Making Your Own Tin Pants
Russ Chastain 09.27.18
Tin pants? What the heck are tin pants? Well, according to Merriam-Webster, they’re “trousers of stout material soaked in paraffin for waterproofing and worn especially by lumbermen.” Hmm, learn something new every day. They sound pretty good… and here’s a video demonstrating how to make your very own DIY tin pants, which they claim will be both waterproof and fireproof.
Here’s what the video description says:
This is the ultimate guide to making tin pants. I wanted to find a better recipe for making tin pants, so I did hours of research and testing. I wasn’t going to just remake a video with recycled recipes and techniques. This video was made from scratch, based on science. I hope my efforts have earned your approval. Thank you for watching.
Any video that starts out by touting its own value makes me question its value. So that put me off… but science! And he promised that it will be informative. So I forged on.
He says he’s gonna test the pants. So… try them for waterproofness or fire-resistance? Maybe whack them with something sharp to see how well they stand up?
Nope. Just a bunch of boring footage of him walking around and cutting stuff with a chainsaw.
At the five minute mark, he stumbles through some brush to show that he can. I guess they were briars, although that’s unclear.
5:50 begins a description of his research and testing, and things get more interesting. Paraffin wax is brittle and flaky, beeswax is stretchy but also easy to break due to its molecular structure. Enter microcrystalline wax, which is composed of different crystals and thus is much more flexible and durable.
His melt test seems biased. He’s judging the waxes based on which one melts last… and he starts with a considerably larger hunk of microcrystalline wax than the other types. Gotta call BS on that.
Why should you make your own, when you can buy tin britches? Well, because they’re not cheap. A quick look around showed prices from $125 up to $215. So it depends on how much your time is worth. If, like me, you have more time than money, you should make your own. But this method is time-consuming and you might not be up for it. If you want to be sure about what sort of wax is in your tin pants, though, you might want to do it yourself.
Once he has the solution applied to his liking, he hangs them up — for three weeks. Then he goes over the britches with a heat gun to melt the wax into the cloth a little more, at which time he tests the “waterproofbility.”
His “flameproof” test is to play the flame of a micro-torch across the pants. Hmmmm. They burn less than I imagine they would if they hadn’t been “waxed,” but something tells me they will certainly burn under the right conditions.
This video does have value, and I was wrong to doubt it.