Friday, December 5, 2008

fire retardant faux fur

The Google can't find me an online store where I can click my way to a few yards of black flame retardant faux fur. It did tell me that it might exist. Modacrylic is flame retardant, and they make faux fur out of it. But finding "modacrylic faux fur" amidst a sea of coats, vests, rugs, and PETA web pages is surprisingly hard. To further muddy the waters, there are acrylic/modacrylic blends too, and acrylic is the opposite of flame retardant.

So at 1am last night I clicked through a few web contact forms, and sent a coupla ebay sellers some messages.

Wait a minute, why am I here? What the hell am I talking about? Isn't this blog about a race car? faux fur?! Really?!

Here at Pandamonium Racing, we're foolish enough to think that we've made it through most of the mechanical challenges. Now we've got to deliver on making the car's theme tangible. The goal is that the car should say "panda" when someone sees it. Sure, we could spray paint "P A N D A" on the side, zip tie a stuffed panda to the grill, and that would probably achieve the objective. But we've got 3 weeks. If we count that in panda years, that's still only 3 weeks but it sounds way cooler. 3 weeks means there's no call for half assed solutions. No hurry. All the time in the world. May as well spend all day drinking beer and drawing our car with crayons.

So back to fur. Pandas have fur. Maybe our car should too? Good idea! But this is a race car, humble beginnings aside. As a rule, when a race car is on fire anything added to the car should not make the situation appreciably worse. Acrylic fur flying off the car in liquid fireballs of death does not meet this qualification. Modacrylic fur that just smolders a little almost certainly does.

So that's how I got here: sending inquiries on the internet about faux fur to anyone who would listen.

Back to the story.

This morning I woke up to a few responses, ranging from "no, go away" to "I didn't know if my fur was fire retardant, so I took a swatch and lit it in on fire. It doesn't get gooey, and it mats down kind of like burning real hair. Is that flame retardant?" The latter was from an ebay seller. She offered to send me a swatch to do my own independent testing, and she even signed the email "Warmest". I don't know if the pun was intentional, but that's the kind of thing that is hilarious to me when I'm half asleep.

So, now I know more about faux fur than I ever wanted to. Did you know you can buy a wall mount faux fur faux panda head? and even a wall mount faux panda ass? If you don't already know Andrew Davidson, you wouldn't be surprised to find out that he likes faux fur so much that he has put up a web page devoted to it, which is conveniently the only useful collection of faux fur links on the entire internet. Did you know that barbie rocks faux fur while she watches seals get clubbed?

I'm straying off topic.

I came up with 2 options:
  1. ebay lady who burnt the fur and it's not that bad sounding. She offered to send me a swatch to do my own testing. $10/yard, black fur.
  2. Big 4 Fabrics has "a few" black faux furs that are flame retardant, the guy asked if I wanted short of long hair, I responded "cheap". The cheapest comes in at $7/yard, I know nothing else about it.
This vital information has been forwarded to the Pandamonium Racing Council of Elders. No decision yet, but we'll almost certainly make one soon.

That's all for now.

What faux fur will we pick? Will the genetic experiment to infuse Matt with panda DNA succeed? Will the car make it to ThunderHill in 3 weeks, or will the ambulance refuse to start? Are we going to sell enough crap spare parts to put a gigantic wing on the car? So many unknowns! Tune in to this blog for more exciting panda episodes.

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