The Original Dry Bag Steak | Make Artisan Dry Age Steak at Home › Forums › UMAi Dry® Sealing › Sealing Questions › One for the experts…Bag Lady?
- This topic has 12 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 10 years, 2 months ago by Rob Babcock.
December 31, 2012 at 2:18 pm #1515
Well, after the issues I have had getting a good seal I could use some input from the experts. I’ve tried everything I can think of but all my seals fail. I’ve had good luck with using water displacement and rubber bands but I want to move beyond the kluges and figure out how to get a lasting seal. Eventually I hope to be using these things for dry aging meat in a restaurant.
So without giving away any “trade secrets” or chemistry stuff, what is the best strategy to seal them? Long sealing? High sealing heat? A wide seal? A long cooling time? What would be the most ideal manner in creating a seal? I’ve tried two commercial chamber vac sealers and haven’t managed to have a seal last, but I know some folks are having good luck with cheapo Wal-Mart type machines.
Just really could use some guidance.December 31, 2012 at 7:54 pm #6508Ron PrattMember
Rob, let me see if I can help. I understand your frustration – I really do – but I’m equally frustrated in trying to understand why you are the only person who has this problem outside of the occasional newbie with his first bag or two. As I always have said take one bag and practice sealing it multiple times until you know your equipment’s characteristics. Short of meeting with you to observe your efforts and your equipment I’m not sure what can be done from a distance as sealing really isn’t rocket science. A couple things come to mind though…is there a chance that your seals are working, but the trouble comes from rough handling or resting the sealed bags on a rough shelf where they get a minor puncture releasing the vacuum? Another thought are you wiping the interior surfaces of the bags before sealing them? Moisture/goop whatever could hinder the sealing. As for length of sealing, heat settings etc again I believe practicing will resolve those issues. I can’t help you with the chamber sealers as I have no experience, but I know others here have had success with using them…so perhaps they will chime in.
RonJanuary 2, 2013 at 4:19 am #6509
I’m one of the chamber sealers – Vacmaster VP112 when the size of the meat fits into it.
I find that with the drybags a longer seal time gives a better result. I adore the seals that I get — when I use a long-enough seal time. I can seal solids, gels, liquids (not with the drybags, of course). I always need to be sure that the seal area of the bag is dry, so sometimes I have to either fold it back, or wipe off any liquids before the seal.
Of all my vacuum sealers (Sinbo, FoodSaver, Vacmaster) I think I get my best vacuum and contact with the Vacmaster, when I use it correctly.
And I admit – I’m with Ron. It’s very hard to help without seeing what is happening. I don’t think any users on the forum are keeping trade secrets – we aren’t competing for business – so you can assume that, time permitting, everyone will help as much as they can. Also with Ron – wipe the interior surfaces. Practice with one bag, over and over.
WHAT two commercial chamber vac sealers are you using? Dry-pump? Oil-pump? Displacement?
Bottom line — in my experience the problem with getting a lasting seal is either wet material or insufficient sealing time.
Best wishes.January 2, 2013 at 11:07 am #6511
Mine is a VacMaster VP215C. What settings are you using? I’ve tried every voltage setting and cooling times as long as 4.0 seconds. Maybe I’ll have to increase the sealing time but that generally seems to melt the bags.January 2, 2013 at 11:19 am #6512
MOST often, I use the Sinbo, with a 7-second seal time. Because most of the time I’m doing ribeye or strip loin, and they don’t fit inside the Vacmaster.
But when I use the Vacmaster – I think it’s fair to say that it is designed to be a simpler machine, for the home user. There are two controls and one adjustment – that’s it. A person can control the number of seconds (NOT the pressure) for vacuum. A person can set the number of seconds that the sealer bar is applied. And one can adjust the airspace in the chamber with three – they look like cutting boards to me and they act in two ways: they reduce the amount of air in the chamber that has to be removed, and they raise the bag. So they’re kinda contraindicated when packaging liquid products.
We don’t get a cooling time, or a voltage (heat) adjustment.
I’m sorry that the system is melting your bags. It’s a fine line, I think. One MUST melt the bags to get a seal.
Maybe you’ve got a hot-spot or a cold spot in your sealer bar. Possibly one spot isn’t sealing well before another spot melts the bags entirely. I thought the VP215C had a double sealer bar. Are you having trouble with other bags? They are CHEAP test cases. You might want to give that a whirl…. and I’m guessing you already thought of that.January 2, 2013 at 11:28 am #6513
Yeah, the sealer has two bars. It seals everything else perfectly- regular bags and full-on mylar. I’ve tried two different VP215C’s with no luck. It does have to melt them to seal but too much melts completely thru, severing the bag.
Guess I’ll just have to keep at it.January 2, 2013 at 11:42 am #6514
It’s only a guess – but my guess is that the bag is bunching up during the vacuum process, but that should be visible.
The drybags are much thinner and more flexible than regular vacuum bags and pouches. I know I’ve had troubles with them bunching and having thick areas that don’t seal well.
At the moment, that’s all I can think of, and I don’t have a recommendation for how to fix it.January 3, 2013 at 9:38 am #6516Mike EaketMember
I have never used a chamber sealer but am very close to buying one. Maybe you could place the mouse strips across the whole opening where the seal bars are. This would be more material to make the seal with. I have to use the mouse strips with my sealer a Cabelas commerical the mouse strip melts right into the bag. The dry bags are really thin compared to other bags
MikeJanuary 3, 2013 at 9:43 am #6517
Thanks to you all. First off, it sure doesn’t seem that the material is bunching up. The VP215C has a heavy domed lid that’s easy to see through. I’ve made certain that the bags were straight and free from wrinkles and obstructions. I’ve also been diligent to keep the top dry by rolling the bag over one turn, just as I do with all bags (I’ve sealed bags beyond counting between work and home). Perhaps I’ve not found the right mix between heat sufficient to seal yet low enough to avoid cutting the top off the bags.
FWIW I do have 25 of the mouse strips, and I’ll probably try them and see if it helps.
It’s not rough handling, of that I’m sure. Often the seal fails before I even remove the bag from the chamber, so it’s not been touched by human hands after being placed in the machine. Very frustrating.January 5, 2013 at 3:08 am #6520
I don’t want to jinx it, but SUCCESS! :laugh: Last night I sealed a chunk of a ribeye in my home VP215C and it’s still got a tight seal today! For those of you who might have this machine, IIRC the settings were 2.0 seconds of heat, 3.0 seconds cooling on LOW voltage. After the first seal I made a “safety seal” and inch ahead of it. Then I clamped a Clip N Seal Mondo on just to be sure. It sure appears to be holding tight, and in any event it should only need to hold long enough to get a good bond.
I wish I’d written down the sealing into to be sure it’s what I think it was. I’ve had so many failures that I was skeptical it would work. But I think I might have it figured out!
Again, the bags themselves are doing the job. Just taking a while for me to get the hang of them.January 5, 2013 at 3:10 am #6521
For the record, I also used a paper towel to thoroughly dry off the inside of the bag up top where I intended to seal it. It’s certainly possible that a wet bag was preventing a good seal on some of my previous efforts.January 5, 2013 at 3:25 am #6523Ron PrattMember
BRAVO, Mr. Babcock! Welcome to this side of the fence! :laugh:January 5, 2013 at 12:05 pm #6525
I checked the bag when I got home from work and it’s still holding tight! B) Things are looking good. Now the tough part…to let it be for two months! :laugh: At least this time I wrote the date on the end of the bag!
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