There’s a time and place for wax in your zipper

So I have this front zip surf vest I bought a while back by Billabong that I just love because it can zip on and off like a jacket- no over the head removal. This helps my sore neck greatly.

However, it has a horrible design flaw. At least for a frequent surfer like me. Its’ zipper teeth and zipper pull are completely exposed. Cute fashion look, but bad for function when I’m accumulating surf wax on my chest, lying on my board belly down, paddling into waves. Now I’ve got crazy wax buildup on the zipper, and it actually doesn’t make the zip-up any easier. Plus, the clean-up is going to become a nightmare.

This vest gets a lot of use- even in the Summer. But so much wax!!!

Not going to be fun to clean

 

So, to help start this process, I put the vest in a Ziplock bag and put it in the freezer overnight.

Didn’t want to get the nasty wax all over my somewhat clean freezer

Clean eating. By the way, Mini Eggs are EXCELLENT frozen.


After taking the vest out of the freezer the next day, I immediately began to remove the hardened wax while it was frozen. I used an old toothbrush that I had cleaned off well beforehand.

I tried not to scrape the material

The bristles helped clean the teeth

 

Since there was still some wax deep in some crevices, I had to use an alcohol wipe to wipe down the plastic teeth to try and dissolve the wax. That seemed to help quite a bit too.

Wiping down just the teeth of the zipper and zipper pull

An improvement


Now, I was ready to make a little zipper placket so I could save myself this cleaning pain in the future, hopefully.

For this zipper placket, I used some fun Lycra I bought ages ago on clearance, but you could also recycle an old rashguard for this project too, since it’s the same material.

Wacky

I measured the zipper on the jacket vest, wanting the placket to end up being 1 inch wide by 19 inches long.

Measuring across

About 19″


To make this strip, I needed to cut a piece 2 inches wide by 20 inches long, since I’m going to fold it over. I inferfaced this with light iron on interfacing. I just find it makes sewing with knits a lot easier, and it will give the placket a bit of structure.

I use this all the time with knits

Hemming each end


After that, I hemmed each end a 1/2″ inch and turned the ends right side out, then stitched down the placket on the outside raw edge to stabilize it some more.

Turned right side out

Light iron

Making sure the edges don’t move around

Then, I sandwiched the raw edge of the placket between the zipper teeth and the scant edge of the neoprene on the side of the fabric of the zipper. I clipped this all the way down, putting this placket on the zipper side where the zipper pull is.

I had to move the pull out of the way

It ain’t movin’

I used a needle a poly thread and hand tacked the layers together, since they were just too bulky for the home machine. Even with small tack stitches, it didn’t take long. This is also a good use for old fishing line, but the lighter, the better.

Hand sewing the placket in

Done!

The placket won’t get in the way of the zipper




This will help to prevent some wax from getting on the zipper in the future. It was easy enough to do, and I’m glad I didn’t have to scrap the nice vest.

Bonus tip: 

Don’t forget to store the toothbrush with your cleaning supplies. If you wax your teeth up, you’re going to freak people out in the lineup with a permagrin.

Although that’s not a bad idea.

Not much longer until I’m sporting this look

Hurricane Soap Recipe (Hot Water Surf Wax DIY)

It’s been so hot here in Central Florida, we’re probably going to get whacked with a hurricane once the Saharan dust storms settle down. A lot of meteorological happenins’. Yikes. Before I learned to surf, I thought surfers were hurriedly cleaning their boards on the beach before going out in the hurricane swell. Now I giggle when I think about wax as “Hurricane Soap” for your surfboard.

I’ve been told my mind only gets worse from here. Boo.

Even my “Tropical” surf wax has been melting off my board onto my arm while I’m in the water, it’s just that stinking hot. The air is about 95ish degrees F, and the water is around 88 degrees F, which is extremely warm, almost uncomfortable.

