Learned a valuable lesson this year on parafilm. What i was getting was pretty good but not the best. When i order again it will likely be from Fedco! I loved their parafilm Parafilm® Grafting & Budding Tape ½" - Organic Growers Supply
The thing is everyone thinks parafilm from everyone is the same but it’s not. It might be the same brand and even look the same but it is worlds different. This 2 boxes i got from Fedco a couple of weeks ago was very stretchy which means it is the new stuff. The old stuff breaks when you pull much at all. Highly recommend Fedco and it is not the first time! The parafilm was priced reasonable but shipping has went up. It is ok, if the parafilm works good i’m ok with that.
I did get a new tape from Fedco in April, I agree their stuff is very stretchable. I paid the same price I paid last year. $6 for one roll.
It is new when they send it just like it should be. Wished everyone sold us what we paid to get!
I noticed,if the outside edge surfaces are a little rough,then the breaking starts happening too soon.
Yes i have seen parafilm with rough edges and those break on every one of those rough spots! Have done it myself by accident by throwing the parafilm in my grafting bucket. Now i keep it in my pocket.
Think you had it right with the age. I bought a bunch of good parafilm a couple years ago and each year after it felt worse and worse.
I inadvertently did an experiment on how storage temperature affects parafilm. At the beginning of last season Ibbought a few rolls of parafilm. At the end of the season oneroll stayed in the house, the other in my unheated garage. It gets very hot and very cold out there during the course of the year. I used from both the inside and outside roll this year and found the roll from outside was definitely less stretchy and more prone to breakage. Still usable mind you, just noticeably less good.
I think it’s probably a good idea to freeze it or at least keep it in the fridge.
That said, I’ve got a few bits and pieces rolls that aren’t perfect but can still be made to work.
Was wondering if temperature was a big factor. I keep mine at constant temperature around 70 degrees inside. Room temperature seems to work best for me for storage of grafting supplies like tanglefoot, but now i’m wondering if i should try to freeze a roll as a test. Plastina is more pliable when warm naturally. My day becomes harder at 30 degrees outside temperature when grafting. Everything loses its pliability.
I think @Lucky_P said that he had a largish batch of Parafilm M that he froze and has used for years. That’s where I stole the idea.
Since I have so many old rolls and I am cheap, I decided to start using up the old rolls. (5-6 yrs old) They seemed to be quite stretchy and have performed extremely well in terms of graft success.
I did store the tapes in a cool basement.
@marknmt - I can’t claim that idea. I go through a 2"x250’ roll of Parafilm M about every two years. At normal room temperatures, it doesn’t degrade appreciably before I need a new roll.
Several years back, we were doing a deep-cleaning and disposal in preparation of moving from the diagnostic laboratory built in 1967 to a new facility in 2017. There were several rolls of 20" x 50’ Parafilm that had been in a HOT, unconditioned storeroom in the basement… possibly since the late 1960s… that were going to be thrown out. I grabbed a couple and took them home. One is still in original, pristine condition; the other, I’ve used some of… it’s not dependable enough to use for most of my grafting purposes… breaks too easily while being stretched - but being that wide, it’s been useful as a moisture-holding seal for occasions when someone knocks a big chunk of bark off a tree with lawnmower or backing a trailer, etc. I’ve put those chunks of fresh bark back on, wrapped with Parafilm, overwrapped with aluminum foil and duct tape, and had a modicum of success in getting that bark to re-seat, even if only partially.
I do have 1/10 of my first roll outside in my California, it’s not as stretchy as when I first opened it. Same with the Templed 2155 electrical tape. The one inside the house is better.
I keep my parafilm in an attached garage that goes from 40’s during the winter to maybe 70’s top in the summer (half of the walls are underground, which keeps it moderate). The last roll (a big 250’, 2" wide Parafilm M) lasted 6+ years and was still fine at the end. I don’t know if freezing would improve things, but I think it is hot temperatures to avoid. I see the stuff on the trees and between the sun’s heat and UV, it breaks down pretty quick.
Which reminds me- grafting is so much easier when you have a lot of pockets. Last week it was pretty warm and I was grafting with a pair of sweat pants (2 pockets only) and no jacket. It is not enough pockets. I need pants and a jacket:
Jacket #1- temflex tape
Jacket #2- leather glove for left hand
Pants #1 (right)- florist knife
Pants #2 (left)- parafilm strips (precut to 1" from 2" roll)
Pants #3 (back right)- pruners
Pants #4 (back left)- garbage, liner from parafilm and electric tape
And I particularly like the jacket with a shallow extra pocket on the upper left chest, as I can put the “in-progress” scionwood in it, rather than holding it between my lips.
Using just 2 pockets was a pain and I alternated between fishing around for things in the pockets and dropping things into the grocery bag of scionwood.
I hang everything in a tree nearby which is 2-3 feet. Talk about a simple life, lol.
I am a bit agnostic that all the parafilm sold is the genuine article. In my last career(Industrial Laundry Equipment)we had to know and evaluate our parafinitic and elastomer products. They are very easy to imitate and sell using filler grade materials. Had loads of problems with customers seeking savings using cheap knock off cloth impregnated tapes on huge ironers and folding equipment. If you use real plain polyester guide tape with the correct durometer, thickness weave with annealed edges, your folder will process 800 towels an hour. If you use cheap tape, you are wasting time re-running tapes, or worse maybe breaking your folding machine due to jams.
Thanks Clark for the post. I just bought some, my lizard brain couldn’t resist the free shipping and I trust Fedco and badly need parafilm. I’ve been burned before buying 2 rolls of what is basically plastic wrap on amazon that does not stick. Might be a dollar more from fedco but im sure they sell the genuine article which can actually be budded with etc.
Pretty sure I’ve struggled to find real parafilm/buddytape in the past on amazon/ebay/. 6$ is very reasonable, but when you factor in the free shipping for a roll this is pretty much the perfect deal for a backyard orchard hobbyist like myself
I like to bring a little a table and/or folding bench when grafting in the orchard. Something to stage things on other than the tree or ground.
I usually have lots of pockets, but rarely remember which thing is in which pocket. I spend a good portion of my grafting time looking for things I’ve had in my hands only moments ago.
I often end up grafting on a step ladder, and I open up the tray and set stuff there as well as on the top (do not) step. Then it falls off and ends up on the ground and I get to climb down and get it. This is an important part of the whole process because I’m getting old and exercise is good for me.
I sometimes do that with a flipped over bucket (can also be stood on when needed). But it can be a pain when the wind blows things down/away (or I just knock it down like Mark ).
To keep me from having to chase things around, I’ve been going more with the pockets In recent years. And I tend to be pretty busy grafting in April/May- 200-300 grafts a year gives me plenty of time to memorize which pocket everything is in.