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  1. #1
    H5487's Avatar
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    Is dope & fabric covering dead?

    I'm just now re-entering the hobby after a 25 year absence (college, kids, etc.) Of course, my mind reels at the immense changes (improvements) to the airplanes, engines and electronics over the years!!!

    One thing that I've noticed is the almost total absence of fabric covering nowadays - everything seems to be shrink-wrapped in Monokote, although it's hard to knock a successful product. I do miss the old dope & fabric days though. Heck, if you mentioned "dope" in a hobby shop these days, you might end up on the TV show "Cops".

    Anyway, is dope & fabric covering dead? None of the covering books that I've thumbed through recently make any mention of it.
    Weather Geek

  2. #2

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    RE: Is dope & fabric covering dead?

    As you said your now living in a generation of instant gratification. ARF's are the norm and building is certainly a dying art form for RC'rs. That said there is no lack of silk and dope in the c/L Stunt area or rubber or free flight. These are with the last bastions of the art and you can still see some magnificent examples. Too bad that the skill so patiently acquired will not pass on. Wonder what will happen when the Chinese up their standard of living and ARF's start to cost real money.
    Dennis

  3. #3

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    RE: Is dope & fabric covering dead?

    I think that would be the day when we'll have Modelers flying R/C airplanes Dennis.

    DM

  4. #4

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    RE: Is dope & fabric covering dead?

    I still use tissue and dope on my control line and R/C models. Flour and water paste to stick it down, water spray to shrink it, then a couple of coats of thinned dope. I have used plastic film a few times, but I still prefer tissue. I've never had the chance to use silk covering, maybe try it one day..........John

  5. #5

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    RE: Is dope & fabric covering dead?

    I am getting ready to cover my 84" Quaker using Koveral (dacron) and Stits clear dope and color that I have left over. I have used dope and cotton, linen and dacron fabric for many years but this is a first for me on a model. Will see how it goes. There are still a lot of new airplanes being covered with fabric so it's not dead in the light plane industry. There are latex and urethane etc replacements for dope but serious problems like cracking are showing up. Larry

  6. #6

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    RE: Is dope & fabric covering dead?

    ORIGINAL: 5487
    Anyway, is dope & fabric covering dead?
    Nope.[8D]




    http://scalebuilder.org

  7. #7
    Mike Denest's Avatar
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    RE: Is dope & fabric covering dead?

    Not on your life!
    Mike Denest
    R/C as it used to be: http://www.vintagercsociety.org

  8. #8

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    RE: Is dope & fabric covering dead?

    I still use it on all my vintage projects. Monokote or Ultracote only on expendable sport planes or Q-500's.

    Doing a Falcon 56 right now and a Bridi Sun Fli, both will be ready for paint in the spring.

  9. #9

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    RE: Is dope & fabric covering dead?

    I still use dope and silk on my 1/2A Texaco planes and tissue and dope on my rubber band stuff...for the R/C planes I use Monokote...and I was one of the last to give in and use Monokote...and as far as iron on plastic, it is, in my opinion, still the best of its type.
    I am going to start building a GHQ Sportster and cover it with silk and dope....might even get my old GHQ to run, and if so will put it in the plane....
    Also have a big Buccaneer covered in silk and dope...silk is expensive nowadays, but dope can be had in pints, quarts and gallons from Sig and Penn Hobby Center..who also carry lots of stick old time type kits...
    Frank Schwartz

  10. #10

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    RE: Is dope & fabric covering dead?

    not by a long shot. go to the fabric dept at Wal Mart-- Kmart. all kinds of fabrics, thin- thick, plain- flowered. it works real well. I use clear dope as my adhesive. have tried contact glue-- NO good. still not as good as Coverite with the adhesive on it. dick
    dick/rcflyer

  11. #11
    8178's Avatar
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    RE: Is dope & fabric covering dead?

    I’ve always liked tissue/silk and dope and used it a lot until the early 70s. I was late getting into MonoKote and eventually started using it exclusively. It took a few years to learn how to make it look like a painted finish but it is possible.


