Silicon as bag and bellows seasoning... opinions?

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hpinson
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Silicon as bag and bellows seasoning... opinions?

Post by hpinson » Mon Aug 25, 2008 8:53 pm

Hello. Can anyone offer their opinion on using Silicon compounds as a sealant / seasoning on the inside of a bag or bellows, as an alternative to a double wall bag or gusset.

I'm specifically interested in direct experience, in regards to durability over say 10 years. Does it start to delaminate at some point? Does it breakdown or affect the leather in some way?

I'm experimenting with coating the inside of a leather bag and bellows gusset with GE Silicon II and it certainly seems to result in an airtight yet pliable leather.

I should say right off that this is an experiment. My normal bag seasoning is 1/2 beeswax and 1/2 neatsfoot oil, which works well. See comments below on that.

Thanks for any advice.
Last edited by hpinson on Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:54 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by PJ » Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:27 am

I can't help on the silicone question but as regards alternatives to the "right stuff", I bought some leather from a local craftsman. He uses this grade of leather for motorcycle chaps. I used two layers of this for the gusset of my bellows and it works great.

I don't know if it would be possible to make a bag from this, however.
PJ

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Post by hpinson » Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:25 am

If possible please consider the original question about silicon treatment of leathers, and durability of the treatment over time. Thanks. :)
Last edited by hpinson on Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:32 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by Marcelo Muttis » Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:29 am

I used the "right stuff" in my bag but I made other bags where I used Neutrogena hands cream melted to liquid in a double boil configuration and poured hot into the bag as is known for the traditional recipe "but" with this cream, it can be some neutral hands cream as diadermine or the cream used to milk the cows (I don´t know the name in english) but this last cream prevents hurting your own hands and the cows nipples by the action of milking. Always applied as it was the "right stuff".
Ahhh... it works nice.

About the silicon, if it´s a thick layer apply it´ll delaminate over time, I experimented on leather before cut the bag shape with little silicon dots and worked it out with a cotton cloth and in little circle motion to make it penetrate the leather. Pretty good results but not optimal.
Last edited by Marcelo Muttis on Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Peter Laban

Post by Peter Laban » Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:31 am

There have been posts on C&F about bags ruined by pour in rubber/silicon treatments.

Beeswax and olive oil works well.

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Post by hpinson » Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:44 am

Hi Peter. Let me clarify. This is a pre-construction process.

My experiment involved has involved, at the first stage of bag constuction, applying a thin but even coat of GE Silicon II to the entire inside bag surface of the leather (in this case the smooth side), letting that dry well over 24 hours, and then glueing/sewing/ or riviting up the bag. Essentially this creates a pliable laminate. The result is a bag that is about as airtight as I have seen, similar to a double wall leather bag, but much more pliable.

When you say ruined can you explain what you mean?

I would think that pouring in silcon after bag construction is complete would not be a good idea. I could see how that could ruin the bag. Silicon is very gooey and sticky. Bag walls would bond together. The key to have this work is to apply and dry before the bag is sewn up.

I guess I am interested if any other makers have experimented with this approach in the long term. What affect might silicon have on a hide? Is delamination an issue?

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Post by Marcelo Muttis » Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:55 am

Peter Laban wrote:There have been posts on C&F about bags ruined by pour in rubber/silicon treatments.

Beeswax and olive oil works well.

IMHO olive oil will get rancid and rot quickly I´d use neatsfoot oil.
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Post by hpinson » Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:05 am

This may help keep on-topic:

The Silicon II treatment is visible as a thin white layer inside the bag neck. Bond is positive-- it does not pull off easily.

Image

Peter Laban

Post by Peter Laban » Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:34 am

IMHO olive oil will get rancid and rot quickly I´d use neatsfoot oil.
Here we go again. This is always brought up. FWIW: My bag has not rotted or smelled badly, in fact I quite liked the smell of the beeswax during the first years, and has stayed airtight without problem for the best part of 25 years so far. So has my bellows. Geoff Wooff used to season his bags this way when they needed it and has not reported any problems that have made him change his mind.

