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Old 19-10-2010, 07:11   #1
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Sail Repair Advice

It appears that the thread stitching on the seams of the sail will fail before the sail material itself and in the past I've just removed the old thread and restitched the seam. Is there some way to beef up the old needle holes before applying the new thread and creating even more holes along that same seam? Would basting tape be sufficient to make the seam significially stronger?
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Old 19-10-2010, 08:54   #2
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I use the very same holes. I've never had a seam fail by pulling thru the holes. It's either the thread rotting out from the sun or the cloth tearing somewhere other than the seam. It way faster to stitch thru the old holes too.
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Old 19-10-2010, 09:23   #3
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I would lay a row of sticky-back dacron tape over the seam overlap to reinforce it, and then stitch through that. Good luck!
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Old 19-10-2010, 09:45   #4
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If you're worried the holes have worn too big, then stick a layer of sail tape along the seam first - but still sew through the original holes.
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Old 19-10-2010, 14:14   #5
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Thanks for the replies. I'll be using a machine so matching the original holes are unlikely and also the concern is that just too many holes are being poked into the fabric. The dacron sail repair tape idea is a possibility but I not sure how the needle will do after repeated inserts into that adhesive. This is going to be as much fun as doing the teak.
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Old 19-10-2010, 14:17   #6
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Just wipe down the needle periodically with acetone to remove the adhesive build-up.
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Old 19-10-2010, 19:38   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Intrepid View Post
Just wipe down the needle periodically with acetone to remove the adhesive build-up.
What he said.
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Old 19-10-2010, 19:42   #8
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Just bring it to your sailmaker. They have the equipment to pound through the fabric quickly and easily.
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Old 20-10-2010, 04:57   #9
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If I were putting on patches, then fair enough, I'd pattex the patch down, then use a sewing machine for the rest.

Seams I'm more careful with - i hand sew them to avoid putting more holes in them.
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Old 20-10-2010, 05:09   #10
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I Hand Sew everything, if its a seam I use exsisting holes, if a Patch then make new holes... don't have a machine so don't have a choice..
I'll leave the Sailmakers for you guys that work for a living....
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Old 20-10-2010, 13:58   #11
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Hi,

On tallships we paint Barge Cement over all of the stitching to prevent chafe and sun degradation. Using a machine, I'd leave the existing thread in place (even degraded, it's offering some grip) and run a row of new stitches along, offset by a millimeter or so, then smear cement over it all. If you're really concerned about weakness, get some five or six ounce dacron and cut it into 1" or 2" strips (or buy a roll). Lay this over the old stitches and put your new stitches through it; I'd cement that strip in place, but it isn't necessary. It'll sure be stronger though - and once cured (about ten minutes), the barge cement won't leave a residue on your needle. It'll need thinned a bit as it's quite viscous; get it to a thick varnish or room temp honey viscosity, then paint it on.




You can see the cement on all of the seams of these sails; it's works fabulously. These sails are manhandled frequently and the stitches never give way because they're protected by the barge cement:




In a pinch, barge cement can be used to glue a patch on without stitches and it'll hold like crazy. I did this to a gaff's main after it was split from leech to luff mid-mast after a student watch officer accidentally gybed; 12" wide dacron patch glued on without unbending the sail, all in 45mins and 30kts...

Cheers,
Aaron N.
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