All About Foam

All About Foam

I woke up the other morning at 6 am with thoughts of foam! I remembered seeing something on the Discovery Channel about special effects people in the movie industry making foam to imitate different densities for prostetics, and alien costumes. I wondered if this stuff was the foam I was looking for. Since the density was controlled with the proportions of the ingredients, maybe I could make a batch that would immitate the density of the old foam rubber.

A search on the Internet led me to  and I saw that they had a distributor in Long Island City, just outside of Manhatten in Queens. Since I was heading up to the shop last week, I decided it was worth a look to see what they had to offer, and to see if it was actually possible to replicate the old foam rubber.

I met Mary at Alcone Inc. and she listened to what I wanted to do in replacing the crumbling seat cushions. Lucklily, she was an amature upholsterer, and completely understood my problems with finding a suitable replacement for my foam rubber. She began to explain that the old foam rubber was made from a chemical reaction. This reaction formed the foam, but in the process, emmitted toxic fumes (psy,..cer, socio,..something cyanide), and is now banned by government agencies, like the Environmental Protection Agency in the US, for manufacture in any country that cares about stuff like that. Urethane foam, the common, safer, replacement does not have the same “feel” as the old stuff, but seems more durable. The GM Foam may be a good replacement but it varys in density depending on how it is made.

The stuff offered in kit form from Alcone in Queens is a Latex foam, where liquid latex (the stuff gloves and condoms are made out of) is mixed with a foaming agent (soap), and whipped until the desired density is reached. A gelling agent is then added to trap the bubbles in the latex, and the pourable foam is set in molds for baking. After the desired curing time is reached, the foam is washed, and ready for use. It’s a very involved process, but it’s good to know that I have an option for my cushions! Having gone to Art School, I’m familier with mold making, and I have access to a Scenic shop at work, but it could take some experimentation to get the foam just right. More research was needed.

Lucklily after my posting about my seat cushions last week, a helpful Alfa owner sent me this url: The latex foam is formed using the “Talalay process” which is the same technique the GMfoam kit I just got from Alcone, but now I may not have to make this stuff from scratch! Although this stuff will have to be cut from blocks, I immediately ordered some samples. Thanks Doug!

Feeling I was hot on the trail of something good, I did another search on the Internet, and I found this website: that is located in Shelton CT, down the road from Doran Manufacturing, the company making the grille! Hopefully the samples from “Foam Sweet Foam” will arrive sometime next week, and if they feel right, I may have a supplier near NYC! Stay tuned!

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