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Cleaning and straightening out your sails


70 replies to this topic  – Started by Medievalego , Mar 20 2008 01:57 AM

#51 naf

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 06:31 PM

As a kid playing with Black Seas Barracuda and Carribean Clipper, the sails became creased quite often as the ships were stored in a big bin along with the rest of the legos I had.  Back then I just used a regular hot iron to flatten them out, never had any issues with the sails being damaged or colors running.  As for fraying, you could probably apply a very small amount of glue, with a qtip or something, to prevent that.  They also sell a product at the fabric store that has the same effect.

As a side note, does anyone know if there is a pattern online for these sails so we can make our own?  Might be useful if your sails are so gone that they need replacements, I bet there's a lot of very appropriate fabrics that would make good sails.

#52 Janglais

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 11:27 PM

View Postnaf, on 28 March 2013 - 06:31 PM, said:

the sails became creased quite often as the ships were stored in a big bin along with the rest of the legos I had..

Same here.  I managed to find the sails (and hull etc) of the Caribbean Clipper yesterday, and they are very dirty - smoke stained by the look of it.  Will try a few techniques mentioned here and see how I go.

Cheers,

Daniel
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#53 absolutelylez

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 11:38 AM

View Postnaf, on 28 March 2013 - 06:31 PM, said:

As a side note, does anyone know if there is a pattern online for these sails so we can make our own?  Might be useful if your sails are so gone that they need replacements, I bet there's a lot of very appropriate fabrics that would make good sails.

Yes, a user has posted good quality scans of a lot of the older pirate sails on Brickshelf, here http://www.brickshel...ery.cgi?f=27997

Have fun :)

Edited by absolutelylez, 31 March 2013 - 11:39 AM.

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#54 TyoSolo

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 11:14 AM

I've cleaned quite a few dirty sails now. I used the washing machine (I know, I know) on the lowest spin setting possible (gentle fabrics). Once they were out, I ironed them whilst wet (under a thin tea towel). This did 3 things - a) protected the sail from burning, b) dried the sails immediately, preventing mildew, and c) Straightened and stiffened the sails.

I can't tell you how happy I was with how stiff the sails were after ironing them wet.

Obviously the washing machine caused a few frayed edges, but my wife is quite handy with fabrics, and by the time she'd done trimming them, the sails looked brand new.
Keep building!
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#55 naf

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 03:18 PM

I just rebuilt the Caribbean Clipper, and even though the sails were in a sealed container they were still a little dingy, probably just from play.  I decided to not wash them, I kind of like the look of them slightly dirty and off white.  I doubt many real ships had perfectly white sails for long!

#56 Mister Phes

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 05:52 PM

View PostCommodore Hornbricker, on 24 September 2009 - 07:01 PM, said:

I have had a lot of luck putting them in the dishwasher.
What were the settings you used?


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#57 tyler9011

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 06:16 PM

View PostMister Phes, on 02 April 2013 - 05:52 PM, said:

What were the settings you used?


Just normal or light wash, it's okay then..

#58 Cosworth3d

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 09:06 AM

I hand washed mine and ironed them the came Out as new

#59 Admiral Blockbeard

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 07:57 AM

I opened up my CC (I picked it up incomplete and second hand) for the first time in a while last night and found some little brown spots forming in one corner. I am keen to try to get these out. I don't mind the off white of sails but these are a little more annoying. I am thinking it is mildew or some other growing damage. Having read this thread I was wondering if anyone had anything in particular to get those more stubborn stains out? Mister Phes mentioned this was a particularly hard issue back in 2008! Any help appreciated.

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#60 Zeya

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 06:31 PM

@Admiral Blockbeard - That's probably mildew you're describing. I had some on one of my sails. I posted images a few posts ago in this thread, if you want to see (it's the smaller off-white sail from the imperial trading post set). I hand washed with laundry soap, which only faded it just a little. I would recommend trying some fabric products form the store, like the spot stain removers. I also might recommend some mildew prevention going forward. I like to toss the silica gel packets in with Lego sometimes, to help prevent moisture.

#61 Admiral Blockbeard

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 03:36 AM

Thanks for the reply and your great post earlier, I did read your post, but I failed to notice the note about mildew :blush: .

In your post the sail with the brown coffee like spill is mildew? I really hope I can get these dots out. When I am with my Lego again, will have to get some photos and try my hand at cleaning.

