Flexane FL-80 (Brush-On Wearpads)...the whole scoop - Mountain Buzz

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Old 06-09-2008   #1
Goldendale, Washington
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 16
Flexane FL-80 (Brush-On Wearpads)...the whole scoop

Okay fellow rafters, I posted awhile ago about wanting to rubberize or fix the bottom of my rafts. In particular, my Maravia (which is old) had so many pinhole leaks in the floor that it would not hold for 2 hours, but I still couldn't see them very well. The Tubes has a number of holes as well. Not as bad, but I'd still need to top off mid-day, and that sucks.

I saw the suggestions and the "Brush-On Wearpads" sounded like the thing to do. Pretty expensive, but it's only money. Manofrubber sold the 1lb. cans for $50 and the primer for $20. The rubber claimed to go about 6-8 sq. ft. and the primer 8-10 square feet. I ordered 12 lbs of the rubber and 10 of the primer. Doint the math, I spent a lot. When it arrived, I found that it was a product called Flexane FL-80 and the primer was Flexane FL-20. So I did some google search to see where else it could be purchased, etc. I found it at a place called weldwarehouse.com and it came in 3 sizes. The 1 lb was $36, the 4lb. was $111 and the 10lb was around $222. Quite a huge difference. I returned the stuff I purchased to Man of Rubber and paid a 15% restocking fee. I had no problem with that, especially given the fact that I could get twice as much and still be $100 ahead in the process.

Okay, got two 10 lb. cans of the stuff and 18 of the primer. The primer will go a long way. If you do this, know that they must say 8-10 square feet of coverage thinking that you are on some surface different than the rafts. In fact, I found them to have more than50 sq. ft. of coverage, and having so much, I was very liberal with it. 4 cans will easily do 2 boats.

To prep the PVC Marvia, I gave it a wash of COTOL where there were tricky parts, otherwise I just used rubbing alcohol and wiped it all up. Then I sanded the area I would apply the stuff to to rough it up. One more alcohol bath and made sure there was no more debris on the bottom. I tried several different things with the primer and the absolute best is a sponge and dishwashing gloves. This has an orange tint, so it in pretty easy to see where you have been. It shows up especially well on PVC, which is good and bad. Anyway, sponge it all over. It goes pretty quick, smells pretty strong, but you'd expect that. It needs to dry for about 30 minutes.

The 10 lb can of FL-80 is a chore for several reasons. You will have about 10-20 minutes to work with this stuff until it is too thick to work with. The last bits will not go on smooth, and I'll point that out in the pics. There are two parts, you add them together and you mix. For the 10 lb cans, use a drill with a mixer that you don't mind throwing away. Don't go too fast or you will get bubbles in the mix. Before you do all this, plan out where you are going to go. Most improtant places first, then a backup plan in case you have any left. My first task was the bottom of the floor and the tubes. From what the coverage suggested, I figured that one 10 lb can should come close.

Mixing was done (use a spatula to make sure you get all the goop out of the can), and I had several putty knives and brushes ready to go. NOTE: Do not use a brush. This is not "brushable" stuff. I suppose it is, but it will go on too thick, take too long, and you will run through brushes like crazy. I didn't know that, so I brushed it on. The first 3 minutes were fast, it went on smooth, and I thought I'd have enough for the bottom easy. From 3-10 minutes, it got slow and bad. The first stuff ended up dripping and the last stuff was too thick. If you go with a 10 lb can, get a friend to help because it is too tough to do correctly for 1 person.

It became obvious that I would need both cans to complete just one boat. So I do the next, and it didn't quite finish them. Too thick in some places, ran in a few, etc. Now if this sounds like a disaster, it isn't. I wish I had known then what I know now, but it was worth it. The flor of my raft (not inflated during installation to keep bubbles from coming out) was reinflated after the stuff cured, and it held for over a month. Didn't lose a bit. I darn near thought this stuff had the ability to keep air from compressing in cold weather. It was that good. The surface was slick and hard. I will probably keep the rafts inflated year round because this stuff will make folding even tougher than your typical PVC boat. The tubes held much better as well. The areas that the flexane dripped look like poo. If it drips past your primer coverage, it will need to be removed because it just won't hold. You can sand it or grind it. I tried both. The best is to carefully use a knife to get rid of the "stringers" and then grind the edge. Even that may not be necessary. Where it is stuck, it is stuck!

But I wasn't done with all I wanted. I knew I didn't want 10 lb. stuff again. I ended up with two 4 lb cans figuring it would be much more manageable, and I wanted it cheaper than the 1 lb stuff. This is a good amount to get. If I ever need to do this again, it will be with the 4 lb cans. Good compromise of price and useability.

I had a few places on the Maravia I wanted to touch up. That is as easy as sanding, priming, and putting down new flexane over the old. My Avon had wearpads that were showing fabric. All I wanted to do was cover those and take one shot across the front thwart area of the bottom where I had had some problems.

The 4lb stuff came with a little "spreader" that was just a small plastic trowel. This is what you need to use. If you get the 10lb stuff, find a little plastic trowel. It went on easy, smooth, and fast. Part of this is undoubtedly due to the difference in material. The PVC boats always have little ripples, no matter how tight you have them inflated. At least my old Maravia did. The avon also had zero leaks, so it held well. It is possible the Maravia settled a little, and I did see some small bubles that were likely where I had pinhole leaks. I buffed and redid those areas.

