Help: breakage in vintage Conmar zip

dr.raul

Member
Today when I was trying to zip up my 50s Grais jacket the main zipper began to break at the beginning, the solid part at the extremity is detaching from the fabric (or better the fabric is fraying). I know it's nearly impossible but anyone knows a way to fix it? A glue? Classic superglue (cyanoacrilate) usually doesn't work for fabric. I know the solution would be to replace the zipper but finding a vintage 21" brass Conmar is not an easy task...
Any advice is welcome


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Silver Surfer

Well-Known Member
sometimes you can glue a small piece of cloth, thin like a-2 jacket liner to the back of the separated cloth. however, from your pic, there does not look like these is enough cloth on the starter pin to facilitate a repair. for reasons beyond me, 1940s-early50s small tooth conmars are prone to tape failure. ive seen it many, many times. best bet is to source a nos 40s or 50s Conmar or late 1950s Conmar [very similar to the 40s zipper] in the proper length and have Steve or Dave install it properly, ie: hitting the original stitch holes.
 

bazzer

Well-Known Member
Hi mash officer club in Japan have vintage real zippers


I have seen some people from this side use super glue on them not sure how robust it is
 

robrinay

Well-Known Member
Here’s one from a seller I’ve bought from. It’s got green tape but you can colour the tape with a felt tip - Mash Japan sell these pens but I guess any indelible felt tip in the correct colour would work. The seller also has brown vintage Talons but they’re not cheap https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/373269345278
 
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dr.raul

Member
Thank you all for the suggestion, the zipper is about 21" long, can longer zipper be shortened or I need to find an exact 21"?
The teeth width when closed is 5-6mm, so I suppose it is a #5, is it correct? It seems that #5 seems was the most common size back then (it is a cross zip from early 50s)
My fear in replacing with a vintage one is that being old it could be prone to fraying again, for this I would prefer to be able to repair and reinforce mine, but it's not an easy task
 

dr.raul

Member
Before going the replacement route I tried to fix it following a procedure another guy used with success, I removed the pin and sew a few stitches on the fraying part, then I put some superglue on the fixed part that made the fabric stiff like plastic and there is no trace of the fix. The problem was when I put again the pin on it, unfortunately I didn't take a pic before so I probably put it in a wrong position and it didn't work well, the fabric was a bit too thick to go inside the slider, so I smoothed it a bit with some fine sandapaper and I was able to put it into the slider and with some difficulty I was able to zip it up, it worked but after a couple of times it began to go up misplaced opening instead of closing the zipper, probably the wrong positioned pin prevented the correct start of the closing. So I removed the pin again but now I don't know how to put it again correctly as I don't remember if it was touching the first teeth or not and there is another issue, maybe most important, that now the fabric seems a bit too large and if now I put the pin over it it will be in line with the teeth while usually it stays lower than the teeth, maybe it "enlarged" when I put the glue and pressed it to avoid it becoming too thick, so maybe I have to cut out some of the fabric but if I do this and it doesn't work there is no way back. Here are two pics of the fabric as is now, any idea or hint is welcome.
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robrinay

Well-Known Member
If you can find a size 5 brass zipper with a brown tape to match your Conmar and then check carefully to see if the ‘male’ part meshes correctly with the ‘female’ box on your Conmar. I’ve found that modern size 5 YKK brass zippers will work with vintage sliders. If it does then you won’t need to buy an expensive Conmar replacement zip and you will only need to carefully remove and replace the ‘male’ side with your cheap male side of the zip, leaving the ‘female’ side with the Conmar box attached to the jacket. Any competent tailor should be able to do this task using the original stitch holes of course.
 
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dr.raul

Member
Thanks, I am not knowledgeable about zipper sizing but I suppose this is a #5 as the teeth are wide 5-6mm, and I usually see these in vintage jackets (same size for main and pockets) or the bigger ones that I suppose are #10. And the length of this one is about 21" so anything 21 or above should fit
 

robrinay

Well-Known Member
Thanks, I am not knowledgeable about zipper sizing but I suppose this is a #5 as the teeth are wide 5-6mm, and I usually see these in vintage jackets (same size for main and pockets) or the bigger ones that I suppose are #10. And the length of this one is about 21" so anything 21 or above should fit
I assumed it was a size 5 - same size you get in A2’s and G1’s. However whatever the size of your zip just match the size with a cheap generic brass zip
cheers Rob
 

dr.raul

Member
I had to replace the whole zipper with a #5 YKK antique-brass, the male side apparently matched but the tape was a bit "waved" and when all zipped-up it became shorter thah the other side. Luckily at least I was able to use the original Conmar slider in the new YKK so the result is good. The only problem is that the male side zipper was sewn under the stud-button on the collar point (it was mounted before the stud) so now it ends a bit shorter than before, not a big deal but not perfect.
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