Best masking material (velvet, felt, etc)? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 45 Old 01-16-2012, 04:42 AM - Thread Starter
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I've read several threads and the consensus seems to be that heavy velvet absorbs the most light. I ask now because Joann Fabrics has a 50% off one item code, online only. Does anyone have experience with masking material from them and a recommendation?
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post #2 of 45 Old 01-16-2012, 05:07 AM - Thread Starter
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After some more digging, it appears this stuff http://www.syfabrics.com/View.aspx/P...Velvet/681/264 from Syfabrics may be cheaper and Mississippi Man thinks it's the bomb. Anyone use this stuff?
LL
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post #3 of 45 Old 01-16-2012, 06:12 AM
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I've used triple velvet from Hobby Lobby for several screen frames and to cover one screen wall. Very effective at absorbing stray light. And with a 40% off coupon, reasonably affordable. You should be able to find the same material at Jo-Ann or Hancock. Buy on sale or with a coupon though. Normally its $15/yd (approx 45" wide).
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post #4 of 45 Old 01-16-2012, 07:41 AM
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I've used the Triple Black from Sy's (even made curtains out of them), and Protostar Flocking for my masking panels. All in all, I preferred the Protostar for both ease and quality of installation, and for performance.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...+masking+trial

See ya. Dave

"High Fidelity audio has been like a dog chasing his tail. High Fidelity in my marriage has been much more rewarding cause she knows where I sleep."
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post #5 of 45 Old 01-16-2012, 08:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jive Turkey View Post

I've used the Triple Black from Sy's (even made curtains out of them), and Protostar Flocking for my masking panels. All in all, I preferred the Protostar for both ease and quality of installation, and for performance.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...+masking+trial

Where did you buy the Protostar from? I don't see a link in that thread to buy any, just a link with info and how to email for more info.
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post #6 of 45 Old 01-16-2012, 09:25 AM
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Here's the link... Protostar Flock Roll

Steve
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post #7 of 45 Old 01-16-2012, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DIY Guy View Post

Here's the link... Protostar Flock Roll

Yikes.

$101 for a 16' x 30" Proto roll

$57 for a 18' x 44" Triple velvet roll

The Proto is almost twice as much for 2/3 of the material. Is it really worth it?
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post #8 of 45 Old 01-16-2012, 10:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mullet34 View Post

Yikes.

$101 for a 16' x 30" Proto roll

$57 for a 18' x 44" Triple velvet roll

The Proto is almost twice as much for 2/3 of the material. Is it really worth it?

It was to me. Triple Black, and possibly other velvets, takes real care to work with when using contact cement. It tends to bleed through and create mashed areas, though someone with a better skill level than me may not have such an issue. I found Triple Black to also have a little sheen to it.

The Protostar creates a sharper edge, which is important especially if you get any shadowing on the screen. It sucks up light as well as the edging around my Carada screen, and looks very similar. The price wasn't an issue to me, and I paid someone $60 at a sign shop to install it, insuring an even better job than I may have done myself.

See ya. Dave

"High Fidelity audio has been like a dog chasing his tail. High Fidelity in my marriage has been much more rewarding cause she knows where I sleep."
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post #9 of 45 Old 01-16-2012, 10:50 AM
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Velvetyne is what I used and it absorbs light 100% with any bleed off, 3m spray adhesive works just mint for adhesion.
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post #10 of 45 Old 01-17-2012, 07:31 AM
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Velveteen may try to work well, but it's a far cry from being 100% light absorbent. More like 94% or less if the PJ beam is uber bright. The Title of "Best Absorbency King" goes to ProtoStar, it being 99.8% absorbent.

If absolute Light Masking is desired, and using spray adhesive or Staples is out of consideration, then yes....it's (Proto) worth the price

The ProtoStar's other chief advantage is it's Adhesive Backing, followed up closely by it's ability to be cut cleanly by a Utility Blade.

Links:

Tech: http://www.fpi-protostar.com/flock.htm
Sales: http://www.fpi-protostar.com/hitack.htm (FPR-02) 200" x 30" $85.00 Not sure where $101.00 came from?

