Nov 3, 2009 at 2:48 pm #1241367
After many weeks of designing and sewing my new quilt I am at the fill the quilt with down stage. I am already in hot water with my other projects making a mess in the house so you can imagine the look on my wife's face when I announced my newest project…down sleeping quilt. I really want to do this with the least mess possible.
I have calculated how much down goes in each chamber and have read everything I can find, but still lack the knowledge to execute a fill using a shop vac.
What I understand is a layer of noseeum is placed at the end of one of the extensions. I assume to block the down from being sucked all the way up into the vac. It looks like next I need to place a container on a scale and tare it out, next I place my down in the container. I assume it is now time to vaccum up my desired 26 grams of down that go into the vac's extension.
Questions – first am I correct up until this point and second how do I get the down out of the extension and into the baffle?
As always this groups help is so greatly appreciated.
Thanks, JamieNov 3, 2009 at 2:53 pm #1542302
Michael CrosbyBPL Member
move the extension tube to the exhaust of the vac. Put extension tube about 1/2 to 3/4 way down baffle and turn it on. Make sure you pull the vac tube up the baffle, but not out of the baffle.Nov 3, 2009 at 3:01 pm #1542308
@kegelhoffLocale: Southern Cal
Only other thing you may want to mention is that you will want to make sure and tighten the loose material around where the entension tube is inserted into the baffle when you reverse the airflow to push the down out of the tube and into the baffled compartment. Otherwise, down will also fly out of the opening and into the room. Other then that… I think you have it!Nov 3, 2009 at 3:22 pm #1542312
te – waBPL Member
if you have a true Shop Vac, the extension will fit OVER the hose. tape mesh to the HOSE and then fit the extension wand over the mesh, being careful not to damage it.
you are going to need one heck of a Shop Vac to pick up 26 grams of down in one go.. mine is a 6hp monster so its not a problem..
then, turn off the Vac and carefully remove the wand as you place your fingers over the down which will be at the mesh.. hold the down clump while you stick that end of the down into a chamber, and push it down as far as you want with just the tip sticking out. you can now gently PUFF the down out of the extension by using your breath.
i dont suggest using the shop vac to blow the down into the chamber, or youre going to be in a world of snow..!!
if your Vac extension fits INSIDE the hose, then you'll tape the mesh to the extension and you wont have to grab the down clump with your hands… the mesh will handle that task.
be ready to switch on the Vac in case some flyaways go for a ride..
mikeNov 3, 2009 at 6:32 pm #1542381
i try not to suck up more than 10g at a time as it gets hard to blow it out (i use my mouth too). I have 2 extensions one with the mesh taped on and the other on the end so i can fill the chamber and take the whole thing off the vac without worrying about down falling out then put it at least 1/2 way in the baffle and pinch the top of the baffle around the tube and blow like crazy.
I recommend a large container holding down on your scale. 26g per baffle sounds like that quilt will have lots of down and it is a pain to have to refill all the time. I use a trash can that has a scalloped side so i can still read the scale. Now if only my scale wouldn't shut off between fill ups, thats annoying.
-TimNov 3, 2009 at 7:00 pm #1542386
Once again you guys have provided the exact answers I needed and within hours!
Mike, Your instructions on the hammock forum were really helpful.
Tim, As far as the grams go my quilt is 78" long. The top portion is 52" wide to the midpoint. It tapers at the midpoint to 40" wide at the foot. I'm using 12 oz of down in 13x baffles (6" wide). I am assuming I will get 11 oz inside the bag which means the top baffles will get ~25 grams (7 top baffles). The next 6 baffles taper … 24g, 23g, 22g, 22g, 21g, 20g. I hope this sounds reasonable.
I should have the down filled and the quilt finished by this weekend. I will post pics when finished.
Thanks all, JamieNov 3, 2009 at 8:17 pm #1542415
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Here's an MYOG Down Quilt article which gives some instructions.
CheersNov 4, 2009 at 8:34 am #1542563
what is your loft goal?
I wasn't saying its too much down, just that with that amount of down you won't want to refill a small dish between every fill up.
-TimNov 4, 2009 at 4:13 pm #1542751
Roger, I have read your article several times…it is what started this insanity. I learned alot from it. Thanks much for writing it!
Tim, My baffles are 2". I'm hoping to get a full loft of 2.5". I'm using a Momentum90 thru-hiker kit so I have 12 oz of down to work with. I'm going to use as much as I can get in the baffles.
JamieNov 7, 2009 at 6:39 am #1543605
Its done! I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for the help. The advice was just what I needed. The quilt is finished and it lofts up nicely. I will posts pics when I get a chance.
I took the day off to do it while my wife wasn't home. She knew what I was doing and when she got home she couldn't even tell I had done the down in the house.
