Re-foaming a case.


Well-Known Member
I recently got a Roland VK-09 electronic drawbar organ from my church because the sanctuary is being remodeled and the organ was not needed. Just for background: It was probably in the case for twenty years without being used.

The organ works fine. But the case that it was in is another story. On the outside, it looks like a nice road case. Good latches, sturdy handles, and good material. Open it up, and there is decaying green foam all over the place. It sticks to my hands and breaks up at a touch. It took me two hours with a rag, a toothbrush, some Bon Ami abrasive cleaner, and a towel to get all of the decaying foam off of the organ.

Now that I've got it, and I'm planning on teaching myself to play it pretty well, I would like to have a good case for it. I would like to re-foam the old one, but I don't know how to do this. Has anyone ever re-foamed a road case before? And, more importantly, if you have, how does one go about such a task?
My guess would be to buy peices of foam, cut them to the right shapes, and then use an adhesive to attach them to the inside of the case
That would sound reasonable. You want to firstly remove all the perished foam. The trick is that when you get the new foam, you actually want it thicker than the case will allow so that it will provide firmer support and when the foam compresses it is not loose. Basically should stop vibration.
If my memory of some long finished art project serves me right rubber cement worked much better then elmers' glue on closed cell foam. you might have to look around for an appropriate adhesive.
Get some proper case foam from a supplier, like Penn Fabrication or something. Use 3M 77 spray adhesive to attatch it to the inside of the road case. Let it sit, in open air circulation for a while and it'll be good as new.
Thanks all! Do you have any advice on getting rid of the old foam? Blast it out with a water hose (questionable technique with my plywood case)? Just straight up pull it out with gloves? Any other suggestions?
If you have trouble getting any residue off, use PB Blaster. I will help get the stuff off easily, it might even eat the foam.
There are a lot of solvents out there that will eat right through the foam. Just make sure you have good ventilation when you use them, or you might have a bad time.
Green foam and crumbling? Sounds like planter's flower setting foam. I have no idea other than sander, scraper and wire wheel of what to remove it. Chemicals such as MEK might melt it down otherwise but it would get messy.

For adhesive, 3M #74 Foam Fast is one of the better adhesives out there for bonding foam to itself or surfaces. Otherwise low temperature hot melt glue for foam is another good solution. So is Liquid Nails as long as you get a lot number of it which does more adhesion than burning thru the foam. Most foam panel adhesives should also work to some extent as with contact cement for foam. #74 is the easy way.

In normal case foam, Penn Fabrication, Wilson, Nelson, R&R as case suppliers amongst many could probably outfit you with foam such as they use. I normally buy it by the sheet from my local supplier. Otherwise TCH has a foam division which is an option. Mostly it's a question of hard or soft foam - hard foam being easier to carve.

Electric meat cutting knives are useful, so is Grandpa's old 16" cheese cutting knife if rasor sharp. Wallpaper cutting snap off blade knives are good for the smaller areas - get the smaller thickness versions of the blade, they cut better.

What works really well with foam is a hole saw used in reverse direction to slit in cutting instead of digging into the foam. Lots of carving one can do with a hole saw especially if it's mounted in a right angle drill so one has close control carving ability with it. A forstner bit will also work to some extent as long as it's chips don't build up.

Users who are viewing this thread