This was very distressing…

I have four pair of nice new winter jeans. One’s not even out of the package yet. Only one pair has any real time on it since I bought it halfway through last winter. And Tuesday evening that pair came back from S&L’s washing machine like this…

I think it’s my fault, too. These are the pants I wore at the start of the month, during battery day. Not completely certain of it – holes just like these showed up on my old winter canvas jeans at strange random times till they were just covered with patches.

Meaning, of course, that my jean-patching infrastructure is well established. I had to wait till today’s full sun to use it because an iron-on patch requires me to break out my cheap drugstore iron, with predicable results…


That’s not how that meter is supposed to read at mid-day with the sun shining brightly. But electrical things that make heat are absurd power hogs. I wanted to fix my pants yesterday afternoon but there was too much gloom: I’m more touchy about abusing my batteries than about holes in my new green jeans.

Still, a few minutes with an iron followed by a lot of minutes with needle and thread…


…and they’re good for anything but maybe a dinner party. By the historical standards of my winter pants, today this pair has become a man.

I’m not convinced battery acid did this – but I will take care to avoid wearing them on battery day for the rest of the season just in case and we’ll see if any more holes mysteriously appear.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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16 Responses to This was very distressing…

  1. The Neon Madman says:

    Sure looks like what battery acid does to cloth. Lots of experience with that. A cheap apron would be a handy thing to keep in the battery sheds.

  2. taminator013 says:

    Yep, same thing happened to my favorite pair of jeans a few years ago. All that I did was top up the water on my deep cycle battery. Never saw any splashing or even little wet areas on my pant leg, but after they got washed there were two holes in the right leg……..

  3. Bear says:

    Hey, Joel. I’ve got a solution to your ironing issue. I mentioned this to my sister, and told me top pick out a sad iron and send it to you. Email me your current mail drop address.

  4. John in Philly says:

    Any squid electricians that routinely serviced batteries had church dungarees. Yep, holy.

  5. Desert Rat says:

    Hey Joel, couldn’t you just use a metal teapot or pan full of boiling water instead of an iron to set the glue on the patch? If it takes more than a few seconds of direct heat you could have a pot and a pan boiling at the same time and just switch back and forth between them so one is sitting on the patch and one is reheating on your stove.

  6. Joel says:

    Bear, what’s a sad iron?

  7. brad says:

    Do you have a short chunk of railroad rail laying around that you could put on the stove?

  8. jabrwok says:

    Joel, a “sad iron” appears to be a pre-electric clothes iron. Just an iron-shaped chunk of cast-iron which is heated on a stove and used to remove wrinkles from clothes.

    https://www.picclickimg.com/00/s/MTAxN1gxMTcy/z/BzMAAOSwNSxVbTC5/$/Sad-Iron-Vintage-Cast-Iron-A-C-W-_1.jpg

  9. Joel says:

    Oh! Okay. In the olden days we called those flat irons.

  10. Mark Matis says:

    And on cold days, you already have a “sad iron” heater!

  11. RCPete says:

    I did a solar system that used the big Rolls Surrette batteries. (Trojan’s L16s are the same size.) They arrived by truck wrapped on a palette, and the first clue was that the cardboard under the batteries was well eaten. Unloading the batteries cost me one pair of jeans.

    Cleaning off the batteries and getting them into the battery box cost me another.

    T105s cause me less grief, if only because that battery box needs me to be on my knees to check the water. I keep a pair of rubber gloves for that system and haven’t had any problems. Yet.

    For what it’s worth, I gave up on the Water-Wise caps for the Trojans. I don’t use *that* much water to begin with (usually less than a quart a month on a 48V 3.6kW system) and those caps don’t play well with a battery watering jug. They are also hard to get off, especially with the rubber gloves.

  12. Zelda the Safety Zealot says:

    Full PPE including full coverage wrap around acid resistant apron will protect your jeans and acid resistant boots will protect your feet, splash shield face covering and hood will protect you from the neck up. Rinse the apron off before you put it away. It doesn’t take a splash to eat holes in cloth. Just exposure to the fumes will do it. Probably what happened to you. A full length (to the ankles) wrap around apron costs less than new jeans.

  13. boynsea says:

    Jeans, particularly new/good ones, are a battery acid magnet. One small droplet is all it takes.

    Again, get yourself a 2 gallon garden sprayer with a pump. Needs to have a plastic tube to the tip; cut the tip off, mildly heat the end of the tube and bend it to a 90 degree angle. Fill it with your battery water, pump it up a bit, and top off. A lot less mess and waste.

    Used to service batteries, in the company of pesky less than knowledgeable customers, from jugs of distilled water labeled “battery fluid”. They quickly left the area when I drank from those bottles.

    I hated job monitors.

  14. boynsea says:

    Oh, and flat irons are from the old days…..you set them on top of the cast iron wood burning stove to heat them. Pretty sure you could do this with and old electric iron, but it wouldn’t hold the heat like a cast iron one. Stock up, we may be heading back to the days of no electricity.

    Unless you have Joel’s off grid setup. Still, if the wood burner is hot, you don’t really need the electricity.

  15. Mark Matis says:

    What size “Chemical Resistant Shop Apron” do you need:
    https://www.mcmaster.com/aprons
    ???

    And Sleeved? Or Bib?

  16. Joel says:

    I have a (rubber?) apron that I keep at Landlady’s powershed. Must admit I should probably use it more often…

To the stake with the heretic!