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Old 08-21-2009   #1
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 54
How to fix a crack in a boat

Got about a 6 in crack in my creek boat. Looking for a good online explanation of how to fix.

I have fixed a couple of boats before by drilling ends then using one of those high power hair dryer like heat guns that some boat shops have. Then duct taped the inside. Don't have access to the heat gun and will likely use bitchethane instead of duct tape on the inside. Does anyone have any info on best tools to use. Boat is in otherwise good shape so don't want to mess up the fix.



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Old 08-21-2009   #2
lmyers's Avatar
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,207
Here is one thread that has some info that will probably help:
Learning to plastic weld; tips? suggestions?
Don't forget to use the search tab, there are several existing threads on this topic.
Here's another:Fixing a Creek Boat

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Old 08-21-2009   #3
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Indian Hills, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,448
Don't fix it; it's self bailing now!
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Old 08-21-2009   #4
Rschap's Avatar
Grand Junction, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 133
I baught a welder from Arizona tools and fixed my boat. You need a heat gun to reshape if you need to do that. It welds really easy.
Urethane Pro Kayak & Canoe Welder w/ Green Rods at Arizona Tools

Kayak Welding
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Old 08-21-2009   #5
3, Colorado
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What kind of boat is it that cracked?
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Old 08-22-2009   #6
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 54
Originally Posted by Scottsfire View Post
What kind of boat is it that cracked?
The boat is a jeffe. The crack runs vertically on the base of the boat. I'm not sure of how much of a self bailer it is as it just seemed to keep filling up after it cracked. Did make eddy catcing more interesting with a half filled boat.

Also thanks for all the info everyone. I am still up in the air as to whether to weld or just do the old tape and drill.
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Old 08-22-2009   #7
DanOrion's Avatar
Indian Hills, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2004
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I recently repaired a jefe with a similar crack, maybe 2-3 inches long. Took the welding approach: welded two rods of Jefe plastic from trashed jefe on outside and two rods on inside using plastic welder (concentrated heat gun). Finished with a few layers of gorilla tape on inside. Drilled ends of crack before welding. Haven't had a chance to test my handy work, but it feels pretty bomber. good luck!
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Old 08-22-2009   #8
Ft Collins, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 198
I've tried various ways to weld boats, mostly using a propane torch (benzomatic type - get from any hardware store). My most refined technique is this:

Needed: propane torch, rods of plastic repair material; maybe some 'chips' of plastic, metal spatula. A piece of aluminum about 1/2" wide works for a spatula, but wrap the end you hold so you don't burn your hand. A small putty knife would also work, but be sure the it's insulated from the heat. The size/shape of plastic depends on the size and shape of repair. I've most recently done a bow crack, and it was handy to cut some 'flakes' to insert into the crack.

Here are main steps

1. Warm area to be patched, preferably in hot sun. You want to minimize the amount of heat you need to apply. When you're ready, place the boat so the patch is easy to access and be sure the boat is stable. You don't want the thing falling over in mid-process.

2. Heat the area of the repair _carefully_ with torch. You want to get the plastic hot and soft, but not scorched (it shouldn't bubble) and you don't want to open the crack by heating it too much.

3. Now heat the rod gently in the flame, and then quickly heat the metal spatula. Press the hot plastic rod into the crack with the spatula, applying heat as necessary to the spatula, melting the repair material and the boat together. Start slowly and carefully, and you'll get a feel for this. The intent is to put the flame on the metal, not directly on the boat, and use the metal to transfer the heat.

I put extra material around the crack to try and reinforce the area. Especially check the edges of the patch - it's easy to just melt the repair plastic and if it's just smeared on, it'll probably peel, potentially taking the rest of the patch with it.

I prefer to do this in a hot garage. It's a lot easier to see the flame indoors, and it seems like it's easier to get the temperatures 'right' when the boat hot. I haven't repaired any large cracks in the middle of a boat using the technique, but I think it'll work for that.

Good luck!!

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