Transparent Classic Snowshoe Webbing

3:15 p.m. on January 22, 2016 (EST)
GUIDE/OUTFITTER
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I was thinking how cool would it be if you could turn the braided nylon I am using transparent. When I built my canoe I used west system epoxy to turn the fibreglass clear. On my cane fly rods I have to colour treat my wraps to keep the spar varnish from turning the wraps clear. 

I was wondering in anyone knew of anything I could treat the braided nylon with that would a) turn it clear b) allow the webbing to be flexible c) let me put a clear spar varnish over top. 

I open to ideas

Paul 

10:33 a.m. on January 25, 2016 (EST)
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You are going to have to experiment. Start with epoxy.

8:58 a.m. on January 26, 2016 (EST)
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I'd guess that anything that fills in the microscopic spaces between the fibers would work, provided that it doesn't damage the flexibility of the nylon. You might try a clear silicone glue. That's flexible, relatively inert and cheap.

2:51 p.m. on January 26, 2016 (EST)
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Seth,

  A silicone glue I've never heard of the stuff. What might be a brand name of this glue?

 

Paul

12:50 p.m. on January 28, 2016 (EST)
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If you apply boiled linseed oil - the base of many spar varnishes - to the white Nylon webbing, it should become translucent. The oil has a refractive index much closer to the Nylon than the air it displaces. Thus, light will penetrate better and less will be reflected back to you.

It is easy to apply an oil-based spar varnish over the boiled linseed oil.

The pioneers of the US prairies used oiled paper as windows in their sod houses.

1:42 p.m. on January 28, 2016 (EST)
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Of course, the original covering for snowshoes is babiche, and that was often used as a window covering on cabins in the north. Robert Campbell actually boiled the babiche from his snow shoes and from his windows at the fort at Sawmill Point on Dease Lake before he headed back to Fort Simpson in 1842/43. The issue with making the nylon clear is that with your canoe, you were using stranded glass. Nylon, in my experience will not become clear. On my wood and babiche snow shoes(Vermont Tubbs) I have reinforced the babiche next to the toe holes with nylon webbing. Repeated coats of spar varnish(a type once made by Tubbs with more flexibility) has not made the nylon at all translucent. If you want the translucent effect, I'm afraid you'll have to resort to babiche and varnish. If you want a more flexible coating, rather than standard epoxy, you should use G-Flex.

8:19 a.m. on January 30, 2016 (EST)
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As Paul pointed out, cane rod makers using white silk can create an invisible wrap to mend a split in a rod. Even a colored silk wrap is largely transparent. As seen here - 


ClearSilk.jpg

However, if Nylon is used, the wrap will be translucent, as seen here -

ClearNylon.jpg

Both the threads above were colored, not white. The oil in the varnish serves as I mentioned above. 

I have not actually attempted something as thick as webbing. Dipping a short length in thinned, warm, oil-based spar varnish, making sure all the bubbles got out (pull a vacuum?), and then allowing it to dry, should let the OP know whether translucence is possible. Just a thought.

1:57 p.m. on January 31, 2016 (EST)
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Vacuum bagging might work, but the nylon used on the rods is quite thin, which is the issue. Even GRP, when using roving or mat, does not end up translucent. On the canoe, Paul no doubt used a very thin glass or other material(kevlar, spectra, etc). The thicker the material, the less translucent.

8:28 p.m. on January 31, 2016 (EST)
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True.

April 5, 2020
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