Hi everybody, I've a question about the maintenance rubber of the old masks, fins, etc. I've always heard that we could use Talcum powder to prevent cracks and aging of the rubber. Do you thinks it's correct and do you have other good tips?
Bonjour monsieur Puff! Yes, I've heard that what you do; not that I've done it myself though. Um, you may also have heard about using silicone spray to recondition old rubber too, like for the old diaphragms you want to soften. I'm sure someone wiser than me about these thing will chime in! Jaybird
Try your local dive shop. Also, something else I discovered by myself, and then I found out EVERYONE knows, is that you can make your own low pressure seats seats for single hose regulators with a paper punch and a sheet of neoprene, or an old mask strap. You just have to find the right sized punch; one of these:
The talcum powder will help rubber products from getting wet and sticking together. It was used mostly on the old dry suits made of latex rubber. I'm not sure at all that the talcum powder will help prevent cracking, as that comes from exposure to ozone in the air. Also, talc is not good to breathe, as it is a mineral dust. Here is a website which explains it:
The controversy concerning talc in some cosmetics is that along with it is asbestos fibers, and/or silica. These are definite carcinogens. But talc free of these fibers are not as hazardous, and have a NIOSH recommended exposure level (REL) of an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) of 2 mg/m3 (resp) (2 milligrams per cubic meter).
While this won't restore cracked rubber or neoprene, it will prevent further cracking by restoring some of the material that has been removed from the rubber/neoprene, and preventing ozone from attacking the material.
The problem with spray is that most of the time it is water-based, and doesn't have much silicone in it. It will help, but not in my opinion as much as the silicone grease, and I've used both.
What SeaRat said about the silicone is exactly what I would have posted.
The spray has very little silicone in it, especially for the price. I do use it to spray neoprene items that have deep recesses that are difficult, impossible, or impractical to reach with my fingers, such as the convolutions of hoses. Otherwise, I rub silicone grease into all my neoprene mask skirts, mouthpieces, flippers, etc. and seal them in plastic bags when put away for the winter. Then I wipe them down with a rag after I take them out at the beginning of the dive season. Do not use silicone grease or spray on silicone rubber though- just on neoprene.
Storing in a cool or cold area also helps to preserve rubber.
I know that talcum powder is used to package neoprene items to help preserve the shelf life of the item, so I guess it has some beneficial effect on the rubber. For some reason, though, it always seemed to me that talcum powder would dry the rubber out. Don't know. I think the silicone grease, sealing, and cool storage are the best methods for preserving neoprene rubber.
Silly humans, fins are for fish. Mammals use flippers.
Thanks everybody for your reply and all these precisions! I will buy this Aquaseal Silicone Grease for my mask and fins. Thanks John for the link on Amazon. Unfortunately the product can't be send to my country. I'll try to find other websites who propose the same grease and ship internationally.
I know this is an old thread, but I just wanted to jump in here. I have been selling latex drysuit seals since 1981 and we have always said to use silicone grease, oil or spray. The same goes for anything made of rubber such as masks, fins, snorkels, etc. However, it is important to clean the rubber first with soap and water to remove any contaminants from the surface. Applying silicone to dirty rubber will actually accelerate the decomposition.
There you can buy sheet rubber for making wetsuits or what ever you want to make. Hint: don't tell them it's for scubadiving or they might not sell to you. If you need rubber for a minor project, they might just give you scrap pieces.
I wouldn't use neophrene to replace EDPM. It might leak.
Ok, I don't recomend this; but, when I learned how to repair doublehose regs, we took the stem, and an old intertube, then turn the stem upside down on the intertube, tap it with a rubber mallet, it will make a slight indentation of the size of LP seat you need. Then you just cut it out. I guess we used the right thickness of intertube; was so long ago I can't quite remember. We were overhauling them, and hydro'ed tanks, for the Navy, and I don't think this meets, or exceeds, mil specs !!! (but it does work).
I found these for Atascadero, CA. They might use sheet edpm; don't know. The company in Chico, manufactures gaskets for agriculture pumps. You will have to provide info on the type of rubber you want. Some hardware stores sell small edpm rubber sheets.
Robert, copy that! I'm 5x5 that you're not responsible for anything I do to my own gear when you suggest something; yeah I know you gotta say that! I work on all kinds of old $#!+ so I'm very used to fixing stuff that nearly everyone says is a basket case: houses, radios and TV's, firearms, cars and trucks, if'n it's broken, I'll try to fix it. I think the only time I've ever really felt defeated is when my niece was two, she came to me with a popped balloon, "Uncle Jay fix?" Maybe that's why I like the old scuba gear so much, EVERYONE tells me it's deadly, SNORT!!!! Jaybird
I use food grade silicone on all my stuff periodically. Remember it stays slippery for a bit. I use / used it on all my neck seals, wrist seals and ankle seals and any kind of smoothskin rubber along with my mask and fins. I still have my fins from 1970 and they're in great shape. The spray does not stay on. I have also used vaseline, but that was only when I ran out of silicone. I bought it on line off ebay from England. Look up food grade silicone is right. A little lasts a long time. I also put it on my regulator mouthpieces and the diaphrams every so often. The bad thing is, if you are around sand, it sticks to it.
Pearldiver!, were've you been? I haven't seen your avitar or comments in ages!
And concerning silicon......back in 1969 when I was storing my dive gear (what I had) before heading off to boot camp, I bought a large tube of silicone....(industrial, yeah I know)......covered my masks, fins, regulator hoses etc with the stuff and put it away.
two year later, my folks sent me my reg, mask and fins to Okinawa where I dove in the Pacific.
I still have the regulator and the hoses are still in great shape, so is the mouthpiece, diaphragm and neck strap.....(sportsways Sport DIver ll).......
I use it on my hoses for my DHR's and other rubber masks and fin straps........same tube of silicone too...........great stuff that.......
a little goes not a long way, indeed, it goes for many years!