Buying Tips - So You Stay Drier Longer
Five Tips for Buying and Caring For Your Umbrella
They are all watertight. Most umbrellas are covered with nylon, polyester, or cotton. Modern umbrellas are coated with Teflon and dry out very quickly. High-quality umbrellas are produced one segment (or "gore") at a time, and have no mismatched patterns. The canopy should be seamed on the segment edges if it has no woven trim. The canopy should not sit too loosely, and on a good umbrella the individual segments do not flap. A good umbrella roof is bell-shaped to avoid the twist over by the wind.
Buying tip: Hold the umbrella up against a light source - defects can readily be seen.
The appearance of the frame tells much about its "expiration date". In ascending order of durability are black painted, nickel, and brass. In order to stand up to wind, the frame must be strong yet flexible. The rib material should be able to quickly give, but then spring back to its original form. The future belongs to frames made of fibreglass as they are ultralight and flexible. Frames made of tempered spring steel are even more stable, but also heavier.
Buying tip: Even though aluminium frames are feather-light, they can quickly become bent in strong winds.
On an umbrella rivets are located at all nexus points where the ribs are attached, and where the stretcher and joints allow for frame mobility. With metal frames rivets should be solid, not hollow. These are the most difficult to work with, but offer the greatest durability. Cheap articles are made using hollow rivets, which one can see through and which are not able to withstand constant opening and closing operations. That is not such a big problem with carbon or fibreglass ribs. A compromise, but not an optimal solution, is achieved with partially solid rivets (which have a hole only on one side).
Buying tip: Look for solid metal joints.
The right length is a key factor to consider with non-telescoping umbrellas. When standing straight the umbrella should reach your wrist, otherwise you may well have problems with your shoulders and arms. In terms of material, wood remains as before the first choice. But only if the handle and shaft are made of one continuous turned or natural piece. Steel shafts with attached handles are far superior to wooden shafts with attached handles. Steel shafts should have a nylon bumper on the end of the shaft. This prevents a sharp burr from being formed on the end of the shaft.
Buying tip: Ask for natural or turned wooden shafts, or those made of tempered steel.
Always open the umbrella up to dry it out until the frame is free of moisture - this will not bring back luck, but rather will bring longer years of umbrella life! When rolling it up always align the handle and canopy tips together, then smoothly roll them around the shaft. The umbrella should never be oiled, otherwise stains appear on the fabric. Never spin an opened umbrella. The centrifugal force on the upper end, the ferrule, is enormous.
If you should ever have a problem with your umbrella please bear in mind that every good umbrella can be repaired. This is always more cost-effective than buying a cheap article!