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Old 09-24-2012, 01:41 AM   #1
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Default covering question on balsa...any ideas?

when applying shrink film on balsa built kits,especially wing areas,the covering will sometimes stick to the ribs after heat shrinking and not release. the same thing happens when covering control surfaces that aren't sheeted in balsa.

this looks bad and I've always tried to avoid applying direct heat to these areas with the iron but some times it still sticks and i use the heat gun carefully to shrink around the area sticking.

problem is this often requires that direct point of applying heat and I'd like a better solution. anybody ever come up with a solution to keep film covering from doing this. it may sound silly,but i was thinking some sort of powder to dust the rib caps . this would keep the film from sticking to the rib and also not bleed through the covering.

how do you work around this issue. thanks,Stu

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Old 09-24-2012, 01:27 PM   #2
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Stuart, I don't think I'm understanding the question. I personally want the covering to stick to ribs. it keeps punctures and tears to a minimum and it is easier to repair a small section.
Is there a reason you don't want it to stick to ribs? Or am I just getting something wrong?

Paul
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Old 09-24-2012, 06:46 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by stuart View Post
when applying shrink film on balsa built kits,especially wing areas,the covering will sometimes stick to the ribs after heat shrinking and not release. the same thing happens when covering control surfaces that aren't sheeted in balsa.

this looks bad and I've always tried to avoid applying direct heat to these areas with the iron but some times it still sticks and i use the heat gun carefully to shrink around the area sticking.

problem is this often requires that direct point of applying heat and I'd like a better solution. anybody ever come up with a solution to keep film covering from doing this. it may sound silly,but i was thinking some sort of powder to dust the rib caps . this would keep the film from sticking to the rib and also not bleed through the covering.

how do you work around this issue. thanks,Stu
First, you need every thing real smooth before you cover things and all the dings and dents have been filled with light weight drywall filler and sanded too.Then after you sand all the way down to 400 or even more as i do then blow the whole thing off with air and i then tack cloth it to make sure there is no more balsa dust on the part you are covering or the work bench. I have foam pads about 2 inches thick that i use to lay my parts on while covering so dont put any more dings and dents in it while covering . As far as wings i cover the bottoms first then the bottom and the seams won't show . I just tack here and there to get it stuck and smooth pulling it first with my iron doing only around the edges ,then i go back and seal the edges down good . When done with this most of the covering should be kinda smooth aready . I dont shrink the middle yet and never use a iron on the ribs. I then do the top the same way over lapping the edge and onto the bottom about a 1/4 with light heat on my iron and more heat on the very edge to seal it good. I then pull back the covering to 1/8 so it makes a very nice straight line to run my straight razor blade down
holding it almost flat on the other covering. It will slide on the other covering and cut a nice edge if your blade is sharp. Then i seal that straight cut edge down and start to use my heat gun to shrink the rest of the covering on top and bottom of my wing . I do one side a little and then the other side always checking to make sure i dont warp anything ,this is why i let the bottom go till now so i can shrink both side's without making the wing into a pretzel. If you seal the rest of the covering down with a heat gun it looks 100 times better than using a iron and always start shrinking it in the middle and work your way out keeping your heat gun moving at all times ,remember the smooth egdes are ironed down already and wont move. I hope this helps and pm me if you dont understand anything because iam not the best typing my instructions.lol Once you are all done i use prepsall to wipe off the seams because glue comes out when sealing it down then dirt gets stuck to the glue making the seams stand out but the glue itself can make the seams stand out too. Good luck . joe


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Old 09-24-2012, 08:35 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by pd1 View Post
Stuart, I don't think I'm understanding the question. I personally want the covering to stick to ribs. it keeps punctures and tears to a minimum and it is easier to repair a small section.
Is there a reason you don't want it to stick to ribs? Or am I just getting something wrong?

