Vintage Rubber Repair

Dedicated to the discussion of vintage diving methods and equipment available prior to 1970. This forum section is limited to the diving without modern BCDs or use of an Octopus.

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Discussion of diving methods and equipment available prior to the development of BCDs beyond the horse collar. This forum is dedicated to the pre-1970 diving.
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DaveMann
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Location: Fort Myers, Fla., USA

Vintage Rubber Repair

Mon Oct 03, 2016 9:15 pm

I have an old pair of Voit Viking fins that are getting a bit rotten in the heel area of the foot pocket.

I have seen a YouTube video for something called SpongeRez wherein they apply this goo with a Popsicle stick to an old fin strap. It looks like a filler/reconditioner. Have any of you used it or heard anything positive about it?

It looks like this.

Image

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Britmarine
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Re: Vintage Rubber Repair

Tue Oct 04, 2016 1:37 am

There's an article here about the conservation of rubber artefacts:

http://www.bouncing-balls.com/chemistry_tech_conservation/conserve.htm

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captain
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Re: Vintage Rubber Repair

Tue Oct 04, 2016 10:29 am

You may be able to conserve rubber but you can't restore it back to its original usable condition.
Captain

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Bryan
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Re: Vintage Rubber Repair

Tue Oct 04, 2016 10:54 am

captain wrote:You may be able to conserve rubber but you can't restore it back to its original usable condition.


So you mean slathering it with silicone won't make it "new" again :roll: :roll:
Doing it right should include some common sense, not just blindly following specs and instructions. .Gary D, AWAP on SB

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DaveMann
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Re: Vintage Rubber Repair

Tue Oct 04, 2016 2:41 pm

Britmarine wrote:There's an article here about the conservation of rubber artefacts:

http://www.bouncing-balls.com/chemistry_tech_conservation/conserve.htm


That was a very interesting read. I don't know that it's applicable to my particular situation, but it was interesting. You're never too old to learn something new.

Thanks.

Dave

swimjim
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Re: Vintage Rubber Repair

Tue Oct 04, 2016 6:36 pm

Bryan wrote:
captain wrote:You may be able to conserve rubber but you can't restore it back to its original usable condition.


So you mean slathering it with silicone won't make it "new" again :roll: :roll:


But that's what Ratliff said, and everybody knows he's an expert....... :shock:

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Nemrod
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Re: Vintage Rubber Repair

Tue Oct 04, 2016 11:36 pm

Silicone may temporarily make the rotten, dried out rubber goods softer and more pliable but it does not reverse the damage caused by aging, oxidation and UV exposure. Aerospace 303 protectant may prevent UV damage and oxidation on rubber and plastics still in good condition and forestall the inevitable degradation, silicone spray, not so much. Since many of these products contain silicones, I would avoid using them on silicone "rubber" products, you might not like the result.

Nem

DreadfullBetty
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Re: Vintage Rubber Repair

Thu Dec 29, 2016 12:20 am

Has anyone out there used Wintergreen oil to soften hardend old rubber? You can get it at horse tack shops. By soaking hardened rubber parts in the oil suppleness can be restored. It's a vintage motorcycle restoration trick. As far as I know you can't over soak the rubber item and the only draw back is that things smell a little minty afterwards.

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Bronze06
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Re: Vintage Rubber Repair

Fri Dec 30, 2016 2:27 am

DreadfullBetty wrote:Has anyone out there used Wintergreen oil to soften hardend old rubber? You can get it at horse tack shops. By soaking hardened rubber parts in the oil suppleness can be restored. It's a vintage motorcycle restoration trick. As far as I know you can't over soak the rubber item and the only draw back is that things smell a little minty afterwards.


Now this is something I never heard of. I don't mind "Minty Fresh" fins or straps or even a minty mask. I'll try this trick on some of my more "mature" rubber artifacts.
As the Captain said however, there is nothing out there that will chemically rejuvenate rubber once it has lost polymer cohesion internally. The culprit here is sulphur. Sulphur is the catalyst in the "Vulcanization" process that creates the strength and resiliance that we love about rubber, BUT sulphur reacts to oxygen and UV light continuously. As a piece ages, sulphur will leach from a rubber item and bond with O2 and thus leave the gum rubber matrix it was originally mixed with. We have all seen the end result on tires as well as scuba items that were less than loved by their owners, to wit; cracking & dry rot, which only exaserbates the problem even more. Other reactions, depending on the rubber blend, will leave a piece gummy and sticky over time.

Preservation:
I do mask and general rubber maintenance on all my "actively used" items once a year and ensure that those other items not actively being used or kept in situ are properly preserved and stored (away from heat and light). After a thorough cleaning, I seal up items with silicon grease, talcum powder or sometimes both. Silicon can seal and stop the oxidation process, but must be re-applied from time to time (if the piece is actively being used) in order for it to work. Storage in talcum powder also acts as a preservative agent because it bonds with sulphur molecules on the surface of an item on a molecular level and thus halts further reaction between the rubber and the environment. Many of us, if not all, have run into an item that has talcum on it still from the factory for this very reason. As many of us know, a really thorough rinsing in clean fresh water after every dive is a must for keeping your rubber and silicon items in good order.
"Where'd ya get that ol' thang, don't cha' know them thare things ill kill ya!"

Live From the Red Sea,

Russ

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