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  1. #1
    Senior Member Splinter's Avatar
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    Another DIY Tarp

    So I thought I'd give it a shot a DIYing a tarp. I thought about Tyvek, but after much thought and helpful input from others on this site, I decided to try and make my own tarp. My goals in this tarp were simple: waterproof (kinda a given), light weight, and done as much in "diy" as I could.

    I would like to give credit where credit is due: Gunn Parker for the link to Black Bishops site for the directions for the cat cuts and everyone that added to the "make your own sil" thread (http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/s...hlight=mineral). Without these two threads, I could never have made this thing.

    So anyways. I went to Walmart and lucked up on 1.1 ripstop nylon in the $1 bin. I got the entire bolt, 15 yards. I then went and got a bottle of mineral spirits and a tube of clear silicon caulking.

    I mixed the silicon (about the size of half a baseball) and mineral spirits together and made a mixture that was runny, but still thick (about the consistency of syrup that had been in the fidge). I slowly added the mineral spirits while using a whisk to mix things up (if someone follows these directions, I would greatly caution this being done in a well ventilated area!). I coated the nylon in two twelve foot sections. I let them air dry in the garage hanging from a rope and being held inplace by the hangers you would use to hang pants. (Talk about the neighbors looking at you funny, try explaining why you are hanging fabric in your garage...)

    Next I took the dried fabric into the house and used cardboard cut outs of the cat cuts as templates for the tarp. (I REALLY recomend this. I have since gotten a single piece of cardboard from a furniture store and I am going to make a whole template for the entire tarp instead of just pieces like I did this time.) I used the instructions and excel file from gunn's webpage of the Black Bishop tarp from this point on (Again, thanks for hosting this valuable piece of info!).

    This first pic is of the ripstop, before and after the diy sil job. The lighter stuff has no sil, and the darker has the sil.

    Here is the finished product. I don't know what, if anything that I have added to the collective good of making a tarp, but I just wanted to share.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    "Do, or do not. There is no 'try'."
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  2. #2
    Dutch's Avatar
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    Great looking tarp. Did you test waterproofness yet? I made my own sil for some windpants, but I don't think it is waterproof enough for a tarp. Sounds like you used a whole lot more silicone. Your really going to be proud showing off that tarp.
    Peace Dutch
    GA>ME 2003


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  3. #3
    Senior Member gunn parker's Avatar
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    Well done, you should be very happy with that job.
    Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.
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  4. #4
    Brian's Avatar
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    It looks fantastic! How much of a curve did you use on the long edge? Looks close to what, at least 5".
    Brian MacMillin
    www.OutdoorEquipmentSupplier.com
    Home of the MacCat and OES 4-Season Hammock Tarps

  5. #5
    Senior Member Splinter's Avatar
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    I tested the material using the shower head method and then let it sit overnight in the kitchen sink. In the shower it didn't leak at all (I ran water for ~20 minutes on the same spot and it didn't leak). The sink test worked like this: I put the fabric in the sink and filled the sink up with water. After letting it sit over night all the water had drain out except where the fabric went into the drain. This held water (maded a little cup shape) and was totally dry on the bottom. I am assuming that the pressure of the sink on the fabric caused it to leak. I did both tests prior to sewing just in case I needed to re-sil any of it.

    Yup, the cuts are 5" at the deepest point. The fabric has a little looseness, put I think that was due to the ties for the ridge line. I don't think I had it tight enough (still nervous about pulling out a stitch... my finished tarp was only 30 minutes old at that point )
    "Do, or do not. There is no 'try'."
    - Yoda

  6. #6
    Senior Member tight-wad's Avatar
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    Looks good!

    Hooray! somebody else has made a working piece of gear with home made sil. My DIY sil tarp was left up for the longest time (? 3 months?) over my work-in-progress bridge hammock on a stand in the yard (finally had to take it all down because the wifey said it was an eyesore for the neighbors...) Anyway, I don't think it ever leaked, but it may come down with a case of sun rot.