For wrapping Trim, Triple Black Velvet from Sy Fabrics is in fact "De Bomb" and at $7.75 yd, it's almost impossible to beat buying anything comparable found elsewhere at any level of Discount.

For any "solid" masking panel at/under 30" wide, Proto' rules.

To quote James T. Kirk;
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post #11 of 45 Old 01-17-2012, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MississippiMan View Post

Tech: http://www.fpi-protostar.com/flock.htm
Sales: http://www.fpi-protostar.com/hitack.htm (FPR-02) 200" x 30" $85.00 Not sure where $101.00 came from?

Shipping? It's $16.65 for me, which adds 20% on to the total.
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post #12 of 45 Old 01-17-2012, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mullet34 View Post

Shipping? It's $16.65 for me, which adds 20% on to the total.

Unfortunately, there are very few free rides......

To quote James T. Kirk;
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post #13 of 45 Old 01-22-2012, 11:56 AM
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Is the Protostar a fabric or stiffer material? Just wondering if it can bend around 90 degree corners or not.
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post #14 of 45 Old 01-22-2012, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcascio View Post

Is the Protostar a fabric or stiffer material? Just wondering if it can bend around 90 degree corners or not.

It will bend easily, even crease.

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post #15 of 45 Old 01-24-2012, 10:27 AM
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I need to make panels all around my screen area and some need to be AT, including what I might use for a DIY 4-way masking system. So do I use two different kinds or go with a single AT kind so that they all match? I'm assuming the later but using something different for the edge of the masking system that is essentially the beveled frame. Make sense? If so, what's the most recommended AT masking fabric?
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post #16 of 45 Old 01-24-2012, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedTopDown View Post

I need to make panels all around my screen area and some need to be AT, including what I might use for a DIY 4-way masking system. So do I use two different kinds or go with a single AT kind so that they all match? I'm assuming the later but using something different for the edge of the masking system that is essentially the beveled frame. Make sense? If so, what's the most recommended AT masking fabric?

Black 4-way stretch Spandex

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post #17 of 45 Old 01-25-2012, 04:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MississippiMan View Post

Black 4-way stretch Spandex

But wouldn't that stretch when pulled out on a roller-based masking system? I would think that I would some kind of non-stretching fabric there since it will be rolled up on a roller and then pulled out by some edge.
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post #18 of 45 Old 01-25-2012, 05:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedTopDown View Post

But wouldn't that stretch when pulled out on a roller-based masking system? I would think that I would some kind of non-stretching fabric there since it will be rolled up on a roller and then pulled out by some edge.

The AT Material would the Spandex, and Triple Velvet would be used for the Masks.

Various Spandex have different stretch Ratios, but you really need a "Cloth" to effect a Roller Based system.

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post #19 of 45 Old 01-26-2012, 10:39 AM
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I took a photo of the Fidelio, Protostar and SyFabrics Black Plush Triple Velvet.

It's hard to tell the difference between the Triple Velvet and the Fidelio (Small sample).

The Protostar is noticably not as dark in my testing. Perhaps it reacts differently in a darker room or absorbs light differently than the velvet? But to my untrained eye, it doesn't look as dark as the two velvets.

In varying applications though (even my own), it may be the better choice.

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post #20 of 45 Old 01-26-2012, 11:56 AM
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I myself made note of that with a couple of similar photos on a comparison thread almost two years ago....and from my experience, the ProtoStar does it's magic when absorbing direct light in what is supposed to be a dark invironment. The Nap on the Velvets do almost as good, but when subjected to intense, focused light, they will produce a small degree of sheen reflection.

The primary reason anyone should consider using ProtoStar is the need to have a ultra light absorbant material that is also self adhesive in nature. The Flock Tapes and Felt Tapes that are similar are a far cry from being so effective.

In the end, it still goes to show how much of a value the Black Velvet is because it works extremely well, and when found discounted, it can cover quite a bit of acreage for the least amount of cash.

