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All About Guns What's your weapon of choice, and why? Discuss the beloved speargun here!

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Old 02-08-2020, 03:58 AM   #1
Diving Gecko
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What To Do About Rubber Rot (gummy bungees)?

So, I am running into an issue with my bungees disintegrating.
Goes something like this: first the surface gets tacky, then gummy and finally, cracks develop and the bungee fails.
For a long while, I was pretty sure having metal swivels near the rubber was the culprit - probably a tropical sun doesn't help either. But for the past few years, I have made my bungees without any metal hardware and and it's still happening.
I do have alu barrels on the guns this is happening to, so there may still be some kinda of reaction going on between the rubber and the alu or is it just UV damage? I am storing these guns inside and they always get a rinse after each dive. And I honestly don't dive that often.

Apart from going to silicone bungees does any of you have a trick? Any chemicals, acids, bases or whatever to stop the rot once it has set in? What about that rubber treatment spray sold in auto shops?

A broken one:


And one where the tackiness has just started setting in at the ends:
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Old 02-08-2020, 04:58 AM   #2
2fishin2
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Re: What To Do About Rubber Rot (gummy bungees)?

Simple answer....don't use them. Use a reel on all guns and you don't need them. Haven't used one for over 20 years. There is no need for one.
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Old 02-08-2020, 05:59 AM   #3
Diving Gecko
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Re: What To Do About Rubber Rot (gummy bungees)?

Yeah... I guess. I feel like I will like reels, just that I have had some shitty Euro ones. Need a better one to feel the love...

But I am also making a few cobbled together guns for friends lately and just want to keep them simple and I think a bungee is alright for a beginner gun. Perhaps, the only real solution is silicone.
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Old 02-08-2020, 07:37 AM   #4
popgun pete
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Re: What To Do About Rubber Rot (gummy bungees)?

Rubber reverts as it oxidizes and rubber under tension is attacked even more rapidly, that is why bands start to bust just where they are bound by wrapping a lump like the ball in a wire bridle with either a constrictor knot cord or a wedding ring band. Those necked down areas are always under stretch even if the band is never used. In a bungee the cord is coiled up inside the rubber pipe, so again the rubber is under some tension. Not much that you can do about it, black rubber will last longer because of the reinforcing provided by carbon black in the rubber compound, maybe another year at most compared with natural rubber. These items are all consumables. I have seen guns with a coil spring tensioner, but that was just to snug up the shooting line wraps and it only bridged a short loop of cord when it was stretched out. Silicone rubber has a lower tear strength, hence it is not really suitable.

Another factor is whatever lubricant was used in stuffing the knots or beads in the rubber pipe, soapy water is best as it does not attack the rubber. Many years ago people used Armour All on some rubber items and the rubber softened too much and failed. Some guys used it on their rubber watch seals and turned them to mush.
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Old 02-08-2020, 01:26 PM   #5
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Re: What To Do About Rubber Rot (gummy bungees)?

Maverick America make these bungees out of a silicone material that won't rot like the rubber ones.
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Old 02-10-2020, 04:08 AM   #6
Diving Gecko
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Re: What To Do About Rubber Rot (gummy bungees)?

I read up on this and Pete is right on the reversing process of rubber (makes sense he would be as I think he spent some years in the tire industry).
Both natural and synthetic rubber wants to revert to their original stickier versions of themselves and oxidation and UV exposure speeds up the process.

I have seen silicone bungees that actually didn’t seem like they wanted to tear as easily as many silicones do. E.g. I have some blue tubing, perhaps from RA that feels as tear resistant as most rubbers. I guess it could be a PU or a modified silicone.

I didn’t actually know of this non-reversible automatic reverse process;-). I thought I was doing something wrong.
I guess the take away is that we just have to accept that rubber bungees over time wanna become gooey and want to crawl back into a tree...

Well, thanks guys. Not the answers I was hoping for but I guess there’s a bit of justice in nature winning this one.




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Last edited by Diving Gecko; 02-17-2020 at 08:41 AM.
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Old 02-10-2020, 05:44 AM   #7
Rob Allen
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Re: What To Do About Rubber Rot (gummy bungees)?

We don't use latex rubber on bungees for just this reason, we use a type of TPE. It still degrades but over a much longer period. It's not as stretchy but more than sufficient.
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Old 02-10-2020, 07:12 AM   #8
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Re: What To Do About Rubber Rot (gummy bungees)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Allen View Post
We don't use latex rubber on bungees for just this reason, we use a type of TPE. It still degrades but over a much longer period. It's not as stretchy but more than sufficient.
Yeah, I think I got some snippets of yours from a friend and dealer in China. Definitely doesn't have that tearing issue as a lot of silicones. Was just out of it, so had to resort to the "classic" rubber. Especially when you rig simple guns for friends who are not yet proficient at making or changing out this stuff themselves, it makes a whole lot of sense to go with a bungee that doesn't rot away in a few months.
I do still think some metals can accelerate the rot, but lesson learned, just stay away from normal rubber from now on - and get a proper reel for my own reef guns.
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Old 02-24-2020, 10:31 PM   #9
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Re: What To Do About Rubber Rot (gummy bungees)?

I agree with 2fishin2. If you're using a reel, there is not much advantage on using one. Haven't used one in years. The most simple tools are the best. My humble opinion
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Old 02-25-2020, 04:52 AM   #10
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Re: What To Do About Rubber Rot (gummy bungees)?

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Originally Posted by HappySpear View Post
I agree with 2fishin2. If you're using a reel, there is not much advantage on using one. Haven't used one in years. The most simple tools are the best. My humble opinion
Yeah, for sure, I wouldn't use one with a reel. But for the most simple setup - especially for beginner friends - I think, a bungee still has its place. Just a pity they don't last long.
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Old 02-25-2020, 05:26 PM   #11
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Re: What To Do About Rubber Rot (gummy bungees)?

Line anchor bungees are all that is required in some situations, depends on what you are shooting and where in terms of obstructions and potential line snags in the water around you. I use a reel on some of my guns and not on others. Once made up the bungee is under attack from oxygen and pollutants in the air, not much you can do about that. But like bands you can put the rubber tubing in a zip lock bag in the fridge before you make the bungee up. Cold temperatures slow down reactions and the bag diminishes the supply of oxygen to the rubber. A light dusting of unperfumed talc helps stop the rubber sticking to itself (tire fitter’s/tire maker’s talc).

Don't let your bungees cook in the sun, put a cover over your bands and gun muzzle when it is being stored outdoors. Sunlight kills rubber, even when loaded up with wax protection, antioxidants and UV inhibitors. Some rubber dive fins are long lasting as a thick cross-section warehouses a lot of protection via a protective bloom, but rubber bands and bungees don’t have that thickness of material.
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Old 03-03-2020, 10:32 PM   #12
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Re: What To Do About Rubber Rot (gummy bungees)?

two clever ways to preserve bands/bungees:
1. use a food-saver/vacuum packer and remove oxygen from bands/bungee
2. use silicone grease when stored to put a thin coat all over, = oxygen barrier (credit for that idea to majdq8)
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Old 03-03-2020, 11:20 PM   #13
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Re: What To Do About Rubber Rot (gummy bungees)?

I put SPF 20 on them 4 times to make them SPF 80 to protect them. I kid, but might this be a possible solution. UV rays and heat are the primary killer, yes?
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