View Full Version : best covering?

01-04-2011, 11:06 PM
I have been looking at recovering my PA-22 ...I was thinking of maybe Stewarts Systems or Polyfiber or ? My plane is left outside year long unfortunatly does anybody know a system that might be better for this aplication?

Thanks for any help

Rick Savold

Zac Weidner
01-05-2011, 08:39 AM
I would try to stay away from Poly Fiber if possible. The system is easy and looks very nice when you follow the manual, but I do not like all the MEK in the system, even though this is what we just used on our project. I would most likely use the Stewarts system if I did it again. I think the cost is about the same for the Stewarts as for the Poly Fiber.

01-05-2011, 10:00 AM
I used Polyfiber and recently switched to Stewart system. It is easier to get a better quality job. It is safer...non-toxic. I like the glue system best, it sticks to anything. The final finish paint is more challenging to the easier Polytone finishes that I have used it is more like spraying any two part finish. I would consider using Stewart and spray final coat in Polytone. Get the video's of the Stewart system, watch them, also get the book and keep it nearby when you are working. You can call Doug or Dan Stewart anytime for advice. Good luck and enjoy.

Bob Mac
01-05-2011, 12:13 PM
One of my friends, who has recovered at least 10 airplanes, recently did a PA-18 with the Stewart System. In his words, "It is about a 10 foot paint job".
Another of my friends, who has covered at least 5 airplanes, recently did a kit Cub with Stewart. In his words, "It is about a 5 foot paint job".
I have done a PA22/20 and a PA22 with Polyfiber. It is what my current PA22-20 is covered with and is now awaiting warmer weather for the color. My Chief was covered with Polyfiber in 1985 and still appears to have been done "yesterday". (Always hangared)
I did some work on the PA-18 and I do agree that the Stewart glue is miraculous. I think using Polytone for the final color is a great idea. But read the Stewart STC carefully.
I think the outside storage success will depend on the UV protection afforded by the Stewart primer. I have no direct knowledge about this.

01-05-2011, 01:40 PM
+1 on Stewarts Systems. I covered my Kitfox with Polyfiber and my Pacer with Stewarts. I much prefer Stewarts Systems. The EkoPoly top coat is really not that hard to shoot and get a good job. Although it is very expensive paint.


01-05-2011, 04:31 PM
here is a post i made last a couple weeks ago on the OTHER short wing site

Stewert Systems One year Later
I thought I would share my observations regarding a wing I recovered last year useing Stewert Systems.

I recovered one tripacer wing using ciconite fabric aplied per the SS manual tapes and useing the blue green glue. I can not say enough about the processe! Flawless every step of the way. A budy of mine did his pa12 rudder and left some glue lines but he must have been lazzzzzy or blind???? I did not have to do the wing tip though as the wing had a PlaneBooster mod with the screew on tape on droop tip. Look for the Utube on erlyer post here in the forum.

We did the two brush coats and I htink we needed to be leaving a little more material as I think we left it a little dry or it needed another two brush coats. I just denibbed befor spraying as the fabric was reallly smooth.

While spraying the required UV/ filler coats I did have a bit of pin holeing where the brush coats were light and was wishing I had brushed a little more befor spraying.

Sanding-i sanded the whole wing my self not dareing anyone else to touch the wing with sandpaper or greassy kid fingers. When I was done sanding it was really perfect, perfect for me that is. If I wanted to go Oshkosh now whould be the time for another three coats of filler and a second sanding. I was tempted....any way it was now ready for the top coat

The topcoat- I made a map on the wall with butcher paper and instructed my assestant to keep track of coats as there is a strict schedual as to how much is aplied and with a wing it is a non stop dance with one mixing in the middle to keep within the optamum pot life. Well assestant screewd up and some where in the heat of battle forget where we were sh*&. after all was said and done we were stairing at a bunch of catilized paint and I was able to think back and realized we missed one half of a cross coat but that made all the diference-we would have had Oshkosh after all. I few days later I sprayed all the inspection covers and other misc items and they came out like glass. Fortunatly the leading edge was douple coated so it came out perfect but the rest of the wing was smooth and glossy but just had a hint of orenge peal that that one missing coat would have no doubt filled. All in all not bad for painting a whole wing having never shot the meterial befor and the next time can be perfect.

