yet another thread looking for EPS

alright, I search, honestly, and all it says is “look up in your phone book for insulation” and there isn’t jack in mine. My local lowes has some “Sheltersheath” which seems like a really low density. they also have some “Insulfoam R-Tech” which feels exactly like the other. There is plenty of XPS around. I called Carpenter company and they told me that they only sold bulk to distribtors, which I haven’t found any of their distributors yet. Does anybody have any tips? I was hoping for sheets, so I could glue them with rocker, but I can hotwire a block down to sheets anyways…

thanks for the help,

these threads have some info on where/how to find EPS

Lowes and HD will both special order larger blocks that would not need to be glued. The Lowes Insulfoam r-tech stuff is the right stuff, if you are happy with 1#.

Heard they will also order higher density stuff.

I called insulfoam and they put me in touch with several local distributors.

thanks bud, lots of help

You will probably want to find an Insulfoam rep near you. The stuff at Home Depot is 1lb. You can get other densities by going to the source. Worst case, you can have Home Depot order it from Insulfoam.

First of all with a bow you can get pretty much close tolerant EPS blanks fairly easily just watch the smokey gas emitted.

But Yeah…

you can use ultra cheap Lowes sheathing material

Glued up with a little Gorilla Glue some Horizontal Stringers and a Mold of some rocker you want

Bottoms pressed in with a contour map and outside coated with “natural steel”

using my new silent but deadly and ultra slow planer/router

While waiting for my last blank to finish, I roughed out (bad camera angle) a styro version of my favorite quad catamaran with a 1" nose concave and 1/2" full bottom concave. Some help from a drywall sander with vacuum attachment to smooth out the 1-2" thick rail band slices I wacked out in about 5 minutes each side. Its waiting for further smoothing on the outline and shell spackle as well as it’s “natural steel” protection layer before getting duded out in a balsa or red oak, cherry suit or makore/purpleheart… Shades of things to come… Eight blanks glued up in two weekends with two new projects started…

But yes you can go with a more traditional design… remember those contoured mapped blanks…

unfortunately got distracted as usual again… Made some hawaiian lomilomi(back massage) sticks for a lady in the office out of some real cheap notty pine hand rubbed with some Warco red mahogany danish oil…

Never do a favor for one nice lady in an office of 25… You can see here what happened and how I spent the weekend other than glueing up blanks and roughing out that Gemini…

Remember if it ain’t fun it ain’t worth the time…

Hey, I’m posting this in the “DC Area Shapers” thread too:

I FINALLY got thru to Gary from cellofoam this am - here is the deal:

No Minimum order if you pick it up (located in Fredericksburg, VA in this case)

They will cut it from a 3’ x 4’ x 16’ block

It takes 1 week from time of order before its ready

You can call their 800 number (see cellofoam for the office near you…) and place the order direct

They take credit cards

I asked for a quote on a block of 3’ x 2’ x 10’

     2lb = $208 

     3lb = $331 

The EPS sales guy’s name is Gary (for the Fredericksburg, VA + east coast up to Maine) & his phone number is 540-295-8864.

get on it! :>


Remember if it ain’t fun it ain’t worth the time.

I couldn’t agree more! Looks like you have been hyper busy. Its funny how easy it is to get distracted on some new project. I’m about a 1/4 through my newest board project and I’m fighting to not get redirected into replacing the water heater. The problem is that if I replace the water heater it would be smart to retexture and paint the garage walls to hide all the holes I’ve patched. The question is - do I live with progressively colder showers (its the only way I can warm up after surfing) or finish the boards?

If you go to Home Depot, you will probably have to educate them on what you need. It took me 3 guys and about 2 weeks to finally get it figured out. Now I am able to talk to the same guy everytime and its really easy. They are able to add the 2 lbs. stuff to their regular Insulfoam order. Usually takes about 2 weeks.

Hyper busy yes…

but still having fun so far…

The nice thing is that once my blanks are all done like now and I square off the sides, I just have to individually wrap them in poly, label them and shove them in the storeroom in the back until I want to make a board.

Then when I get the urge…

I just go out back pull the rocker blank I want

Use my new 48" hotwire bow to cut the thickness profile off the top

Use my hot knife to slice out the railbands and smooth it out with the dry wall sander

Cut out the outline to width with the band or jig saw

Cut out my 1" Corcel railbands

Bag the 1lb top with its “natural steel” top skin, final bottom skin and oversized rails

finish off the rails

and cut out and bag on the outside wood top skin

glass and I’m done…

Obviously I could’ve done the same blank manufacturing over the weekend with a big block but that would’ve required negotiating a deal with Pacific Allied (I heard prices are all over the place depending on who your are) and standing in line with all the other EPS newbies popping up everywhere nowadays…

With the addition of stocking up on some premade/prglassed balsa and hardwood skins and railband sheets over the next couple of weeks, I should be getting close to the KISS target I want to reach for the rest of the year…

Then back to my “pre-vacuum bag sando” life… or did I hear the term HWS?? hmm

Its all good… as they say

I realized today that the biggest blocks of EPS aren’t the ones used for insulation or for carving into architectural forms. They’re used for roadbed. (I drove past a project on Saturday and realized, with a semi truck, I could pull over and help myself to a lifetime supply, just from the scrap pile.)

