Henry Shires’ Tarptent zipper question
Posted: 23 April 2008 01:40 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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I am confused on zippers. It looks like the tarptent needs a separating zipper in order to tie the mesh to one side, but the instructions call for a coil zipper. Several sites indicate that you cannot make a separating coil zipper. I see the 72” separating zipper in the materials area, but that is not a coil zipper.

What zipper should I use? Can I make a separating zipper out of a coil zipper?

Thank you for any help,
-Rick

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Posted: 23 April 2008 01:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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You don’t need a separating zipper.  Use the #3 continuous coil zipper, closed at one end (the peak of the doorway).

You’ve also got your terminology a bit loopy.  Coil and Tooth refer to the chain type, while separating and non-separating can apply to either type of chain depending on the presence of the pin-and-box that allows the two halves of the chain to completely separate. 

I’m not aware of any way for a home user to add pin-and-box to any type of zipper chain.

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Posted: 23 April 2008 02:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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I am insane. I see it now. Wow was I confused. Closed at the top, stops at the bottom. Unzip to top to open.

Thank you AYCE.

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Posted: 23 April 2008 03:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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No problem.  I have a lot of head-scratching moments with zippers myself.

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Posted: 29 August 2011 12:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Now it’s my turn for head-scratching about continuous zippers… particularly how to end the zippers.

I think I “get” how to do the top stops for both coil and Vislon (non-separating) zippers (using the little metal or plastic gizmos) but the bottoms are puzzling me.

What’s the easiest way to provide “stops” for the zipper bottoms?

I’ve seen the info on “wedges”, or for just sewing across the bottom of the zipper but those methods just don’t resonate with me (ie, clueless). Are you supposed to sew a piece of fabric so it lays across the zipper, which would provide the stop? I’m imagining two small squares of stitches on the fabric, on each side of the zipper, which would hold down the fabric onto the zipper tape…

Is it possible to just use the little metal or plastic stops for the bottoms instead? I can conceptualize those… ;) Is there any advantages for the other methods?

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Posted: 30 August 2011 10:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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If you don’t have premade bottom stops for non-separating zipper chain, you can either use a hand needle or your machine stitch set wide enough to sew across the coils.  The thread itself stops the zipper slider from moving past, like a roadblock.  Similarly, you can make an easy top stop by just wrapping some thread with a hand needle around the individual halves of chail/coil instead of using the pronged metal stops.  Or you can fold the chain down on itself/feed extra coil into a seam, a technique often used on commercial insulated items like jackets.

Zipper wedges are used when you need to keep the bulk of the zipper chain out of a seam, such as a french seam where the fabric doubles over itself.  The bulk of two layers of zipper chain would be unworkable in such a seam.  A zipper wedge is just an inch or two of plain fabric that replaces a section of zipper chain.  It is the same width as the closed zipper chain/tape, but lacks the tooth/coil of the chain.  Or, you can choose to do nothing at all; if a zipper is closed at one end, presumably it ends at a seam of some kind.  The zipper slider will stop where the chain meets the fabric.  This may wear the fabric out eventually, which is why people wrap thread as a stop.  It’s easier to replace worn thread than to repair the fabric.

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Posted: 30 August 2011 11:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Thanks for the detailed answer - very helpful.

Since the premade top stops are so cheap and easy, I will just use those for the top stop, anytime I need to shorten a zipper (1-way separating or non-separating).

However, as an alternate, I really like your idea of hand-sewing thread around each half of the coil. Seems like that would work very well too.

For bottom stops, I did some experimenting last night and by going slowly and sometimes by hand, I was able to sew right over the zipper (#5 coil). That created a pretty nice barrier. I did break one of my #10 needles going too fast, but I switched to a #14 needle and that, along with going very slowly, seemed to let me stitch lines across the zipper tape and zipper, creating a stop.

However, here too, I guess I see no reason not to use the premade stops for bottoms too (for non-separating zipper use).

Regarding the premade stops, any preference between the pronged type and the “C-shaped” types? Is one for coil and the other for Vislon (toothed) zippers?

And regarding the wedge, still not 100% on the construction… How much zipper tape do you need to leave past the end of the zipper (where the stops are)? Seems like you need at least a 1/2” or so to have enough fabric to sew the wedge on to.

—————————————————
  Zipper | 1/2” Overlap |  Fabric
—————————————————

And could that wedge fabric also double as a stop?

Thanks!

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Posted: 31 August 2011 02:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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RE stops:  the “c” type metal stops don’t work well on coil. Prong types work with both.  Vislon folks can bodge a “stop” by removing a tooth from extra chain and gluing it into the uppermost teeth of the zipper as the stop if they don’t have other stops, aren’t feeding chain into a seam, and don’t want to use thread wraps.

RE wedge:  you’ve got it right.  You need at least as much clear fabric past the end of the chain as required by the seam allowance of the item you’re making.  The wedge can be the “stop” as much as any fabric seam, but you’re faced with the same fabric wear limitation as before when no stop is used.

RE sewing into coil:  not recommended.  The ends of chain (box and pin separating or closed-one-end)  are often the locations of zipper failure.  If you damage coil physically with a needle, it can cause a split under tension.

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