Performance- Really nothing to mention here. There was one event about three weeks after the wing was painted. We had snow and winter about and it was about 20 deg F when the local FBO's fuel valve did not shut off and befor eI could stop it I had dumped about a gallon on top and around the fuel tank cover hole. NOw part of the processe has one spray ahandfull of coats in the fuel tank bay of the UV/filler. Anyway I feared tapes and fabric flapping in the wind but noticed nothing, no lifting or bubbling. Like I said nothing.


This should be a youtube video/slide show I put together showing the wing process. I am not sure it will work as the domain is blocked here at the public library so there is no way for a test flight.


01-05-2011, 05:01 PM
I should add that there really is no better option in ease of application and reduced chemical exposure compared to any other process. I did not decide to use the product until I was informed of its use for over seven years in THE fabric shop in Fairbanks Alaska were the cold is really the biggest potential for introducing trauma.

My only concern is that with a lifetime of covering starting with tissue and dope on balsa at about five years old has allowed me to acquire skills the average person has not and it might not really be that easy.

I have a pair of wings coming into the shop recently repaired around the fuel tanks but the old fabric did not re shrink. It is covered in stits but I have no doubts about replacing the top and bottoms of the fuel tank bays with the stewart system top coat and all. The STC and installation instructions are approved for repairing all covering systems.

I would be concerned top-coating with anything other then the SS topcoat.

A couple of years ago I repaired a three inch hole with a SS glue on patch over byuterate. Wanting to match the original finish i top-coated with byuterate and noticed when I was a little heavy and had not allowed the first vary light coats to dry the SS UV coating appeared to bubble in a couple of places. I really think I just needed to wait a day between operations for everything to dry and cure completely but have not had the opportunity to try again. I will say the patch has been in service for a while and has shown no deterioration.

Any way take all this with a grain of salt and a three dollar latte.


01-07-2013, 03:40 AM
I have to decide whiche system I want to use, Polyfiber or Stewart. I prever the Stewart. Yesterday I checked some prices and was shocked. 1 gal juneau white Polyfiber is $80 and from Stewart $280. Can that be? That means that Polyfiber system is a third of the costs of Stewart.

Steve Pierce
01-07-2013, 07:27 AM
Is that Polytone, Ranthane or Aerothane. Polytone is soft, kinda like dope and you need Polyfiber 8500 reducer with it. Aerothane and Ranthane are catalyzed polyurethane. You need catalyst and reducer. I believe Syewarts price includes catalyst and you are using water as a reducer. Last time I ran a cost comparison Stewarts was about $600 cheaper for the whole job.

01-07-2013, 08:55 AM
I did my wings in Stewart Systems and they came out very nice.
The inspection holes I cut out I stuck halfway into my shed shingles
so I could see how it held up to sun and weather. After two
years there is no visible difference. I know Ohio isn't Alaska,
but I am happy.

01-07-2013, 09:09 AM
Is that Polytone, Ranthane or Aerothane. Polytone is soft, kinda like dope and you need Polyfiber 8500 reducer with it. Aerothane and Ranthane are catalyzed polyurethane. You need catalyst and reducer. I believe Syewarts price includes catalyst and you are using water as a reducer. Last time I ran a cost comparison Stewarts was about $600 cheaper for the whole job.

That sounds good. So itīs better to calculate the whole job and not only one piece of it.

Steve Pierce
01-07-2013, 09:41 AM
Ranthane is $330 for a gallon of paint, 2 quarts of catalyst and 2 quarts of reducer. 2 to 1 catalyst and 1/3 reducer.

Glen Geller
01-07-2013, 02:00 PM
Just my two cents, but folks might consider the cost of shipping the "nasty" vs "friendly" chemicals, and disposal and other Government requirements (esp in Europe?)
The water-based finishes might be cheaper if there are hidden expenses just shipping, handling and mitigating the "nasty" chemicals.
Also consider the "paint booth" requirements for toxic vs water-based finishes, glues, etc, there might be local requirements for permits, or vapor abatement etc.


