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Thread: Why Sew Cuben?

  1. #1
    silentorpheus's Avatar
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    Why Sew Cuben?

    looking to make some cuben fiber stuff sacks, and other things.

    I'm curious as to what the benefits are to sewing cuben, versus just taping?

    Stuff sacks from z-packs are bonded on the bottom and side seams, but sewn around the draw cord channel. Sacks from MLD are bonded on the draw cord seams and side seams, but the bottom seam is sewn and taped.

    Are there benefits gained to sewing any or all of the seams? I understand you'd need to sew if you want to attach something non-cuben, like zippers or pull tabs or grosgrain or something - you can't bond something that isn't cuben to something that is - but why should someone consider sewing the draw cord channel, or the bottom or side seam?
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  2. #2
    Yoda's Avatar
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    One guess would be the low peal strength with tape. So by having it sewed first then taped the seam itself is now almost equally strong in tear and peal strength. Then the added in waterproof nature of taped seams. This would also depend on the type of cuben used, Joe at Z-Packs made a video on the tear strength of several different weights of cuben on a sewed seam. Verdict was the lighter weight failed much quicker and easier than the heavier weight cuben, only thing that was not added into the experiment was the addition of tape to it, which I feel would have prolonged the quick failure, but def not eliminate it.

    Only con to sewing and taping is the added weight, which is more apparent in larger items like tarps.
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  3. #3
    I have just started making some Cuben Fiber stuff sacks, and have one currently being tested as a daily nappy (diaper) bag by my wife and given full access to my young kids. My kids jump on it, pull at it etc, as kids do. You can't ask for a better testing environment .

    The bag has held up well over the last 3 weeks or so, and it is taped only and waterproof (it holds water without leaking, at least for the 30 seconds I tested it for) apart from the hole at the top obviously.

    I am happy with just using tape for stuff sacks.

  4. #4
    silentorpheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yoda View Post
    One guess would be the low peal strength with tape. So by having it sewed first then taped the seam itself is now almost equally strong in tear and peal strength. Then the added in waterproof nature of taped seams. This would also depend on the type of cuben used, Joe at Z-Packs made a video on the tear strength of several different weights of cuben on a sewed seam. Verdict was the lighter weight failed much quicker and easier than the heavier weight cuben, only thing that was not added into the experiment was the addition of tape to it, which I feel would have prolonged the quick failure, but def not eliminate it.

    Only con to sewing and taping is the added weight, which is more apparent in larger items like tarps.
    That makes total sense. I knew there had to be a somewhat common sense reason, otherwise the 'experts' wouldn't bother with it.

    So basically one can chalk it up to a differing in opinion between the two vendors as to which seam(s) are under the most stress from peeling forces, which dictates their decision to reinforce those seam(s) with stitching in addition to taping/adhesive. Cool beans.
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  5. #5
    silentorpheus's Avatar
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    Honestly, the reason I ask is because I just bought one of those kits from Yama. Their directions advocate 100% taping - no sewing. MLD sews the bottom, z-packs sews the top.

    I hate it when three different companies all do the same thing three different ways, but no one spells out clearly why they think their way is better.

    What ever happened to the days of heavy handed marketing, where a company tells you "we do it like this - and here's why it's SO much better than our competitors!" Never thought I'd see the day where I actually WANTED a company to try and sell to me that way ...
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    Senior Member WV's Avatar
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    It's possible to make cuben stuff sacks with roll tops in which the stresses on all the seams are largely shear. This makes taping the best option because the result is waterproof. However, I use cuben stuff sacks with draw cord closures to organize clothing and gear inside my pack. I don't need absolute waterproof protection, so sewn seams are perfectly acceptable. A draw cord opening is easier to use, IMO, but the best stuff sack I made was all taped, and it was easy to use because I cut the zip-loc top off a commercial freezerbag and taped it to the cuben bag.

    One reason to make sewn cuben stuff bags is that they are easier to make for most people (who are more likely to have sewing skills than cuben taping/bonding experience).

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by silentorpheus View Post
    Honestly, the reason I ask is because I just bought one of those kits from Yama. Their directions advocate 100% taping - no sewing. MLD sews the bottom, z-packs sews the top.
    I would go with Yama's directions, the way he does them is very good.

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