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Author Topic: Waterproofing a Great coat  (Read 5649 times)
Madasasteamfish
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09madasafish
« on: October 18, 2012, 09:05:56 pm »

Now, I recently bought a nondescript Army Great coat with the intention of using it both for a costume, and as a winter coat. However, I am somewhat wary of wearing it out in heavy weather (such as sleet or snow) in it's present state due to the absorbent properties of wool (and the resulting increase in weight). As far as I'm aware, the has not been weather treated in any way and was wondering if anyone has any experience of/ advice for doing something like this, or even if I need to waterproof it.

I can and will post pictures if asked.
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Narsil
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2012, 09:31:54 pm »

The fabric used in coats is actually reasonably weather resistant in itself, although wool will absorb water it doesn't affect its warmth in the same way that it does with other fabrics. Woollen greatcoats have been a military staple for centuries and woollen tweed is the traditional garb for hunting shooting and fishing  so it's probably fair to say that their performance in bad weather is at least alight. For normal wear it should be fine.

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Madasasteamfish
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09madasafish
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2012, 09:38:23 pm »

Well thanks for the advice, but as far as I can tell my coat isn't felted or treated in anyway. I'm pretty sure given it's thickness it could safely withstand a downpour and remain warm, but I would prefer not having to deal with the extra weight, or running the risk of water/moisture seeping through (definitely a possibly given the probable weather during the months ahead).
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Tito Alba
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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2012, 10:58:00 pm »

I've had many a great coat over the years having always been a fan of them and never had a problem in any adverse weather.  They are made for survival in harsh Siberian winters and the like so a light English shower is no problem.  The worst I've had is taking them out when its not cold enough and getting too hot!  And the occasional problem with them breaking coat hangers, wall fixings and the arms of cloakroom staff but that is not really weather related.

If its pouring down then don't wear it out, take a trench coat instead or put a waterproof cape over it.
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Madasasteamfish
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09madasafish
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2012, 11:11:22 pm »

Ok. Well thanks for the advice I might just leave it as is and see if I need to treat it at all.
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Narsil
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« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2012, 11:26:29 pm »

Lanolin is that traditional treatment for waterproofing wool, basically it's putting back the oils that the original treatment process takes out so you end up with something much closer to what grows on sheep.

Obviously this changes the nature of the fabric somewhat and it won't by any means make it completely waterproof but you'll end up with something a that works a bit like a wetsuit. It will get wet but won't hold much water and still provide good insulation when damp.
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SpeedyFrenchy
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« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2012, 10:11:48 pm »

If you're not averse to using modern materials, you can get spray or wash on waterproofers (such as nikwax) that don't change the appearance of the fabric. They're also breathable, which is a plus.
I tend to use them to waterproof canvas shoes - while I wouldn't walk through puddles in them, they will generally keep the rain out at least, so I'd guess that it would go some way towards keeping you dry.
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