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Thread: A fixed yet removable kneeling mat. A tutorial.

  1. #1
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    Default A fixed yet removable kneeling mat. A tutorial.

    Since I made my first removable fixed kneeling mat some 5 or 6 years ago I have had a few people express an interest in how I made it.
    Well itís finally time to replace the existing one so hereís an attempt to describe how I created it in the event that someone might like to try it for themselves.
    First of all I would like to say the idea wasnít mine but I developed it into what you see today. I had a few attempts at the first mat and this guide shows how I overcame some of the problems.
    At the risk of pointing out the obvious this only works in plastic canoes or composite canoes with a gel coat inner surface. The reasons will become clear very shortly.

    The components:

    A foam mat (obviously). This is entirely down to you but I settled on a piece of 25mm thick closed cell foam measuring 100cm x 50cm. I bought a large sheet but I have come across these mechanicís mats which are the same dimensions. (They were available on Ebay but are not at the moment).
    http://www.haymoorproducts.co.uk/80405/info.php?p=3

    A bath mat. A very specific one in that it has to have a flat upper side as you will be sticking this to the foam and the underside needs the little suckers. The one I found is 53cm square. There is a lip around the edge but donít worry this needs cutting off to make the mat 50cm square. (See the image below).

    Glue. I use spray on Evostik contact adhesive. Others are available.



    If you do a trial fit of the foam mat into your canoe youíll find that it is very reluctant to follow the contours of the hull. This is not so much of a problem with thinner mats but I do like the level of comfort this thickness gives me. To overcome this on the sections at each end of the mat I cut a series of slits at 5cm intervals down to half the thickness of the foam (see below). For neatness I found using a metal strip as a ruler and a very sharp blade were required. Also aim to make the cut in one pass or you will end up with slivers of foam as you try to cut it again.




    Hereís a picture of the sliced mat with the bath mat in its intended location.




    The next step is to position the mat on the underside of your canoe in approximately the right location for your kneeling. The first time I made one of these mats I glued the bath mat to the foam on a flat surface and found it difficult to make the mat stay down in the canoe as it always wanted to straighten itself. Gluing with a natural curve in the mat overcomes this problem. Note the tape to hold the mat tight against the underside.




    Mask around the mat to prevent overspray on the canoe and then clean both the foam and bath mat with white spirit. It may also be necessary to wash the bath mat in warm soapy water before hand as they often have a waxy coating when new.




    Time to spray the glue onto the foam and the underside of the bath mat then wait for them to go tacky as indicated on the instructions.





    The next bit I find very tricky and you may need an assistant as you only get one chance. Lower the bath mat down onto the foam in the correct position and try not to get any creases. Press down firmly all over and if all goes well they should bond straight away.







    Remove the masking and leave the completed mat to dry out thoroughly.




    Finally remove the completed mat from the underside, turn the canoe over, wet the inside slightly and push into place. You should find that the mat follows the contour nicely and the suckers hold firm. When going on trips I always dip the mat into the water before placing in the canoe just to get the suckers wet and help it stick in place.




    Conclusion.

    I was never entirely happy with sticking mats down permanently into my canoe as it was messy and once it was there it was fixed. This solution allows a deal of flexibility and should it be damaged thereís no problem replacing it.
    Using thick foam is not essential but does have the benefit of doubling up as a seat outside the canoe and protects your knees when in it.
    One other benefit I have found using this mat is that you donít get puddles forming in front of the mat which eventually spill over and soak your knees. The suckers actually lift the mat slightly off the bottom and create a path for the water to pass underneath it. My first attempt had a slot down the centre of the mat but I found this weakened it and was unnecessary.

    On the whole I am happy with how the mat has evolved and I now have a replacement which should last me a few more years by which time the suckers will have stopped being efficient and I will need another.

    If you prefer the permanently fixed solution thanks for getting this far but if like me you like the flexibility I hope this gives you some inspiration for your own removable, fixed kneeling mat.
    Last edited by Bootstrap Bob; 6th-July-2017 at 01:28 PM.
    Bootstrap
    There's no such thing as inclement weather - you're just incorrectly dressed

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    That's very clever, might have to try that one day.