Okay, on to the pics. It was with my cell phone, and the lighting isn't great, but hopefully it shows well enough....

This is the Avon. Nothing more than rubber down the tubes and one across the thwart area. Smooth and lovely.

This is the maravia. A couple of notes. This was done about a month earlier and you can see how shiny it is. Also, I didn't get the very front done, and you can see how orange the primer is.

This picture didn't come out great, but this is what happens when you don't hurry. It starts to get unworkable and you end up with lumpy looking areas. Still strong, still functional, but it just doesn't look as nice. Fortunately, it is on the bottom.

This is another area that had the same thing happen. At this point of installation, it is hell trying to get this stuff to spread. So don't get the 10lb can.

The light isn't good here, but it is an alternate look at the Maravia.

This shows how the stuff ran. I think this is mainly from using a brush at the begining of application when the stuff is pretty easy. The brush puts too much on. This happened after I had left, or I would have tried to stsop it. But, it's on the bottom, and messing with it, it is secure (VERY!).

This should scare you off. This is how it ran down the sides. Took a lot of time to clean it up, and it is still not good. My goal was to just make sure that anything on the boat was secure, and while ugly, this stuff is now secure. A direct result of using a brush instead of a trowel.

Well, that's it people. The Maravia is on its last legs (or was), so it was just an experiment. It didn't come out pretty because I didn't know all that you now know, but man did it ever take care of every pinhole leak I had. And it gives you some great armor on your boat.

Ask anything you want. Here is what you need to remember...

1) Don't get the 10lb can unless you have at least one other friend, preferably 2.
2) Don't brush it on, use a small, plastic trowel
3) Plan ahead for what you will do if you have stuff left over, and get the improtant stuff first.
4) The primer goes a long, long way.

Also, the place I got the stuff from (the welding place from above) has truly terrible customer service. It is only via email. But they are cheap. The only reason to contact them is to find out where your order is, which will probably ship direct from the maker. The maker has the best customer service in the world. Call before you apply and ask anything. They will give you any help you need. They were great to work with.

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Old 06-09-2008   #2
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
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Wow, great accounting of the product and whole process. Someone someday will be thankful when they go searching for something about this stuff. Awesome job, thanks!
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Old 06-10-2008   #3
Goldendale, Washington
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 16
Thanks. Please don't mind the typos.

One last thing I would add. You get a bucket, a can of goo, and a bottle of goo to mix with the can. The can has enough room for you to pour the bottle into it. Do this, rather than pour one into the bucket and then the next. The main reason is that you need to avoid areas that are not well mixed, and if you pour both into the bucket, it gets tough to really get the bottom stuff. If it isn't well mixed, it won't cure well, and will not harden. It isn't the end of the world, but will need to be redone for that part.

That happened to me on a few small spots that I did at the end. I scraped the bottom of the bucket and got stuff that wasn't well mixed. It was just stuff to cover some other stuff, so I lost nothing, but it isn't what you want if you can help it.
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Old 06-10-2008   #4
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 154

Good write up! Way to be ambitious and forge into new territory. Thanks.
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Old 07-15-2008   #5
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 4
thanks for the details, I am looking at this product to do the same to my 12' and you just saved me some time, money and frustration!
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Old 02-26-2009   #6
lmaciag's Avatar
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 674
Getting the raft ready for the season and doing this tonight on the four corners. Thought it was worthy of a bump as there's some good info in there and others may be wanting to do some preseason work.

Thanks for the info!

Wish us luck!!!

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Old 02-26-2009   #7
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,827
Zach at Eddy Out has a spray rig that gets this type of thing done super clean.

Good luck with your "paint job".

Call him for an estimate: 720 240 3628

(seven two 0)-298-2242
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Old 02-26-2009   #8
Join Date: Jul 2006
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What are the volumes of the 1lb,4lb, and 10lb cans? Do you add color to the mix or can you order it in different colors? Did you mask out the area?
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Old 02-26-2009   #9
Renaissance Redneck
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Huson, Montana
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,214
Hey kvrdave.... how did it hold up after some use?
"You're gonna be doin a lot of doobie rolling when youre LIVIN IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER"
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Old 02-27-2009   #10
lmaciag's Avatar
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
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Posts: 674
I think the mission was successful...

We used duct tape to isolate the corners and had little dripping. The bottom was pretty beat up and there were frayed areas that perhaps we should have trimmed, but thought they would be fully covered with the urathane. The mixture used didn't get tacky as quickly as anticipated. Probably because the temp was pretty low compared to doing this in the summer. So all the layers were pretty thin. I think it would have covered the most abused spots better if thicker, but it was getting late.

Purchased a small 2Q package from AAA for around $65. Comes in black, blue and another color I'm forgetting. Did the work in two parts as it was packaged easily for that and thought necessary for ease of working with the product. Made 3 cups of goo each, so 6 cups total. Used a 4" roller brush to apply. Took about 3 hours total.

Taking the boat out in three weeks. Let ya know the results then.

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