So a little digging found that EPS, used for roadbed, is called Geofoam. There are manufacturers all over the world.

The pieces look like this:


One site had a chart of all sorts of interesting EPS information. Including the fact that 2# has a slightly higher “bouyancy force” than 1#!

Very cool. Have you actually seen this stuff being used. We could out do the “big board”, but I’m not sure my vacuum would hold out.

No, I just found the info today. Looks like .75-1.85 lb/cu ft specs for Geofoam. I drove by this immense road project / staging area over the weekend and thought it looked like 4’x4’x20’ +/- EPS blocks sitting there. The offcuts were mostly big wedges - full width & length & tapered from a foot or so at one end to a couple of inches at the other. Led me to guess that they have a big hotwire of some kind on-site & have to cut the slope of the roadbed into the top blocks.

I actually took the next exit (I couldn’t help myself - it was more EPS than the surfing industry could use in a decade) & looped around so I could see it again. The construction-specific off ramp was barricaded but I’ve been thinking about trying to go back during work hours (for CalTrans, what’s that, probably 10 am-2 pm Monday through Thursday?) and talk my way into a couple free offcuts. Hmmm…maybe bring some beer or something… :slight_smile:

I've been thinking about trying to go back during work hours (for CalTrans, what's that, probably 10 am-2 pm Monday through Thursday?)

but don’t forget they’ll be taking a lunch break… :slight_smile:

Just kidding about CalTrans; Just for laghs, one of the giftshop at Lockheed Martin Space Systems - Denver, is only open a couple of hours a month, while the other is open a couple hours a couple of times a month.

I have a good friend who is a project engineer for CAL-Trans here in San Diego; we’re den leaders together. I’ll ask him how to get this scrap and see if he knows anybody in Marin. He does a lot of PR work with local news, maybe this could be good for Cal-trans and EPS shapers.

I have actually got a corner of my garage filled with offcuts “salvaged” from a effort to add lanes to 15 by my home in North County. This stuff was 2" sheets used to fill gaps between sections of an overpass meant to slide during our next quake. I haven’t seen the huge blocks. The first batch is turning into another micro-longboard for my younger (5yo) son and a fish for me.


tigermeat, that would be awesome! I’d be happy to do the legwork on getting some EPS into the hands of Swaylockers, even Rasche, Stretch, etc… I even have a couple 24’ trucks at work.

I can see the PR now: CalTrans Offers Scrap Foam to Surfboard Makers to Help Solve Shortage.

I’m in the recycling business. I would be a good candidate for middleman…

The project is the 680 / state 4 interchange / new bridge approach in Martinez.

I just got a message back from my friend, and he hopes to have an answer for me by our Den meeting tomorrow evening. I’ll let you know.


Supposidly the largest usage of this stuff was to build out a 17 mile highway in Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Games…

The Pacific Allied plant here at Campbell Industrial Park is a distributore along with Rfoam…

Their advertising their hotwire capabilities to create custom shapes…

Too bad they are currently backlogged meeting the demands of new housing and remolding here in the super hot Hawaii Real Estate and home construction market. No dollars and incentive to support the low profitability in the surfboard industry… Hell average cost of one home is over $700,000.00…

Probably be good to have home construction ties who order volume to get a deal with these folks…

Hey Ben I bet you could hotwire several EPS balnks for some of Roy’s boards out of that block you showed…

Need one hell of a bow and plenty of juice to support a 6 man operation to carry the bow?

Jus kidding…

Good find…

I tell ya the solutions are where you’ll least expect them.

what do you mean for ‘roadbed’? my dad is in the road construction business :D, i think thats about to pay off! although ive been around it my whole life, and havent seen any foam sitting on their lots…

whatever its used for on roads, I can probably get hooked up, ill keep yall posted.

Hey Benny,

I talked to my Cal-Trans guy last night and he says that in general, and in the specific case of the 680 project you are talking about the materials are owned by the contractor doing the work, not Cal-Trans. As such, I think that showing up with a flatbed and a case of beer might be your best option, and not a bad one at that since you will save them the haul away. If you are in the recycling biz, you might use the beer as a backup since they might be willing to pay you to take it away; wouldn’t that be a coup? Offer them a below market deal on the foam and see if they bite.

My guy is going to do me the favor of looking into whether there are any such projects in SoCal (he doesn’t know of anything in SD) as well as let me know what sort of price they pay in those volumes for foam.

I had high hopes that we could pull off a beautiful PR moment where, as you pointed out Cal-Trans could help out local surfers, and I could get some free foam. Since I live in SD, I would certainly expect that City Councilmember Donna Frye could be counted on to support recycling and local surfing.


Thanks for making that call, Matt. I agree that my best bet is to go in with my recycling cards and ask what the scrap plan is. If I can get them a cheap or free haul-off, I might have a really good way to spread around some EPS for shaping use…

Thanks for helping me talk this through.