General Crafting Tips


DAP Contact Cement

·        Don't wear nice clothes when using DAP, it will not come out of clothing.

·        Always DAP outside in a well-ventilated area.

·        DAP acts differently on different foams.

o   Blue foam will collect excess DAP on the surface, which can be scrapped off for reuse.

o   Marine foam will dry DAP very quickly.

o   Floor mat foam will absorb the first coat of DAP, so always recoat after a few minutes.

·        Don't use too much DAP, there should be just enough DAP to tell that there is DAP on the surface (i.e. no dry spots). Using too much will waste DAP, make your weapon heavier, and make it take longer to dry.

·        An easy way to tell if you used too much DAP on a surface is to scrape a piece of blue foam over the surface. All of the puddling DAP is excess.

·        After attaching the pieces, always press the foam together along the entire surface to ensure full contact.

·        Don't DAP in cold or wet weather

o   DAP needs to dry to cure and it will take longer for the DAP to tack and could ruin the bond.

·        The recommended solvent for DAP is mineral spirits. This can be used to clean your hands or work surfaces.

·        It takes 7 days for DAP to cure to full strength. Using your weapons before this time will reduce their lifespan.

 


Foam

·        Reverse rolling the camp pad and letting it sit for ~30mins will make it easier to work with.

·        The foam has a curve based on which side was on the outside/inside. In general, it's easier if you work with the outside of the roll on the outside of your weapon so the foam doesn't try to peel up.

·        Keep your blade sharp when cutting; foam can quickly dull a blade so if you notice that your knife is not cutting as easily or you need to use extra force then it is time to sharpen.

o   Forcing a knife to cut is the quickest way to cut yourself by accident; a knife should cut on its own with little force, and if it's not then it needs to be sharpened.

·        When cutting, use a clean flat surface and hold your knife perpendicular to the foam.

o   A sharp blade can cut through foam easily, and it is easy when going fast to get wavy or crooked cuts. Take your time and get used to cutting straight and square, this will make your foam pieces easier to build with and your final product will look cleaner.

·        Use a straight edge when cutting to keep your lines straight.

·        All closed cell foams have “cells”, which are bubbles within the foam. A small cell size increases the durability and wear characteristics of the foam. This is why people often use “microcell” foam instead of blue camping pad. Microcell costs twice as much and must be ordered in quantity, but hits smoother and lasts longer.

·        The most commonly used foam in boffers is 2lb/ft3 density, referred to as 2lb or 2# foam. This is used for the striking surface of the weapon; blue camping pad is 2lb foam. 4lb foam is used as structural support near the weapon core with thinner weapon cores (e.g. 0.5”), but it is not necessary on larger cored weapons.

 


Tape

·        There are many kinds of tape used in foamsmithing

o   Strapping Tape – tip reinforcement, blade covering, securing the pommel

o   Duct Tape – building the grip, securing/covering the pommel

o   Gorilla Tape – same uses as duct tape, but much stronger

o   Cloth Tape – haft covering, grip covering, pommel covering, securing the cover

o   Packaging Tape – blade covering

o   Electrical Tape – weapon class marking (blue/red/green)

·        Don't use electrical tape for haft covering; the foam will break down faster than it would with cloth tape.

·        Don't use duct tape on the striking surface; duct tape is thick and stiff and will make the weapon hit harder.

·        Some foams do not have a “skin” layer like blue foam, and using a layer of packaging tape or strapping tape over the surface will help protect it. Although in general it is better to have a tight fitting cover over the foam.

·        When taping over a striking surface, tape it all or tape it none. Leaving an edge of tape over the striking surface will create a stress riser that will eventually rip the foam.