  12. #12

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    RE: Is dope & fabric covering dead?

    Jim, That sure is a beautiful Tigermoth. Last fall I had a ride in the one owned by the Tigerboys of the Guelph Airpark at the Midwest Antique Aircraft flyin at Brodhead, WI. It's a great fun airplane. That's me in the front seat. Larry

  13. #13

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    RE: Is dope & fabric covering dead?

    Photo did not attach. Will try again
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  14. #14

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    RE: Is dope & fabric covering dead?

    Thanks!

    Love the finish on the full scale, especially "woody".
    http://scalebuilder.org

  15. #15
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    RE: Is dope & fabric covering dead?

    to me a wooden airplane covered in plastic looks like a plastic airplane
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  16. #16

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    RE: Is dope & fabric covering dead?

    This is once again a situation where technology has offered us choices. Nobody will argue about the beauty of a fabric/dope finish on a model, but if a comprable finish can be achieved without all the smell, mess, sanding and repetition of a dope finish (not to mention the complaints of family members), I can see where many of us have gone to iron-on coverings, paints and urethanes.

    I agree that an airplane covered with plastic film, especially a scale model or one originally covered with fabric, looks tacky, but some of the iron-on fabrics are wonderful and take to just about any finish you can offer.

    I'm sure that as long as there is dope and fabric, some people will cover models with them, and they will be beautiful. I just like having alternatives available.

    papermache
    Slope Gliding - A Northwest Indiana tradition since 1896

  17. #17

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    RE: Is dope & fabric covering dead?

    With all the ARFs on the market nowdays, I actually wonder how many R/C pilots out there have even covered an airplane. Even the jets are ARFs!

    DM

  18. #18

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    RE: Is dope & fabric covering dead?

    You are correct. With all the ARF planes on the market, the average modeler today, such as in my R/C club has no clue as to how to build a model or cover a plane for that matter. I would guess that 75 percent of our club members today are buy and fly types. If they bust them up, they go buy another ARF....
    I hate what it is coming to...I love to build and scratch build as well...and while I may not finish as nice as some of the ARF planes, at least I can say I built and covered it and did the whole damn thing!!
    Frank Schwartz

  19. #19

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    RE: Is dope & fabric covering dead?

    I agree. I can't install iron covering worth a darn. I've used silk and dope on most of them. If I want to build a "beater", I'll use monocote, cause it's fast.
    While on the subject, I have some models where the Dope and fabric has lost its tautness in between the ribs. These planes are all over 25 yeas old, but still in excellent structural condition. I've never actually removed dope and fabric from an aircraft to recover it. Is it difficult? Is there any other suggestions?
    John

  20. #20

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    RE: Is dope & fabric covering dead?

    One more thought. I recently built a twelve foot Telemaster on contract for a fellow. I used the 21st Century Fabric. Expensive stuff, but the easiest covering job I ever did. Irons on great, goes around curves super good, shrinks as much as you need it to and when done looks like a professional job that is also professionally painted. If you try it, use a little clear dope on the seams and edges...otherwise, it is the best fabric covering I ever used. (We are not talking silk and tissue and silkspan here) Too heavy for small planes, but super for 60 size and up...the best. And I have tried regular Coverite and it can't hold a candle to the 21st Century Fabric...at least in my opinion.
    I am going to re-cover a Quadra powered plane I have been flying for some years. Monokote just doesn't look right..am going to strip it and use the 21st century fabric.
    Frank Schwartz

  21. #21
    balsaworks's Avatar
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    RE: Is dope & fabric covering dead?


    ORIGINAL: da50ex

    These planes are all over 25 yeas old, but still in excellent structural condition. I've never actually removed dope and fabric from an aircraft to recover it. Is it difficult? Is there any other suggestions?
    John
    If the covered parts are small enough to put in a plastic bag, if they aren’t colour doped, if you used dope to attach the covering, AND if you didnΒ΄t use balsa cement to build the part – you can try this:

    Put this piece in the plastic bag, pour in a couple of tablespoons of thinner or acetone, and then tie up the bag. Leave it overnight and the covering will detach itself.
    No need to fill the bag with solvent, the concentrated vapour is usually enough to do the job.
    If you have used coloured dope you will get a real mess, and if you built with balsa cement you will get a new kit.

