How to soften-up the flap of an F-3x?
I have an F-3x that I use to carry my Leica's and the top flap is extremely stiff. It almost acts like it's been starched or something (which of course it hasn't).
I've run the bag through the wash a few times to "age" it as I do all my smaller canvas bags, but that hasn't helped.
Does anyone know of any products, or conditioning techniques, I can try to get the canvas to soften up?
Thanks in advance!
We at Tiffen can only recommend time. There is probably extra starch or resin in the fabric that will eventually come out. Cotton is a natural fiber (therefore green) and gets slightly different results each time it's dyed.
Have you tried with an iron?
I did it to an F6 just after washing it and it worked great, just make sure you put something between the iron and your bag, with the heat, you never know...
Solution to softening canvas.
After posting my question I did some searching on the internet and discovered a possible solution.
I took the bag and soaked it in a bucket of water with fabric softener. Then, I ran it in the dryer (without heat) for a couple of hours with 6 tennis balls and a couple pairs of Vans shoes in order to give it a good beating. I think it helped to loosen-up the canvas a bit, and further general use and exposure to the elements should take care of the rest.
I should also say, this particular F-3x has been to Central American a couple of times, and through the wash about a dozen times -- all in addition to the recent tennis ball beating I gave it. The thing is starting to get a nice "I'm not a camera bag" look to it, but it doesn't show the slightest hint of seam wear or other indication of coming apart. This quite a statement of craftsmanship and durability!
Similarly, my F6 got dragged through Haiti on two recent assignments (sometimes literally), and after wiping the dirt off, one would never know it ever left my house.
On a side note - I think Leica users would love to see a F-3x specific insert that would hold two bodies on end with lenses attached, as well as a couple extra lenses. A rectangular insert with two small square pockets on one end, and a diagonal divider separating the remaining space for the two bodies would work really well. The little velcroed divider piece that comes with the bag is a little too wimpy to keep things really organized. Just my take as a heavy Domke bag user.
Keith thanks for your post.
I hope you've solved your problem.
A couple of years ago my wife and I were in your town, passing through. Beautiful! What a wonderful place to work at your craft.
edit: thanks for the link to your site. You can be proud of your work!
Keith you didn't really mention that has your problem solved or not?
Six tennis balls with Vans shoes in the dryer worked well.
Oopps - my bad!
It actually worked pretty well. The flap is still a bit stiffer than I would like, but the tennis ball/Vans shoe beating -- after a fabric softener soaking -- definitely softened everything up nicely. Regular use will take care of the rest.
The best thing is that, the bag now looks like nothing anyone would want to try to steal (logos cut-off, canvas looking worn). It's important that my camera bags are both functional, and don't look like they are holding $20,000 worth of gear (a pair of M9's, lenses, etc).
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