There are 2 main types of zips generally used in the canvas trade:
Sometimes called a 'Spiral' zip. Consists of CONTINIOUS 'coils' of nylon sewn onto both 'tape' sides of the zip. Coil zip is more FLEXIBLE and smoother running than 'chunky' zip. It will function around corners on both curve planes. Often used on suitcases and curved tent doors. These individual coils can 'kink' or fold over if the zip slider is forced. When this coil kinking happens it is very hard to reshape the coil back to original shape.
Sometimes called a 'Vislon' or 'Tooth' zip. Consists of INDIVIDUAL teeth that are moulded onto the zip tape. TOUGH solid zip for straight runs, and around curves on the flat plane. Often used on caravan annexes, and where tough straight zips are required. Individual teeth can be broken or dislodged by abuse.
2. ZIP TYPES:-
3. ZIP SIZES:-
Sizes generally used in the canvas trade are #5(Small), #8 (Medium) and #10 (Large), both Coil & Chunky... although it is not uncommon to encounter other sizes.
#5: Coil : Teeth Width approx 6.3-6.6mm, Thickness approx 2.6-2.2.75mm
Chunky: Teeth Width approx 5.8-6.2mm, Thickness approx 2.8-3.0mm
Uses: Commonly used for light weight tents, backpacks etc
#8: Coil: Teeth Width approx 7.1-7.3mm, Thickness approx 2.8-2.9mm
Chunky: Teeth Width approx 7.3-7.9mm, Thickness approx 2.9-3.9mm
Uses: Commonly used for medium weight tents, luggage, backpacks etc
#10: Coil: Teeth Width approx 10.2-10.5mm, Thickness approx 4.0-4.3mm
Chunky: Teeth Width approx 8.6-9.0mm, Thickness approx 3.7-4.0mm
Uses: Commonly used for heavy weight tents, luggage, etc
4. ZIP SLIDERS:-
(a) SINGLE PULL non-locking slider - slider with only one pull.
Uses: Luggage, backpacks, caravan annex windows .... anywhere you only need to be able to unzip from one side of the zip.
Commonly available in both Coil and Chunky styles ( #5,#8 and #10).
(b) SINGLE PULL locking slider - slider which has an internal locking mechanism to hold it firmly in position against vibration, movement, etc
Uses: Luggage, backpacks, caravan annex windows, also available in PLASTIC body for marine use.
Commonly only available in Chunky style ( #10).
(c) SINGLE PULL KEY LOCK slider - slider which mates together with a second key lock slider, can insert a small lock or cable-tie to lock together.
Uses:security envelopes, luggage, backpacks, etc.
Commonly only available in a #10 Coil style
(d) DOUBLE PULL slider - a zip slider with a pull on both sides.
Uses: sleeping bags, caravan annex doors .... anywhere you need to be able to unzip from both sides of the zip
Commonly available in both Coil and Chunky styles ( #5,#8 and #10)
(e) DOUBLE PULL locking slider - a zip slider which has an internal locking mechanism to hold it firmly in position against vibration, movement, etc
Uses: PLASTIC body for marine use.
Commonly only available in Chunky style ( #10).
Look after your zips because any damage to them could require the canvas to be put on a bench under a machine to have new zips installed. In the case of a camper trailer canvas this means removing the canvas completely. In the case of a 2 room tent it may mean it is not possible to replace a second room door zip without unpicking part of the tent …. so a little zip maintenance can go a long way.
•Never force zips. If they will not slide with ease, lubricate, backtrack and try gently again.
•Lubricate full zip length regularly with a pure SILICON SPRAY.
•Never use oil based lubricant as it attracts grit and will therefore wear out your slider at a fast rate.
•Keep zips clean (use a tooth brush to remove any dried mud)
•Never try and zip over wet or dried mud
•Keep zips closed when erecting and dismantling camper trailers, annexes, tents. swags, etc.
•A worn slider may sometimes be the cause if the zip teeth do not ‘mate’ up correctly. If the slider is worn it can be replaced, but once again, the canvas must be put onto a bench under a machine to restitch any locations unpicked to install the new slider ….. so look after those zips. A temporary field ‘fix’ may be possible by gently using a pair of pliers to squash the slider slightly, however if you over-squash the slider by the minutest amount you run the risk of locking the slider on and wrecking the zip. You will not be able to reverse the ‘squash’ … so be careful!!! This squashed slider may also have the effect of wearing the zip teeth down prematurely so only treat it is only a temporary 'holiday fix' and get the slider replaced.
(a) Coil Zip
Interchangability of sliders-
(b) Chunky Zip
Open End zip-
Slider Size Indentification-
Some sliders have the size, or a size code, moulded into the front centre section, or on the pull tab.
Some sliders do not have this and it is only possible to match up by measuring and referring to a slider chart or comparing to new sliders of known size
(As stated above, some zips on imported products are a slightly non-standard size and replacement sliders are not available, which means the replacement of the whole zip is the only remedy for a worn slider).
**There is a reason for price differences ..........ALL ZIPS and SLIDERS ARE NOT PREMIUM QUALITY**
Zips and sliders are complex items. When looked at under a magnifying glass, teeth have ridges and notches that must be aligned correctly to 'lock' together. The size tolerances of teeth and sliders effects this 'lock-mating' of teeth, and the rate of wear of teeth & slider. The quality of materials used for teeth, tape, sliders, and UV treatment, can determine rate of wear and breakdown .
The following information covers only plastic/nylon #5, #8 and #10 coil and chunky zips.
Other sizes/types of zips and sliders are available to those referred to.
Both Coil & Chunky zip come as a CONTINIOUS zipper and OPEN END zippers
SOME Coil sliders are interchangable with other Coil sliders of different brands (as SOME Chunky sliders are interchangable with other Chunky sliders of different brands), but it is BEST TO REPLACE WITH THE ORIGINAL SLIDER BRAND where possible. Some sliders ARE NOT interchangable between brands. Some zips on imported products are a slightly non-standard size and replacement sliders are not available (standard sliders will either be too tight or too loose), which means the replacement of the whole zip is the only remedy for a worn slider. For this reason I always suggest using well known brand zips and sliders when replacing (or manufacturing new products).
1. ANATOMY OF A ZIP:-
COIL and CHUNKY sliders are DISTINCTLY DIFFERENT sizes and shapes and ARE NOT interchangeable between types
"Teeth Width" and "Teeth Thickness" can vary between different manufacturers for the same stated size
Comes as a long length , generally 100m rolls, which can be cut to required size. It is designed to be non-openable one or both ends by fitting 'BOTTOM STOPS' or permanetly stitched closed. An example of being non-openable one end is a window flap in a caravan annex. An example of being permanently closed both ends is a zip opening in a canvas bag.
Come in a range of set lengths. They consist of two seperate zip pieces and have a tongue (pin) and box arrangement at one end where the tongue is mated and locked into the box to start the zip process. Common sizes are from approx 450mm-7m for #10 Coil, and 450mm-10m for #10 Chunky). Examples where open-end zips used are jacket zips, and detachable caravan annex walls.
Zips and Curves
........ALWAYS PAY FOR QUALITY........
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