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#62 yys4u

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 03:00 AM

Has anyone ever tried dry cleaning LEGO sails? It was mentioned briefly a couple pages back, so I just thought I'd check to see if anyone has actually tried it. I considered doing it, but I don't know if dry cleaners would even take them, how would they bill it? Having cleaned my sails in the past using methods described here, my biggest problem is the loss of stiffness in the sails. So I'm considering seeing if it's possible to have them dry cleaned and ask for some light starch. I wonder what kind of looks i would get if I were to go through with this. :laugh:

#63 naf

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 03:16 PM

I had some age spots (aka mildew) on some of my sails for my Black Seas Barracuda.  I soaked them in oxyclean overnight, they look brand new now.  Just give them a good soak, rinse, and then iron right away so that they don't become wrinkled.  I did put a cloth between the sails and the iron just in case.

#64 Admiral Blockbeard

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 09:35 AM

Thanks Naf,

I went for a safe little "dip" and iron with a table cloth to protect them.

I wasn't keen on a overnight soak. Might try that with confidence now as mildew spots are still present. Did you have a check on the stiffness before and after. No fading of the red in the sails?

Cheers,
AB

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#65 naf

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 02:44 PM

View PostAdmiral Blockbeard, on 27 May 2013 - 09:35 AM, said:

Thanks Naf,

I went for a safe little "dip" and iron with a table cloth to protect them.

I wasn't keen on a overnight soak. Might try that with confidence now as mildew spots are still present. Did you have a check on the stiffness before and after. No fading of the red in the sails?

Cheers,
AB

The stiffness seemed to be ok, but honestly I don't know what they'd feel like "brand new" right now, as the set is over 20 years old.  They feel stiff enough, and hold their shape quite well on the masts.  The red color didn't fade at all.  I've used this techique to get stains out of regular clothes in the past, I've never had a problem with colors bleeding or fading.  If you want your sails stiffer, you could spray them with a bit of starch before your iron.

#66 proraptor

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 12:44 AM

wow this thread is very helpful, Im gonna try some of these techniques on my ships
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#67 Matthias

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 08:01 PM

The oxybath works absolutly perfect. My sails are like new. I am very thankful for the post. No damage, colors perfekt. Great!!!!!!!!!!

I have used oxy action, you can also buy it, in comparision to the other product mentioned in that post, in Germany.
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#68 cloneman155

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 02:55 AM

Many irons have a "steam" button, has anyone used this on a sail before? I just thought about doing it the other day but it made me a bit nervous with my Caribbean clipper sails.

#69 Daniel-Technic

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 08:16 AM

Hi.

I have 3 pieces of blue and white sails, found with 3 pieces of brown hull and masts, in a huge lot of technic. I am trying to find out what set is this. The hull is really dusty and I've washed them and they come out great like mint.
I'm not sure about what to do with sails, they are a bit dusty and little dirty, I am so worry I may damage them if I'm doing it wrong.

Do I wash it in bowl of warm water with soap powder or vanish powder? Do you give a good twirl or scrub them or let it soak? And rinse it in cold water? As for drying, could I put it on radiator?

Sorry to ask a old thread, I normally do technic and rather give this ship to other lego lovers.

Daniel.

#70 Capt. Stabbin

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 03:53 PM

From the parts you describe it sounds like you have parts from 6274 Caribbean Clipper.  As for cleaning the sails, it's something I've never done.  Looking through this thread there seems to be some good methods.  I'd try the soap and water first then iron, it seems some people have had good results with this method.

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#71 pcvando

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 08:36 PM

View PostDaniel-Technic, on 03 May 2014 - 08:16 AM, said:

Hi.

I have 3 pieces of blue and white sails, found with 3 pieces of brown hull and masts, in a huge lot of technic. I am trying to find out what set is this. The hull is really dusty and I've washed them and they come out great like mint.
I'm not sure about what to do with sails, they are a bit dusty and little dirty, I am so worry I may damage them if I'm doing it wrong.

Do I wash it in bowl of warm water with soap powder or vanish powder? Do you give a good twirl or scrub them or let it soak? And rinse it in cold water? As for drying, could I put it on radiator?

Sorry to ask a old thread, I normally do technic and rather give this ship to other lego lovers.

Daniel.

Hey,

I have cleaned every sail that I have at some point or another.

Hope this helps!
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The best way to do this by far is to let them soak in warm water for no more than a few mins. If they have stains or marks on them that you want to remove, use a gentle soap or stain remover.
Be careful not to use anything that will stain the sails white, and make sure the edges don't fray.

Once the sails are soaked, take them out, and leave them to air dry for a while. When they are still a little damp, Iron the sails on a flat surface, just a few quick passes with the iron, then let the sails sit to cool.

Once this process is done, the sails should look superb.

Edited by pcvando, 03 May 2014 - 08:38 PM.

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