I can’t believe the new year is here. 2011 sure flew by, didn’t it? What are you guys doing to celebrate the New Year? I ended my 2011 the exact same way I started it, making a few tele turns on new fallen powder, then taking a nice long 2-hour nap, working on a project and then a delicious dinner with friends before hitting the sack. Since all of those make me happy I’d say it was a good year! Since I was in bed before midnight, I’d also say I might be getting old.
The irony of yesterday’s project was that it was the last day to hunt pheasant on public land and I finally completed my pheasant hunting chaps around the end of shooting light. Go figure! The good news is that preserve pheasant is open until the end of March; I’m hoping to get at least once chance to try out the new chaps.
Part 2 of the Almost-Filson Chap project was to treat the canvas with the wax coating that makes it so durable, mud and blood proof and keeps my legs warm and protected from all the prickly stuff.
Step 1: You are going to need some wax product to do the waxing with. You can create your own or go by a few cans of the Filson wax treatment. I love the results the Filson wax gives but it’s pretty pricy to do a large project with it at $10.00 per 3 1/4 ounce so I opted for the make your own option.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to brew your own.
The amounts you’ll need of each are:
1 qt. linseed oil
6 oz. turpentine
1 1/4 lb. beeswax
3-6 oz. pine tar
Place all the ingredients into a container you never want to use again and place that container into a large pot of water. Your local hardware store has galvinized buckets that work great for this. Place on a burner over medium heat and bring the water to a boil. Melt all the ingredients together and you’re ready to wax.
We’ve played with the recipe and found that this produces the closest results to the Filson Oil Finish Wax, although it is definitely not the same product. The Filson Oil Finish Wax is a semi-solid product that you rub into the fabric you want to wax, we’ve found that the homebrewed product works best when applied as a liquid. Otherwise you’ll be working on the project for-ev-ah.
Step 2: Now that you’ve got your wax gather your supplies. You’ll need an clean paintbrush that you never want to use again, a large sheet of cardboard to cover the surface you’re working on or else work on a surface that you don’t care if it gets coated in oil, a blowdryer, and your item to wax.
Step 3: Wax on, wax off!
Actually that should be wax on, wax in. Working in small, manageable chunks, use the paintbrush, “paint” your project with the wax coating. Some of it will go in but a lot of the wax will just kind of sit on top of the fabric.
Once you’ve got the wax on, there are two ways to work the wax into the fabric. Both work well, which method you choose will depend on what you want the outcome to look like. If you’ve never tried this before I’d recommend trying out both on a spare piece of fabric to see which result you like better.
Your first option is to use the blowdryer to heat the wax into the fabric. Depending on how water-proof you want the product to be you may need to do two coats. I’ve found this to be the case in most of my projects.
For this project I went with the second technique which is a little more “hands on.” Apply the wax to a small area and then rub the wax into the fabric, using your body heat to work the product into the fabric. You may need to reheat the wax with a blowdryer if you coat to large of an area or are working in a cooler environment. Be careful about getting the blowdryer too close to the wax or it will melt the wax into the fabric instead of just heating it. I used this method for the back of the chaps because it produces a less stiff result and and will more comfortable when walking mile after mile.
The area on the left was worked by hand, the darker area on the right was done with the heat method. Both work well, it’s all just about preference.
Continue working until you’ve coated the entire exterior of the project and then, voila! You’re done!
Some final thoughts on waxing canvas…
If you’re going for really, really waterproof you may want to let the project cool for a few hours and re-coat it again. I used this technique for my vintage messenger bag.
Because I use my chaps for hunting and the turpentine has a very distinctive scent, once I’ve finished waxing them I hang them outside in a protected location and let them air out for quite a while. I’m not going to say this gives me any advantage over the pheasants but at least I don’t stink out my hunting partners!
What did you do to celebrate the New Year’s holiday? I’d love to hear about it!
Happy New Year and happy waxing!