best adhesive for padding out?

-- Last Updated: Mar-04-05 3:47 PM EST --

i'm about to pad out a new fiberglass kayak with minicel foam--specifically hip and knee/thigh pads.

i know that there are several good adhesives out there, but i don't want to use something too aggressive in case i change my mind or want to re-do it later. however, i definitely don't want something that will allow "creep" or slide with the typical sheering forces encountered in a cockpit.

i also want to ask what you guys think of using velcro.

thanks in advance for your advice.


– Last Updated: Mar-04-05 4:07 PM EST –

NRS (Northwest River Supply)
has mini-cell and hip-pads with adhesive. Just peel the wax paper off and apply. They also sell "H2 glue" to cement mini-cell to any surface. I used the H2 on my FG boat and my polyethelene boat and have had no problems.

Velcro will be as good as the adhesive you use to attatch it.

Duct Tape For Testing
then Weldwood adhesive in the red can to stick on permanently. Once this is on, trying to remove foam will mean tearing pieces off in the removal process. If you have a sharp scaper/spatula, and take your time, you can get whole pieces off with just the loss of perhaps a superficial surface layer.


Contact cement
I got a waterproof one at the hardware store for $3 a quart. Haven’t had any problems with it not sticking.

If you have a plastic boat, you’d be better served buying one specially made for plastic, but on composite, any good waterproof cement is OK in my experience.


Marine Goop is also good, and you
can move the stickee around for awhile. It has to dry for several days for the best bond, but after that nothin’ is moving.

cool, thanks guys.

i realize the velcro is only as strong as the adhesive you use to attach it.

i meant are there any disadvantages to using velcro? (i’m really only thinking hip pads here.)

i am concered maybe that it’ll trap water and get funky or some other unintended consequence.

also is there any knowledgebase on which side (hook or loop) do you attach to the kayak and which to the pad itself?


I don’t recommend Velcro tape
I used strips of Velcro tape for fastening my minicell seat to my wood kayak’s floor. I wanted to be able to move the seat fore and aft to find the right trim. I used Barge Cement to attach the tape to the minicell, and to the floor.

On my second session of rolling with the adjustable-trim seat/tape, my legs suddenly straightened all the way and my butt seemed too slippery in the boat. I failed to roll up. When I got out, I noticed the seat was floating in the water, out of the kayak. The Velcro tape had pulled off the minicell and both Part A and Part B were stuck together on the kayak floor.

Since by this time I’d found the right trim, I removed all the tape and old glue, then reglued the entire seat to the kayak floor. It’s still holding strong, so I think the Barge Cement works well. Also, I used Barge to glue minicell under my thigh braces (both kayaks) and it worked fine–no creep.

I am now redoing the wood boat’s outfitting and have ripped out the minicell thigh brace pieces. The old glue is a pain to remove using only elbow grease (rubbing with my fingers and balling up the residue), but I’m told acetone will remove it quickly. I just prefer not to use solvents. The Barge Cement label does say it gets stronger with age.

To sum up, I’d skip the Velcro and use Barge Cement. You can buy it at hardware stores and home suppliers such as Home Depot.

Definitely DAP Weldwood
like sing mentioned. Goop is ok as well. Although it isn’t permanant (acetone takes it off), it is darn close so make sure you have the location perfect before gluing things on. Of course if you glue too much foam on, it’s easy to take a Surform and just shave it to fit.

Just avoid
the “safe” water based glues. You will end up with milky water and floating pads in the bilge of your boat.


My Wilderness Systems Tempest 170

– Last Updated: Mar-04-05 5:31 PM EST –

has velcro attatching the adjustable hip pads. It also has two straps on each hip pad for additional support. I don't think velcro will trap water. It's really just very coarse polyester (which drains well). I would not rely on velcro, alone, to hold in hip pads/thigh braces. If you find yourself in dangerous conditons, it is imperative that your contact points with your boat are secure.

no doubt.
found that out the hard way. and the water based, no fumes stuff was twice as expensive too.

Weldwood GEL contact cement

– Last Updated: Mar-05-05 8:37 AM EST –

The gel is much nicer to work with than liquid contact cement, since it stays where you put it. I've been using it for a couple of years and it works just as well as the liquid types. There are pictures of it in my Webshots albums at:

For best results, apply two coats to each surface prior to bonding them together. I've experienced some bond failures when only using a single coat.

If you need to remove it, simply pull out as much of the padding as you can, then remove the glue residue with lacquer thinner. It will not hurt fiberglass in any way.

As others have suggested, Goop products are also good, but I find that I need to thin it with either tolune or MEK in order to get it to spread easily.

I've had poor results with self adhesive Velcro (including the "Industrial Strength" version) and no longer use it except occasionally for temporary padding installations. It simply doesn't hold up well in a wet environment

Velcro - which side goes where
The way I have always handled velcro is based on when it isn’t attached to itself, where won’t the abrasive side irritate? On hip pads, put the soft side in the boat so when you remove the hip pads for someone else to use the boat, there isn’t anything there to bother them.

Same technique used on technical clothes. Suzanne