, which is another reason to do a good dope job on the wood. The silk can be stretched tight and the water will hold it in place. 

As Larry says,  keep the weave straight.  Silk is very easy, but you must be patient and demand perfection.  Once it is in place, I go around the edges with dope thinned at least 70% thinner.  This will adhere to the underlying dope, and blush.  If it is a constant chord wing I will demonstrate my expertise  ::) by starting at the bottom trailing edge, going around the leading edge, not sticking to the leading edge, and back to the top trailing edge. I stick it down there and on the ends.  Keep everything wet, and hang the wing vertically so the silk dries evenly and does not pull in a warp.

Once dry, I brush on several coats of tautening dope, thinned 70% thinner.  This will go through the silk to start, but will not make the puddling effect.  I do a couple of panels, then turn over and do a couple of panels.  Once most of the pinholes are filled, I go to progressively thicker non tautening dope until it shines to suit me. 

If I am going to use tissue numbers and letters, I put them on before going to the thicker coats, just sticking them down with thinner. This presumes you are doing a clear or tinted finish.

Offline Bootlegger

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2011, 04:27:04 AM »
Fellow's I sure do thank you for these "hints". I am planning to silk a wing soon.
  One of the things that I noticed is use "tautening" dope on the first few coats.
 I have been covering with silkspan on several, well all, of my models for a loooong time and just recently have been using "non-tautening" dope and the paper is plenty tight enough, was wondering if this will work with silk also??
  Many years ago I tried covering with silk, and at that time all we had was Aero Gloss dope, after a while the silk split l/e to t/e between all the ribs!!
  Haven't used silk sinse..
  Again thanks for the advise... n~
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Offline Bootlegger

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2011, 09:25:45 AM »
  Larry B, how much do you thin your dope that you apply to the silk?
 My wing is ready for some clear, and I would like some thoughts/suggestions on this.

  Oh, I would like thought's/ suggestions from thr other men on this also..
 Thanks.

 One more P S the dope that I am gonna use is Tautening Randolph clear for the silk.. :##
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larry borden

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2011, 11:58:29 AM »
I usually thin the butyrate clear at least 50-50, but I spray the coats on. I use nitrate tautening, for the first few coats, then switch to butyrate NT. I use Randolph dope for everything, except I use Brodak's crystal clear for the final coats after all graphics have been put on.

Offline Jim Kraft

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2011, 01:57:18 PM »
For applying the silk, and the first few coats with a brush, I thin butyrate about 65 to 70%. That will be thin enough to keep it from running through, and if it does there won't be enough solids to make a blob. The 5mm Dharma silk will be filled after about 3 coats of this mix. Since I do the complete finish with a brush, I just continue brushing clear dope at slightly thicker until I get a nice sheen. At that point I wet sand everything with 400 grit. I then apply a few more coates of clear dope thinned at least 60%. If it looks good at this point, I go ahead and do the color coats with the color thinned at least 60% also. I then go with a couple of coats of clear again thinned at least 60%. If you keep your dope thin it will keep brush marks to a minimum and I usually don't even sand the plane except for that one time. When it is all done and for a super finish, wet sand with 600 grit wet, and then rub it out with Dupont white rubbing compound.

When I do the trim colors, I mask off for the color, and use a small brush to paint clear along the edge of the tape to keep the colors from bleeding under the tape. After applying the color, and before removing the tape, I give the trim colors a coat of clear. That keeps the colors from smearing when applying the overall clear coats later on. Some colors won't smear, but others will without the clear on them first.

I use a good quality camel hair brush for all doping, and don't ever brush the dope more than three strokes per brush load of dope.

There are many tricks to getting a good finish with a brush that I think you just have to learn by doing. I have been brushing all my planes for the last 16 years, and just do a lot of things without really thinking about it.
Jim Kraft

Offline DanielGelinas

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2011, 11:23:35 AM »
Thanks for the info!! 8)
Looking forwand to trying this.

Question: Can someone tell em where I can get Non taunteneing dope products? Sig?
Seems sike brodaks just has the tauntening dope...

Thanks,

-Dan H^^

larry borden

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2011, 12:24:06 PM »
I use Randolph dope with the exception of Brodak's crystal clear. I get mine from Tex-Air in Fort Worth. Any aircraft maintenance supllier should be able to get it. All Randolph colors are non-tautening, I called and asked.

Offline DanielGelinas

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2011, 07:59:29 PM »
Thanks Larry!

I just realized they sell the paint mostly for real aircraft. ~^

Regards,

-dan H^^

Offline Andrew Tinsley

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2011, 12:41:49 PM »
If you want areally light finish. First cover with mylar, just like the competition Free Flight guys do (I use a thinned down impact adhesive on the ribs etc and after it is dry, I put on the very very thin mylar, you need an iron or heat to make it stick. Then cover with silk as described above. One coat of shrinking dope (suitably thinned) and you are there!
  You don't need lots of layers to seal the silk, the mylar doe that. Finish to your taste and you have a very strong lightweight finish that is far stronger than silk alone.

Regards,

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Offline Louis Keller, Jr.

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2011, 03:57:51 AM »
will this process  work for silkspan as well?

larry borden

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2011, 11:47:43 AM »
If you're talking about my method, silkspan works the same.

Offline Randy Powell

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2011, 02:09:11 PM »
So, what's the weight difference between silk and silkspan? I've don't a couple of planes with silk, but not in a long time and never really paid much attention to this.
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Offline Jim Kraft

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2011, 07:54:00 PM »
I would say that the difference between silk and silkspan is really pretty close. I have finished many planes with both, and I would say that the new silk like from Dharma, is a little lighter finish because it fills so fast with dope. I don't use any filler in my finishes, just clear dope all the way out to the color. The silk seems to take less coats to get to where I can go to color.
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Offline Gene O'Keefe

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2011, 08:01:16 AM »
FWIW...it's been fairly well talked about too..and that is to cover the wing overlapping the center joint for strength "before" you insert it into fuselage and glue in place....works with silk / silkspan / polyspan...helps not to create a stress riser joint.
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Offline Dan Bregar

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2011, 05:24:41 PM »
My experience has been that silk takes a couple more coats of clear to seal than silkspan.  ;D
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Offline Clint Ormosen

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2011, 10:41:08 AM »
My experience has been that silk takes a couple more coats of clear to seal than silkspan.  ;D


Ditto. But I've also found that Polyspan fills even faster.
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Offline Dan Bregar

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2011, 07:07:35 PM »
I'm gonna have to try that stuff some day, (polyspan).  :)
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Offline Clint Ormosen

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2011, 11:24:25 PM »
I'm gonna have to try that stuff some day, (polyspan).  :)

I have yet to find a downside to it. Heat shrinkable, strong, and fast filling. It might be a little tougher to get around tight corners, but still very workable with a little heat. Good stuff!
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Offline Dan Bregar

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2011, 07:48:00 PM »
Clint

I hear people say not to use it on wing tips.  What say you ?  :)


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Offline Clint Ormosen

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #22 on: October 17, 2011, 09:59:58 AM »
Clint

I hear people say not to use it on wing tips.  What say you ?  :)


Dan

It's a little tougher on the tips, but I do it and it comes out fine. Might take a little practice. The heat gun is your friend.
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Offline Dan Bregar

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #23 on: October 17, 2011, 04:25:45 PM »
Thanks much ! :)
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Offline jim ivey

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #24 on: January 08, 2012, 03:34:56 PM »
randolph  sells dope sdirect.  google the phone number and charge it. It'll come right to your front door, np.    jim

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #25 on: January 22, 2012, 08:14:48 PM »
Clint

I hear people say not to use it on wing tips.  What say you ?  :)


Dan

The first time I used it, I fell in love with it.  If you put the dope on heavy on the tips, an iron with ample pulling and holding till it cools works pretty good.  If you sand it too much, it fuzzes real bad.  Make sure you put numerous coats on before sanding.

John

Offline Avaiojet

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #26 on: May 01, 2012, 06:51:32 PM »
I was applying dope on The New American just today and even at 50% 50% the nitrate was drying as fast as I was putting it on.  n~

Garage door open and Florida heat?

I can see I'll have to spray this stuff on with retarder, (reta), if I want good results.

It's a bunch of work.

Got my silk today.

I have to say, and I mentioned this in a new Thread, I can't remember dope drying this fast?

Charles
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Offline Gerald Arana

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #27 on: September 15, 2013, 10:36:24 AM »
The first time I used Polyspan I didn't attempt to cover the tips but instead used strips of silk span. (and the second time to) Then someone (Wish I could remember who) said he got it to go around the corners with a little finesse........

On my Ringmaster I tries it and it is just like covering with monocoat.

Heat stretch, heat stretch, etc. and voila! It has gone around the corner.

I have a couple pictures but I don't see how to add them. Someone want to help me?

Thanks in advance, Jerry
« Last Edit: September 15, 2013, 10:55:46 AM by Gerald Arana »

Offline Bill Little

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #28 on: September 15, 2013, 10:51:10 AM »
Hi Jerry,

Did you try clicking "ATTACH" below the text box on your reply?  That is the simple way.

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Offline Gerald Arana

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #29 on: September 15, 2013, 11:01:45 AM »
Hi Bill,

Thanks for the reply. I figured it out on the OT page.

Cheers, Jerry

PS: This RM has been sitting around for over a year waiting for paint..........and it is fairly light, just under 14 oz. with a few coats of clear, fillets, etc.. Add tank, engine, prop, wheels and paint for the final weight.

Offline Avaiojet

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #30 on: September 15, 2013, 04:23:02 PM »
Gerald,

Nice of you to bring the Thread back alive, last Post was mine a year and a half ago.  n~

Fine looking Ringmaster, neat work, great construction! Kudos.

Looks like you did quite well with your efforts using Polyspan.

I didn't like the material or the results.

I tried Polyspan and didn't like the way it worked or the way I had to work with it. But then, that's me, I have few patients. Age maybe?

I found I couldn't really pull it as tight as I could pull silk and it was troublesome around the tips. Or at least that's how I found the product to be. It was the tip thing that turned me off to the product. Looks like you mastered that! Good for you! H^^

I removed what Polyspan I had applied which was on only one wing top.

I did finally get the hang of applying silk.

Here's the results of my efforts with silk. A Flite Streak and The New American.

I will continue to use silk and use it on the Mig-3.

Charles

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Offline Gerald Arana

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #31 on: October 27, 2013, 05:39:12 PM »
That looks great Charles.

I tried the Larry Renger method of putting SLC over poly span on my modified Skyray. Man, that's a job. Didn't turn out as well as I expected it to. I guess I have to learn how to pull the 'L out of it on the corners. Otherwise it looks fine.

Cheers, Jerry

Offline Steve Scott

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #32 on: September 01, 2014, 09:11:55 PM »
Another bump on an old but pertinent thread.

I just had my first experience with Polyspan and, it appears it will work better than I expected.  I did cover the wingtips with the stuff and had no problems.  I used Sig Stix-It and applied it to the tip.  Using a trim iron, I started shrinking the material on the tips before attaching it to take up some of the excess material the pulled it down as I attached it.

On another test wing, I am applying Polycryllic to fill the Polyspan.  After 2 coats, I'm pleased with the look.  I'll apply the trim/decals then a top coat of something to fuelproof it.

« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 05:37:36 PM by Steve Scott »

Offline Chuck Stanley

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #33 on: October 10, 2020, 11:07:41 AM »
For places to get all your dope and thinner call either Aircraft Spruce and specialty or Wicks Aircraft Supply . They will have all you need ,but they only have quarts. If you want smaller quantities Brodack paints are  all Randolph,I am not sure about SIG dope. Good Luck Chuck Stanley.

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #34 on: October 10, 2020, 01:12:21 PM »
For places to get all your dope and thinner call either Aircraft Spruce and specialty or Wicks Aircraft Supply . They will have all you need ,but they only have quarts. If you want smaller quantities Brodack paints are  all Randolph,I am not sure about SIG dope. Good Luck Chuck Stanley.

I only use SIG clear dope to fill open bays in wings.

What are you using currently?

I also apply silk dry now using CA. In fact, I'm not the only one.

You would have to view my Builds to read the technique required to do this.

I can do an entire wing, tops and bottoms, in less than a half hour, ready for SIG clear dope.

I actually removed the silk span on the ARGO 2 then applied dry silk using CA. Tight as a drum.

I did the last wing top on the ARGO 2 in less than two minutes. This is true, check out the builds.
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Offline Charles Hofacker

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Re: How I Cover With Silk
« Reply #35 on: October 21, 2020, 07:23:57 AM »
When you put that first coat of dope on silk over an open frame do you spray it? brush it? What is your technique?


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