Latex Gaskets - Trimming or Stretching

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oc1paddlr
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Post by oc1paddlr » Sat Feb 27, 2010 2:48 am

i got my new and first ever dry suit today. it is a stohlquist body pod. i like it but the neck is neoprene and non-trimable (but heavy double layer)
anyone else have one of these?
i called stohlquist and said the neck may be too tight, they said send it back and they will put in a larger neck. he also said the neoprene will not stretch.
just wondering if i might be going from a tite to a leaky if i size up.
(by tight i mean my head is not turning red, but i can feel the 'clamping down' around my neck and it's not quite comfortable)
is that normal, do i need to get a hula-hoop for my neck, or send it back for re-size'n.
want it for alf, so i'm running out of time on this creaturecomfort thing
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Post by Larry Horne » Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:20 am

i don't know about the neoprene...but with my latex, i try to keep it as tight as i can stand. which is: if my face feels like it's going to pop, it's too tight. anything less than that is good. if it's really comfy it'll leak.
Larry

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Post by TheKrikkitWars » Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:26 am

Unless it's painful, don't change.
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Smurfwarrior
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Post by Smurfwarrior » Sun Feb 28, 2010 2:44 pm

I have one of the neoprene (new type- is what they call it) neck gaskets in a drytop and have the neptune drypants with same gasket at the ankles. I've known a few people who've also had this type stohlquist gasket on drytops. Mine blew apart at the back, at the seam, after about 80 days of paddling last year. My buddy had the same happen, after about the same useage, but it took him two seasons to use it that much. As for tightness, mine did get better after use and I never attempted to stretch it. The day it was comfortable was the day the seam completely broke ;) stohlquist offered to fix it under warrantee and was cool about it. My ankle gaskets have never given me problems and those are not as tight as they were when new. I'd say give stretching a try but keep an eye on that rear seam.

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Post by fleckbass » Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:00 am

My experience has been to stretch not trim. I've seen on Kokotat's directions to stretch it with something that is a certain percentage above the neck size, not too critical. I found a cookie jar that seems to work great if left on the neck for 2 weeks. There were times when it was new that I'd put it back on the jar after I paddled until comfort was achieved.
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Coldwater
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Neck Gaskets

Post by Coldwater » Mon Mar 01, 2010 4:23 am

Oh, the debate: stretching or trimming? Personally, I think that neck gaskets stretch out significantly after about 3-5 days of use and I never do anything other than allow for a sufficient "break in" period. I only resort to trimming after extended use and the latex is exhibiting severe cracks and I may cut down a few ridges to cut out the problem areas. Perhaps, mild stretching may be necessary if it is not possible to wear the drytop/suit otherwise. I certainly would advise against trimming before wearing at least 5 days or so. I would say that I have a pretty average sized neck and every gasket has been uncomfortable at first, though after a few days it stretches and is bearable and dry. After all, it's a latex gasket fitted tightly around one's neck.......it isn't supposed to be that comfortable. To me, tight and dry is comfortable.

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Post by LEW » Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:14 am

Jim,
DON'T TRIM!!
No matter how careful you are, you will leave little nicks that will eventually tear as the rubber ages. Your gaskets will last much longer if you don't cut them.
LEW

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303 'em

Post by MarkT » Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:10 pm

The "stretch" proponents have a lot of experience, but I've never had much luck with it. I say find a moyle and make it a ceremony.

303 the gaskets and they'll last longer.

MarkT

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Whichever works for you - I cut them

Post by Jim P » Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:17 am

Why do I cut? Because its the only way I can get a comfortable fit. Stretching won't open them up enough. Tried it a few times and gave up the blue faced look.

If you cut properly and 303 a few times/year they will last. I had a suit for nearly 6 years (probably wearing it 20 or so days per year)with cut gaskets. The only reason I replaced them was to put in smaller gaskets to make the suit a hand-me-down.

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Post by ezwater » Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:47 am

A guy on pnet who thinks he knows everything argues that gaskets were developed first for scuba diving, and were designed to be trimmed. Strangely, he thinks stretching over a 3 liter soda bottle is much more damaging than repeatedly donning and doffing the gasket over one's head.

Gaskets are sized so badly that, for some, trimming is the only fast way to make them comfortable. I used to have an easy time stretching old time Kokatat neck gaskets, but my Stohlquist drytop came with a thick gasket that took many weeks to stretch to a comfortable degree.

As for the final result, setting fit aside, the only issue is whether one is OK about the narrower contact zone of a trimmed gasket, or whether one likes the wide, gentle contact zone of a stretched gasket.

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Kelly-Rand
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Post by Kelly-Rand » Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:51 am

Well I've used my newly replaced gasket twice now and am comfortable without cutting it. It is a little harder getting on and off but not a show stopper.

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sbroam
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Post by sbroam » Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:51 am

Bah. You're all wrong. Leave the gaskets alone and work on compacting your necks. A neck tie worn daily ought to do it.

oc1paddlr
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Post by oc1paddlr » Wed Mar 10, 2010 2:20 am

naw, hula hoop is much cooler.
but as a sidenote, the stohiquist neck gasket is neoprene and about 2" long. but it's thick, double layer thick. no trim-able.
paddlr
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Larry Horne
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Post by Larry Horne » Wed Mar 10, 2010 2:39 am

you think latex is bad.
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Todhunter
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Post by Todhunter » Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:07 pm

Just got in a Kokatat dry suit - the neck gasket is tight, but bearable. But, I do have a pencil neck.

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