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Engineers Notes on Ceconite

The method of attaching Ceconite is fully explained in the Ceconite Procedure Manual, however here are a few tips that might help, but please treat them as handy hints only.

If you have never used Ceconite or a similar fabric before try working with a piece of odd fabric on something like an old empty picture frame. You can glue or staple the fabric for this, making sure the fabric is attached all four sides. Then using an ordinary household iron adjust the setting to just below wool such as the silk setting, let the iron heat up and run it over the sample as though you were ironing a shirt. If it does not shrink the fabric adjust the setting up slightly until you reach a setting where the shrinking begins. You can tell if the Iron is too hot as it will begin to drag or stick to the fabric before it burns. After you have shrunk the sample and feel a bit more confident take the point of the iron and touch the wrinkles and creases which will be round the edge of the frame, you will see that with a bit of care you can easily remove all of these.

If you are happy with your test piece you are ready to try covering a small piece of the airframe, at this stage it would be best to try an aileron or elevator. Remember Ceconite will shrink as long as you leave the iron on it so be careful and pass the iron over the fabric briskly and keep it moving because Ceconite cannot be loosened once shrunk, so do not over tauten. Chris Morris of the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden has always said that a good guide is when a penny bounces on the fabric.

Dope will only shrink Ceconite slightly so you therefore want to try and get as many imperfections out of the fabric before applying the dope.

Ceconite is a man made smooth fabric, it is not “hairy” like cotton or linen so dope does not easily stick to the fabric. Therefore it is important to penetrate the filaments of the fabric on the first coat to ensure a good mechanical lock between the fabric and dope.

When applying the first coat of dope such as Rand-O-Proof which is a nitrate based product I recommend the use of a semi rigid bristle brush, this will help ensure the dope penetrates the filaments, but be careful as you do not want excess running on the inside of the fabric.

The above are just a few helpful tips for working with Ceconite, full information is available in the Ceconite manual (available on request). You can also download various information from

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