A few horror stories about neatsfoot oil are going around as well with terrible deterioration reported.

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Post by Pipewort » Tue Aug 26, 2008 2:09 pm

I agree with Peter L that Neat's Foot Oil is a bad idea. Any animal based oil is going to stink in time as it degrades, where as vegetable based oils will also, but less so. No doubt it is due to the chemeical nature of the oil components; but perhaps too with the effectiveness of the beeswax in stabilising the decomposition of the vegegtable versus animal oils. I have had Northumbrian bags reekin' that were Neats Foot Oil treated after just a short while.

I do disagree with Peter though, that properly applied Latex sealant is not as good as B/Wax + Olive oil. Not 25 years yet, just ten, but going like a good 'un. And no smell of any kind at all.

I seem to remember that Colin Ross, with his Northumbrian bags and bellows, would include a drop of petuli (sic) oil, to guard against the stink as the olive oil went 'off', when he dressed bags - but that was at the tag end of the hippy era.

The point of Latex/Rubber is that there is no re-dressing issue as such; but maybe a more frequent replacement of bag or gussets; that is 15 + vs 25+ years.

Can't speak for silcone, but I suspect it woud have to be thinned to be absorbed into the surface, as well as lying on the surface, to be effective. Are there solvents available to allow this? If so, probably worth a try.

Pwt

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Post by Marcelo Muttis » Tue Aug 26, 2008 6:32 pm

If it works and doesn´t rot it´s OK then Peter! that is the important thing, my bag has been seasoned with neatsfoot oil and beeswax about 3 years ago and is working airtight without rotting and smelling less and less as the time goes on. Just my 2 cents.
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Peter Laban

Post by Peter Laban » Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:51 am

I do disagree with Peter though, that properly applied Latex sealant is not as good as B/Wax + Olive oil. Not 25 years yet, just ten, but going like a good 'un. And no smell of any kind at all.
I don't really have much of an opinion on it, I just noted there was a discussion on C&F some years ago which described some bad experiences, with photos.

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Post by Marcelo Muttis » Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:11 am

hpinson wrote:This may help keep on-topic:

The Silicon II treatment is visible as a thin white layer inside the bag neck. Bond is positive-- it does not pull off easily.
Maybe in the next experience you could spread the silicon on a perfect flat surface like glass, previously waxed, and then set the leather on it, to get an even surface into the bag.
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Post by dropkick » Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:29 am

As Peter pointed out, this is a topic that has been run into the ground more than a few times. There are always a slew of differing opinions ready and waiting to continue the debate of this topic... boggles my tiny mind it does.

I fail to see the need to go crazy over what is or isn't a better sealant for a cold wind bag. I haven't used a sealant yet for my UP bags and do not see the need to do so any time soon.

There are a handful of good ways to insure the airtightness of one's bag, bottom line, go with the one that works best for you, be it silicon or hog's snot. :roll:
There are two ends to every pudding... -Cptn. Jack Aubrey.

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Post by hpinson » Wed Aug 27, 2008 10:17 am

Hi. Just want to point back to my original question.
What is the long-term durability of silicon bonded to leather as a sealent, and does it have a detremental effect on leather.
This is an engineering question only. I'm honestly not trying to start arguments about the merits of any other seasoning approach.

My take from answers so far is that Silicon II (which is different than latex) provides a great sealant that may last 10-15 years, but at that point cannot easily be restored, as can a wax / oil sealant. It may last 10-15 years. I'm also intuiting that since GE Silicon II is a newish material, no one really knows what its durability or affect on leather is.

In my mind being able to restore airtightness by something as simple as traditional wax / oil seasoning is a good argument against using Silicon.

However, my current silicon treated bag / bellows project should offer insight one way or the other over time.

Question answered. Thanks.

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