Cockpit padding - how to secure?

a_c

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Dec 23, 2014
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Victoria, BC
Looking to add some hip padding and whatever else to snug up the fit. I've never had much luck with contact cement, is there some preferred method of securing closed-cell foam so it feels solid and won't dislodge with a random kick or poke?

For padding I'm thinking about using either those grey foam sheets (same material they use for those racks you slide onto a roof crossbar), or maybe some hard foam yoga blocks - strong, super light, non-water absorbent.

Any advice on padding material and/or adhesives is appreciated!
 

JohnAbercrombie

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I've only done this on composite (glass) boats.
I use contact cement - the solvent type, not the water-based product.
I usually put at least 2 coats of cement on the foam, spreading it thin with a piece of plastic or a flat stick (tongue depressor or similar), letting the coats dry. If the glass is smooth, one coat is usually enough.
I usually work with the boat upside down and mark the glue areas with masking tape and/or a felt-tip marker (thicker gauge 'Sharpie').
Don't breathe too much of those solvents; a fan or a breeze outdoors is useful.
For thigh pads, I usually glue a larger piece of thin foam over the pad and the surrounding area. If the pad edges taper, this seems to prefent things getting knocked loose. It's usually a bit of work with a putty knife or plastic scraper to remove pads I've installed.
Your ideas about foam sound good. Somebody reported finding closed cell foam at TheFoamStore(in Victoria).
The 'jigsaw' 24"x24" foam floor tiles are good closed cell foam and can be laminated to form thicker pieces.
Some thin cheap 'yoga mats' are also useful if you want something 'grippy'.
For very thin foam check out Michaels craft section. I've used that for paddle grips, too.
 

mick_allen

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I've also use shoo goo for stuff like this, but it must be held in place until set.
 
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JKA

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Jul 25, 2016
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Banks Peninsula, New Zealand
Sikaflex 291 marine adhesive sealant.

Messy to use, expensive, doesn't keep once opened, but sticks like :poop: to a blanket!

I've had great success with it. For shaping the foam once in place, a sanding disc on an angle grinder works well - be careful, don't drop it!

Ask me how I know :whistling:

I then use a gas torch to "gently" melt the surface to remove the sanding burrs.

I suppose you could just sand the whole thing, but come on, live dangerously! :devilish:
 

CPS

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Oct 27, 2020
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I've got a plastic seat pan in my boat and have just given up on contact cement after gluing a hip pad back in a few times. I now have it held in place now with lexel, so we'll see how long this lasts.
 
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a_c

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Dec 23, 2014
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Victoria, BC
I've only done this on composite (glass) boats.
I use contact cement - the solvent type, not the water-based product.
I should have specified, it is a glass boat. I've only used that Lepages contact cement, it comes in a can with a brush on the end - it says 'heavy duty' but :rolleyes: meh.....is the stuff you're referencing different/better? And thanks for the tip for the Foam Store - since Ocean River closed some of these peripheral bits 'n pieces are a pain to track down.
Sikaflex 291 marine adhesive sealant.

Messy to use, expensive, doesn't keep once opened, but sticks like :poop: to a blanket!
Good idea, that stuff is the devils work :devilish:, I've ruined a few pairs of pants working with it, and get it on your skin and you'll be wearing it for a while.....will probably give this a try though :), like CPS, I've pretty much given up on contact cement.
 
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JohnAbercrombie

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I've only used that Lepages contact cement, it comes in a can with a brush on the end - it says 'heavy duty' but :rolleyes: meh.....is the stuff you're referencing different/better?
I usually buy the bigger can of Elmers and just refill/partly fill the small can with the brush. I can't keep the screw-on lid tight once I get glue on the threads. I thought that the DAP Weldwood product was better but it seems to be unobtanium nowadays.
Thigh pads are a lot 'easier' application than under a foam seat. That's essentially an underwater location. Anyway, for a seat, I wouldn't be confident I could aim it accurately enough to use an instant grab contact cement.
Off-topic: I had a kayak with a foam seat that I tried to attach with 'Industrial Strength' self-adhesive Velcro. The velcro would stick to the foam (HappyBottom) seat but kept peeling off the glass hull. I ended up epoxying the Velcro to the hull.
I've never liked Sikaflex (or 3M 5200) much, even though I used a lot of it when I was building and maintaining my sailboat. Anyway, those products are basically caulking/sealing/bedding compounds, not adhesives IMO. I followed the Sika instructions to the letter (even buying the $$$ primer) and used it to bond the hatch rims on a kayak. A few months later I went to open the hatch cover and the rim popped off the boat. Lesson learned!
 

chodups

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Nov 2, 2005
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I usually buy the bigger can of Elmers and just refill/partly fill the small can with the brush. I can't keep the screw-on lid tight once I get glue on the threads. I thought that the DAP Weldwood product was better but it seems to be unobtanium nowadays.
Thigh pads are a lot 'easier' application than under a foam seat. That's essentially an underwater location. Anyway, for a seat, I wouldn't be confident I could aim it accurately enough to use an instant grab contact cement.
Off-topic: I had a kayak with a foam seat that I tried to attach with 'Industrial Strength' self-adhesive Velcro. The velcro would stick to the foam (HappyBottom) seat but kept peeling off the glass hull. I ended up epoxying the Velcro to the hull.
Same
 

Kayak Jim

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Mar 5, 2016
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Comox Valley BC
I glued grey foam hip padding to the plastic seat in my Prijon almost 30 years ago and it is still in place. I used a contact cement branded by Perception Kayaks but can't seem to find it now. I think the secret is to use the right contact cement, solvent based as John says. I generally like the Home Hardware brand ("Home Bond") but haven't tried it in this specific application. Or maybe Barge Cement?
 
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