How-to? Waxing cloth, a la Barbour.

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by BellyTank, Nov 5, 2007.

  1. BellyTank

    BellyTank I'll Lock Up

    Here's one for you, Alan Eardley...

    Having mis-placed my "Fortunes in Formulas", I will ask here.

    Searching the home clothing archives, I have unearthed a Barbour International motorcycle jacket.
    I bought it for my Wife but it is too large for her- it was "put away".
    Most peculiarly, it fits me. This has inspired me to attempt to make one which I find more appealing.

    Anyone have the tome to hand or know otherwise.

    Does anyone know/have first-hand experience of a home made cloth waxing concoction which works..?

    I have some experience of blending oils, waxes and resins for shoe polish, cremes, etc. but have not attempted wax for a jacket.
    I'm sure all the ingredients are freely available but I need a stable, lasting recipe.

    I want to make a waxed jacket/oilskin to my liking.

    I will search but look forward to your input.


    B
    T
     
  2. Weston

    Weston A-List Customer

    Messages:
    303
    Barbour sells the wax itself in helpful large tins. Around $12 US through Amazon.com. Is that what you were looking for?
     
  3. BellyTank

    BellyTank I'll Lock Up

    Thanks- but looking for a recipe- maybe an ancient one.
    Do it myself.


    B
    T
     
  4. Speedster

    Speedster Practically Family

    Messages:
    876
    Location:
    60 km west of København
    Had a look at my old Belstaff reproofing cans last night. No ingredients list on them, i'm afraid. We must wait for Alan.
     
  5. Alan Eardley

    Alan Eardley One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,500
    Location:
    Midlands, UK
    And here he is...better late than never. At Belstaff we used to have a sophisticated waxproofing development section (his name was George Barnish) who used to spend hours experimenting with different compounds. He would then spend even more hours telling us about it during lunch breaks. Unfortunately he was so boring that we never used to listen, so I'm not sure I can be of much help. I know that what Belstaff used, which smelled like all the traditional waxproofing compounds (i.e. not Nikwax or Grangers) was based on natural wax (carnauba, I think) in suspension. Whether it was suspended in alcohol or an oil I'm not sure. I can remember that the fabric itself was (is?) made by James Halstead in Manchester (who later ownd Belstaff).

    Sorry I can't be of more help...at the moment. I'll see if I can find out more.

    Alan
     
  6. Speedster

    Speedster Practically Family

    Messages:
    876
    Location:
    60 km west of København
  7. Alan Eardley

    Alan Eardley One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,500
    Location:
    Midlands, UK
  8. BellyTank

    BellyTank I'll Lock Up

    Thanks Speedster, I didn't find that one. Perfect.
    Fyrretrætjære! There was some talk of it being udfaset.

    Pine Tar was one I hadn't thought of- seems like he's wood treatment guy
    and uses it as well as the others. I have some Carnauba...
    I actually thought about adding some essential oil- sandalwood or cedarwood
    but cedarwood wouldn't be able to compete with the turps.
    Orange is well known for masking other aromas- good in the kitchen.

    Alan, what is the distinctive wax jacket smell?
    Is it one of the obvious ingredients?

    When sniffing my almost new Barbour I can imagine "real" Turpentine(not the painting variety) and maybe beeswax white wax doesn't have much aroma.
    I need Jilly Goulden, to be absolutely sure...

    Most of the ingredients from Speedster's link are easy to get.
    Have to find some Pine Tar- shouldn't be too hard in Scandinavia.
    If it hasn't been withdrawn by the European "we know what's best for you brigade".

    Thanks Guys!

    B
    T
     
  9. Alan Eardley

    Alan Eardley One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,500
    Location:
    Midlands, UK
    Wax (bee or plant) and turpentine (not white spirit)

    Alan
     
  10. Speedster

    Speedster Practically Family

    Messages:
    876
    Location:
    60 km west of København
  11. BellyTank

    BellyTank I'll Lock Up

    Cool!

    B
    T
     
  12. mister7

    mister7 Familiar Face

    Messages:
    92
    Location:
    albuquerque
    pine tar

    I am sure you can buy pine tar to use on baseball bats. Remember the George Brett pine tar incident? You paint it on and heat it with a torch.

    That said, I cannot imagine it would be a good ingredient to mix in. When cross-country skis were still made of wood I pine tarred a lot of them (worked in a ski shop for years) and it is the worst thing in the world for staining your clothes. Also very sticky!

    I'm not very sure about this, but it seems like the method of application of the wax to cloth involved boiling it in?

    edit: The boiling process I was thinking of is actually used to REMOVE wax in the batik dyeing process. I bet though when manufacturing the waxed cloth, it is applied as a liquid solution rather than rubbed on as a solid.
     
  13. Alan Eardley

    Alan Eardley One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,500
    Location:
    Midlands, UK
    Pine tar is also a standard treatment for dog-sled runners, of course.

    Having had a bit of opportunity to think about this, I seem to recall that the process of reproofing wax-proof cotton was different than the original proofing process. Before the wax-proof fabric (from Eqyptian cotton in the best examples) was woven, the thread was coated (as was done with Burberry cloth in the late 19th Century). This means that a new wax-proofed garment breathes to a certain extent. This is lost when reproofing is carried out, as this is done by coating the fabric.

    Alan

     
  14. BellyTank

    BellyTank I'll Lock Up

    Thanks Alan.
    I'm not TOO concerned with the breathe-ability.
    It MUST depend to a degree on the tightness of the cloth.

    I will not be using Egyptian cotton. This is purely an experiment.
    To be able to de-mystify a process.

