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Thread: Oil Cloth recipe

  1. #1
    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Default Oil Cloth recipe

    Sparky asked about making oil cloth so here goes. There are lots of recipes available but most of them do not work well. This recipe works and is quick.

    First you need to prep your cloth. 100% cotton works best. You can get canvas at Walmart, or by a canvas painters tarp at the Paint store or Harbor freight. Do not use the cheap 8oz canvas tarps, their weave is too open and they never close up. The best way to prep it is wash it in hot water and dry it on hot setting. This shrinks the fabric and closes the weave.

    Next you need to mix some simple chemicals. You will need one quart of mineral spirits (You are not wanting mineral oil. Mineral oil will not work), which is available as paint thinner at Lowes, Home Depot or any paint store. You will also need a quart of boiled linseed oil. It is available at the same place. If you go to Sherin Williams or Porter paints you can get tarp and chemicals at the same stop.

    Mix the mineral spirits and linseed oil 50/50. Shake it up good. You need the combination of chemicals. The linseed oil waterproofs the fabric and the mineral spirits allow the oil to dry. If you use straight linseed oil the fabric will never dry and will remain oily and sticky forever. (At this point you can also add pigmint if you want color in the tarp.)

    Hang your prepared tarp from a clothesline or the back yard fince and paint it with the solution. Make sure it is saturated well. Leave the tarp hanging untill it dries. With the 50/50 mixture it will take about 48 hours. It will take the smell about a week to disperse.

    Some will tell you to use Thompsons waterseal, but it is no longer rated for fabric. It also gives the canvas an odd color. It will also break down the fabric quickly. So will turpintine, which some also recommend. The fabric will not last any time.

    My method is not only the traditional method, it is also cheap. It costs only a fraction of the cost of Camp Dry, Scotch Guard or comercial waterproofer.

    I have a couple of the linseed/mineral spirit tarps that I have been using for 15 years. The waterproofing never wears out and it does not rot the canvas.

    I have also used this recipe to waterproof kanpsacks and possible bags. It is nice to know your possible bag will double as a water bucket if necessary.


    CAUTION!!!!

    The tarp must be left outside and hanging until the oils have dispersed well. Do not try to fold the wet tarp and store it. Linseed oil can cause spontanious combustion if the fabric in folded or wadded up and stored before it dries.

    Neither do you want to get this tarp or any items treated with linseed oil near the fire.
    Last edited by kyratshooter; 12-30-2011 at 08:32 PM.
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  2. #2

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    Awesome! Thanks!

    (I think I put together this is for waterproofing heavy fabric?)

    -TresMon <————————local idiot
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    Tres
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    Senior Member Sparky93's Avatar
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    Thanks! What color does it turn the white cotton cloth, and would it affect the process if you walnut dyed the cloth before you waterproofed it?
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  4. #4

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    I'm looking to pick me up a used wall tent. If I get one likely I will (literally) live in it 85% of my time. I have been studying them- lots of folk mentioned waterproofing it with Thomson's Water seal. My first thought was HECK no- I don't want to inhale hard core chemicals all night long!

    Is your recipe respiratory system friendly in the short term and health friendly in the long?
    ---------------------------------------------
    Thanks,
    Tres
    Website has been updated for 2012!! http://wildernessmeans.com/

    NOTE: I'm a machinist, gunsmith, writer, and instructor of many outdoor topics looking for gainful employment in any geographical cool place to live. Resumes posted on website.

    John 14:6
    Jesus answered, 的 am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky93 View Post
    Thanks! What color does it turn the white cotton cloth, and would it affect the process if you walnut dyed the cloth before you waterproofed it?
    The natural color is a slightly yellow tint, but much depends on the fabric.

    I often walnut dye my fabric before I treat it with the oil.

    Remember that when you walnut dye you need a mordant in the solution. A pound of salt in a 30 gallon container works as will dropping a handfull of rusty nails into the solution. Walnut dye is weak and washes out quickly if you do not have a mordant. I have a stellite container of walnut solution under the back porch. It has lived there for years. I just throw whatever I need dyed in there and forget about it for a few days. Each item takes its own shade and you never know what you are going to get.

