How to buy an unmbrella fix

Umbrellas how to buy one that will last; caring for it

Umbrellas come in folding and stick styles. Stick umbrellas are generally larger and stronger than the folding type. There are also windproof models that, when blown inside out, can be quickly restored.

The parts of an umbrella’s frame-shaft, runner, ferrule, ribs, springs, caps, stretchers, joints-should be made of tempered nickel- or chrome-plated steel. A wooden shaft (maple or hickory) is also reliable; periodically treat it with furniture paste wax.

Try out an umbrella before you buy it. It should open and close with ease and stay in position when locked by the top or bottom spring. Some umbrella manufacturers offer a warranty. This generally indicates that the umbrella is well constructed.

Umbrella covers are usually made of water-repellent silk or nylon. The fabric panels (gores) should be joined with a tight stitch of waxed thread. These joints should be stitched to the ribs with waxed thread. The cover edges should also be stitched (not heat sealed) to resist fraying and give a more finished look. Hold an open umbrella up to the light; no pinholes or stray threads should be visible.

Choose an umbrella with a handle of molded polystyrene or sturdy wood. It should be securely attached to the shaft, with no wiggle or give.

Let an umbrella dry open. When a windproof (reversal) umbrella has been blown inside out, place its handle against your midriff, then slowly pull the runner down the shaft; the ribs should snap back into place at once. Have a malfunctioning umbrella repaired professionally or send it to the manufacturer.