Inflatables Technology - Anyone Ever Use Them? - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 02-23-2013   #1
 
Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Inflatables Technology - Anyone Ever Use Them?

I was considering having my old Avon self-bailer completely recovered by Inflatables Technology until they gave me a telephone quote of $2,500 to $3,000. Initially, I rejected that price as way too much. But perhaps I'm drawing a hasty conclusion. Does anyone have any experiences with them?

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Old 02-23-2013   #2
 
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I've got experience with IT my recollection is that they do very high-quality work. That said the project you're talking about is a very labor intensive job and requires some pricey materials. It's been a few years since I've been to IT and I'm not sure if John Sells still has the shop or if he's passed it on to someone else.

Zach Baird at Raftfix.com has a shop not far from DRE in Western Denver. Zach does good work as well and supports the Buzz.

-AH
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Old 02-23-2013   #3
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Thanks for the plug Andy.

2500 to 3000 for urethane full encapsulation of a raft isnt out of the ordinary.

As Andy pointed out, the labor involved and the materials add up quick. I assume that I would quote you somewhere in that area as well, especially if there is loose material to deal with and patches that have to go on. The amount of prep for a quality urethane job, is immense. Anybody can slap urethane on, but to get good adhesion throughout the coating, every square inch of a hypalon boat must be sanded and cleaned.
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Old 02-23-2013   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zbaird View Post
Thanks for the plug Andy.

2500 to 3000 for urethane full encapsulation of a raft isnt out of the ordinary.

As Andy pointed out, the labor involved and the materials add up quick. I assume that I would quote you somewhere in that area as well, especially if there is loose material to deal with and patches that have to go on. The amount of prep for a quality urethane job, is immense. Anybody can slap urethane on, but to get good adhesion throughout the coating, every square inch of a hypalon boat must be sanded and cleaned.

Just to have an idea, how much would it be to re-coat the bottom of a 14 ft raft in urethane?
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Old 02-23-2013   #5
 
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IT put a drop-stitched self bailing floor in my old Riken (and a friend's). I thought they did great work.
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Old 02-24-2013   #6
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Coatings on hypalon are running around $22 per square foot. Material price sheets haven't changed yet though they may. Multiple small areas, repairs to the boat needed before coating, etc... incur additional prep charges.

Measure up the square foot area you are looking to coat and multiply by $22 for a close estimate.
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Old 02-24-2013   #7
 
Skink, Utah
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Inflatable Technologies replaced the defective urethane coating on the bottom of my Hyside. They did a terrific job for a fair price (Hyside wanted me to ship boat to them so they could put it on a slow boat to Korea.) IT even helped arrange the shipping to save me money.

The folks at IT are extemely knowledgeable about raft fabrics, coatings, adhesives, and repair procedures. You can't go wrong with them.
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Old 02-24-2013   #8
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We had a number of boats - rafts, two inflatable kayaks - and one pair of sat tube - all coated with urethane many years ago. In retrospect, most of them were not worth the investment, and in my opinion an ancient Avon definitely would be an example of something not worth putting this sum into.

One thing that few people realize is that urethane coatings, no matter how carefully applied, can blister if you set your boat down on blazing hot asphalt or an uncarpetted trailer with a dark bottom. I'm not saying this is what happened with the Hyside mentioned above, but it is within the realm of possibility. Their factory's workmanship is generally top notch.

PVC boats require somewhat less prep work, but any form of rubber needs to thoroughly sanded - every square inch. Miss one spot and this is where the urethane will peel. It took me an entire weekend to sand one 13' hypalon raft with a fairly agressive Porter Cable 5" orbital. This is not a gentle orbital like the slightly smaller Makita's, but a pretty powerful one. Pro's may use belt sanders, but for someone inexperienced trying to prep their own raft, all you have to do is let your attention wander for a second and you'll have a hole. Had I tried to use a belt sander, it would have been Swiss cheese!
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Old 02-24-2013   #9
 
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I don't know how handy you are with raft repair and power tools, but if you have enough shop space you can do it yourself and save around 2k off that price. As I understand, the System 6 urethane sold by Man of Rubber and RMA is in fact the roll-able version of IT's in house urethane.

You won't be able to get the finish as perfect as IT will because they would spray it on, but if you are very careful you can make it look nice with a roller. The key is to sand the entire surface of the raft without going too deep. Also, if there is even the tiniest pinhole leak the urethane will just bubble, so the raft needs to be thoroughly gone over and patched first. I would also recommend a professional grade respirator or at least a painters mask and a well ventilated shop.

I would say it is a four weekend project: one weekend to read about it, two weekends to prep it, and one to paint it.
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Old 02-24-2013   #10
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If you want to see some of the urethane work I have done check out the gallery at raftfix.com. There is also a thwart at DRE and I have a sample at the shop if you would like to stop by.
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