    My Endless River is a bit flattened now and my knees are getting older.
    Rich




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    What a great idea

    I have been inspired to give it a go myself now.

    scotty7367
    Paddle Faster I Hear Banjos.

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    That looks like a really good solution. Well done for developing it and taking the time to photograph it in detail, I'm sure others will benefit from it.

    What's it like in the bath

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    Very nice concept Bootstrap! I am going to be adding new pads to my Tribe when I get it later this week and I am seriously considering this idea!
    Mat

    Love many, Trust few, Always paddle your own Canoe....

    www.UKhammocks.co.uk

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    Quote Originally Posted by elveys View Post
    What's it like in the bath
    It acts like a floating sun lounger.
    Bootstrap
    There's no such thing as inclement weather - you're just incorrectly dressed

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    Having seen the Bootstrap solution before I did the same myself and it works well in most situations. Unfortunately, I used glue rather than spray, and this didn't last that long, as I could only do thin lines of glue without needing hundreds of tubes! So my bathmat, which I'd cut into smaller sections to fit the canoe better, eventually started coming off and then of course the whole thing slipped when paddling white water. On at least one occasion this helped, as the result slip into the bottom of my canoe lowered my centre of gravity just in time!

    So, I was just thinking about doing it all again, and this informative thread is a lesson in doing things correctly so they last!

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    Hi you can get this mat on eBay for £9.50 + 2.20 postage.

    Here is the item number. 290646433737
    Last edited by IM715; 17th-September-2012 at 09:25 PM.

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    Hmmm will it stick on my Apache I wonder. Going to find out.
    Wonder what else I can stick using this method... Got visions of rows of soap holder sticky things holding all the clobber in the boat :-)
    Thanks for posting Bootstrap, going to try this out.
    Hils

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    Quote Originally Posted by IM715 View Post
    Hi you can get this mat on eBay for £9.50 + 2.20 postage.

    Here is the item number. 290646433737
    That's the one. Well found.
    Bootstrap
    There's no such thing as inclement weather - you're just incorrectly dressed

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    I bought one a few months ago after reading previous posts, but have not glued it in. This looks next plan many thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Grey View Post
    So my bathmat, which I'd cut into smaller sections to fit the canoe better, eventually started coming off and then of course the whole thing slipped when paddling white water.
    Mal I should have pointed out that the bath mat really does need to stay in one piece to minimise the possibility of it coming free. The first one I made with the groove down the centre had the mat in two halves which meant twice as many corners to catch and peel away the bath mat. The longer you use it the more suckers start to become less effective due to grit and debris that eventually makes its way in so having lots to start with is a good plan. Also on this one you'll notice the rounded corners on the bath mat to minimise snagging.
    Bootstrap
    There's no such thing as inclement weather - you're just incorrectly dressed

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    Thank you Bootstrap - good job. I created something similar a few months back, though not quite as large or as thoroughly constructed as yours. However, yes folks, it really does work very well indeed. The shower mat does what it is designed to do and stays put, stuck on the floor of the canoe. I used a couple of layers of old camping mats, but may yet add another layer. I must have got the idea originally from somewhere on SOTP, so many thanks to the genius who first came up with this. The best ideas are always the simplest.

    Oh yes, and the old camping mats became spare after some other splendid fellow on SOTP converted me to self-inflating thermarest mats!
    Keep up the good work chaps.
    Ralph

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    Excellent blogg, with great instructions.

    I love this type of make something yourself blogg.

    It's a great idea and is now on my winter to do list.

    Very well done.


    Cheers

    Alan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shewie View Post
    My Endless River is a bit flattened now and my knees are getting older.
    My Endless River mat became thin over time. I unstitched one end, inserted a new, thicker piece of foam and restitched. Good as new, in fact a bit better than new.

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    It's a great idea but it reminds me of damp bathroom carpet and Mr Matey

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    Been thinking about this idea some more. I have had trouble getting some ash mast feet to stick in some poly boats (g flex and wet grab). Just wondering whether a block of foam about 6"x6" and a few inches thick fixed using the method above might be something to consider if anyone is needing to fit a removeable mast foot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by elveys View Post
    Been thinking about this idea some more. I have had trouble getting some ash mast feet to stick in some poly boats (g flex and wet grab). Just wondering whether a block of foam about 6"x6" and a few inches thick fixed using the method above might be something to consider if anyone is needing to fit a removeable mast foot.
    From my experience of how the bath mats work I would be quite pessimistic about using this solution for a mast as the footprint/number of suckers would be quite low and the lateral force high. With the kneeling mat it is the opposite i.e low lateral force and lots of suckers. All we are doing is stopping it sliding around.

