I’m looking for Palm Stikine neck gaskets and also for a reputable repair shop (if I cut the suit fabric, etc.) for non-warranty repair.
I’ve contacted Palm USA (MTI Adventurewear) and they don’t have neck gaskets and don’t know how to get them. The contact there, who I won’t name, said she would find out for me by contacting Palm Europe and/or the factory in China. That was a month ago… Wouldn’t you think the US dist. of Palm would have or know where to get neck gaskets for the products they import?
I’ve contacted Rainy Pass Repair in Seattle (apparently the largest aftermarket outdoor clothing repair facility in the US). They do drysuit repair and are a Gore-tex authorized repair center. They say that they cannot get Palm gaskets and other parts and so cannot repair their suits. Hmm…
The dealer I got the suit from tells me that any generic neck gasket will work, but they have yet to tell me which one in particular will work on my large Palm Stikine. They do tell me most dive shops do neck gasket installations, which I’m sure is true.
I have no problem replacing wrist gaskets and have the kit to do so and have done them in the past. I’ve not replaced neck gaskets, but am considering purchasing a ‘field repair kit’ from kayakacademy.com.
Palm gaskets are installed using seamtape. So, to get a repair that is factory spec, a shop needs to have the equipment to do this, right? Alternatively, and this would probably be my first idea, you could take off the old gasket and seam tape altogether and Aquaseal on a new one in the manner that Kokatat uses. Correct or not?
Anyway, if someone has some experience with Palm in this regard, your insight would be appreciated after a nearly unproductive month of emailing and phonecalls.
Here’s A Link For Gaskets
gasket repairs are easy. Just make sure you pick the right size. The breateable booties… well that really needs to be done professionally, I think.
Sing is right
I’ve used several OS Systems seals of all types, plus their latex booties. Apparently, neck seals are basically all the same size at the flange. Where they vary is in the diameter at the neck. You don’t need to buy an expensive kit to do neck seal replacements. Kokatat’s site has excellent instructions for repair and for making the necessary forms. I made a set from 3/8" plywood in about an hour (I wanted durable forms, since I expect to use them for many years). You could cut them from cardboard in a matter of minutes. Other than that, you need a bunch of spring clamps, which you can find for a buck apiece at discount stores.
The basic procedure is to start by cutting the old seal off, leaving ~1-1.5" flange of the latex as a gluing surface. Usually, cutting to the edge where the latex seal meets the cloth body of the suit accomplishes this. After the forms are installed and the surfaces are cleaned, the new seal is glued to the old latex flange and clamped until dry. The process takes time, but it’s not difficult.
Do it yourselfers …
Kayak Academy (www.kayakacademy.com) makes an excellant durable/reusable neck gasket replacment kit that can be used in the field or at home. They also provide step by step instructions. As Brian said, it is easy to do your own replacements and if you are handy, to make your own durable kit.
Thanks sing and bnystrom.
I've talked to George Gronseth about which gasket to get for a replacement and he's advising me to measure the large diameter of the gasket attached to the suit. He said he could take this dimension and match it to one of a number of neck gaskets he has in stock. Measuring this dimension accurately is another issue entirely, however, as it's dependent on how much tension is applied to that area of the suit and how close to a circle you can come with the outside circumference of the gasket when you measure it. It looks like this dimension averages about 9" in my suit. This is not going to be a precise measurement...
bnystrom, I know you said most neck gaskets are similar in this dimension, but when I talk to Rainy Pass Repair, for instance, they say that Palm gaskets are a unique size and that they refuse to their repairs because they can't get the Palm gaskets. Maybe Palm's sizing is somewhat unique?
bynystrom, would you mind giving me instructions for your neck gasket repair jig? Is this a design that will work with different sizes of openings or not? What is your method accurately trimming back the large dimension of the new neck gasket to match the dimension of the old gasket after trimming it to leave 1" to 1.5" to attach the new gasket to?
Again, I'm keeping in mind your comments saying that most gaskets are similar in this dimension, but I am also cognizant of dive shops I've talked to that have numerous neck gasket jigs, one for each manufactuers suits, etc. I'm not saying you're wrong, but I'm also keeping in mind other information I've recieved that seems to indicate that there are different sizes of neck gaskets in this dimension.
I'm trying to accomplish two things: 1. put together a neck gasket field repair kit and, 2. find a high quality repair shop that can do gasket replacements (if I choose to have them do so) or repair waterproof/breathable fabric to factory spec.
My attempts with MTI Adventurewear/Palm USA to find out this information have met with very limited success.
I forgot to post a link to pics…
...of neck seal replacement. They're in my "Drysuit Repair" album on Webshots at:
Go to the second page and you'll find the album.
To size the neck seal, hold it in one position and measure the diameter at several locations, then average them. That should be more than accurate enough.
It's possible that the Palm suit uses a special seal, I honestly don't know. The suits sold by US manufacturers, both for kayaking and diving, seem to use the same diameter seals.
The OS Systems neck seal I have is 9.5" OD at the flange and 6" ID.
I strongly suggest that you print out Kokatat's instructions. They contain the dimensions for the forms you need, but I'll post them here too. You need two plates, 8" & 10.5" in diameter. You need a ring with 9.5" OD & 6.5" ID. You can use any rigid material, just be sure to round off any sharp edges. For absorbent materials like wood or cardboard, I suggest covering the areas that may contact the glue with plastic packaging tape, so the glue won't stick to them.
Here's an idea for you. Make the 10.5" form and install it in the suit as shown in my pics. Once you've done that, it should be easy to get an accurate measurement of the seal diameter. It it's 9" or more, the OS Systems seal should work fine, as the flange on it is pretty wide. You'll have some un-glued excess around the edges, but it won't cause any problems, If it bothers you, you can always trim it off with a sharp pair of scissors.
Thank you for your help.
Apparently, MTI Adventurewear/Palm USA is not able to get Palm replacement gaskets at the moment. I don’t know why, but will be talking to their sales and marketing manager about it this next week. In the meantime, I’ll do what you guys have suggested. Thanks for the help.
John Dilley, Palm Europe General Manager emailed me this morning. He apologized for the situation and told me he would send me a neck gasket for free for my troubles. Apparently, they are working on these customer service problems (including having quality repair shops on tap). The Stikine seems like a very well made and very well thought out and well featured drysuit. If Palm gets the customer service side going in the US, it’s going to be a hard product to beat.
Kudos to them!
At least they did the right thing and they’re working on the problem. Good to know.