Paul

Good points, It also adds strength to the structure.
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:01 PM   #5
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thanks for the responce gang..

clarification....when using the iron or the heatgun ,sometimes the film will stick in one spot where you don't want it to ,like a center of a wing rib cap and the rest smooths out as it should. it stands out from the rest of the covering and I'll use extra care heating it to release the adhesive from the covering. example,i used the iron on my control surfaces on the uproar which are stick built. as the covering would shrink the film[monacoat] would stick to the inside cross pc's and with the extra attention and heat released for that really smooth look. this same issue shouldn't happen on rib caps or you lose the smooth wing look. i also seal the edges and seams and then do the final shrinking together slowly like road king described.....but i at times have to use the heat gun to much on those areas descibed and figured there may be a way to keep covering from sticking where you don't want it to.

i have a few builds[over 25] I've done and really don't have a problem with covering...just wondered how others do it.

note,i don't use the iron on wing ribs so i'll get the true smooth look the kits should have.

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Old 09-24-2012, 11:29 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by stuart View Post
thanks for the responce gang..

clarification....when using the iron or the heatgun ,sometimes the film will stick in one spot where you don't want it to ,like a center of a wing rib cap and the rest smooths out as it should. it stands out from the rest of the covering and I'll use extra care heating it to release the adhesive from the covering. example,i used the iron on my control surfaces on the uproar which are stick built. as the covering would shrink the film[monacoat] would stick to the inside cross pc's and with the extra attention and heat released for that really smooth look. this same issue shouldn't happen on rib caps or you lose the smooth wing look. i also seal the edges and seams and then do the final shrinking together slowly like road king described.....but i at times have to use the heat gun to much on those areas descibed and figured there may be a way to keep covering from sticking where you don't want it to.

i have a few builds[over 25] I've done and really don't have a problem with covering...just wondered how others do it.

note,i don't use the iron on wing ribs so i'll get the true smooth look the kits should have.
I never use a iron on my wing ribs it looks bumby if you do. Try a scrap piece of balsa sheet and iron a piece of covering down then tack the edges around another piece and use the heat gun for the middle .You can see all the flaws on the ironed down one but none on the heat gun one. If you are having trouble shrinking the middle then either you did not get it tight enough by pullimg it and tacking it or the edges are not ironed down well enough and slipping.If you blow the heat gun to close the the ironed down edge it will loosen the covering up and cause it not to shrink well too. I pull my covering kinda hard with my left hand holding stuff between my knees or weighted down on my work bench then tack it 3 or 4 inches well so it wnt loose the tension. BTW i dont use a iron on my flat or even round fuses either if i dont have to i tack it in the middle on top or bottom with a seam then shrink it with a heat gun. I also find that CA is not good either for covering a plane because it so hard to sand and does not soak into the wood. It you get a tiny speck of ca on anything that needs to be covered there is going to be a mark or a bump. I use ca just to hold things and tightbond 2 for all my gluing except for landing gear bolocks of motor firewalls those get light amounts of epoxy.You sound like you know what you are doing i just think it will take more practice on stretching it tight by hand when putting it on. It took me along time to get a half way good covering job and i can still put a big wrinkle on a nice plane and have to tear it off and start again. lol You are right about not keeping the gun in one spot to long it will activate the glue on the inside rather than just shrink it up,thats why i said to alway;s keep the heat gun moving even if its slow. Good luck . joe
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:51 PM   #7
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i do enjoy covering,but i like perfection....to bad though,cause its far from perfection.

i think we cover very much the same way,i think monacoat is a strong film but requires alot of heat to shrink. i had rolls of the stuff waiting to be used up. the uproar i'm building now has monacoat for the most part,but i also had a roll of white ultra coat for the fuse sides. it shrinks really quick . i once did a deliberae burn thru test of ultracoat and the monacoat on scrap balsa. the ultra won best for how close and long you can apply the heat gun before a burn through.

well,thanks for the replys my friends,time to hit the workshop and get this bird dressed for flight. stu

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Old 09-25-2012, 12:16 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by stuart View Post
i do enjoy covering,but i like perfection....to bad though,cause its far from perfection.

i think we cover very much the same way,i think monacoat is a strong film but requires alot of heat to shrink. i had rolls of the stuff waiting to be used up. the uproar i'm building now has monacoat for the most part,but i also had a roll of white ultra coat for the fuse sides. it shrinks really quick . i once did a deliberae burn thru test of ultracoat and the monacoat on scrap balsa. the ultra won best for how close and long you can apply the heat gun before a burn through.