    The traditional color for oiled tarps was yellow or a rust red. This came from yellow ochre or iron oxide, which were the cheapist pigments of that time.
    If you didn't bring jerky what did I just eat?

  6. #6
    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TresMon View Post
    I'm looking to pick me up a used wall tent. If I get one likely I will (literally) live in it 85% of my time. I have been studying them- lots of folk mentioned waterproofing it with Thomson's Water seal. My first thought was HECK no- I don't want to inhale hard core chemicals all night long!

    Is your recipe respiratory system friendly in the short term and health friendly in the long?
    You want to set the tarp or tent up and let it air. After a couple of weeks you do not have any smell. I often treat a tarp and let it hang in a protected area for up to a month, but I have treated tarps one weekend and used them the next.

    There is really nothing in mineral spirits or linseed oil that can hurt you under normal circumstances. I would not want to shelter a pregnant woman in a freshly treated shelter though. Linseed oil and whatever pigment was around was the base for most paint until the latex stuff arrived.

    If you need a good wall tent they are available from a multitude of places and you do not have to treat them for use. They come already waterproof.

    Here's you another link with all kinds of goodies dating to the Civil War. Tents, clothes, rucksacks and all.

    http://www.blockaderunner.com/Catalog/catalog.htm

    I own a 12x14 wall tent and a couple of large wedge tents. They are nice for long term shelter but bathrooms are nice to have too.

    I am not the only one here that is into this. Hunter 63 and a couple of others have as much stuff as I do. I've seen the pics.

    It may be hard to believe, but I have a real live Masters Degree in this stuff! MA in Public History with emphisis on historic reenactment of the 18th Century. I wrote my thesis on making this gear and how to use it.
    Last edited by kyratshooter; 12-30-2011 at 08:58 PM.
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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    And a right fine job of it I might add......
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    Senior Member Aurelius95's Avatar
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    Great post, KY. Thanks for sharing. I find it very interesting.
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    Thankyou KY for the recipe. Never tried to make oil cloth but this sounds pretty simple. I've used walnut husks for dye in the past but have most times found that old tea bags work somewhat better.

    Oldtrap
    Never claimed to be an expert. Just use or do what works for me.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by kyratshooter View Post

    I own a 12x14 wall tent and a couple of large wedge tents. They are nice for long term shelter but bathrooms are nice to have too.

    I am not the only one here that is into this. Hunter 63 and a couple of others have as much stuff as I do. I've seen the pics.
    Cool. Thanks for the info. Your a gem of a find. Where do you recommend guy find a used wall tent with a stove jack? I have never heard of nor know what a wedge tent is.

    FYI: http://www.snipershide.com/forum/ubb...72#Post3002672


    The place I have in mind to make a permanent camp on is a teeny 2 acre privately owned parcel within the Cherokee National forest. An old couple I know lived there from the early seventies up until just a few years ago. They both were having medical conditions at random and decided they needed to move into an apartment in the closest city so they would be closer to Emergency medical care. They have offered for me to stay on the property at no cost just to keep an eye on it. A dream of an offer!! Bear, deer, critters in the mountains- right on a trout stream- a dream of an offer! - Need a nice wall tent!!!!
    Last edited by TresMon; 12-30-2011 at 09:51 PM.
    ---------------------------------------------
    Thanks,
    Tres
    Website has been updated for 2012!! http://wildernessmeans.com/

    NOTE: I'm a machinist, gunsmith, writer, and instructor of many outdoor topics looking for gainful employment in any geographical cool place to live. Resumes posted on website.

    John 14:6
    Jesus answered, 的 am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

  11. #11
    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TresMon View Post
    Cool. Thanks for the info. Your a gem of a find. Where do you recommend guy find a used wall tent with a stove jack? I have never heard of nor know what a wedge tent is.

    FYI: http://www.snipershide.com/forum/ubb...72#Post3002672
    here is a list of all your tent types.
    http://www.blockaderunner.com/Catalog/catpg31.htm

    They are labeled so you can scroll down and find wedges on the list.