    Perhaps a mast could be held in place with some of those large suction cups with the lever that glass companies use to carry panes along with a suitable adapter? I have often thought this may work in place of D rings for holding in air bags.
    Bootstrap
    There's no such thing as inclement weather - you're just incorrectly dressed

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    That's a really nifty setup and a maticulous tutorial deserves a shower of praise and a good plug.

    (I'm just a sucker for puns)

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    Mast foot; I have a simple downwind sail and I use a foam block to prevent wear on the hull but not to restrain the mast; I use a bigger bracket. However, you could stick the foam block with velcro. Stick fluffy side to boat. When not in use apply hooky strip to cover. Second layer of hooky strip on foam block. Peal off cover and apply block to use.

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    I use those big suckers for lane ropes in pools, when there are no proper fixings available. They're good, but, not sure if they are good enough to be used as a mast foot.

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    Thanks for the responses re: mast foot.

    Sorry to divert your mat thread Rob. I'll see how today's wet grab holds and post a seperate thread if other options are needed.

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    A great tutorial. Now promoted to an article. Thanks.
    John

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    Cheers Rob,

    At the moment I'm using the big foam squares sold every so often in Aldi at ~£12 for 6.
    They do me as sleeping mats in the tent (stick them together with the jigsaw edges, 3 = single, 6 = double, double layer for more comfort/insulation if required), canoe kneeling mats, sit up-ons at stops, a floor pad to use when getting into/out of a drysuit to save the latex socks, packers when stuffing canoeing gear in the car to stop kayaks/poles/etc from rubbing doors, rattling, breaking windows.
    They don't seem to move too much at all in my canoe, so far ... but I've bought a suckered bathmat and I think I'll give the super-delux version a try

    Mike.
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    Superb solution for those of us that end up borrowing boats, or hiring them!

    Thanks for sharing!

    How hard can it be?

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    excellent tutorial, thanks
    nature is m X-box

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    Even with my rudimentary DIY skills, (i.e. less than a one armed monkey wearing a boxing glove!) I now feel confident enough to give that a go.

    Thanks for the brilliant tutorial!
    There's a Bluebird in my heart

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    Quote Originally Posted by IM715 View Post
    Hi you can get this mat on eBay for £9.50 + 2.20 postage.

    Here is the item number. 290646433737
    That link won't work for me, has the auction ended?

    EDIT:

    Would it be this one? ..

    linky
    Last edited by Shewie; 19th-September-2012 at 06:49 PM.
    Rich




  29. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shewie View Post
    That link won't work for me, has the auction ended?

    Hi search mechanics mat

    Its the first item

    Cheers

    Ian

  30. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shewie View Post
    That link won't work for me, has the auction ended?
    It is not a Link it is the item number of the mat that you can use.

    You put in the search box on Ebay and it brings up the mat.

    scotty7367
    Paddle Faster I Hear Banjos.

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    This might be of use http://www.foamsolutionsuk.co.uk/del...hick-130-p.asp

    Regards

    Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by scotty7367 View Post
    It is not a Link it is the item number of the mat that you can use.

    You put in the search box on Ebay and it brings up the mat.

    scotty7367
    Usually a hyperlink is a link to another web page, unfortunately IM715's hyperlink just linked to a blank page

    I bought one last night anyway, not exactly hard to find
    Rich




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    Mat arrived in good time from the ebay seller mentioned above, the spray adhesive was trickier to find, B&Q had it in but they hide it in the checkouts so you need to ask for it.

    The search for a suitable bath mat continues though, tried B&M, Home Bargains, Aldi and Wilkos this morning, I'll try Asda and The Range tomorrow.
    Rich




  34. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shewie View Post
    The search for a suitable bath mat continues though, tried B&M, Home Bargains, Aldi and Wilkos this morning, I'll try Asda and The Range tomorrow.
    looking in Bootstrap Bobs photo's you can see manufacturer of the mat is "showerdrape" and they call it a shower mat rather than a bath mat, doing a quick google throws this up:

    http://www.philipmorrisdirect.co.uk/...r-mat/product/

    Sounds a bit pricey to me but you might find them cheaper if you have a look around.........

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    Quote Originally Posted by stooby doo View Post
    looking in Bootstrap Bobs photo's you can see manufacturer of the mat is "showerdrape" and they call it a shower mat rather than a bath mat, doing a quick google throws this up:

    http://www.philipmorrisdirect.co.uk/...r-mat/product/

    Sounds a bit pricey to me but you might find them cheaper if you have a look around.........
    That's the one, I tried a few places before I found the type I needed. The best places to look are your local hardware/ironmonger type shops as the mainstream stores tend to have the big domed type mats without the flat back. I think mine was £9.99.
    If you are having problems I can see if my local store has any more but it may be better to just get one posted as you are quite a way from me.
    Bootstrap
    There's no such thing as inclement weather - you're just incorrectly dressed

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    Quote Originally Posted by stooby doo View Post
    looking in Bootstrap Bobs photo's you can see manufacturer of the mat is "showerdrape" and they call it a shower mat rather than a bath mat, doing a quick google throws this up:

    http://www.philipmorrisdirect.co.uk/...r-mat/product/

    Sounds a bit pricey to me but you might find them cheaper if you have a look around.........
    Managed to find one yesterday in our local Range shop, it has squares stamped in the top but I think it'll work just fine.

    £4.49

    http://www.therange.co.uk/roman-rubb...-product/49856

    Just need it to stop raining now so I can fit it
    Rich




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    Rich
    That looks just fine. The Showerdrape one also has the pattern on the top surface and I think may increase the surface area for the glue. Just make sure you clean off the waxy covering before applying the glue.
    Bootstrap
    There's no such thing as inclement weather - you're just incorrectly dressed

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    Nice job there Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shewie View Post
    That link won't work for me, has the auction ended?

    EDIT:

    Would it be this one? ..

    linky


    Yes that's it mine was just the eBay item number have not worked out how to do hyperlinks yet

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bootstrap Bob View Post
    Rich
    That looks just fine. The Showerdrape one also has the pattern on the top surface and I think may increase the surface area for the glue. Just make sure you clean off the waxy covering before applying the glue.
    Will do cheers, it's definitely got a nasty waxy feel to it right now.
    Rich




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    Brilliant!!
    Thanks for posting it up.

    Biff
    'I can gather all the news I need on the weather report...'

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shewie View Post
    Managed to find one yesterday in our local Range shop, it has squares stamped in the top but I think it'll work just fine.

    £4.49

    http://www.therange.co.uk/roman-rubb...-product/49856

    Just need it to stop raining now so I can fit it
    How did you get on with this Shewie?
    Bootstrap
    There's no such thing as inclement weather - you're just incorrectly dressed

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bootstrap Bob View Post
    How did you get on with this Shewie?
    Everything went well apart from the gluing (sp) stage, I'm not sure if it was a case of the bath mat being just a bit too knobbly or I messed about too long before putting the two pieces together, either way it's more or less fallen off so I need to try again.

    Both have cleaned up okay so I'll have another crack at it tomorrow.
    Rich




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    After reading this I am wondering if the sucker type bath/shower mat would come off if a canoe goes turtle in white water? I have a Gatz mat (wedge type) and don't really want to lose it ?

    "Pedal five hundred miles on a bicycle and you remain basically a bourgeois; paddle a hundred in a canoe and you are already a child of nature" - Pierre Trudeau

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    I've just replaced my shower mat as the old one was peeling off, due to using glue rather than spray, so it never really had enough surface area.

    I found a mat in Homebase, labelled at £9.99....it has a slight pattern, a bit like Shewie's...but was pleasantly surprised to be charged £2.99 at the checkout!

    Hopefully it will last longer than the last one (did it a year ago but it really only lasted 6 months before coming unstuck). It was difficult to get the foam completely clean and free of dirt & residue of the old mat's glue, but hopefully I got it pretty clean. Its now drying out in the communal hallway, no doubt annoying my neighbours, as it smells too strongly to bring in the flat!

    Sundowner - your question is one I hope to be able to test properly over the weekend. The old one worked really well for whitewater when paddling, but I haven't really upturned it properly in water with the suckers in place. Certainly with only one small remaining patch of suckers the buoyancy of the foam lifted it off the bottom when the canoe was full during the recent Big Meet rescue sessions. This was something I hadn't thought about, having to rescue the mat as well as myself...and my kayaks shoes which came off when swimming...and the neoprene socks underneath which did the same thing....so 5 things to keep hold of whilst attempting re-entry!

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    Second attempt went much better for me, the edges haven't held down too well but the rest of it is solid. I'll see how it goes but I think I might need a smoother mat eventually, one bonus is my kneeling thwart bolts extend down enough to hold the big mat in place too.
    Rich




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    Quote Originally Posted by Shewie View Post
    Second attempt went much better for me, the edges haven't held down too well but the rest of it is solid. I'll see how it goes but I think I might need a smoother mat eventually, one bonus is my kneeling thwart bolts extend down enough to hold the big mat in place too.
    The edges are a pain. All but one of mine seem really secure, but one edge has this tendency to curl. It was never going to be as neat as Rob's though!

    My foam mat is just the right width to tuck into the thwart hangers, which is good enough to keep it in place on canals, but not whitewater and not when the canoe is full...

    For what its worth, I actually cut my shower mat into two parts. I find that on whitewater my right knee provides more force than any other point, and this is where the mat slips. As the showermat wasn't big enough to reach both chines, where my knees would be on whitewater, I've cut it in two and separated it by a couple of inches. This means there are now suckers right where my knees are even when they're right into the chines.

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    I just picked up a second mechanic mat the other day for my bow paddler (i know im incredibly nice). I honestly have no real problems with them slipping too badly but perhaps the bathmat suction cup method looks like a great job. Will have to give this further consideration......

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    OK, a quick couple of follow up comments.

    I sorted out my mat in time for this weekends 3 days trip to Glen Affric, which as it happens was with Bootstrap Bob so we could compare mats.

    Rob's is extremely neat and well done. Mine is slightly less so. The biggest difference between the two is the thickness of the mat, hence Rob needed to score the foam to make the curve. My mat is half the thickness and curves easily. However, the fact that it curves when picked up, stuffed in a car, dragged in and out etc, appears to make it more inclined to peel off.

    I spent a fair time cleaning the foam. But not long enough, I think. It must be spotless. Its also possible that I applied too much spray epoxy.

    Combined with this and the curling, my showermat is already curling slightly at the edges after a weekend of abuse. It is, though basically very secure, and just applying a little more to the edges should sort that...once it stops drizzling! The basic concept is sound, and the mat does not slip in the canoe once lightly moistened.


    Finally, after it had spent a day curing and setting, I put the mat in my boot overnight ready to drive up to Rob's. In the morning, the car STANK of glue, almost to a dangerous extent, and I had to drive the first few miles with all windows open. It then travelled to Scotland in the trailer box, thankfully! There is still a slight smell when you open the boot, where it basically lived, but this is almost gone now. So don't do it just before a long trip where it will be in the car with you!!!

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    I think having seen Mal's mat at the weekend and compared it to mine the thickness of the foam is quite significant in retaining the sucker mat. If there is too much flex in the foam it is more likely that the mat will start to peal off sooner. My mat is twice the thickness and does not really flex where the shower mat is attached and the result is a stronger bond. The increased thickness also holds it's shape well up to the gunwales.

    To answer Sundowner's question I have never checked the mat in water with an upturned canoe however I have done many miles with it fixed in the canoe on the roof of my car. This is fine at first but after a couple of years use the suckers become less efficient due to grit damage and it is more likely to become detached. Before replacing mine, the old one would become detached but the rigid nature meant that it remained in the canoe as it was wedged under the gunwales.

    Spooky.......just noticed Mal's reply at the same time as mine. Great minds think alike.
    Bootstrap
    There's no such thing as inclement weather - you're just incorrectly dressed

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bootstrap Bob View Post
    To answer Sundowner's question I have never checked the mat in water with an upturned canoe however I have done many miles with it fixed in the canoe on the roof of my car. This is fine at first but after a couple of years use the suckers become less efficient due to grit damage and it is more likely to become detached. Before replacing mine, the old one would become detached but the rigid nature meant that it remained in the canoe as it was wedged under the gunwales.
    I have accidentally travelled with mine in the canoe, but to be honest I wouldn't deliberately. Again this is probably due to the flexibility of my mat.

    In all honesty, this is a great way of doing it if you want to be able to move your kneeling mat between seats and thwarts, and also use it outside of the canoe. On the same trip, my mat went under the Thermarest as extra insulation. All of this additional use will though, shorten the life of the suckers and no doubt hasten "de-lamination". But hey, its a cheap enough thing to do once a year or so (and that's when used every few days!). If I was a regular whitewater paddler, with a canoe specifically set up for that, I would permanently attach my mat still.

  52. #52
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    The mechanics mat from the Ebay link is not the same as the one Rob is using....or at least it doesn't look like it or seem to have the same rigidness or foam density as has been described.

    I purchased one, thinking I would may use it for the Raven.......it is thick, and bends to the shape required easily [no scoring involved].....it has a white logo on it and a hole on one side to carry it.
    It also has a shiny side and a matt side....not sure why?

    I have not stuck it down or used a bath mat....I just wanted to try it.

    It is significantly thicker than the lock-together mats most folk use...it is very comfy to kneel upon or lie on, if using as a mechanics mat......however I found my angle of kneeling had changed and I started to get aching legs, just pootling up and down the Wey.

  53. #53

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    I tried with the Mechanics mat from Ebay (shiny and matt side with handle) and tinned Evostik rather than spray and it was a bit of a failure. The next day after killing millions of brain cells with the fumes in the house the glue just peeled easily off both matts
    It is a great idea though and I will persevere - hoping that switching to the spray glue will be the key.

  54. #54
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    Chris,
    Another option (to prevent peeling) may be to use some tie wraps as a mechanical fixing. Create a couple of holes about 1/2 inch apart at various positions around the mat and pad then pass the tie wraps through the mat and pad and then looped back on themselves just don't over tighten them. (Probably just enough to deform the foam without cutting into it).

    Thinking about it I may even do this myself on the corners of mine as a precautionary measure just in case I catch it and start to peel off the bath mat.
    Bootstrap
    There's no such thing as inclement weather - you're just incorrectly dressed

  55. #55
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    Mine is starting to peel quite a lot, mostly where the mat curves, so the tie downs might be a good idea.

    Chris, do make sure you're mat is completely clean and solvent free before you glue again. Mine wasn't and the peeling started again quickly.

  56. #56

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    Good points - I didn't clean either initially as was in a bit of a rush so will try that. Once it's in the canoe I guess it's only lateral force anyway rather than any pulling apart - I was just expecting it to be rock solid

  57. #57
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    The shower mat in particular may have had a slightly "waxy" coating on it, its important to remove this. Its also important that the foam mat is very clean. I spent quite a while, but there was one area that I gave up on and this area has come away more quickly. But my foam mat was used, so quite dirty, whereas yours is new so should clean more easily.

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris22 View Post
    Good points - I didn't clean either initially as was in a bit of a rush so will try that. Once it's in the canoe I guess it's only lateral force anyway rather than any pulling apart - I was just expecting it to be rock solid
    Chris,
    If you purchased the same type of bath mat as me it came with a waxy coating so not much chance of the glue sticking. Peel off any residual glue and give it a good wash in hot soapy water then dry off thoroughly. Just to make sure I gave it a wipe over with white spirit too and let that dry before applying the glue.

    As people have pointed out and I have found out by experience spray glue gives a much more even coat and minimises any potentially trapped air pockets. Don't forget to apply glue to both parts too. If I were using the mechanic's mat with a shiny and dull side I would be tempted to apply glue to the shiny side as I think this is a skin and would allow the glue to grab better. (That's not from any past experience only observations of different foams).

    Don't give up, it took me several attempts to get to where I am at the moment and so far I've not had any major problems.
    Bootstrap
    There's no such thing as inclement weather - you're just incorrectly dressed

  59. #59

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    good tip - what did you use to remove the waxy coating on the bath mat?

  60. #60

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    sorry - you just answered that while I typed!

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