Guidelines for Trimming Grappling and Judo Mats:
Just How "Neat" Do Your Trimmed Mats Need to Be?
The main question when preparing to trim Grappling and Judo Mats is "Just how neat do the trimmed edges of the mats really need to be?"
If the trimmed edges will be flush against a wall, there may be no reason to do any more than just trimming off the excess part of the mats that will be next to the wall and placing the trimmed mat in service. Grappling and Judo Mats are constructed so that even when trimmed the integrity of the edges will remain in tact under normal use.If the mats are to be used, for some reason, in such a way as to expose the cut edges to viewing and the "cosmetic" appearance of the mats is considered important, then the trimming process detailed below can be used to trim the mats so that the "skin" or the vinyl covering of the mats remains while the foam is cut away. Then, the remaining skin can be stretched over the cut edge of the mats and cemented to them in order to make the edge look similar to the original edge. Making trimmed mats look cosmetically neat is certainly possible. But, as noted below, it is a process best done by those familiar with modern-day flooring installation processes.
1. The custom trimming of Grappling and Judo Mats can be seen as being some what related to the installation of carpeting or linoleum in some ways and foam-filled wall pads in others. Grappling and Judo Mats have an outer "skin" of vinyl over a foam filling. When trimming such a construction, the objective is to cut the foam that will be "waste" but to leave in tact the vinyl cover that had been covering the trimmed away foam in order to allow that "skin" to be molded over the now exposed edge of the remaining foam and to cement that "skin" into place in order to protect the integrity of the newly formed mat edge. The following guidelines are based on many successful mat customizations where they have proven to be reliable. However, following these guidelines is in no way guaranteed to result in successful results. The process may appear to be straight forward, but we do not look at the process as something for a "Do-It-Yourself" project. Prudence demands and it is our suggestion that experts in the field of carpet installation or linoleum cutting be engaged to accomplish such customization safely.2. Read and thoroughly comprehend these guidelines before beginning work.
1. Black Ball Point Pen or Felt tipped marker.
2. Razor Knife
3. Straight edge or T-Square measuring 4' in length.
4. Scraping tool such as a dulled chisel.
6. Industrial grade spray adhesive on the order of 3M Super 77.
7. Measuring Tape.
8. Drop Cloth.
9. Duct Tape
10. A piece of wood 2"x4" long enough to extend the entire length of an 80" long mat.
Process Step 1: Arrange the mats in the array as tightly oriented as possible. Overlap the mats that will need trimming and use a black marker or pen to draw a line on the edge of the mat where the new edge of the mat will be. The tighter the mats fit together the better it is during use. Therefore, favor a tighter configuration when custom trimming mats.
Process Step 2: Turn the mat to be cut upside down (foam side facing up). Use a straight edge and T-square, use a black marker or pen to complete a line from one edge of the mat to the other along which the cut will be made. Using the razor knife, cut smoothly along the entirety of the line. After the initial cuts, place the 2x4 under the top of the mat to expose more of the foam and to make it easier to reach by allowing the blade to reach the bottom of the cut without being inhibited by the foam itself. Continue until about 1/8" of foam remains before the top of the mat.
Process Step 3: Measure for and make a mark with the black marker or pen 4" away from the vertical cut on both sides of the mat and about 1/8" below the top surface of the mat. (Note: it will be as if it is 1/8" above the bottom of the mat since the mat is still oriented upside down). Cut horizontally along that mark on both sides of the mat. This will provide the "flap" of vinyl or "skin" with which you will cover the exposed edge of the cut mat. Only the vinyl needs to be cut through for these relief cuts.
Process Step 4: Turn the mat to its upright position and fold back the cut portion of the mat and wipe off or brush off any excess loose foam that might be there.
Process Step 5: Fold down the cut part of the mat and position the T-square on the mat surface at the end of the 4" cut and away from the original vertical cut. Holding the straightedge firmly in position, cut through the vinyl surface and the excess foam.
Process Step 6: Using the pliers, grab a corner at one end of the mat and peel back the 4 inches of overlapping vinyl material separating it from the foam. Work at separating the vinyl from one side of the mat to the other until the original vertical cut has been reached.
Process Step 7: Secure the excess material and using great care peel away the unwanted section of the mat.
Process Step 8: Turn the mat upside down (the foam side facing up). Using great care and the scraping tool, scrape as much foam off of the vinyl flap material as possible. Wipe of any lose foam from the surfaces to be adhered and remove the mat to a clean area free of any foam particles or dust.
Process Step 9: Using a spray-on type adhesive, apply adhesive to the exposed area of the mat, which is the exposed area of the mat on to which the vinyl flap will be adhered. Use both hands to place the vinyl flap onto the edge of the mat and hyperextend that material to the bottom of the mats as well. Duct tape can be used to cover the seams if needed.
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