01-07-2013, 03:31 PM
Also consider the proven longevity of the different methods. If you need to recover again after only a few years, it's not really saving money.

01-07-2013, 03:41 PM
I recovered my Kitfox in Polyfiber, my Pacer in Stewarts, my Hatz in Stewarts and a J5 cub in Stewarts. The last two were done downstairs in my house, up to the brushed on gray coat. No way I could do that with Polyfiber. Stewarts is 1000 times easier to work with than Polyfiber plus their product support is second to none. The Stewarts top coat takes the right equipment and painting environment or you will have problems, but that is the same for any paint. Personally, I will never use Polyfiber again.

01-07-2013, 09:19 PM
I agree totally with Scott, I will never use polyfiber again.

Just the glue alone was enough to make me switch, the non-toxic aspect and other advantages are gravy. My experience with the top coat has been great, and before this I mostly shot Imron. Maybe Jason will pipe in here sometime about the new version of the Eko-Poly topcoat, there's rumors some improvements have been made.

Stewarts STC is written to provide a lot of leeway, especially on repairs. I've been making repairs to 2 flight school supercubs for 3 years years now using Stewarts, so easy and legal. Both covered in polyfiber, one topped in polytone, one with an automotive polyurethane.

NRW-Aviator - Much more polytone is required to cover a given airplane than the Stewarts paint because polytone is mostly solvent, MEK in fact, awful stuff.


01-07-2013, 10:18 PM
I have to ditto everything Sam says!

I have been using Stewards to repair over most every system on the market. It is easy because the glue sticks to all top coats. I will not take a customer that will not let me use Stewart's system anymore.

Larry Huntley
01-08-2013, 08:09 PM
I have to ditto everything Sam says!

I have been using Stewards to repair over most every system on the market. It is easy because the glue sticks to all top coats. I will not take a customer that will not let me use Stewart's system anymore.

A ditto from here also. I hear people concerned about price, but get a quote on each. When I first used Stewart's quite a few years ago to cover a set of Tripacer wings, I called Randolph and Stewarts for a quote. Randolph quoted 37 gal of chemicals to cover those two wings. Of course much of it was thinner and such,but I would have to ship 37 gal of hazmat material from where, So Cal? I went with Stewarts. I used 3-3/4 gal of material total. I'm cheating a little. I think I had to buy 2 gal of distilled water at Walmart,so that was another $3. That was my first experience with Stewarts. That was at least 6-7 years ago and the wings still look beautiful.
My first statement to a new customer now is,"If I do your job ,I will use no process other than Stewarts." They look over my work and no one has had any complaints. Larry Huntley, Dundee, NY

01-09-2013, 02:41 AM
Thank you all. All that sounds logical. Stewart will be my system.

Steve Pierce
01-09-2013, 07:42 AM
I am going to be very candid, can you get the Stewart finish to look as good as Randthane? I can not. I really like the system but I end up with orange peel. I have not tried their new urethane paint, will get to use some of it in Febuary when Jason from Stewarts is here.

01-09-2013, 06:43 PM
Are you talking EkoPoly or something new to go over fabric?
Didn't see anything on their website, is this a secret?

Steve Pierce
01-09-2013, 06:54 PM
I believe they call it EkoPolyPremium.

01-12-2013, 03:20 PM
Are you able to share any more information regarding the new SS top coat?

I have a couple covering projects just around the corner and would love to know more.



01-12-2013, 08:01 PM
Im waiting for the Hipec system to get its canadian STC, my dad used it on his kitfox and has left samples sitting outside for 10 years and they still look great..Very easy to apply, no ribstitching or finishing tapes, cleaner airfoil, and only 3 coats for a "wet finish", toxic as hell but you only have to recover once!


Steve Pierce
01-13-2013, 10:04 AM
Are you able to share any more information regarding the new SS top coat?

I have a couple covering projects just around the corner and would love to know more.



All I know is that the new top coat is a lot more user friendly (easier to apply and get good results). Will know more after the seminar in Feb. when Jason is here and I get some experience shooting it.

01-13-2013, 12:23 PM
Another nice thing about Stewart System is that once you complete the job according to their STC and unlike other systems, you can shoot any top coat you desire over their finish.

03-17-2013, 03:10 PM
Has anyone had the opportunity to use the new EkoPoly Premium from Stewarts?

03-17-2013, 04:51 PM
we top coated a t-crate wing that had little to no silver with a good coat of eco filler and then top coated the wing top and LE with the new Premium stuff, nice and shinny and but we were fighting the low temps up here and never saw better then 68 F...so we were denighed perfection.

I had the owner shoot the struts and little bits in his home shop and so far they look great. He shot the struts last night but I have not heard how they turned out. Actually the owner shot everything with me looking over his shoulder. He had a set of ailerons to practice on but did not head my practice on the white butcher paper... afterwards I spent about two hours with him just shooting on the paper to get the gun set correctly(he wanted to use too much pressure with HVLP gun) and then getting a good handle on the recoat times. after we had consistently perfect butcher paper with shine and no runs and had carefully noted all the gun and regulator and temperatures I cut him loose on a nicely prepped wing.

On the second wing shot a couple days later he got a little greedy and ended up with a hand full of runs, then the runs layed down after a while and are barely noticeable!


jay heil
03-17-2013, 06:44 PM
I vote for the airtech process it be tough to beat the quality and durability of it but it definatly does have the "chemical thing" to worry about

on the Hipec system you will still need to rib stitch wings that have origional piper ribs its a "rib design " issue not a "covering brand " issue -------reason-- the ribs are strong in compression,not so much in tension which is the situation "glueing only" to the rib will create

Larry Huntley
03-17-2013, 06:51 PM
I have been using it and it sprays beautifully. I have been happy w/ the standard EkoPoly which I have used for quit a few years, but this premium is much easier to use. I remember going back to hit a light spot w/ the old EkoPoly ( just what Dan told me not to do) and I had a mess. I know the new stuff is more run resistant ,so a few days ago I was a bit light on a piece I wasn't too concerned about ,so I went back and really laid some paint on. No problem! I like this! Larry Huntley, Dundee , NY

Has anyone had the opportunity to use the new EkoPoly Premium from Stewarts?

03-17-2013, 08:13 PM
I'm gonna be contrary and go with poly-fiber. I know the product and am comfortable with it. I'm somewhat adverse to trying something new- especially a water borne product in the Great White North, shipping in the winter,unheated hangars......

i've seen what happens to paint when left out in a unheated garage..... mumble mumble

Steve Pierce
03-17-2013, 10:07 PM
Has anyone had the opportunity to use the new EkoPoly Premium from Stewarts?

I shot some recently on some control surfaces and was quite impressed. Tach coat and then a full wet coat it it was done. Put one on way heavy just to see and got runs, most of them flowed out after a time.

03-17-2013, 10:24 PM
"I'm gonna be contrary and go with poly-fiber."

Good products and a nice finish - just remember to wear a full fresh air breathing system even when using anything with MEK in it, as there are now doubts about the long term effects of MEK exposure. And we all know about the nasties in Aerothane.

03-17-2013, 10:46 PM
I have never sprayed Stewart's but I spray waterborne products for cabinetry, using a 3 stage turbine system and after the learning curve was over I got some good results.
Actually I got good results from it right away but periodically had some inconsistent results which took me a while to figure out, the first thing that hurt the quality of the finish was using tac rags not made for waterborne product. It cause light colored tints to yellow out. The next thing that got me was leaving the air hose coiled up on top of itself during prolonged use. That allowed heat to build up in the hose and dry the product. Stretching the hose out so the whole hose gets some air exposure resolved that issue. If you put the turbine outside then keep it and the hose out of the sun.
Also I have noticed that just about all water borne cabinet products that spray a white solid tint tend to come out with a thin pigment and need a white primer. I'll bet that Stewart's is similar.
I pretty much only spray water borne product now and as such I am most likely to use Stewart's.

Larry Huntley
03-18-2013, 05:52 AM
Another plus w/ Stewarts is that the STC allows you to use the "Beechcraft Staggerwing" knot for ribstiching. It is much faster and easier. Saves me a few hours. Larry