Oh yeah....and it makes for nice Drapes too. The ProtoStar can't do that.

To quote James T. Kirk;
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post #21 of 45 Old 02-08-2012, 09:47 AM
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I may have been the one to introduce Fidelio to the AV world some years ago. Trust me, I did all the tests and Fidelio was overall superior. Once upon a time Jo Ann carried it at $25/yd. They no longer carry it so my on-hand supply has become something of a hoarded treasure... funny to see me handle a 4-inch square scrap and wonder if I should toss it or keep it! “I could stick this somewhere...” ; - )

The thing about Fidelio is its behavior at shallow angles of incidence or grazing angle, when the light is sort of skimming off the surface like it would if it makes a right-angle junction at the screen.

The little fibers that make up the plush are key. The "shinier" more glassy synthetic fibers tend to make the better traps, as the light gets bounced deep into the material where it is more completely absorbed. But that behavior is tied directly to how those fibers lay and their end cut, which also gives a greater or lesser sheen. We of course want no sheen at all, but that's not what they make the velvet for!

Typically a true velvet has a main axis that shows its magic, one direction in which it typically shows the greatest amount of sheen, that sheen being light bounced back to the observer. The opposite direction usually is the "dead flat" orientation, with little retro-reflection (sheen). THAT is what we seek. You would align the fabric so that direction faces the light source you need to control.

Fidelio has excellent performance on that main axis. The unique thing about it is that it also has a second axis perpendicular to the main that also can be factored into your plan... not as stellar as the main axis, but it's worth considering since it's there!

Since a Hobby Lobby has opened in town, I checked out their best velvets. Certainly less expensive and even more inviting with those “40 percent off” coupons that seem to happen every week! Just giving a quick once-over in the store I could see that it was no Fidelio. I bought a yard, took it home, did a perfunctory test, called it crap and put it away. I have been fully spoiled by Fidelio! Begone, underachieving velvet!

Big Mistake!

Looking at it with a less harsh eye, it’s certainly adequate on the main axis. Heck, I dug out a really bad stretchy-velvet that I nearly threw away and found it wasn’t so bad on the main axis. I now use it on the floor in front of the screen like a scatter rug ("anti-scatter" rug??) during “serious” viewing sessions, then roll it up and stash it until next time! Why not... it’s better than the bare floor and gray rug, I don't care if it's stepped on and I have no other use for it!

Some other minor points:

Velvet is a challenge to adhesives... many tapes just don’t seem to stick to the backing fabric! I don’t use spray adhesive because as my needs change, I’d like to be able to reconfigure and reuse materials, especially expensive ones! I have discovered a really good “permanent” transfer tape at Jo Anns that just bites into the velvet and gives a great bond but still can be pulled away if needed (keep in mind that this also pulls out some plush fibers). Unfortunately, I can’t find the package... if you prefer a tape go check it out if you can figure which one it is! Typically I'll prepare a support panel out of plastic-clad foam board or insulation foam board, apply tape around the backside perimeter and a few "dots" on the front surface for added stability, then lay the fabric, pull it slightly snug around the edge, secure firmly to the tape and trim.

With many velvets, you can sweep over the surface in the "dead flat" direction (just your bare hand can work) and like steeling a good knife back to a keen edge it aligns the fibers and really improves the light-sucking power of the material.


I like aircraft. I like stealth aircraft. I like the old F-117A because it used what was available at the time and made it work. Flat facets. Simple and effective.
I have a stealth credo for light control, sort of prioritizing my approach based on ease of implementation. “Avoid what you can. Deflect what you can’t. Absorb the rest.” Here’s a few things I’ve done to give you some ideas.

Avoid:
If my projector had an adjustable iris (fixed-variable, not auto) to reduce output further I’d use it. But it doesn't. I do have an ND2 filter on the output lens. It’s stuck inside a lens shade I stole from a camera lens, which I in turn stuck to the proj lens assembly to kill side-scatter. Needs some velvet lining, though!

