How to Make a Cardboard Gasket




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Video tutorial on how to make a cardboard gasket. The type of cardboard that can only be used for this particular gasket is flat cardboard or paperboard which is typically found on cereal boxes, snack packaging, or what I’m using here is from auto parts packaging In the past I’ve used this technique on throttle bodies, intake manifolds, carburetors, valve covers, etc. This type of gasket cannot be used on high heat applications such between the block and head or on exhaust components. Here I’ll be making new gaskets for my snowblower for between the carburetor and intake manifold, and then between the intake manifold and block.

Tools/Supplies Needed:

  • oil
  • razor knife
  • ruler
  • flat cardboard/paperboard
  • nut and bolt

Step 1:

Apply a small amount of oil with your finger on the surface you want to copying. Stamp that surface onto the cardboard, typically on the inside face of the cardboard where there is no shinny printed surface as it transfers better. Leave it there for a moment, applying medium pressure, then remove. You should be able to see the outlined surface. If you leave it there for a moment longer, the oil will soak in and become darker, therefore being easier to see.

Step 2:

Using a razor knife, cut the outer and inner edges of the gasket. Be sure you use a sharp knife, otherwise the cardboard will drag and create a rough edge. For the bolt holes, we can cut those using a nut and bolt to the appropriate size. Place the nut below where the hole should be, then place the bolt on the other side and hammer it down. You may need to rotate the bolt around the edge of the hole to help cut the cardboard. Once you’ve cut the one, if possible install the gasket on the object and insert a bolt through it to align it into place. Then proceed to punch out the next hole in place, this ensure there will be no alignment issues with the bolt holes.

Step 3:

When installing the newly made gasket, you can apply some gasket sealant, but it isn’t necessary. Ensure that both sides of the gasket surface on the surround objects are smooth.

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    4 Discussions


    2 years ago

    May I make a couple of suggestions? If you happen to have RTV silicone (the red or black kind), if you will smear a THIN layer of that on the mating surface instead of the oil, the imprint will transfer more easily and will have a much higher visibility. Secondly, and more importantly, when cutting the bolt holes and any other holes, it's far better to do that before cutting the perimeter of the gasket. If you cut the gasket first and then the holes, it's likely that the gasket, in it's much thinner state, will deform or tear. Also, if you happen to have access to a set of punches (relatively inexpensive), you can get a much better hole. Had to do this many times in my shop, albeit usually with gasket material available from any auto parts store.

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Excellent tips, thank you for sharing!


    2 years ago

    Good as far as it goes . Forget all the marking methods they usually dont work .

    Most places that need gaskets have sharp edges . Make them in any material even copper or alloy by doing the holes first with a small ball peen hammer or hole punch and pushing bolts in to hold it there then take the hammer and tap on the sharp outside edge to cut through right on the line . Do it all round the outside and the inside and there you have it

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Yep that is true, I've used that method in the past but the only downfall is a ball peen might not be small enough on some of those odd edges. Oddly enough it will leave an extremely clean cut too.