well,thanks for the replys my friends,time to hit the workshop and get this bird dressed for flight. stu
I used ultricoat on my seaplane and did not like the way it shrunk ,it would shrink then wrinkle a little and when i tried to shrink it again it did not want to shrink like monicoat does . It also does not want to streatch when heated around corners like round wing tips . I will explain how i get it tight incase you are missing something.I lay my piece on the wing half and tack it all the way across the middle with a trim iron then i pull kinda tight on the covering on the center of the round wind tip and move it back and forth till the covering lays kinda flat on the trailing edge and leading edge .Now the covering is square to the middle you tacked down .I then work on tacking the front or rear edge gently so i dont get the other side out of square .I then tack down the last side but pull it very tight now. The middle of the end is still just tacked and i then hold the covering about a inch or so away from that and pulling tight i heat the covering till i feel it start stretch ,once it starts to stretch with the heat still going on it i pull it down and around as much as i can then move another inch or two over and start again till its done all around the wing tip. It will take you some practice to know how long to heat it up before it starts to stretch but you can feel it . Some guys where gloves while doing this because its hot others glue wood strips to vice grips and clamp the covering to pull hard on it. Iam a hard head and just yell foul stuff when i burn my fingers three or four times on my wing tips .lmao joe
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Old 09-25-2012, 12:21 AM   #9
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Hi Stuart, Joe has given good advice on covering. I prefer Ultra cote to Monocoat, just personal preference.
I wouldn't switch to one or the other if I had a lot of rolls of only one kind either.

I think the problem might be you could be shrinking the covering too fast.
Keep moving the gun to keep the covering from burning through, but keep the heat on so the covering shrinks evenly. It will loosen the covering first then it will start to shrink. Move the gun to favor loose areas until the whole wing panel shrinks evenly.

Once the covering cools the adhesive will stick to what ever it's touching, so the covering over the ribs will stick. Pressure is not needed.
And as Joe said, a good sanding and cleaning job first will improve the process a lot.
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Old 09-25-2012, 12:38 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by pd1 View Post
Hi Stuart, Joe has given good advice on covering. I prefer Ultra cote to Monocoat, just personal preference.
I wouldn't switch to one or the other if I had a lot of rolls of only one kind either.

I think the problem might be you could be shrinking the covering too fast.
Keep moving the gun to keep the covering from burning through, but keep the heat on so the covering shrinks evenly. It will loosen the covering first then it will start to shrink. Move the gun to favor loose areas until the whole wing panel shrinks evenly.

Once the covering cools the adhesive will stick to what ever it's touching, so the covering over the ribs will stick. Pressure is not needed.
And as Joe said, a good sanding and cleaning job first will improve the process a lot.
How you been paul its been a while since i talked to you.I have seen you finaly got your plans to load up here on wattflyers but you have to stop putting thos seaplanes up here you know i cant resist them. lol Here is some videos of covering and this guy is alot smarter that me he weres gloves.lol joe http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwurD...eature=related
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Old 09-25-2012, 02:54 AM   #11
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i totally agree with road king methods and have a slight variation on pulling larger wing surfaces tight. i also agree that monocoat pull around curves nicely and shrinks tight with seam that are very smooth. i didn't like the looks of ultracoat seams.
spent a few hours hanging in the workshop covering the roar....still needs tightening up and finishing but turn out tight as a drum and not discoloration on the cub yellow. i took it real slow getting the bulk shrinkage,then i angle the surface to the light and watch the last runs over with the heat gun and you can see clearly the film shrinking.

so not done ,but all fun. the covering on the skimmer behind he roar was done in ultracoat. very nice finish and has not loosed up much this year.
[i'll be posting these same roar pic's in the uproar bash build thread so don't think to look there next...]