I lent my 6’10” to a friend for a while, so I’m riding my 7’6″ Town & Country Stu Sharpe fun shape. I love this board, not just because it was my first board, but it’s really fun on the right day. Luckily for me, we’ve had some fun waves this week, so I’ve been taking it out. The down side is that it has a pretty purple paint job with a gloss coat, which doesn’t help wax stay on the board very well when surfing the gates of hell. D’oh.

imageI thought back to my old post three years ago when I made my own wax. I remembered the beeswax being SUPER hard- much harder than even the “Tropical” store bought wax. I laid out all of the store bought wax I had on hand, from the “Cool” water (softest) to the “Tropical” (hardest). I had also heard a rumor that this DayGlo color wax is supposed to hold up to the Sun, so I was curious.

Like I said in the last post about wax, beeswax isn’t the cheapest thing in the world, so I figured I’d use a half-and-half recipe, so I’d have the benefits of the hardness of the beeswax, with some of the spreadability of the storebought wax. Like butter and margarine. But don’t eat it, or you’ll start grunting people off of waves and doing Florida hops on choppy mush. It’s a curse.

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All of the wax measured out

Recipe:

  • 1 Bar of Tropical Sticky Bumps Wax (they only make soy-based now, so it’s a bit softer than previous incarnations, IMHO)
  • Around 88 grams pure beeswax
  • Approximately 5 grams Day-Glo Sticky Bumps Wax (I only had it in warm, which is the only type available around here).

 

I have a dedicated double burner just for doing crafts with wax- DON’T reuse one you will eat from! It is very difficult to get wax residue off of everything, so, be a little anal retentive on this. Mine came from IKEA for $6, and if you can find one at your local thrift store, that’s ideal. I also keep an old knife to chop up the beeswax with, and I have some old wood chopsticks to stir with in my crafting kit. Just make sure not to get wax in your main pot of water under the double boiler- ONLY wax goes in the double boiler, NO water! The double boiler will rest just over the pot of boiling water. The smaller you can chop your wax up, the faster it will melt- the storebought stuff will melt faster than the beeswax.

Be patient and watch the process- I had some chunkage going, so I had to wait at least 15 minutes until most of the big beeswax chunks had started to shrink. I kept poking and stirring the wax mix with the wood chopstick the whole time. Melted wax can help speed up the heating of unheated chunks. It’s like making a fondue, just keep the crackers far away so you won’t get tempted.

Once all the wax has completely melted, and you’ve stirred the wax enough to homogenize the mixture, you can start pouring it into molds. Make sure you have enough extra molds available- you don’t want to throw out any overage. I used some more cheap IKEA silicone flexible ice cube trays like last time, this time I had starfish too!

Let the wax sit in the molds undisturbed for at least 45 minutes to allow them to set up and cool down. Don’t toss them in the freezer- I did that a long time ago, and it can create voids.

So, these aren’t huge bars of wax, but since beeswax is pricey, maybe I’ll try this as my  daily topcoat for a while, since I just put a nice base coat on the 7’6″ just last week. On a side note, if you’ve got kids who like to eat glue, they’ll love these, so keep them away from the children, mmmkay?

So here’s a look at the nose before and after waxing with the new wax. I really liked how it went on in the afternoon heat and the bumps built up really well.

The little bit of the neon yellow I added of the DayGlo wax barely made a dent in the color, so they’re a very light butter yellow, probably because of the beeswax more than the DayGlo coloring.

Maybe this year’s September Surf Expo theme will focus on the declining bee colony population, and how it will impact John John Florence’s shred-gnar ratio because the water’s too warm, and the wax has become too slippery to land triple nipple Ollie rail grabs, and the wax industry’s sold out, man. Deep.

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Our Beloved

What the hell do I know? Alls I know is a just need some tasty waves, and a few nugs of some decent wax, brah.

DIY Natural Surf Wax

One of my most popular posts on my old site! Enjoy!

Originally published by me on 15 March 2013 on Blogger.