Thanks, JamieNov 7, 2009 at 7:08 am #1543609
-TimDec 2, 2009 at 6:32 pm #1549758
I just got back from Mount Rogers, VA trip where I got to test my quilt out. The temp reached 15 degrees. The quilt worked great, but I need to use a thicker pad at these temps. I was using a 3/8" thinlight trimmed to 38" long and it was cold underneath me, but not for the quilt.
So here are some pics of the finshed product.
Loft..close to 3" max
18" Velcro Closure for Footbox
Drawcord for Footbox
Shock Cord Instead of Understraps
Buckle for Neck
Plug for Footbox
Its reversible too
Thanks for all the help!
JamieDec 2, 2009 at 6:42 pm #1549762
@thomdarrahLocale: Southern Oregon
Great job, the finished quilt looks fantastic. I like your color selection a lot, very nice. Now you just need to make your own pad.Dec 2, 2009 at 10:46 pm #1549838
Like the quilt, you did a vey nice job! Anyway to post the final weight on that fella?? And what you were able to compress to?
Thanks,,thinking about starting a similar project myselfDec 3, 2009 at 6:09 am #1549874
@johnnybgood4Locale: New Hampshire
>>> It looks like next I need to place a container on a scale and tare it out, next I place my down in the container.<<<
It seems like working with down is really difficult so I'm wondering how do you even perform this step without making a mess…?Dec 3, 2009 at 2:32 pm #1550064
Jim MacDiarmidBPL Member
Can I using my regular old vacuum since I don't own and don't plan on buying a shop vac? It has a detachable hose with two 13" extension tubes. It says it's 12 amps. Will it be strong enough to suck up down?Dec 3, 2009 at 4:52 pm #1550128
I have used the vacuum method and find that it works great but is a little slow for me at times. My new method is just to weigh a section of 1 1/4 pvc, stuff it with the down, weigh it again, and then use a smaller diameter pvc pipe to plunge it down into the baffled chamber. I also used to use my own lung power to blow it in but using the pvc method keeps me from introducing any hot (and moist) breath into my new quilt. Probably not a huge concern…
Just me .02Dec 3, 2009 at 4:57 pm #1550132
John, It can be done without loosing hardly a feather. I did it by placing a box on the scale and pressing the tare button. Then I put the down bag with the corner cut open in the box. Make sure the scale is set to grams. Now subtract the current weight from the amount you want to put into a baffle. If the current weight ia 190 grams (~6 oz) and you want to put 27 grams in a baffle then you will need to remove down until the scale reads 163. This is easily done as described in the thread by sucking it into an extension on a shop vac that has noseeum netting tape over the hose connected to the vac. The vac will only take 3-5 grams before it stops sucking. After that just remove the extension from the hose and push the down into it with your finger. Put the opposite end of the extension into one of the opened baffles and blow with your mouth on the other end and the down will "puff" into the baffle. Keep doing this (maybe 6 or 7 times) until the scale reads 163 grams. Start over with the next unfilled baffle until all baffles are filled. My wife is a cleaning hawk and she could not tell where I had done the project….this process worked that well. Labor intensive yes, but not messy.
Jim, I would think any vac would work. I needed a new shop vacc anyways so this was my excuse to get one. Maybe someone else can chime in with respect to using a regular vac.
As far as weight goes…
quilt alone – 20.30 oz
quilt plus underneath cords – 20.55 oz (only for cold weather)
quilt+cords+footbox plug – 21.05 oz (only coldest weather)
Size…it packs down to 6" dia x 13 inch tall, but since pack space is not an issue for me I pack it down into about twice this amount of space.
JamieDec 3, 2009 at 5:20 pm #1550146
By the way Jamie. Great looking quilt man. Thanks for the details. I will be starting a couple this evening I think. I will let everyone know how it goes.Dec 3, 2009 at 5:46 pm #1550161
@johnnybgood4Locale: New Hampshire
Thanks Jamie, that was a "durrr, aha" moment for me!Dec 3, 2009 at 10:09 pm #1550239
I used my wife's Dyson to fill my first down quilt. It worked, but a shop vac works much much better and i was worried i was stressing the Dyson's motor, and that is a serious vac.
-TimDec 4, 2009 at 7:25 am #1550290
Lucas BoyerBPL Member
@jhawkwxLocale: 38.97˚N, 95.26˚W
Tim, I like how you assign ownership to your wife on the Dyson. Looking at the prices of those things, I wouldn't want to replace one, much less face my wife with a broken vacuum and a room full of down feathers. I'm still using an old industrial vac used by schools, etc. It was a hand me down to my wife when she went to college. Still working after 18 years. I did have to replace the brush on it this year.
BTW: Nice quilt Jamie. After doing my tarp and bivy, I'm getting ready for a new pack and then it looks like a quilt might be in my future. I'm just not sure a long quilt can offer me the weight savings over my WM Ultralight to justify the work of making it.
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