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Another covering question

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Old 12-05-2005, 05:30 PM
  #1  
adstott
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Default Another covering question

Do most people have a thermometer for mesuring the temperature of their irons and heat guns? If so what kind of thermometer should I use? I normally just put it on a random setting and cover away.
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Old 12-05-2005, 05:41 PM
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khodges
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Default RE: Another covering question

I have two thermometers; one is a thermister probe that goes on a Craftsman multitester, the other is a Coverite coil-type thermometer made for the purpose of checking your iron temp. I've measured my iron with both at the same time, and the Coverite gizmo reads within 5 degrees or so of what my fancy tester does (as close as you can tell by the way the dial works). The Coverite gizmo is less than $10, I forget exactly how much.
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Old 12-05-2005, 09:05 PM
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da Rock
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Default RE: Another covering question

It really does help to know the temperature of your iron. And that cheap Coverite thermometer is worth having. The temp of the iron isn't so critical that you need to know the exact temperature. That's obvious because almost nobody I know has one. But that Coverite thermometer is plenty good enough to measure as close as you need.

Over the years I've had a couple of regular "shoe" irons and also picked up "trim" irons that're sold in housewares for quilters. It's been extremely helpful to find out where the 220 degree and the 300 degree settings are on all those. And the latest TopFlite iron's rheostat settings aren't anything like the old one's were.

A couple of the iron on brands suggest that you apply their covering at the 200-220 temp and once done, shrink with a higher setting. If you try for that higher temperature, with some brands of covering, you'll melt 'em. Or have the covering delaminate (the shiny "top" comes up, leaving the pigment) and that's a mess to deal with.

But lots of people simply learn by their errors and wind up discovering where to set their irons.... and along the way, they often learn to pull up screwed covering and recover.
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Old 12-05-2005, 11:17 PM
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Default RE: Another covering question

Use a thermometer! All covering manufacturers have a recommended temp for shrinking. Too cool and you never reach the memory of the polyester. Too hot and you have exceeded the memory of the polymers and it has gone into elongation and will never recover (so to speak). A simple candy thermometer from your local grocery store will work great and it's cheap. The range should be at least 200F to about 450F. Tower Hobbies has a digital IR thermometer for about $28. There is an advertiser on RCU called "Thermogun" I think and their thermometer is $25. Heat guns can work but you never know the exact temperature.

Temperature is important! Know what it is.
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Old 12-06-2005, 07:42 AM
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Default RE: Another covering question

Thanks for the replies. I guess I'll have to go get a thermometer. Hopefully my LHS has one because I hate to place another order from tower for one little item. I might try the candy thermometer, but I wonder if just touching the iron with it would work becuase it's meant to be emersed (sp?) in a fluid?? Any ideas??

Thanks,
Andy
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Old 12-06-2005, 08:49 AM
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Default RE: Another covering question

That won't be a problem. It's what we use to calibrate the irons to shrink the fabric on full scale restorations. Take a stack of paper towels about 1/2 inch thick and place the thermometer on it. Then, place the iron it and crank it up. We usually look for two marks, one at 250F and another at 350F. These are the two temps we look for with the Stits fabric. The candy thermometers are much more durable than the thermometers we used to get from the factory at Poly Fiber. I don't think you will hurt it.
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Old 12-06-2005, 08:51 AM
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Default RE: Another covering question

I wouldn't want to use a candy thermometer because, if you're lucky, you wife is going to use that little sucker some day in the future.

Actually, it sounds like a good idea if you don't plan to use it again. But it's going to be a balancing act to keep it in contact in order to get a dependably accurate reading. And you'll never know if it's accurately reading your iron's face. It's designed and tuned to read when immersed in a fluid, not just near or touching a hard surface at one very small point. And (BLUSH) I know personally that little thermometers like that are really hard to keep in contact with my... uh.... your iron. (And if I remember correctly, when I got the little Coverite dodad, it read higher temps than my... uh... your candy thermometer did... uh... would.)

Now, personally, I've always enjoyed solving dilemas like this one by going over to Lowes Home Improvement and buying a tool that solves the problem. And last time I was in there, they had this "point at the thing, pull the trigger and record the temperature" device/thingie. I figure it'll be the perfect new tool to have because I can also do lots of other things with it (I just don't happen to be able to figure out what else right now) and mainly because I don't have it now. Oh wait! I can check head temperatures of my glo-engines, and maybe exhaust gas temps!!! Hey, hope you get some better advice, I've gotta go.....
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Old 12-06-2005, 08:59 AM
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Default RE: Another covering question

Hey, before I head out the door to Lowes......

I just read what chipmull posted and he's spot on. (And obviously doesn't need my endorsement but...)

What he said about how to use the thing (the stack of paper towels) and the temps he suggested are what makes that work. I think my Ultracote says the temps to use are something like 220 and 320 or something lower than Chip's temps. And he just gave a technique and values that obviously have been worked out through experience. And very probably make up for the different way he's using the candy thermometer.

And he's dead right about the durability. The Coverite thing looks fragile and is always falling off the iron. And if you pick that sucker up too quick....

But hey, I'm out the door, I gotta not only hit Lowes, but now I gotta swing by a kitchen shop as well. You never have enough tools and it's always the best idea to have more than one for any job!
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Old 12-06-2005, 01:57 PM
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Default RE: Another covering question

Thanks for the advice
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Old 12-09-2005, 06:54 PM
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Default RE: Another covering question

Put all the fancy tools away and learn by experience. in the end both methods will permit the Mono-coat to relax some day. time and temp at the field will relax them all-- so will time. dick
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Old 12-10-2005, 03:37 PM
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Default RE: Another covering question

Hi!
Thermometer...? Who needs one! Not I... and have done so for 30 years.
The two most used covering films Oracover and Monokote and the fabrics, Oratex and Solartex demand nearly the same temp. So it is just a matter of slight adjustment on the iron ... No fancy equipement is needed.
Same as with setting and engine. Bye ear! Don't complicate things

Regards!
Jan K
Sweden
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Old 12-10-2005, 05:36 PM
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Default RE: Another covering question

Builders and inventors.

Ray Stits used to say "we have two kings of builders, those that follow instructions and inventors. The inventors always think have a better way than the factory".

There's a reason the temperatures are posted in the instructions.
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Old 12-10-2005, 07:51 PM
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Default RE: Another covering question

I tried to learn how to set my engines' needles by ear, but the props kept hitting me in the face.
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Old 12-11-2005, 12:02 AM
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Default RE: Another covering question

ORIGINAL: jaka

Hi!
Thermometer...? Who needs one! Not I... and have done so for 30 years.
The two most used covering films Oracover and Monokote and the fabrics, Oratex and Solartex demand nearly the same temp. So it is just a matter of slight adjustment on the iron ... No fancy equipement is needed.
Same as with setting and engine. Bye ear! Don't complicate things

Regards!
Jan K
Sweden
Nice work!

Safe Flying!
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Old 12-11-2005, 12:27 AM
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Default RE: Another covering question


ORIGINAL: darock

I tried to learn how to set my engines' needles by ear, but the props kept hitting me in the face.

Okay, I'll bite: Did it improve your looks?


Mike
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