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Waxing Denim Project (long, pics)

familyman

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There’s been a few mentions on this board about waxed denim jackets, all expensive. I have some experience with Filson waxed canvas hunting gear and have become a big fan of waxed or oiled fabrics in general. A while ago I stumbled on this site http://www.woodcentral.com/cgi-bin/r...cles_368.shtml which gave a recipe for re-waxing a Filson type jacket. Well the wheels started turning and one thing led to another and I decided to attempt a waxed denim jacket on the cheap. This post is going to have a lot of pictures so be patient. I started with a Pointer Brand raw denim chore coat. I’m a size 38 but sized down to their small which they call a 34-36 and the coat fits very well for what it is. It’s 10oz raw denim that’s not great quality but ends up rather soft when it’s broken it. The color is ok raw, but it washes to a bright blue that isn’t favored very much by people around here. At $28 plus $6 shipping it’s a great piece for a project considering I might end up ruining the coat.
I did a 2 hour cold soak, bit of salt and a brick to keep the coat under water.
Very blue water, lots of indigo came out.
Drip dry!
I let I hang for a few hours and then wore it around the house for two hours to try and set some creases. Damp denim with no shirt on is not comfortable. My nipples still hurt.
 

familyman

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I gathered the supplies for my project. Beeswax, raw linseed oil and turpentine.
The wax was $11, the others $5 each, so $21 in supplies. I also needed a metal can to cook it in and a paintbrush. I used half a pint of the linseed oil and half pound of beeswax on my grill on low heat. The instructions say to use a double boiler but I didn’t have a pot I wanted to put on my grill and I wasn’t about to cook a can full of flammable materials on my stove inside. It worked quite well. After everything was melted in solution I pulled it off the grill and added half a pint of turpentine to thin the mixture out a bit. I waited until after it was off the grill because turpentine and open flame is a bad mixture. This a probably a good time to mention that not only is the solution making process a bit dangerous but when you’re done the clothing you make is a giant candle. It’s cotton and wax. Be careful. Time to wax the jacket. Having never done this I just sort of brushed it on. In retrospect I think I would have put the can back on the heat every now and again to keep the mixture more fluid and tried to work slower. Reality was that about when I was taking the pictures it started to thunder and threaten to rain.
I didn’t get to take as much time as I liked. The finished jacket was shiny and had little blebs of wax on it. It was ugly and really waxy and I was pretty sure I had destroyed the coat.
 

familyman

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I brought the coat into the garage and spent about an hour with a heat gun slowly working the wax mixture into the fabric. This made all the difference in the world. Now it just looked like a damp jacket that reeked of turpentine.
To do this project you NEED to let hang outside for a while. I did this on Saturday afternoon. By Sunday night the turpentine smell had gone away leaving the jacket smelling fairly pleasantly of beeswax and linseed oil. The jacket has been loosing it’s greasy feel bit by bit and now about 48 hours after the project it just feels waxy and has a really great look forming where the fabric creases. I still wouldn’t put it over anything that I couldn’t get waxy right now. The can of linseed oil says it has a drying time of 2-4 days so I think the finish on the jacket will continue to change and hopefully harden in time.
That’s it, my waxed denim project. Sorry this was so long and my photography skills suck, but if you have any questions ask away. I had fun and even if it’s never anything more than a work coat then it was worth it to me.
 

Edward Appleby

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That's pretty cool. I'm very interested to see how it wears.

The ingredients involved are startlingly similar to what you use to refinish gunstocks.
 

LA Guy

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Very cool looking jacket.

Hey, you could make your own line, and sell jackets so treated for $500. I am not kidding. Really. It would look better than the majority of lines out there, and Margiela pulls this stunt in his 0 10 collection regularly.
 

paper clip

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Great post. Thanks for making it. Kindly do post some pics of the coat as it ages.
 

familyman

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Originally Posted by LA Guy
Very cool looking jacket. Hey, you could make your own line, and sell jackets so treated for $500. I am not kidding. Really. It would look better than the majority of lines out there, and Margiela pulls this stunt in his 0 10 collection regularly.
I'll make 'em if you want to market 'em.
Before I waxed this jacket it occured to me that it would be very easy to split a seam or two and re-sew it with a bit of shape and have a really nice looking fitted jacket. I'll keep this updated as I wear this jacket this fall and winter and see how it does. What's interesting is how pliable it still it. I thought it would stiffen up but as of right now it's really soft and flexible, it drapes and moves very nice all things considered. Of course the fabric weight has probably gone from 10oz to over 20 oz so that's bound to have an effect.
 

j

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Wow, very cool. I like the finished result and it will probably stay dark. Would be cool to try it on a Carhartt piece to make a seriously indestructible garment. BTW, for some reason that pic of the drip dry is really striking.

 

rnrswitch

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I have a brown sturdy carhart jacket... I wonder what it would look like with this done to it.

Your jacket turned out great, you might be able to pass for a miner this winter.

I was watching deadwood this weekend and thinking how great it would be to be able to walk around dressed as a miner or a gunfighter.
 

whodini

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Originally Posted by rnrswitch
I have a brown sturdy carhart jacket... I wonder what it would look like with this done to it.

Your jacket turned out great, you might be able to pass for a miner this winter.

I was watching deadwood this weekend and thinking how great it would be to be able to walk around dressed as a miner or a gunfighter.

Seconded. But then you'd also have to say "cocksucker" as if it were going out of style, which it never will...
 

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