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Can i recover a fabric covered plane?

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Can i recover a fabric covered plane?

Old 07-12-2021, 05:35 PM
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Default Can i recover a fabric covered plane?

I was wondering if it is possible to strip a balsa model covered with fabric and dope, then reapply fabric covering
Old 07-13-2021, 04:09 AM
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Anything is possible, it just depends on how much time and effort you want to put into it. If it's an old plane it will probably have fragile wood. It might be better to cut the fabric away from the open spaces then go after the strips left on the edges of the wood, most likely trimming with an good blade.
Like I said, a lot of time and effort. But documenting the process and posting here might bring a lot of applause and praise.
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daveopam (07-13-2021)
Old 07-13-2021, 11:14 AM
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It's doable. You would have to attack the areas where the fabric is attached to the wood with the appropriate solvent/thinner for the type of dope used to adhere the fabric down. It is a very messy job because you first have to dissolve away the color coats to get to through the fabric to wood/fabric bond. Would not be a very health-friendly solvent.
Old 07-23-2021, 07:06 AM
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How hard it will be depends on how it was originally covered. If it's Solartex or fabric adhered with Sig Stix It, you can get it off with a heat gun. I'd definitely try that first since it's no harder than getting Monokote off. If it was glued on, it was probably glued with nitrate dope in which case you'll have to use MEK or dope thinner (MEK is cheaper) to get it off. Be careful about saturating the glue joints with MEK, as it is a pretty good solvent for some kinds of glue too.
To my mind, it's hard to make a case for stripping off glued on fabric. You'll invest a lot of labor in stripping off the fabric just to still have an old airframe that might be fuel soaked or have other problems. There does come a point when it's better to scrap it and build something new. But that's a judgment call. It can certainly be done with patience and effort.

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