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Taking a cue from this excellent thread - - I thought I'd post a method I've used quite a few times for waterproofing cotton canvas and japara (known as balloon silk/egyptian cotton to old timers like Horace Kephart). In the olden days in North America, Britain, and here in Australia, they called this method "paraffinning". It's a dry proofing treatment which doesn't increase the weight of the material or make it greasy or oily like a "wet" treatment like oilskinning.

I used a mixture of white paraffin wax and a solvent. The solvent I used is called "white spirits". It's like a low-odour mineral turpentine and I believe it's used as a dry cleaning fluid. I have also experimented with shellite (Coleman stove/lantern fuel) and I've used unleaded gasoline. White spirits works best, followed by shellite, with gasoline coming in third because it takes a few days for the gasoline smell to leave the waterproofed article.

I'd love to try the alum recipe at the link above, but I can't find it locally, whereas white candles (they're paraffin wax) and  white spirits are cheap and easy to get in just about any hardware store here and in some supermarkets too.

Here's how you do it -

Bring a big pot of water to the boil and then remove from the flame. In a smaller metal pot which fits inside the big one, place broken candles (or unbroken tealight candles) and stir around until they start to melt. Don't worry about removing the wicks. You can pick them out later without damaging the waterproofing. If the inner pot with melty wax in it starts cooling, remove it and put the water pot back on the stove until it boils, then keep stirring.

Making doubly-sure there's no flame or heating element anywhere near it, pour the solvent into the molten wax and stir thoroughly. It's now ready to use.

You may be asking what proportions of wax to solvent. When making up a batch to reproof a tarp or japara tent I use about 600 grams of candles and 1 litre of solvent. You could go a 50/50 mix without any problems I reckon. I only use 600g of candles because my household candles come in packs of six, and each candle weighs about 100 grams - hence 600 grams, or as my insect brain sees it - one packet of candles to one bottle of white spirits :-D

To water proof an article like a tarp, just pitch it taut in a lean-to fashion, then using a wide paint brush, paint the mixture on to the outside surface, being sure to put some extra on any seams or stitching. In a few hours or overnight, the item will be dry and ready to pack away or use.

How does it work? The solvent carries microcrystals of wax into the very fibres of the cotton and when the solvent evaporates off, the wax stays in the fibres, leaving the fabric feeling completely dry and maybe a little silky. I haven't done it, but you could do this with cotton clothing too if you wish.

If you haven't used all of the proofing mixture you can store it in a sealed tin or a jar. I had half a batch left over a few years ago and I put it into an old coffee tin. Fully three years later, I cracked open the tin and found the stuff to be perfect, with no separation of the two components or evaporation of the solvent.

Using flammable liquid and flammable wax sounds like a recipe for disaster for an item which may be subject to embers and sparks from the campfire. Fear not. We did a fire-susceptibility test on this stuff. I had a couple of squares of calico (I think you guys call it muslin). I treated one with the paraffin/solvent mix and left one untreated. The following afternoon, we pegged both o a wire slung taut between two trees and lit the bottom corner of each. They both burned and charred in exactly the same fashion. There was no extra flammability detected with the treated calico. If you were worried about it, you could experiment with throwing a cup or two of borax powder into the solution before applying it to your tarp, but I've never done it so I'm not sure how it might affect the waterproofing.

Since photobucket broke the internet, I'm not sure how to post pictures. If I work it out I'll reply with some pics showing how it's done.
Bushlore and Outdoor Skills / Re: Silva compass question.
« Last post by buzzacott on Yesterday at 11:49:24 PM »
Definitely not applicable to a liquid-filled baseplate compass like an old Silva, but I successfully reversed polarity on one of those old-fashioned "decorative" Lewis and Clark wooden-cased compasses you get from places like Authentic Models (see

I wanted to field test it, but unfortunately the dial was glued on crooked and the pointer, while magnetised, had the non-pointy end pointing north.

I disassembled the compass, took the pointer through one of those magnetiser/demagnetisers a few times, and it works great now, pointing north as it should.

I re-glued the paper dial in the correct orientation and hit it with some waterproofing spray just in case the compass ever gets wet. Works great now and is very accurate when compared to my British Mk III, British Verner's Pattern VIII, Cammenga M1950 and my "modern" compass, the Suunto MC-2G.   
Production Knives / Re: Enzo Trapper O1
« Last post by Moe M. on Yesterday at 09:03:59 PM »

 IMHO the Enzo Trapper is one of the most under rated outdoor knives on the market,  I've had mine for several years now and it's never let me down,  mine is made of 01 Tool steel, and has Ivory Micarta scales,  it truly performs way above it's price point.
General Discussion / Re: Ethanol Free Gas
« Last post by Quickdraw on Yesterday at 07:52:24 PM »
Thanks Nuke  I new of two in my area, per your list there are a total of 5 Thanks again
Country and Rural Living Skills / Re: Project Oasis, New pond???
« Last post by Old Philosopher on Yesterday at 03:51:12 PM »
Just be careful working in that sandy trench with the front loader. Don't get buried. And if you get stuck, you'll need a D8 Cat to pull you out!
Country and Rural Living Skills / Re: Project Oasis, New pond???
« Last post by xj35s on Yesterday at 03:06:54 PM »
That is a very nice site. I bookmarked it. I like the air compressor idea. I always wanted a fountain though.

We have rain coming Tuesday and Wednesday this coming week. I'm going to get as much done as I can and hope the water will stay in till spring. Updated pics will come soon.

Diesel was the same price as gas. $2.69 a gallon(89 oct). That's not bad it has been more for a long time.
DIY and Homemade Gear / Re: Basic Net Making
« Last post by SamD on Yesterday at 03:03:54 PM »
Thank you for the repost. Pictures have been saved to my harddrive as well.

General Discussion / Re: Ethanol Free Gas
« Last post by wsdstan on September 21, 2017, 10:12:38 PM »
The 85 octane I run in my truck says no ethanol, the 91 I run in the motorcycle says no ethanol and I hope they ain't lying about it.  Around here 87 octane has 10% ethanol and I run that in the SUV.

All the mowers, chain saws, gas tractor, and snow blower run 85 octane and its pure gas (I hope).

General Discussion / Re: KEN BURNS: THE VIETNAM WAR
« Last post by wsdstan on September 21, 2017, 10:08:41 PM »
I watched it tonight.  They are in the time period when my friend was killed when they get to May of 1968.  He was up north, 3rd Marine Division. 
Country and Rural Living Skills / Re: Project Oasis, New pond???
« Last post by Old Philosopher on September 21, 2017, 07:25:42 PM »
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