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Old 09-25-2012, 04:10 AM   #12
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One more tip before i go .If those are ca hinges i take one of my kids red crayons and put a red stripe right in the middle on both side's before i ca them in.The crayon wont let the ca in and makes for a much smoother hinge later plus with my old eyes you can find the center if its red.lol Nice talking with you Stuart , joe
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Old 10-15-2012, 07:49 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by stuart View Post
thanks for the responce gang..

clarification....when using the iron or the heatgun ,sometimes the film will stick in one spot where you don't want it to ,like a center of a wing rib cap and the rest smooths out as it should. it stands out from the rest of the covering and I'll use extra care heating it to release the adhesive from the covering. example,i used the iron on my control surfaces on the uproar which are stick built. as the covering would shrink the film[monacoat] would stick to the inside cross pc's and with the extra attention and heat released for that really smooth look. this same issue shouldn't happen on rib caps or you lose the smooth wing look. i also seal the edges and seams and then do the final shrinking together slowly like road king described.....but i at times have to use the heat gun to much on those areas descibed and figured there may be a way to keep covering from sticking where you don't want it to.

i have a few builds[over 25] I've done and really don't have a problem with covering...just wondered how others do it.

note,i don't use the iron on wing ribs so i'll get the true smooth look the kits should have.
Nice explanations of how to cover wings .. but reading both start and this quote now - I know where you're coming from Stu and here is the oldest shrink-covering trick out.

Heatshrink covering glue is heat activated as we all know .... so how to stop it being tacky when applying the film to model and you DON'T want areas other than edges to stick ?

There are two ways :

a) take length of backing clear film that has come from a previous film piece ... lay that along centre of GLUE SIDE of peeled new covering with end proud or covering end. DO NOT press down ... you want this as a barrier film when laying onto wing. Now lay on wing ... tack covering down around until you get to where your clear piece is hanging out ... carefully withdraw that clear film now and tack remaining edge. Shrink and be done. Sometimes it works well ... sometimes as you withdraw the film is still sticks to whats under before YOU decide !
An alternative is baking paper / greaseproof paper that nothing except Mums Apple Pie sticks to !! se that as a barrier while tacking down ...

b) THIS WORKS. What is opposite of hot ? COLD. We all do it .. we cover models in nice comfy warm rooms ... glue on film is tacky ... So what to do ? FIND a cold place to store the film and to do the initial covering work. Glue is then not tacky ........ YOU are in control of your work - because only areas that you warm with the iron will tack. Once tacked as YOU want ......... then go back to warm and comfy working area ...

Simple really isn't !



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Old 10-15-2012, 02:50 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by solentlife View Post
Nice explanations of how to cover wings .. but reading both start and this quote now - I know where you're coming from Stu and here is the oldest shrink-covering trick out.

Heatshrink covering glue is heat activated as we all know .... so how to stop it being tacky when applying the film to model and you DON'T want areas other than edges to stick ?

There are two ways :

a) take length of backing clear film that has come from a previous film piece ... lay that along centre of GLUE SIDE of peeled new covering with end proud or covering end. DO NOT press down ... you want this as a barrier film when laying onto wing. Now lay on wing ... tack covering down around until you get to where your clear piece is hanging out ... carefully withdraw that clear film now and tack remaining edge. Shrink and be done. Sometimes it works well ... sometimes as you withdraw the film is still sticks to whats under before YOU decide !
An alternative is baking paper / greaseproof paper that nothing except Mums Apple Pie sticks to !! se that as a barrier while tacking down ...

b) THIS WORKS. What is opposite of hot ? COLD. We all do it .. we cover models in nice comfy warm rooms ... glue on film is tacky ... So what to do ? FIND a cold place to store the film and to do the initial covering work. Glue is then not tacky ........ YOU are in control of your work - because only areas that you warm with the iron will tack. Once tacked as YOU want ......... then go back to warm and comfy working area ...

Simple really isn't !



Nigel
Good trick Nigel ! joe
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:03 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by road king 97 View Post
Good trick Nigel ! joe
It took me years to find out !! In fact it was an old hand who told me .....

There is a misconception that film covering strengthens a wing by adhering to the ribs ... it may help support the structure from deformation or flexing but no real strength gain. If you want that - then we need to return to old ways of nylon and dope covering - that did add to the structure.
Even the newer Tex coverings only aid support of the structure ...

It does as another says help to stop tears / rips running too far when adhered to ribs etc. ....

