I’d never paid much attention to the implementation of the bottom part of a jacket zipper until my good jacket started to be hard to zip. The “pin” side – that fits into the “box” on the other side – was sort of coming apart. Crimped into one side of the pin was a bit of plastic reinforcement that went all the way to where it was sewn in. That plastic had broken, and the underlying fabric was fraying badly. The symptom was that it was harder than usual to get the loosey-goosey pin into the box to get the zipper started.
Short of trying to crimp on a new pin with new reinforcement, opening up the seam and restitching the hacked pin end, I couldn’t see a good fix. Lauren asked if there weren’t something I could use to stiffen/reinforce the fabric. Maybe! The first materials that came to mind to reinforce the fabric were epoxy and the new UV-curable Bondic resin. I decided to give Bondic a try.
I worked the resin into each side of the fabric, then exposed it to the UV LED provided. But the slot in the zipper slide is quite narrow, and the gloppily stiffened fabric had to be smushed down to have a prayer of fitting. (It’s OK – they’re technical terms.) I did two rounds of resin/cure on each side. While other UV resins cure much harder, the Bondic resin cures somewhat flexible, so the reshaping was fairly successful. Here are both sides with the resin in place. And, of course, the requisite picture of it fluorescing under the UV LED. 🙂
While I can get the slide over the reinforced pin, the pin didn’t fit into the box far enough for the zipper to start. A little judicious trimming and further thinning got the pin into the box.
It still doesn’t feel as good as new. I have better control of the pin thanks to the stiffened fabric, but the angle is off a little and it feels like I’m fighting slightly gummy gunk forcing the pin into the box. Overall it’s not much better feeling than before, but I suspect it will last longer. And it does still work!
Now to see how well it holds up.
Has this lasted? How long? What would you of done differently?
The repair has held up pretty well. I’m glad I did it this way, at the very least for a chance to play with Bondic. I’m not aware of anything significant I would do differently if I had it to do again.
I’ve done some more with Bondic, and I’m a pretty strong believer in UV cure resin as a tool for the hobbyist. Solrez has a 3-pack of small tubes of their flexible, thin/hard and thick/hard finish resins, and I’ve just ordered one to see which is most useful for stuff I make. I think I’ll bring it to our local hackerspace (Workshop 88) with an offer to try it on stuff people bring in to get a broader idea of how it works.