Cutting/Sealing nylon cloth
- I am a bit amazed at the number of articles around about building
equipment (like hammocks) which talk about sealing the edges with a
It is, of course, necessary to do something to keep the material from
turning into fluff where it is cut. But the kayak building community
(we use 8 oz ballistic nylon) has found great ways to cut and seal at
the same time.
The easiest is to cut with a hot knife instead of scissors. Buy a
cheap steak knife or pearing knife with a wood handle. Heat the
knife blade in a propane torch until it glows dull red about an inch
from the end of the blade. Cut with the blade and the edge is sealed
as you cut. You can cut 18-36 inches before needing to heat up the
(Don't try to hide this knife in your wife's knife drawer... it is
If you need to seal the edge of an already cut piece, then it is a
little easier to use the side of the propane torch flame than a
candle flame. It does not wander around like the candle flame can.
Finally, there is no need to seal silnylon... the stuff does not
unravel and can be sewn without any treatment of the edge. This is
the one "plastic) fabric I cut with scissors.
Well, this post may already be obvious to most of you, but if you
have been slaving over the edge of a candle flame, it will save a lot
of time to try these techniques out. I still remember slavishly
siting in front of the candle flame with my first frostline kits 20
years ago! Those days are gone. Do it the easy way.