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Cutting & Taping Foam

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  • Dave Womble
    AT the end of this is a copy of an email I recently sent to a friend about my experiences with cutting and taping closed cell foam pads that I use with my
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 30, 2003
      AT the end of this is a copy of an email I recently sent to a friend
      about my experiences with cutting and taping closed cell foam pads
      that I use with my Golite Breeze pack and two-layer version of the
      Speer Hammock. I have used the 'new' four section (accordian/fold)
      pad on one 47 mile section of the AT on a three day trip and it held
      up fine, but that is not a lot testing so the postive results may or
      may not continue, only time will tell how well it holds up.
      (Obviously, there is a lot of stress on the pads/tape and only
      experience with time/temperature/humidity/dampness/etcetera will
      reveal potential weaknesses.)

      I would also like to point out that the two-layer hammock tends to
      hold intralayer insulation in place, so that the need for extra wide
      pads may be reduced. My two layer hammock is not sewn shut on either
      side so I figure that I can easily postion extra clothing, stuff
      sacks with leaves or other material as needed to take care of a cold
      shoulder and the like that were not keep warm by my basic padding...
      but I haven't tested this in cold weather yet. Also, I empty my
      frameless/beltless backpack and use it for padding under my feet,
      usually with my Frogg Togg jacket inserted as extra insulation. I
      have added accessory cord in the knot of my hammock so that I can tie
      off the foot insulation to prevent it for slidding to the center when
      I am not in my hammock.



      First let me warn you that there are lots of things
      that can go wrong, so you might want to rethink doing
      it this way. Most people just use the empty tube
      method of lining their backpack with a closed cell
      foam pad. I have found that my duct tape sticks very
      well to the 24" wide, 3/8" thick REI blue foam (at
      least it has so far) but didn't stick very well at all
      to the 1/2" Coleman pad. I don't know how well it
      stays to other pads like the 27" wide, 3/8" thick
      Target blue foam. Also, this cut/tape/according fold
      will probably not work for foam that is not smooth on
      both surfaces, like the WalMart 24" wide egg-crate

      Make sure you make straight cuts and number the pieces
      so that the cuts match. I have used a good pair of
      sissors and a hot knife with success. A box cutter
      didn't work very well as it tended to tear the foam.
      Remember that the tape goes on alternating sides of
      the pad, so that it will fold up properly.

      Compress the two edges of foam towards each other when
      taping them together. I did this by having the
      non-taping side of piece A firmly against the wall of
      my work bench. Piece B had two 10lb weights resting
      on it. I pushed Piece B's edge against Piece A's edge
      until Piece A bulged up maybe an inch or two. Then I
      place two 10lb weights on Piece A and flatened it
      while making sure the two edges were aligned and flat
      with each other. I then applied the duct tape. After
      I finish taping the pad, I fold it up and put
      baby/talcum powder on the exposed edges of the
      pads/duct tape to prevent the adhesive from EVER
      attaching to the edges of pad.

      The last 4 section pad I made I didn't use the
      compression/taping technique or the baby powder and
      the duct tape got attached to some of the edges of the
      pad-- that was not good. On my previous 3 section pad
      I used the compression/taping technique but not the
      baby powder and the duct tape never attached to the
      edges of the pad, but when I examined it closely I
      could see where dirt and very small items had attached
      to the exposed adhesive. I just added a fourth piece
      to my original 3 section pad and will be throwing out
      the defunct 4 section pad. So, I have not actually
      successfully carried a 4 section pad. Oh, each
      section is 11x24".

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