    I would HOPE, that a reasonably-but-not-too-tight-woven cloth, even when home-wax-treated, could be waterproof AND still maintain SOME measure of respirative ability.
    I can imagine that a cloth that is woven to be "WINDPROOF", manufacturer-waxed and then re-waxed may lose the -ability.

    Would I be correct in thinking that in commercial jackets- the wax jacket CLOTH would be wax-treated before cutting/construction, rather than piece-treated..? Or no?

    But then I have read that after making sewing repairs, you must re-treat the effected/affected area... stitch holes...

    Hmmm...

    B
    T
     
  15. BellyTank

    BellyTank I'll Lock Up

    mister7,
    Thanks for your response.
    I am in Denmark. No, I don't remember "the George Brett pine tar incident" but it sounds intriguing, for sure.
    I have sourced the Pinetar and opened lines of communication.
    The product I want/have sourced, is a liquid form, quite thick but liquid.

    I don't think it's a necessary ingredient but its inclusion in a recipe has charmed me, due to my Scandinavian location,
    the local production and historical usage of it.

    The question of how the cloth/garments is/are originally "shop"-treated is an interesting one. I could imagine that if it is cloth-treated, rather than on the garment, this large, commercial operation would be via an industrial process- for instance, (here's my imagination at work)the cloth passing through a bath of the liquid proofing solution, or the solution be "padded" into the cloth and then stabilised in a "stentering", or more precisely, a "re-stentering" process: the cloth being drawn through a heated chamber(which, from reading a little about re-proofing, would seem logical and beneficial, if not factual.), through a mangle, lots of rollers... and being drawn out to a new "natural finished width", after solution-absorption and any associated shrinkage- a stabilising process.
    This hot, stentering process would heat the cloth and probably even-out and stabilise the coating on the cloth.

    Get that?

    The link to the US forum, regarding re-proofing, supplied by Spedster deserves a read: http://www.woodcentral.com/cgi-bin/r...cles_368.shtml

    I'm really thinking now.

    B
    T
     
  16. Alan Eardley

    Alan Eardley One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,500
    Location:
    Midlands, UK
    BT,

    A clue to how the cloth that Bestaff used is that the James Halstead organisation (which acquired Belstaff in the 1960s in a fine example of 'vertical integration') used to manufacture coated floor coverings (originally linoleum, later vynil). I'm pretty sure that the waxproof cotton was 'coated' on the roll, pretty much as you describe.

    A puzzle - Barbour were in direct competition with Belstaff at the time. I doubt that Halstead would supply a competitor, so, from where did Barbour get its waxproof cloth? Was it made by the same process?

    The best proofed cottons (e.g. Burberry's gaberdine, Haythornethwaite's Grenfell cloth and Ventile) are wind and water resistant because they are very finely woven (the latter two need special looms) and the thread is coated before weaving.

    For your experiment, I would recommend a canvas (rather than a twill) with an open weave to ensure complete impregnation (if you see what I mean).

    Good luck and let us know how you fare.

    Alan

     
  17. mister7

    mister7 Familiar Face

    Messages:
    92
    Location:
    albuquerque
    BT,

    Sorry for the obscure baseball reference, I did not realize you are not an American.

    I bet that you are correct in the cloth being treated while still in roll form. I was thinking you might disolve the wax in a volatile (but non-flammable) solvent, soak the fabric in it and then let the solvent evaporate, leaving the wax behind.

    This probably would not be a good idea for a completed garment as I don't think you would want to treat the lining.
     
  18. BellyTank

    BellyTank I'll Lock Up

    Quack-quack.... the human candle.

    Alan- yes, almost- I was thinking of a "heavy-ish" cotton duck- and yes, definitiely a plain weave cloth.
    I observe a separation in weight and texture between "duck" and "canvas" that may not be shared by others. Difficult to describe though, unless, a.) you can read my thoughts, or, b.) I'm exactly right and you know it.
    Canvas is heavy stuff.. Duck is lighter, like a very heavy poplin, proof-able, like M-41(poplin/duck)jacket but heavier.. anorak stuff... old tents... lightweight rucksack. Plain weave is a must for the wax-coating thing.

    Canvas is like... heavy stuff... coarse texture... not something I would wish to wear. Maybe my impression/definition of "canvas" is a unique one. BUT I do feel that the actual cotton duck, of which I speak (very close weave, like a heavy poplin)has been swallowed up into the word "canvas". I bought some "duck" on eBay and it is in fact, after receiving it, what I would deem to be Canvas, heavy and coarse, with a grain and open-ness, and wieght of yarn which would not be very helpful here.


    Where I was brought up, the was a surplus shop. Next door was a shop specialising in tent cloth, canvas and duck. My visits to the shop and familiarity with their goods, is/are probably what makes my unclear definition.


    I look forward to owning another highly flammable coat.


    B
    T
     
  19. Speedster

    Speedster Practically Family

    Messages:
    876
    Location:
    60 km west of København
    How's the human candle project going, BT? Are you still all fired up...

    Just dug these out from the bottom of the cubbord a short while ago and thought it could be fun to show them for comparison:

    On the right two Belstaff jars. Both have dried out. It's completely white and still smell a little of turpentine. What's left is like paraffine crystals (sp?).
    In the front are two Barbour jars. Both look more like shoewax. And no turpentine smell at all in them.
    On the left is a pinetar wax for boots. It smells of... pinetar...
    [​IMG]

    This is what the Belstaff compound looks like:
    [​IMG]

    And this is the Wilmas Kängsko smorning (photo from a Swedish website):
    [​IMG]
     
  20. Flieger

    Flieger Practically Family

    Messages:
    570
    Location:
    Umea, Sweden
    :eek:fftopic:
    It actually says "Kngsko" not "K?•ngsko" - It means "Boot-shoe". :)

    /F
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.