I’ve kind of surprised myself I haven’t done this craft yet. Making natural (non paraffin/petro) wax is pretty simple, but honestly, the natural wax I’ve bought it the past has been really soft and not very good, so I’ve shied away from trying it myself.
After looking around on the internet for a recipe to try, I noticed a couple of things. First, the natural “organic” wax recipe is almost always comprised of two ingredients: beeswax and coconut oil. Secondly, the ratio is usually two parts beeswax, and one part coconut oil.
Now, I’m no expert, but coconut oil is kind of a runny semi solid. BUT, it’s cheaper in volume than beeswax, which can be quite expensive. This probably why I’ve gotten natural wax that’s so soft- too soft because the ratio was too low due to cost, which I can understand if you’re selling it.
In this case, I’m making it for my own use, so I wanted to make something that works imagefor me, and that would work better for warmer waters, like what’s here in Florida.
First off, I had to think ahead to how I wanted to measure out the 2 ingredients. Beeswax typically comes in a solid bar form. Coconut oil, of course, can be measured out in liquid teaspoon or tablespoon measurements. If I wanted to be able to measure out the beeswax in the same form, I would have to melt it down first, transfer it into a measurement cup, transfer any remainder to a heatproof container that would release the wax later, then transfer the wax from the measurement cup back to the double boiler that I’m melting it in. All this while, I’m hoping that the wax isn’t producing a skin, and that I’m transferring ALL of the wax from container to container to ensure reasonable accuracy.
Whew. What a pain.
Instead, why not use the density of beeswax to calculate the equivalent liquid measurement to the weight in grams, so I can weigh it out while it’s still solid? Better.
I used this website to reference the density of beeswax for my calculation to convert the solid equivalent to a liquid equivalent so I’d have “apples to apples”. I chose a much higher ratio to use for the recipe, and did the ratio as straight up liquid to liquid, not relative densities of the beeswax to coconut oil.
Bored.
Anywho, this is what I came up with for a goodly batch of wax:
     160 grams Beeswax
2 US tablespoons of Coconut Oil

Okay, so here’s the good part…..
I bought a 1 pound block of pure beeswax (I’m doing another project with beeswax, so I bought extra). Online, this cost me $14, but the shipping was free, and I’m going to use around half of it. You can also find beeswax in the candlemaking section of any craft or hobby store. Nope, it ain’t cheap. I also got a jar of coconut oil from the grocery store- I had to ask somebody where it was, it varies. You can also find this at the health food store. That cost about $5, but I’m only using two tablespoons of the jar.

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Using a food scale to measure out the beeswax

To measure out the wax, I used a serrated knife to cut off chunks and weigh them in a food scale.

Using a double boiler pan I got for cheap at Ikea (if I’d have waited, I probably could’ve gotten one at Goodwill), I used a large pot filled with boiling water underneath, and I melted the wax down. Don’t put any water in the upper pan with the wax! I really should have chopped the wax into smaller pieces to help the wax melt a bit faster.

To stir the wax, I used a wooden chopstick, and once the wax had completely melted, I was ready to add the coconut oil. I measured it with a tablespoon measuring spoon and put it directly into the pan.

I stirred just a bit more to ensure the mixture was even and was melted into each other. Then, it was ready to pour. For fun, I used a silicone fish ice cube tray (also an cheap Ikea score) and a couple of aluminum small tart tins.

After only about five minutes, the wax was getting pretty firm in the ice cube tray. The tart tins were taking a little longer.

Just to make sure, I let them set for a good 45 minutes, just to be overly safe. I think they harden up much quicker, really.

You can see that I got a couple of bars and a whole bunch of fish out of it. The fish shapes are actually pretty handy to handle when applying the wax.

I tested the wax on my board and it actually creates pretty good bumps, and works pretty well with some stick to it, much better than the other natural waxes I’ve used in the past. I think this ratio may be a winner. I still admit I like my traditional wax, but it’s kind of neat-o to make your own.
Now I feel compelled to munch on a bag of Goldfish crackers.