    Re: sink test. I finally gave up on making a gravity fed water filter using top quality "store bought" sil because I could never get it to be 100% water tight. The seal around the outlet hole was good, but with as little as a gallon of water in the bag there was enough pressure to cause the water to bead up on the outside of the bag. After hanging for a few hours all the water except a little bit near the bottom would have dripped out. You don't get that kind of pressure from rain (shower test), so sil is good for a tarp. Sil is not so good as a water bucket (sink test).

  7. #7
    Brian's Avatar
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    For a homemade *pressure test*, try taking a 2" x 2" piece and rubber band it over a 2L soda bottle - use two bands so it doesn't pop off. Fill up the bottle before hand, and invert.

    There shouldn't be any leaking with it just sitting there, and you can gradually add pressure by squeezing the bottle. Little bubbles should form when you've applied a bit of pressure.

    This method should prove to be easier than using a hose with a little-trusting partner standing underneath...in late December.
    Brian MacMillin
    www.OutdoorEquipmentSupplier.com
    Home of the MacCat and OES 4-Season Hammock Tarps

  8. #8
    Senior Member Splinter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tight-wad View Post
    Looks good!

    My DIY sil tarp was left up for the longest time (? 3 months?) over my work-in-progress bridge hammock on a stand in the yard (finally had to take it all down because the wifey said it was an eyesore for the neighbors...) Anyway, I don't think it ever leaked, but it may come down with a case of sun rot.

    That makes me feel better!

    I set the tarp up today and turned on the sprinkler (more strange looks from the neighbors). No leaks, even on the ridgeline seam, but I'm still going to seal it up! I even got brave and set the Blackbird under and laid in it for a while listening to the "rain". Only problem that I've got is more an inconveince... the trim and tieouts are soaked and I don't want to put them up wet. I might try and use spray stuff from Walmart or use a paint brush and put some sil/mineral spirit concoction on it.

    On my next tarp (which my wife wants to know why do I need another one???) I'm going to try and add door pulls to it. For those of you that have ventured into this realm, any pointers?
    "Do, or do not. There is no 'try'."
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian View Post
    For a homemade *pressure test*, try taking a 2" x 2" piece and rubber band it over a 2L soda bottle - use two bands so it doesn't pop off. Fill up the bottle before hand, and invert.

    There shouldn't be any leaking with it just sitting there, and you can gradually add pressure by squeezing the bottle. Little bubbles should form when you've applied a bit of pressure.

    This method should prove to be easier than using a hose with a little-trusting partner standing underneath...in late December.
    Brian... you can do about the same thing without a soda bottle. I guess with the soda bottle you can get more of a measurement but with this technique you can make comparisons and have somewhat of a pass fail test. You can do either test with rain jackets or any decent size piece of fabric. Just take it to a sink, put water in a portion of it, and gather the material around it into a decent size water balloon. Hold it up over the sink and see if water leaks or seeps through. Rubbing the bottom will add some pressure and finally squeezing will add a lot more.

    I think you learn more comparing different materials. Different rain jackets might show you that the term 'waterproof' might not mean what you always thought it did. It certainly gave me a different view of the rain gear I had been using for years while backpacking after I got soaking wet just standing in the rain for a few hours without hiking at a get together a couple of years ago.
    Youngblood AT2000

  10. #10
    Member speyguy's Avatar
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    Great looking tarp!

    I know the DIY sil has been discussed here before. I did a quick search but could not find an answer to my question. Iím curious to know how much per square yard that the 1.1 oz rip stop ends up weighing after the silicone is applied? Does anyone know? Iím sure itís subjective, depending on the amount applied, but Iím still curious. I have a bunch of the wally world 1.1 ripstop on hand and am considering making one more 8 x 10 hex tarp with it.

    Splinter can you or tight wad or anyone else who has coated your own ripstop, post the dimensions of your tarp and the final weight so that I might get an idea of how the finished product weight compares to a commercially made sil tarp. I think that might give us an idea of the fabric weight after the silicone is applied.

    Thanks!!
    "If your head is wax, don't walk in the sun" -Ben Franklin

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