Tip for patch repair : We all have it ... a hole when LG flexes and punctures film, a stone or something does it ... how to patch it and be as unnoticeable as possible ?
Copy the wallpaper trick of the irregular outline - where you have damage to wallpaper in the house. You tear a rough shape that covers the area and it magically blends in. Why ? The eye loves regular shapes as squares / ovals / rectangles etc. It quickly detects and forms the shape and we see it. The wallpaper trick defeats the eye's trick of forming the image it EXPECTS to see .. it's irregular, the eye allows it to blend in unless you really look for it.

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Old 10-15-2012, 03:21 PM   #16
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HA HA now your bringing back to my silk and dope years Nigel ,and it is better to do a loose edge on tears to repair them . I have touched hot plastic covering to other plastic covering and pulled it off gently leaving a clear spot with out a hole .I mixed up some paint close to the same color and put a small dab on the inside and it looks good from the outside again.joe
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Old 10-17-2012, 06:21 PM   #17
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For small tears and holes that you can get the film to lift and edges together ... the best I found was that 'near' clear opaque tape that's used for joining paper for photocopying .... unlike normal clear tape - it leaves no line in the copy.
Invisible tape I think it's called .. I know 3M used to sell it.

Anyway - that joins and covers a tear with it hard to see .. but normal clear tape is terrible as it shines and can be seen immediately.

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Old 10-17-2012, 06:24 PM   #18
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Do you want a good film edge cutter ?

Fed up with ragged edges along wings etc. ?

If you can fand an old hair trimmer that uses a single old fashioned razor blade ... it makes a pefect cutter. The frame sits of the LE / TE just enough to give a good fold over edge ... the blade slides through that film like butter and you get a perfect edge that follows the contour the frame runs along ...

Sadly I gave mine away with all my gear years ago when stopped modelling for a while ...

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Old 10-17-2012, 07:04 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by solentlife View Post
For small tears and holes that you can get the film to lift and edges together ... the best I found was that 'near' clear opaque tape that's used for joining paper for photocopying .... unlike normal clear tape - it leaves no line in the copy.
Invisible tape I think it's called .. I know 3M used to sell it.

Anyway - that joins and covers a tear with it hard to see .. but normal clear tape is terrible as it shines and can be seen immediately.

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Nigel no one can see my small holes and imperfections at 100 mph anyways. lol Great tips Nigel, joe
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Old 10-17-2012, 07:57 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by road king 97 View Post
Nigel no one can see my small holes and imperfections at 100 mph anyways. lol Great tips Nigel, joe
Of course the old way to cover up tears and holes was to add a decal !!

But I agree ... my Red Arrow T45 looks absolute ****** on the ground ... but in the air ? Looks bl***y marvelous !



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Old 10-27-2012, 07:01 PM   #21
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Rub a little wax, like a crayon, onto the edges of the ribs before covering? Adhesive doesn't stick to oily/waxy surfaces, but will simply pull away.

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Old 01-12-2013, 12:24 AM   #22
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Talcum powder rubbed in with a finger being careful not to get it where you don't want it. Dip your finger in powder and shake off excess first away from the structure. Yes I too remember silk nylon dope etc. I once covered a combat job with Terylene from an old barbers overall that would have been heavy enough to cover a full size plane. It would take anything you could sling at it .once did wingover too fast and dived straight in. Smashed the engine crankcase and snapped 5/8 thick ply fuselage in front of wing, The wing not even dented. after repair flew on for a couple of years without recovering but eventually outflown by faster jobs so got a viking funeral. Burned out without a trace lovely flames.
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:38 AM   #23
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What a great thread! Thanks to everyone for all the information!! I am just about to cover my first kit build (Uproar) and this is the information I've been looking for. Wish me luck!
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:52 AM   #24
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+1 as LDM said,i also thought talcum powder for no stick areas....the wax idea also sounds good as long as no residue shows through the film.

thanks gang for all the suggestions. stu

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Old 01-16-2013, 01:01 AM   #25
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Default torn patches repair

Yes ton edge repairs do work but not so much for the irregular outline but for the thinned ( venetted/vinetted edge as it is known ) as opposed to the harsh edge caused by cutting. An irregular edge is harder to spot though just the same as in Scratch Patch repair kits They worked well and once polished were almost invisible. Perhaps a little car polsih would help hide film repairs. Might be worth a try. Ta Ta For Now J.M.
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