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Silicone boot repair?

repairing a pair of leaky hip waders with silicone


The Pro Line Hip Waders are leaking at a crease in the material.

I tried a coat of silicone on and around the cracks, thinking maybe when it dries it might end up being a more flexible patch.

Another thought I have concerns proper boot storage. Maybe the crease would have been less severe if I was in the habit of storing the hip waders on some sort of upside down manikin?



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I just patched my slip on Muck shoes the other day. I used some Vycor ice and water shield stuck to the inside. I only wear them to quick run outside for something now though.

I have some other patching to do, I think I might try some windshield urathane from the auto parts store next. I think it will adhere better than silicone and remain flexible, but it's only a theory, unless it works.

I cut two U shaped holes in a board and hang my hip boots from that. You place the heels in the U, if that makes any sense at all.

Comment by Justin Sat Jan 5 18:42:53 2013

Silicone usually isn't the best material for bonding since it doesn't adhere too well.

When trying to repair something by bonding, there are some important ground rules.

  • Know what you are bonding. Without that knowledge it will be very hard to perform the next step.
  • Select the proper adhesive. Most manufacturers publish data sheets that will tell you which glue is suitable for which substrate.
  • Design the proper adhesive joint. A butt joint is generally not suitable for bonding. There is some good general advice here. A lap joint, scarf joint or strap joint (especially a double strap joint) is much better. That is the reason you have to add a patch when repairing a bicycle inner tube.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions w.r.t. the usage of the glue.
  • Clean the bonding area thoroughly. Water, dirt and grease (even the natural grease from your skin) can preclude a good bond (although some glues can tolerate water). For most materials I'd advise to wipe, degrease, sand and degrease the substrate. And yes, degreasing should be done twice. What you should use to degrease with depends on the substrate. Solvents like acetone, ethanol or IPA are widely used. Sanding provides places where the glue can "anchor" itself and enlarges the surface area plus it removes oxidized or degraded substrate material.
  • Generally, you should bond as soon as you've finished preparing the substrates.
  • For some materials (like e.g. PE and silicone) you will need to use a primer to get any adhesion. On aluminium and steel it often helps. E.g. aliminium forms an almost invisible oxide layer very quickly, this oxide doesn't bond well.
  • In general, a relatively thin layer of glue is best, but this depends a bit on the nature of the substrate.
  • Apply a clamping force on the bonded area until the bond has cured (for two component glues or moisture curing single component glues) or the solvent has evaporated (e.g. PVC glue) or the bond has cooled (for hotmelts).
  • When using a two-component glue, make sure you mix them thoroughly and in the right proportions.
  • For two-component glues, ambient and substrate temperature is important. Below 60F is usually too cold for a two-component glue to react properly, unless the manufacturer says otherwise.
Comment by Roland_Smith Sat Jan 5 19:59:43 2013
Take a heavy duty clothes pin or small clamping device and attach the two boots at the top. You can then either attach to a clothes hanger and put in a closet or hang on a hook. I find the clamps on the clothes hangers that you get when you buy jeans works best, plus you can hang two sets up on one hanger!
Comment by Anna Roberts Sun Jan 6 05:58:14 2013

Thanks to Roland Smith for the great info on bonding!

Boot Storage: I've used two methods for boot storage to prevent creases. The first it a large binder clip that is common for holding thick stacks of paper together. I clip the boots together at the top and hang the boots by the metal ears. This works best for lighter boots. For heavier boots, the second method uses a wire frame that is shaped like the letter "W" with the two bottom points fastened to the wall. You put the boots upside down with the heel toward the wall. david from Alabama

Comment by David HIcks Sun Jan 6 08:37:45 2013

My suggestion would be to make a storage rack outside on your deck that looks something like this, but made of scrap lumber rather than purchased metal... http://personalorganizing.about.com/od/shoes/ig/Boot-Storage/Boot-Racks-.htm

Comment by Shannon Mon Jan 7 10:17:33 2013

hi! just thought I'd suggest a product called Aquaseal for rubber boot repair. Us commercial fisher folk in Alaska use it to prolong the life of our XtraTuf boots & it works wonders!!! I always cover the Aquaseal with duct tape on inside & out as well. I have a pair of boots that have lasted me 4 years and have three patched holes in them, and my feet stay dry! cheers! I've immensely enjoyed reading your blog! allison

Comment by allison Tue Jan 15 14:56:06 2013

One very unique homestead, $1,500 per acre, the opportunity of a lifetime