    Used wall tents are easiest to find at the big regional rondyvouis. Many people put tents they no longer want up for sale when they upsize or downsize. My big tent I bought at a battle reenactment from a guy that was wanting a smaller tent. I paid about half the new price. I have also traded several tents in the same manner, big for little, little for big.

    Your closest events are going to be over at Fort Loudoun, At the John Sevier home in marble springs
    http://www.marblesprings.net/Welcome.html

    or at one of the events around Elizebethtown, Johnson City (Sycamore Shoals or Piney Flats) or in the Yadkin Valley.

    One of the best in east TN/VA is at Martain's Station, a Va state historic site on Hwy 58 just outside of Cumberland Gap.

    http://www.graphicenterprises.net/ht...s_station.html

    You really need to check out the slide shows on that last link!

    Also the list of events at the bottom of the page.
    Last edited by kyratshooter; 12-30-2011 at 10:10 PM.
    If you didn't bring jerky what did I just eat?

  12. #12
    Lone Wolf COWBOYSURVIVAL's Avatar
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    Thanks for this Kyratshooter, I plan to try some of your solutions on a few projects.
    Keep in mind the problem may be extremely complicated, though the "Fix" is often simple...

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Excellent stuff. You posted some great resources.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    I just sold my big 12X13' wall tent with all the bells and whistles last summer at rendezvous........
    Still got two 10 X10' wall tents, (not for sale) little less to haul around.

    Looking to add a diamond fly or maybe use the 10 X 10 awning,,, for a single lodge.
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  15. #15

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    Wow,
    Now that is some kindness shown to a stranger! With the best manners I was ever taughted, sincere and deep thanks for sure!
    ---------------------------------------------
    Thanks,
    Tres
    Website has been updated for 2012!! http://wildernessmeans.com/

    NOTE: I'm a machinist, gunsmith, writer, and instructor of many outdoor topics looking for gainful employment in any geographical cool place to live. Resumes posted on website.

    John 14:6
    Jesus answered, 的 am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

  16. #16
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Just a note on the Harbor Freight drop cloths.......lately seem to be a real loose weave, kinda close to burlap but white....( I use them for a back seat cover for the dogs on long trips)....but have use the older one as drop cloths in the past.
    Geezer Squad....Charter Member #1
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  17. #17

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    is it possible to color an oil cloth?

    My desire for a OD green wall tent (military) really cuts down on the tents I can find used. I kinda like to blend in overall, especially in the woods, not to mention my favorite colors really are OD & deep Brown.

    And especially since I will likely be living in the thing- (and it will have no door locks, security system etc) I don't want my place to stick out like sore thumb. On top of that It will be in a secluded place. If the thieves show up when I'm away the could whistle dixie while eat'n crackers as they nonchalantly loaded up my every possession...

    Thanks for the info!
    ---------------------------------------------
    Thanks,
    Tres
    Website has been updated for 2012!! http://wildernessmeans.com/

    NOTE: I'm a machinist, gunsmith, writer, and instructor of many outdoor topics looking for gainful employment in any geographical cool place to live. Resumes posted on website.

    John 14:6
    Jesus answered, 的 am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

  18. #18
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Not real sure where you are but this guy in DeSoto Wi has a big pile of Mil tents, and other stuff........Lots of stuff not listed on his site, so you need to cal....

    http://www.jrmilitarysurplus.com/Used%20Gear.htm

    Had a big crate of shelter halves sitting out side the door, a couple of buck apiece......which means they are kinda stinky...LOL, was kinda racking my brain..."what can i use these for, really good deal....hummmmm"
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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KYrat
    Mix the mineral spirits and linseed oil 50/50. Shake it up good. You need the combination of chemicals. The linseed oil waterproofs the fabric and the mineral spirits allow the oil to dry. If you use straight linseed oil the fabric will never dry and will remain oily and sticky forever. (At this point you can also add pigmint if you want color in the tarp.)
    It looks like you can.

  20. #20
    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    I just heard a distant echo saying "we don't need to read no stinking instructions!"

    Believe me, with this process you need to read the instructions and make no substitutions if you want your oilcloth to come out right.
    If you didn't bring jerky what did I just eat?

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