I'm terribly apologetic if it's been brought up here before (I've skimmed the forum, so may have missed it) but I do believe this is the appropriate thread to add to for my 'topical question'.
I'm looking into getting more serious with Foamsmithing. I've read up on basic techniques, boxes, cores, adhesives, all that. My first Blue (a hammer/axe with a stabby tip) passed readily. But I'm looking at bigger and/or better things. Cores, I get. Grips, hilts, hafts, I understand. But the Foam remains somewhat opaque to me.
I don't want to go about this with guesswork and 'Well this worked for me, so I suppose it'll work for you'. I was thinking it could be helpful to all Foamsmiths here, amateur and otherwise, to have a discussion (and possibly added to the first post) on the sort of 'hard results' of foams, binding techniques and cores, and their interactions.
For example- I see people talking about Ensolite, or EVA, or 4#, or Blue Foam. The OP has descriptions of what each of them are, and general properties. However, here's some questions that I haven't really seen answers spelled out to.
1: For each foam type, what is it optimally used for? (e.g. Bluefoam for striking, or the first box, or courtesy padding, vs. Ensolite for those purposes)
2: Is there a unified way of describing each foam? Half of them are known by Brand name, half by one physical descriptor or another, and a few, from what I can tell, are known by the place that most commonly sells them. What's the poundage of EVA, when comparing it to 4#, and how do the properties change as you go up or down the scale? What kind of foam is "Camp Pad" or "Seat Cushion"? This question is partially answered, but again, it's not really clearly lain out.
3: Related to above; what are the physical properties of each kind of foam, in relation to each other? Which is harder than which, which is denser than another? This could be solved if each foam was described commonly using only physical or industry descriptors, instead of colloquializms and brand names.
4: Which foams provide what properties to which striking surfaces? I hear talk of using Open Cell foam on stabby tips- first off, how (as asked above) does Open Cell differ from Closed cell, in tangible physical properties? Why is that type of foam desired for a stabby tip? Does Bluefoam provide better backing? Are certain foams more durable when used as underlays, but less durable when on the surface? How would I layer, what materials would I use, to get a specific kind of hit from a weapon?
5: Which foams work best with which construction methods, and why? I know that a lot of people cross strapping tape over stabbies, and some people wrap cloth tape around blades or whatnot, and that you're not supposed to use Duct Tape on certain things, or in certain orientations. Why? Do they cause tears? Why not have the strapping tape straight up and over a stabby? What's it there for, exactly (does strapping tape in that configuration provide lateral, planar, or linear support?) and which foams/adhesives need the extra support, or would tear worse from it?
Sorry if that's a lot of questioning, but I'd like to be able to say "I need a hammer that hits solidly but feels soft, and a sword that can hit hard but will last a long, long time while being very light" and essentially 'look up' the foam or foams, along with construction methods, to get that result.