    If the above doesn’t work, or if the planes are simply too big, you must do it the hard way. Slice the open areas in a criss-cross fashion and the pull the pieces of covering towards the outer edges. Usually the covering comes off the ribs and cross pieces very easily. When you get to the outer edges; the front & leading edges, longerons & wing tips, the covering will stick tighter. Fold the covering back on itself and see if you can carefully pull it off. If the wood comes with it, you will need to dissolve locally with thinners or carefully sand it down with fine sand paper and a block.

    ItΒ΄s a lot of work, but not nearly as much as building a new model. If you like your old models – go for it.
    It’ll give you a great feeling of accomplishment to have resurrected old projects.

    Tomas H.

  22. #22
    carlosponti's Avatar
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    RE: Is dope & fabric covering dead?

    i have seen a few guys building scale that fiberglass the main parts of ww2 airplanes but use fabric on the control surfaces just like alot of the planes of that era. also the dope and tissue coverings are the only way to go on the guillows electric conversions.
    UltraSport Brotherhood #54, Sig Brotherhood #46

  23. #23
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    RE: Is dope & fabric covering dead?

    I Believe Aircraft Spruce And Specialties sells Dope Rejuvenator

    Richard

    ORIGINAL: da50ex

    I agree. I can't install iron covering worth a darn. I've used silk and dope on most of them. If I want to build a "beater", I'll use monocote, cause it's fast.
    While on the subject, I have some models where the Dope and fabric has lost its tautness in between the ribs. These planes are all over 25 yeas old, but still in excellent structural condition. I've never actually removed dope and fabric from an aircraft to recover it. Is it difficult? Is there any other suggestions?
    John

  24. #24

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    RE: Is dope & fabric covering dead?

    Yes they do.
    I need some help guys. I have been monokoting my planes for quite some years ( I have to admit) I am also just getting back into the hobby after some time now. Our hobby shop doesn't carry much for builders anymore, let alone silk and dope. Now the last plane I doped was a control line plane when I was around 13. I used silk from a club member. I want to cover an old Falcon 56, but now after reading someones input of how "wooden planes covered with plastic looks like plastic airplanes". I can now see his point and that ruined it for me.
    I need to know what weight of fabrics you use and where do I get some. I live in Hawaii, so I'm sure I'll be ordering what ever I choose.
    Do you guys ever use silkspan? I have a bunch left from my younger days in control line.

    Thanks guys!
    DM

  25. #25
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    RE: Is dope & fabric covering dead?

    Sig Sells Colored light weight silk and heaver less expensive white silk also Koverall a Dacron fabric similar to that used on full size aircraft only lighter shrinks with heat instead of water and you need to use nitrate dope to attach it to your framework and the initial filler coat after that you can use butyrate dope. butyrate just does not stick to koverall very well some people use other adhesives to attach the Koverall, Koverall is heaver than silk but a lot stronger, and very inexpensive, silk is lighter especially if you use the light weight eski, because the covering is light and if you use colored silk you save the weight of colored dope, You can also dye the heaver silk with household fabric dye the process of dyeing koverall is to complicated and expensive for anyone to bother so if you go with koverall you just leave it white with maybe some color dope trim or you color dope the whole thing (more weight) you may also be able to buy silk locals from a fabric supply it is the type used as a liner in wedding dresses. Hobby shops are starting to stock less and less building materal, they are becoming more toy stores it is often now nessesary to use the internet to get your building supplies. silk span is easy to use you can dye it it comes in three weights but it rips easy but is easy to repair it is also cheap if you use it on your falcon i'd use the heavy weight stuff Sig also sells silkspan. Just my preferance but I think the falcon looks great with the wings and stab covered in colored silk the light shining thrugh the translucent wing and stab really look great in the air.

    hope this helps

    Richard


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