From cable box to receiver to clock, everything has some stupid BRIGHT display. It adds up to a big puddle of light in the room. I don’t need or want something with doors. When I do a cal run with my laptop, it’s got some big ol’ green status leds and a screen that can’t be dimmed to less than “supernova” (well, it’s a little too bright...) Since I don’t want to go so far as wearing a black cloak there’s a lot of bounce off me. I picked up a roll of dark window tint film at WalWort and presto! A little neatly-trimmed overlay and we have some control. Makes a nice temporary screen damper on the laptop, too. I layer it in areas that aren’t showing essential data for more dark goodness.

Deflect:
My room has a suspended ceiling with a 2 x 2 foot grid. I picked up some black “blackout” (as opposed to white blackout...) drapes at WalWort and using binder spring clips (those black metal “C” shapes with the two silver handles?) hung them from the grid. Though time consuming, they are easily taken down for more formal events. I could stick some hooks in the drapes and hang them via the hooks, or turn them into Roman shades if I needed a new hobby. As they are, they are snug to the ceiling and prevent light leaks from the other side. Other stuff (shelves, gear, RPTVs) is along the walls so the drapes are 2 feet out and hide all that. It creates a little shoe box cinema. The drapes are nowhere near as effective as velvet, but more on that later.

The back wall where the projector lives had black fleece or felt straight across. It wasn’t so great. Using stealth tactics, I hung it in a W shape (think of the saw tooth trailing edge on a B-2 bomber.) Now, instead of being bounced right back at the screen, light gets redirected to the side walls etc. for further absorption at each “hit.” From the screen, this looks almost as dark as an expensive velvet at a fraction of the cost. “Don’t use a nuke if a rock will do.”

In a “duh” moment, I was calculating where to cut my opening for the image passthrough... I had turned on the proj to warm up... I looked up and saw the image in “rear-projection” on the fabric. Picked up my scissors, cut away and was done with it in 15 seconds with great precision!

Absorb:
There are areas that cannot be fully addressed with “avoid” or “deflect.”I have “the good velvet” right up at the screen area and around the proj where it yields the best performance-per-unit for controlling scatter. The side wall drapes are candidates for getting some better localized absorption at the seating zone first-reflection points (just like setting up speakers... use a mirror to precisely locate the first bounce point for the screen. The back of the speakers (facing the screen) get attention as well as the tops which are piano-black acrylic. Pretty, but they mirror the screen, so I just lay a piece of fabric on top for the session.

Hybrid deflect-absorb:
Not wanting to go so far as make the entire ceiling and floor black (I do have my limits!) I use baffles and gobos.The ceiling has several baffle sheets to prevent direct paths from the screen to the white ceiling. A large semi-cylindrical baffle is hung side-to-side from the screen plane to 4 feet back. Straight-drape baffles don’t hide the ceiling from the screen at this proximity. It should be a sharp-edge V with the screen-facing surface angled to prevent bounce-back to the screen but I’ll do that later with some triangular formers cut from pink insulation foam panels.

Gobos are portable panels. I picked up some really cheap garment racks with two-piece vertical poles. Using just one section gives me a roughly 2 x 2 foot frame with built-in stand. These are draped with WBFIH (Whatever Black Fabric is Handy) and set on the floor about four feet back from the screen and angled to redirect any bounce into the V-trap formed at the intersection with the side wall. If I find scattered localized areas where I can kill some light without extraordinary effort, I can make more simple gobo panels from insulating foam board wrapped with WBFIH.

In my available space it’s really just advanced turd-polishing, but meeting the challenge is really fun in a McGuyver kind of way. “Ok, this a spoon. What else can I use it for?” “Tangental bearing surfaces?”

Have Fun!
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post #22 of 45 Old 02-08-2012, 05:25 PM
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Dude, you are surely an enthusiast!

Thanks for taking the time to put that together.

See ya. Dave

"High Fidelity audio has been like a dog chasing his tail. High Fidelity in my marriage has been much more rewarding cause she knows where I sleep."
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post #23 of 45 Old 02-10-2012, 08:20 AM
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Dude, you are surely an enthusiast!

