making minicel foam foot braces

Just plain wrong!
Sounds like some BS form a footpeg system marketer!

I can stand on the 3" minicell I use (and have done so on a stack of up to 5 pieces) and it barely compresses at all. Same for the thin mat I use. amazing stuff.

Confortable? Yes.

Spongy or insubstantial? No.

I push hard enough when I paddle to have busted commercial rails (OK - they were defective) - and popped pegs off their tracks. Foam is 1000x superior in regards to “energy transfer”.

Either you have some very low density mincel - or no direct experinece with it at all.

bottom line is to do it
it was one of the greatest mods i made to the QCC and i minicelled the entire area top to bottom and side to side (i had to cut around my knee tube) but cut out a hole for the rapid runner foot actuator…the advantages are numerous:

foot placement anywhere not and not just on the small pegs, extreme boyancy, less water to take on in the event of capsize/wet exit…this mod is a no brainer to the kayak you paddle in most…i would do them all but some of the other kayaks change hands in the family quickly even on the same day so why bother…minicelling behind the seat is a great idea for most but since i’ve got the rapid runner there i dont think i will…and no glue for me, the 3in pieces are wedged in, you have to wrestle to get them out, doubt they would ever ‘float’ out…

no central channel
I don’t use a central channel as I like the ability to move my feet around. Foam bulkheads are very comfortable, don’t fail(keepers pegs pop off), easy to vary foot position, no problem finding the bulkhead during reentry and roll, reduced cockpit flooding volume–lots of advantages. two disadvantages: fits the boat to you unless you carry a lot of spare foam (no need to glue, just stuff in and it’ll stay put) and loss of a space to put stuff (dry back) when expedition camping.

Cutting to fit? Template?
Maybe this is a really dumb question, but how do you get the shape of your hull right before you cut? I want to make a single piece bulkhead for my BBK valykrie to use for my feet (and to reduce volume a bit more in the cockpit). Do you use some kind of a template to get the dimensions correct? Do you just measure from the outside and hope for the best?

Oversize 1" then shave down
A kayak shop that caries the boat may already have a template. If you buy the foam from them, they may bandsaw the starting shape for you. That was the case for me.

Othersise, I would say take a piece of paper and press it in against the bulkhead, then trace it, then cut it. Keep cutting paper until you get the shape right. Mistakes in paper are cheap :-). Cut the foam about 1/2 - 1" larger all the way around then shave it down to fit. Don’t forget that your deck and hull probably taper down toward the bulkhead, so the aft surface of the foam plug will be larger than the forward surface that touches glass bulkhead.

To shave down, use somthing like a stanly sureform shaver. I have one that’s about 12" long. Hopefully those are still available in hardware stores.

Paul S.

Is the minicell you are refering to gray

– Last Updated: Jul-14-06 11:30 AM EST –

in color? Did you purchase it from NRS? If not NRS, where? How thick was it? How long did you have it before you used it? How long had it been installed and in use? Was it exposed to salt water? Was it exposed to direct sunlight for long periods?

The reason I ask is because the minicell product that I have is soft and squshy. The surface feels "silky" when wet and gets very slippery.

Minicell Lasts
quite awhile as long as it’s not exposed to direct sunlight. I have a minicell footbrace in my first white water boat that’s well going on four years. The minicell is holding well. Ditto the footbraces in my surf boats. These get used quite a bit and still going strong.

White water and surf usage will subject the minicell footbraces far more wear and tear than what most long boaters would subject theirs to.


Is the minicell you are refering to gray

in color?


Did you purchase it from NRS? If not NRS, where?

Think I bought a piecs from NRS, more from Newfound, thin stuff (mats) from Target.

How thick was it?

3" for the big stuff, the mats are about 1/2"

How long did you have it before you used it?

Used some right away, some later, still have some.

How long had it been installed and in use?

Maybe 3 years now.

Was it exposed to salt water?


Was it exposed to direct sunlight for long periods?

No - it’s inside the kayak! I do have some pices uses as block to set boats on - and one of those has been laying in the back yard in the sun for a year or so with no changes.

The reason I ask is because the minicell product that I have is soft and squshy. The surface feels “silky” when wet and gets very slippery.

Different stuff - usless for this application.

Thanks for the tips. I sure hate keepers foot pegs. I doubt if the guy who makes these boats has a template, but it’s worth checking with him.

you can bend stiff wire or solder around the outside of the hull at the spot where the b/h sits and use the ‘shape’ that the wire holds as a pattern. I generally measure the height and width with a tape and trace it out on cardboard then adjust as necessary


Your idea is better than mine
Wire. I like that.

skin or de-skin the foam surface?

– Last Updated: Jul-15-06 1:15 AM EST –

I just bought a second piece of foam to make the 15 degee tapered final layer. The foam has a smooth skin on it. In other words, the surface is as molded, not sawn.

Has anyone tried using the skined surface as the outer surface that your feet would press against? It might wear better, though de-skinned probably wears well too. It might also be slipperier. I'll have to wet it and check my wet boot soles against it.

Alternatively, has anyone tried contact cement against a skin surface? Does it hold ok, or is it necessary to sand the skin off?

Paul S.

Seems that I saw…
…at that it is a good idea to skin it.

The first set of minicel heel pads I made quickly wore through from the abrasion. For my current set I added a layer of thin neoprene with the fabric side up. Wear problem solved.

wire worked well
I tried it–the wire worked great for making a cardboard template.

skin it
most contact cement will easily peel away from the skin side mini cell. It is slippery when wet, as well. I use a bandsaw to shave off the skin.


Use a removable/replaceable thin layer
As a final layer, The gray square 2x2 exercise mats )puzzle or straight edge) are perfect for this and have a durable surface finish.

This sort of assumes a solid continuous surface - but these cut easily with a utility knife and could be glued to other setups.

I haven’t found them yet.
I looked in KMart only. About how thick are those mats?

1/2" thick - come in 4 packs
Try Target and any big box sports store. Density varies a bit but all seem OK that I’ve found.

Link moved
Moved my site to a cms, so the old link above is not working anymore. For those who are still interested: