BWCA Lightweight solo seat out of minicell Boundary Waters Group Forum: Do It Yourself Gear
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      Lightweight solo seat out of minicell     



05/17/2020 07:15PM  
So to provide more detail on my solo seat build, I thought a separate DIY thread might be in order.

I acquired a 4” x 16” x 24” piece of 2lb minicell foam from Joe at RedFish Kayaks. I also bought two 1” x 16” x 24” pieces as well as I was concerned about building up height.

Other materials/tools - DAP Weldwood contact cement. A fine-toothed hand saw. Drywall keyhole hand saw. A Sharpie. Straightedge. Shop vac, used frequently.

I settled on dimensions based on not only the sizes of traditional tractor seats but also the size of my own backside. Turns out I have enough material to make two of these seats.

I cut the big block in two with a fine-toothed hand saw, so it’s now 4” x 16” x 12”. The 16 inch dimension is the width, 12” is the front-to-back measurement.

There are some videos out there on this that show how to use power tools (drill or angle grinder) with specific heads to remove a lot of material rapidly, but I went for a hand-tool approach.

I marked the centerline and free-handed the template with a sharpie.

Then I cut a healthy amount out - carefully, as it would be easy to go too deep - with a drywall keyhole hand saw.

From there it was 45 minutes of work with the Stanley Sureform Scraper, an excellent little tool ($6-8) that is perfect for removing foam at a measured pace and with good control.

Several test-sits quickly showed pressure points and further scraping removed those.

Back corners are removed & smoothed with the fine-toothed hand saw and scraper.

My Magic’s seat is about 6” off the floor, but when sitting in it the webbing stretches below that by about half an inch…so net ~5.5”. I want to be lower but only by a couple inches. The sculpted area’s lowest point is now 1 & 3/4” thick. Add two 1” layers under that and the lowest point of my posterior should be 3 & 3/4” off the floor - about 1 & 3/4” lower than my current setup.

I intend to paddle it for a while and adjust height if necessary.

So back to the build, I cut a 1” thick piece of foam in half. Those two pieces get marked to match the outline of the sculpted piece & are cut.

Now, it’s contact cement time, layering the foam.

After drying, I scroll the curve of the bottom onto the foam and again cut with the fine-toothed hand saw and smooth with the scraper.

Drain holes are drilled through - at an angle out the back, not the bottom. I sand it with fine sandpaper and smooth with a small torch.

Will test for a while so if I need to make further adjustments I can do so easily.

For now I am simply going to paddle with the seat loose - with my weight on it it does not budge. Can’t scoot it forward or back unless I get almost all of my weight off it…

Eventually I may secure this to the canoe floor with adhesive velcro or even contact cement it into place permanently.

Weight is about 13oz. That is a weight savings of 25oz over the stock drops & seat.
It is very comfortable in virtually every way...except one.

The noteworthy negative - Test paddles so far have been on cool days, and the minicell insulates well, perhaps too well. It’s warm. Will have to see what that is like when the weather is nicer. May not be an issue for those of you with cold ass syndrome.
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Grandma L
distinguished member(5518)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
05/17/2020 08:30PM  
wow, impressive! thanks for sharing!
05/17/2020 10:26PM  
Very nice...looks super comfy.
Looking forward to your warm weather review.
My homemade drop downs on my solo canoe always seemed a little precious hanging from the wood gunnels. If the foam doesn't cause a bad case of swamp ass I could definitely see ditching my current seat for one like yours.
member (9)member
05/18/2020 07:06AM  
I like it! You really did a great job. I'd like to try it but not sure that I wouldn't screw it up. Thank you for posting.
distinguished member (452)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
05/18/2020 08:07AM  
Nice work, thanks for sharing.
distinguished member(742)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
05/18/2020 09:02AM  
Looks great. Some clean cutting with the surform!

Check out 3M dual lock for securing it to the floor. Similar to Velcro, but Stands up to water better and won’t fuzz and loose stickiness over time.
08/09/2020 01:27PM  
How's your seat working out with warmer weather sns?
11/26/2020 11:20AM  
Beavers: "How's your seat working out with warmer weather sns?"

Apologies - missed your question from...what, three months ago?

I did two solos using the minicell seat, and with thinner pants it was never too hot. All-in-all, glad I did it and intend on continuing to use it.
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