Introduction: Seam Sealing Motorcycle Gloves
I bought a pair of Olympia Sports 6000 Mustang gloves for the cold mornings that I ride the motorcycle. They perform fairly well and have kept my hands from numbing in temps down into the 20's (Fahrenheit). Fingertips still got a bit cold, but nothing too terrible for my commute. After wearing them for several cold days, I've noticed that the stitching around the wrist is letting cold air through. While it's not major, it is mildly uncomfortable to have a pinpoint arctic blast hitting bare skin. I haven't had the displeasure of riding in the rain with these, but I imagine the stitching would also allow water intrusion, despite the 'WATERPROOF' label attached at the wrist. I decided to try using a seam sealer to remedy the situation and since I only paid $25 for the gloves, I wouldn't be out much if it didn't work out.
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
- gloves to be sealed
- "roll on" seam sealer
- long slender tool (optional)
- drinking glass (optional)
I purchased some Coleman seam sealer from Walmart. It's found in the camping section near the tents. It is intended to seal the stitching on tents, rain jackets, backpacks, etc. It was under $5. Seam sealer can be purchased in tubes or to be applied with a brush. I've read that the "roll on" applicator is the easiest and least messy.
Step 2: Seal 'em Up
As mentioned earlier, the stitching around the wrist needs to be sealed. The underside of the wrist is a stretch stitch (aka zig zag stitch). The top side of the wrist is just a straight stitch. The straight stitch is hidden by the velcro cinch strap, so I didn't notice as much leakage there, but I figured I'd do it too while I was at it.
Typically, seam sealing is done on the inside of the fabric as it will leave a noticeable sheen, but since my gloves are lined in a way that I couldn't get directly to the back side of these stitches, I did it on the outside. To make applying the sealer a little easier, I used a drinking glass pushed into the glove to stretch the underside tight. This 'roll on' style seam sealer has a foam applicator tip similar to a bingo marker (ask your grandma). You basically just smear/wipe/dab it over the seam. The first glove I tried wiping it over the seam and my lines weren't too straight. Since you'll be able to see everywhere that the sealer is applied I was a little more careful on the second glove. I found that a series of dabs/dots resulted in a better looking application - at least when sealing the zig zag stitching. I went back and touched up the first glove to even out my lines.
The directions say to wait 2 hours before using your newly sealed item, but the sealer was dry to the touch after about 20-30 minutes. The straight stitching just has a sheen around it as it was applied fairly thin. The zig zag stitches look a little milky as the sealer was applied much more liberally over those stitches. The milkiness may clear up after some more drying, but I'd suggest that you use a cotton cloth to wipe up any excess before it dries.
Step 3: Final Thoughts
On January 1st, I rode 35 miles to meet a group of local riders for lunch. The temperature was ~35° F, but when you figure wind chill @ 70 mph, it felt closer to 16°. The gloves did well, although they were still a bit cold in the wrist. It no longer feels like cold air is getting through the seams, but I came to the conclusion that there is just less insulation in the wrist and gauntlet section of the gloves, and since my wrist is bare (inside the glove) it feels colder than the rest of the glove. I do think the seam seal will help if I encounter rain, but it wasn't the drastic improvement I was hoping for. All in all, it was cheap enough to try and had I wiped off the excess sealer before it dried, you wouldn't really be able to tell that anything was done to them.
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