Continuing Waxed Cotton

A continuation of the too-long piece from yesterday.

There is (supposedly) at least one manufacturer of this cloth here in the US. Herbert Rice Fabrics aka Waxwear is the company. Its waxed cotton is, or at least was, used for Domke, Beretta, and Jack Spade items. A little company named leiflabs as well. I don’t know if Timbuk2 was using Waxwear or something else when waxed cotton was an option. If not there’s more than one.

Now what all the vendors say is that the waxed cotton they’re getting and using doesn’t have an odor. Based on what little I’ve discovered already that’s quite possible just by carefully choosing the wax, oil, and solvent. There might be a very good reason for paraffin instead of beeswax – I’ve not tested it. I suspect a major reason is the consistent product, plus the fact there are several variations in “paraffin” that could result in a great match. Paraffin can have a (much) lower melting point than beeswax, which probably results in a more flexible product. (47-64, norm around 37, for Paraffin. Beeswax is 62-64C.) I also suspect most of the odor associated with waxed cotton is residual from the oil used to impart flexibility as well as the solvent used to enable effective application.

Lots of “suspect” in that, huh?

I’ll be contacting Waxwear to see what they charge for fabric. Allegedly you can purchase as small as 5 yards, and if so I can make a garment or two for design test.

Of course if they’re NOT making it, well, there just might be a small opportunity.

(Herbert Rice Fabrics, Inc of New York had, in 2009, annual sales of ~330,000 and 2 employees.)


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