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From: Doug White <>
Subject: Re: Gun case materials
Organization: MIT Lincoln Laboratory

In article <>, <> writes:

# Hello.
# 	I need to invoke the net wisdom on a project that I'm currently
# involved with. I'm building a hard case for transporting my shotgun with, and
# am now at the point where I need to line it with something. My original plan
# called for using several layers of blue Ensulite camping foam. However, a
# company that makes packaging foam has suggested using polyethylene foam
# instead. I don't know much about this stuff and was hoping that the gentle
# rec.gunners might be able to steer me in the right direction.
# 			Thanks.
# 			Ken Chambers

Polyethylene foam is great stuff if you can find it in large sheets.  It's
completely uneffected by various gun oils and solvents, and it's stiff enough
to cut cleanly to fit around your hardware.  The bad news is that it's
also stiff enough to REQUIRE making a fitted case lining.  You can't just
squish things into place.  The results can be very classy if you really
know what you want to lug around, but if you buy an extra barrel, you tend
to have to start from scratch.  I have a couple of cases that came with
nice 1" thick black polyethylene sheets, and with patience, they fit my
gear like a glove.  I've tried to purchase the foam locally, and nobody
I've found sells the stuff.  It's even pretty hard to find the high density
grey polyester foam typically used in camera cases.  This stuff is much
squishier, and needs to be cut undersized to hold stuff firmly.  It also
eventually decays from contact with oils.  The squishy stuff is also tricky
to cut.  Xacto makes a long 'woodcarving' blade thats good for straight cuts,
and surgical scalpels are good for the fiddly bits.  The other approach is
to use 'eggcrate' foam.  Almost any foam shop has polyurethane in white,
and because of the eggcrate surface, it squishes down to hold things without
fitting.  I'm using eggcrate foam temporarily in one rifle case until I
finalize what all I'm going to carry around in it.  If anyone knows of a good
source for grey or black polyethene foam in large 1" sheets, I'd love to
hear about it.  You may be able to get it from the case vendors, but the last
time I checked, they had a hefty markup on the stuff.

Doug White
MIT Lincoln Laboratory

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