Cardboard damn, how about minicell instead?

Building a Chesapeake 17LT and I've been thinking about the end pours. Has anyone used minicell instead of cardboard? I thought I could just leave it in after the pour. It would add a little buoyancy, not much I know, and only if the kayak was flooded. It would also add some padding for gear stowed in the kayak. The whole cardboard damn just sounds messy to me. Minicell would cost $$ as opposed to the "free" cardboard but when thinking of the total cost of the kayak it would be a small percentage.

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RE: Cardboard damn, how about minicell instead?

Dale, that sounds like a great idea!  I used cardboard and both dams leaked like crazy..., not enough scotch tape on the planet for me to secure their edges.  Plus, you could cut the foam "close to size" and then press and glue it in (with hot glue, guerrila, or similar).  Seems the cost of that much foam would be negligable compared to the overall cost of the boat materials.

The only question I'd pose to the group is how minicell foam (and hot glue, for that matter) would hold up to the the excessive heat generated during an end pour.  My plywood was so hot on the outside you couldn't keep your hand against the boat for more than a few seconds.

Let us know how that works; if it does it'd be a useful nugget for most of us (as we all seem to do end pours).

Good luck,

RE: Cardboard damn, how about minicell instead?

I hadn't thought about the heat generated but I got the idea from someone who was complaining about the mess of cardboard and tape. If I remember correctly this person used leftover styrofoam packing material and thought it worked great. Seems to me stryofoam would melt before minicell. I'll be interested to see what others say, hopefully before I get to the end pour stage - in about a week.

RE: Cardboard damn, how about minicell instead?

I have been thinking about cutting a piece of closed cell foam to fit and glueing in place at both ends. Not a dam but a piece shaped to completely fill the ends, say 6" long or more, by buttering with epoxy glue and pushing into place. Laslo has used pieces of shaped wood. The foam will be lighter, the wood stronger, both solve the problem of how to seal, fillet and tape the very narrow spaces at the ends. I imagine taping the corners where the back end of the block meets the hull, if not the whole back end of the block. Thoughts?



RE: Cardboard damn, how about minicell instead?

I used Pink 1/2 in foam insulation, could have done a better job shaping it and hot glued it into place, The heat did not disturb the dam and I left it in there,

( added Boyancy) yea OK,  Minicell would work better I am sure for the fit.

I secures, anchored Oak caps into the end pour so I could attach pad eyes solidly.      Worked GREAT.


Ted B

RE: Cardboard damn, how about minicell instead?

I don't much like the "dams" for creating epoxy end-pours.  The best method is still to put the boats on end and pour in the epoxy.

We had a lamentable series of phone calls from people who leaned their boats up against trees or the sides of houses, then left them unattended, leading to falling and damaged boats and property.  Plus, with so many people building boats in the winter, finding an indoor location to stand a kayak on end is quite a challenge!  

Thus the dams.  

RE: Cardboard damn, how about minicell instead?

Well unless I get a reply saying, "You're crazy to use minicell!" or something similar I am going to give minicell a go as a dam. I will shape it for a snug fit, glue it in place and then do the pour. I'll post the results and perhaps a picture or two.

RE: Cardboard damn, how about minicell instead?

Consider an alternative that I have used on all my boats. Prop one end upside down on a stepladder and then make the pour. That will reinforce the critical hull to deck area and avoid the problem of standing the hull on end. Three or four ounces of epoxy is plenty. Any more is just extra weight where you least want it and generates too much heat while curing. I use West G-Flex (sold by CLC) because it stays flexible and adheres to cured surfaces so it is less likely to pop loose if you hit something too hard. See photos and notes at

RE: Cardboard damn, how about minicell instead?

Minicell foam should work just fine. I would pour in small batches to prevent heat build up and mix with micro-ballons to reduce weight and waste of epoxy. I used modeling clay to seal my cardboard dams in place when I did the end pours and it worked great. 

RE: Cardboard damn, how about minicell instead?

I too used the pieces of shaped wood (thanks Lazslo), white cedar, some scraps from getting new fences on the farm, worked great.  got the shape close and then bedded them in cab-o-sil.  I did deck mounted handles so no worries on the hole through the bow for a rope.  I'm really happy with the result and am thinking the same for my C18.

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