Monday, May 28, 2012

Tent paint musings

I had a lot of time to think about painted tents while I was paining my roof. Most painting of tents have the seams painted at least and many of them have arches also. Paint has some interesting properties. For one, paint makes things stiffer. It also makes canvas shrink. It would be odd to only have the seams painted and the rest of the tent floppy.

If the whole tent was painted in a gesso it would stiffen up and shrink the whole tent. The shrinkage would be uneven, because the stiffer seams would not quite shrink as much. This would help account for the uplift seen inbetween the painted seams at the bottom of the tents. If the whole tent was painted it would make for a stronger tent. The stiffness would help shed both wind and water. The paint also help seal any seams, prevents fraying, and makes the fabric less susecptable to puntures and tears. It also makes the surface easier to paint with color and achive fine lines and intricate patterns, which would be harder on canvas that absorbs liquids.... paint seaps on raw canvas.

If just the seams are painted they are reinforced, but what if the arches are not just decorative?? What if the arches are structural? Paint stiffens up the arches and the seams, spreading pressure and tension.

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