Thanks for taking the time to put that together.

Hey, why not share. Finding a good light-killer seems like a black art (yeah, I know... :-) ) Most of this is now an experiment in “how black can I get the room?” and if it yields significant changes in my next projector cal run. It sure makes it a less-than-ideal reading room.

Please remember that for the most part most info is based in subjective comparisons and may or may not apply in all cases. And I could really miss the mark sometimes! Case in point: I spent a little more time rearranging the area and stepped out of the box created by my pretty stringent “test criteria.” As I went along, I realized that in my “cave” setting projector and screen are the only significant sources and are aligned in one axis only. Sure, there’s some side scatter due to the less-than-great black drapes on the sidewall, but I bought those only to reduce overall cost plus they help muffle noise from the busy street.

So let’s talk cheap!

I mentioned that lower-cost stretchy velvet, the stuff I almost threw away. While its grazing angle performance is not great (lots of retro-reflection sheen) when aligned with its “dead” axis matching the projection path, it’s really pretty good at higher angles! It sucks up lots of light bounced off the screen which is the major contributor to the room’s black level, keeping it from propagating into the room and reducing the need for higher performance on the return path as well as the side-to-side axis.

Considering performance in a real-use setting makes the prospect of a velvet cave a bit more realistic at a much lower cost than an all-Fidelio install. Fidelio would still be the go-to if needed in the most critical areas where the angles are shallow, like the immediate vicinity of the screen and where there may be incidental reflection points where several incoming directions converge. Given the cost of the blackout drapes used, I could have hung a non-Fidelio velvet and had far better results without much more cash. I’m trying to step away from a rigid highest-performance criteria, which becomes essentially a cost-is-no-object path, to best performance at price-point (x), or just taking what I have on-hand and placing it where it does the most good or causes the least harm.
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post #24 of 45 Old 02-11-2012, 08:43 AM
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Well, much of all of the above "what works best" is redundant, as it's been a well known and accepted fact for a very long time that the "Go To" source for inexpensive "Black Plush Triple Velvet is Sy Fabrics:

http://www.syfabrics.com/View.aspx/P...Velvet/681/264

Coupon Offers come and go...and various brand names of velvet (Fidelio - Madonna -Double Eagle ) wax & wane as far as general availability at various Fabric Store outlets.........

.......however Sy Fabric as a consistent source always remains, there is always stock, and at $7.70 yd. there is almost no chance that even a 40% off Coupon for any store will stand up against the price/quality Sy offers.

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post #25 of 45 Old 02-11-2012, 11:45 AM
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mullet34, what did you buy?

btw, what's the fabric name for JoAnn? searched for triple velvet but nothing comes up.
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post #26 of 45 Old 02-11-2012, 12:05 PM
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mullet34, what did you buy?

btw, what's the fabric name for JoAnn? searched for triple velvet but nothing comes up.

madonna.
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post #27 of 45 Old 02-11-2012, 12:09 PM
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madonna.

are you sure?

searched madonna but all i got are these?

http://www.joann.com/search/_madonna/
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on my way to lowes to pick up tile for my family/theater room in the basement. jo'anns is next door. i'll take look. they may have switch suppliers.

they generally carry 2 brands. the cheaper one is clearly inferior in color and nap. it also collects dust much easier.
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post #29 of 45 Old 02-11-2012, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by pb_maxxx View Post

on my way to lowes to pick up tile for my family/theater room in the basement. jo'anns is next door. i'll take look. they may have switch suppliers.

they generally carry 2 brands. the cheaper one is clearly inferior in color and nap. it also collects dust much easier.

much appreciated!
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post #30 of 45 Old 02-15-2012, 06:21 AM
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Thanks for the heads-up on Sy, 'Man!

Looking at the item, it looks like it has the same margin "marking threads" as the material I got at Hobby Lobby. Wouldn't be surprised if they are the same material.

I was thinking... should we start an "Official Light Control" thread? It seems like a valid topic where a lot of good information and ideas could be shared.
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