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Old 06-14-2006, 12:12 AM   #1
Just Jamey
Dojo: Aikido of West Bend
Location: Wisconsin
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 45
United_States
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Securing canvas mats.

I am appealing to the vast and varied amount of experience out there on Aikiweb.

The issue:

The dojo I train with has the use of 33 4' x 9' canvas covered mats. We are in the process of re-canvasing these mats now, which has tied up most of the dojo funds and will soon involve a couple of dojo "canvasing parties".

[(if you are with the dojo and reading this: it is going to be so much fun, you just won't know what to do with yourself) (note to self - stock up on the sake)]...

We are currently using wrestling tape to secure the 15 mats used during class; however, securing this way is expensive. Our dojo is soon to move into a larger training room and we will be utilizing most of the mats we have, thereby increasing the amount of tape we would be using.

The mats must be picked up after each class, so a permanent framework is out. Sewing on velcro flaps is out because of the cost involved and difficulty finding a place to do the work.

The low-cost "solution" I have come up with is a temporary framework using multiple sets of 2 - 2' 2x4's strung together with rope that runs under the mat. The rope is polypropylene and has a low stretch factor. By drilling through the 2x4 and running the rope into that hole, we can tighten each section of the "frame" as needed. Two sets costs me about $12.00.

The downside to this "system" is the set-up time, the mess of ropes, and the possibility that the mats will pop over the frame.

One suggestion I recently received is to hand sew a connector on the 9' edge of the mats, so that 3 or 4 mats fold up. Then we would just have to worry about holding the 4' edges together.

So what do you think? Any ideas? Any similar situations to draw on? What did your cash poor dojo do?

Thanks for your input and ideas,
Jamey
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Old 06-14-2006, 07:42 AM   #2
MikeLogan
 
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Location: Rochester, NY
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 281
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Re: Securing canvas mats.

Will they have to be picked up in the new location? And, if you have the room, time, and willing compatriots to re-canvas, then why not velcro them at the same party (an excuse for more sake), excepting the added cost mentioned.

One idea, contrive a way to bind only the outermost mats in place and to one another. This way they will contain the mats within the perimeter without (given the right design) having to attach a fastener of some sort to each and every mat.

Here's another idea, it will take some measuring and a trip to home depot. The numbers I'll use are exchangeable with whatever suit your space the best.

take two 2 X 4's of 4 feet in length, and drill 3 holes at 12 inch intervals through both boards in matching locations.

Now take three equal lengths of rope, tie an adequate knot at the end of each, and feed each through a hole in one of the boards. The ropes should be a few feet longer than the dimension of the mat you are trying to temporarily secure.

Lay down the 2X4 with the three ropes in place, array them to reach across the floor and put each through the holes of the other 2X4

lay down that mats for that section, draw out the slack from the ropes, and somehow fasten said slack in place.

This would allow a cheap, durable, reusable method of keeping your mats together. One drawback is the initial setup, but it doesn't involve needle and thread, so hey. After the learning curve it will be no big deal to set up, like the belt on your dogi.

As I am not familiar with your mats, I can't say how different thickness of rope would transmit through the mats resulting in a ridge surface over the rope. I wouldn't recommend anchor line, but thin nylon, or cotton, something on the order of the diameter of a pencil would go un-noticed under a zebra mat.

It sounds complex, but I hope that's just because i meant to be thorough in language, and I bet it would be cheaper than velcro or tape along each seam.

good luck, and have fun.
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Old 06-14-2006, 10:22 AM   #3
Just Jamey
Dojo: Aikido of West Bend
Location: Wisconsin
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 45
United_States
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Re: Securing canvas mats.

Quote:
Mike Logan wrote:
Will they have to be picked up in the new location? And, if you have the room, time, and willing compatriots to re-canvas, then why not velcro them at the same party (an excuse for more sake), excepting the added cost mentioned.
The mats will have to be picked up in the new room after each class. Right now the recavasing involves a top piece of canvas and a bottom piece of canvas to cover the foam. Sewing is absolutely out of the equation because of the cost factor, so Velcro is being applied to each piece of canvas with a rather strong adhesive, then the Velcro is what secures the top piece to the bottom piece.

I was considering purchasing more Velcro and using the same adhesive to secure flaps, from the scrap canvas, to the bottom piece of canvas. From there apply the Velcro to the flaps and underside of the adjoining mat, which would then secure the two mats together... I am hesitant though because I'm not sure if the adhesive would hold against the strain of securing the mats together because the force will, in my mind, be greatly different from just securing the canvas around the foam. There is also the limiting factor of $$$.
Quote:
take two 2 X 4's of 4 feet in length, and drill 3 holes at 12 inch intervals through both boards in matching locations.

Now take three equal lengths of rope, tie an adequate knot at the end of each, and feed each through a hole in one of the boards. The ropes should be a few feet longer than the dimension of the mat you are trying to temporarily secure.

Lay down the 2X4 with the three ropes in place, array them to reach across the floor and put each through the holes of the other 2X4

lay down that mats for that section, draw out the slack from the ropes, and somehow fasten said slack in place.
This is where I am at now, only using 2 foot long pieces instead of 4 foot long pieces, drilling 2 holes per piece, and laying out 2 ropes per paired set of boards. On the 2 inch outward facing side of the 2x4 (facing away from the mats) I have attached a cleat, similar to those found on a boat just smaller, so that we can tie off using a cleat hitch "knot". A 3/8" polypropylene rope seems to go nicely under the mats, which are 1.5" nominal thickness, and this type of rope offers the least flex-stretch factor.

It seems in this we are of the same mind: longer set up time, but cheap and durable.

Thank you for the reply,
Jamey
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Old 06-15-2006, 09:37 AM   #4
Just Jamey
Dojo: Aikido of West Bend
Location: Wisconsin
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 45
United_States
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Re: Securing canvas mats. (Update)

Tested the securing system described above and it seems to work really well. There is a tendency for one of the board to lift a little, but I think I can fix that by restringing the 2x4 in the opposite direction that I have it now. Might try also try applying left over scraps of velcro to the 2" side that faces the mat to provide a little extra grip.

I am so glad this worked. I need to make about 10 more, and that's only going to cost $60.00 ($72.00 for 12 total sets). Not to shabby for a portable, reliable, and adjustable framework for 1200sqft of space.
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