Thursday, December 20, 2012

Drysuit neck gasket replacement

In the fall of 2010 I had to replace the neck gasket in my drysuit.  I got it done but it was a messy process.  I had the process just about 50% right.  I used the bottom of an 8 3/4 inch plant pot that fit tightly in the material but when I applied the Aquaseal, the gasket crept and I was sweating between the toes trying to keep it in place.

There are instruction videos on YouTube, some I found useful, some I didn't trust to get a good seal.  I didn't like the idea of gluing the seal on a flat surface because the material doesn't lay flat and I was afraid of air holes.  One guy made a neat contraption but I decided to stick with the pot bottom I had.

I just had to replace it again but learned from my earlier adventure.

 I covered the form completely with wax paper and secured it with tape ...

... before inserting it into the opening.  It was a nice snug fit. You can see the mess on the material from the Aquaseal I made the first time I did this job.

With the help of my wife I stretched the new gasket over the form and positioned it with the right amount of overlap on the material.  This is where I made the improvements from the last time.

I tied the gasket tightly with string just above where the material lay on the form.  That held the gasket securely while I peeled back the gasket to apply Aquaseal and refold over the material.

Then I applied clear packing tape over the seal, overlapping the gasket and material.  I had previously determined the tape would stick to the gasket but not to the cloth so well.  I was ready with another piece of string to tie around the tape where it overlaid the material.  (The form is slightly tapered and a dry fit showed the gasket crept up a bit even tied with the string.  The tape was the key ensured the gasket would stay put.)

As added security I tied a third piece of string.

I had zero creep.  It was a painless process and I didn't even have to wear rubber gloves.

I was apprehensive about replacing the gasket because of the uncomfortable experience I had the first time but this worked well.  I'm ready to paddle again this weekend.

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