Foamer Tutorial


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I was asked to post a tutorial on the making of my oil-boom foam decoys. This will be moved to the Carvers Corner once I get it posted.
Some background: During the Gulf oil spill, miles of oil boom was deployed. When the boom got busted up by storms, long sections of foam inserts were scattered all over the shoreline.
This a foam insert:

[inline Boominsert1.jpg ]

I gathered a pile of this foam to make decoys.
1st step was to cut out & "carve" blanks. Easy to do with a hand saw, a sureform rasp and rough sand paper

[inline Blank1.jpg ]

Next I cut out burlap to cover the blanks. I used left over tile mastic from a bathroom tile job.
I used two pieces of burlap, a bottom & top. Best way to apply mastic is get some good rubber "kitchen" gloves, reach in the bucket and smear it on. Smooth it with your hands, you will get a feek for how thick it needs to be.
Bottom burlap "glued on".
[inline BlankBurlapping1.jpg ]

Top burlap going on:
[inline BlankBurlappingTopPiece.jpg ]

Finished Blank
[inline BlankBurlappingDone.jpg ]

Mastic may take days to dry depending on the humidity and temps.

Next Step: Heads & Keels

View attachment Boominsert1.jpg
View attachment Blank1.jpg
View attachment BlankBurlapping1.jpg
View attachment BlankBurlappingTopPiece.jpg
View attachment BlankBurlappingDone.jpg
I made keels from 1x4 Azec (sp?) composite trim boards, ripped in length, cut to size & drilled for screw to attach to the blank.
When I mounted the keels, I coated the "top" of the keel with mastic, stuck it to the blank & then put two 3" deck screws through the keel into the body. After 3 season, only one decoy has lost a keel and I stepped on that one.

View attachment KeelsAttached.jpg

I used pine 1x4 for heads. Real simple gunner stuff here.
I drilled holes and glued two small dowels into the bottom of the heads.
I then drilled two holes into the burlaped blank, filled the holes with glue.
Then I put some mastic on the bottom of the heads and then inserted the heads into the blank.


View attachment Head1.jpg

Painting Heads

View attachment PaintingHeads.jpg

Heads attached:

View attachment HeadAttached.jpg

Next Page: Finished Decoys
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Here are some finished birds

[inline 1stFoamerA.jpg ]

[inline 1stFoamerB.jpg ]

View attachment FoamerBluebillPair.jpg

Havent had a chance to use the 1/2 dzn Scoters I made (Actually thought of selling them, PM me and make an offer.)

[inline BlackScoterFoamerPair.jpg ]

On the water. They float well, but are not self righting. If I had used wood for keels, I would drill a coulple of holes and pour in some lead to make them self-righting.

[inline FoamersOnWaterDec23_2010_R.jpg ]

Tips and advice:
Working with EPS foam to make blanks is very easy. I got to where I could cut out & rough out a decoy in about 5 minutes.
Burlapping is just as easy once you get the hang of it. Find a spare saturday and you can easily knock out a dozen or two once you get moving.
I used landscaping burplap, cheap and works fine.
When I make more of these, I will round them over and add more detail. A few extra minutes and they could look a lot better. The ducks dont care, but I do!
I also thought about adding pine bottom boards to make the keel attachment more sturdy. But this has not yet been a problem, so to keep it cheap, I may stick with my current design.
This spring & summer, I plan to make redheads and buffie, I will post up when I get done.

View attachment 1stFoamerA.jpg
View attachment 1stFoamerB.jpg
View attachment BlackScoterFoamerPair.jpg
View attachment FoamersOnWaterDec23_2010_R.jpg
It does my decoy carving heart good to see somebody else using simple 1 x 4 for decoy heads. I do the same thing.

I've never made foamer(s) using mastic-- only crab-pot bouys, but it seems like a great way to make effective, working decoys.

Thank you for posting this. Happy hunting.
That's the way to do it. You will kill just as many birds over those as someone hunting with lifelike decoys.

Great use of a resource that would have been rubbish otherwise.
i use trex deck material as keels and i do so testing it is very dense and waterproof , it is 1'' thickk and abuot 1/2lenght of deke attach with gorilla glue .they really work well off montauk , and i dont mess with lead.
Impressive use of materials! I wish I could get foam of this dimension for merely picking it up off the beach!

I really appreciate this tutorial, as I wanted to make some foamers with burlap covering. Seeing it all laid out encourages me to "just do it" this summer. My biggest hurdle, being inland, is finding foam cheap/free, especially in dimensions and thicknesses needed to make some magnum divers........

If you have a table saw, with a dado blade, you could cut a groove into the bottom of your foam blank so the keel is recessed into the foam. Might end up more sturdy than flush gluing it to the bottom. A dowel running between the heads and the keel would tie it all together........ I am working on this design for some flatties I hope to do this summer.

PM me and I'll gladly send you (by snail mail) some body and head patterns for bobtail cans and bobtail goldeneyes. foam is a grea material for bobtails.........