west systems gflex - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 02-19-2011   #1
 
Silverthorne, Colorado
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 93
west systems gflex

has anybody used this and if so how did it work? looks like a great alternative to welding. this plus bitchuthane on the inside looks like it could be pretty promising. bitchuthane inside first im guessing? ive got about a 6in crack in bow right above water-line that i need to fix. also gflex comes in two different viscosity's the 650 and 655 im guessing the thicker would be better

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Old 02-19-2011   #2
 
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other side, of the mountain
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Gflex is very good stuff... you MUST use a flame on the plastic (HDPE) for it to stick to it. Just passing the flame over it once slowly at a rate of about 6" per second is adequate.

I wouldn't try to use it as a replacement for welding... welding is cheap and easy and should be the first layer of 'fix' for your crack. A patch of Gflex on the inside would act to reenforce the area and decrease flex. I found a really cool tip on the site I bought my welder-
Pelican Canoe and Kayak Repair

Melting metal mesh into the plastic on the inside acts like rebar in concrete. When done properly, you melt the metal completely into the plastic and lay a thin layer of plastic over it.

Using this welder I cut a HDPE canoe in half and removed a 2' section then welded it back together. I welded from the inside and then outside, melted the metal mesh into the inside seam and then layed a layer of Gflex with a single 2" wide piece of fiberglass tape. Its holding up perfect. I've also used Gflex to rebuild the tip of a damaged paddle, worked very well.

As for thickness, the kits come with silica powder thickener so you can add that to get the consistency you want.
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Old 02-19-2011   #3
 
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Also, West Systems stocks epoxy color additive so you can make the epoxy any basic color you want to match boats and paddles you are fixing. $10 and worth it.
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Old 02-19-2011   #4
 
Denver, Colorado
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I used the glex on a crack under the seat of my creekboat. The glex is easy to install. The downside is that it is brittle when it dries, and it can crack if its in a high use area that hits rocks (ie under the seat).

I took my boat out low water creeking, and the gflex repair on the outside of the hull got a hairline crack after each run, but I finished the run fine. I had the inside gorilla taped up well (I prefer gorilla tap to bitchithane, but either works) so the boat didn't really take on much water.

The glex will keep the crack held together for the most part, but gets fractures in the glex that let in water and eventually fail. I just touched up the fracture with a little fresh glex and let it dry overnight and was ready to go again the next day.

For crosslink boats that you can't weld, this works good enough for me. You can keep a mank boat floating a good while with this technique. For a linear boat, I think welding would be a better solution, but the glex works well enough to keep you floating for a while with minimal effort.

If the repair doesn't get abused on rocks a lot, I could see the repairs lasting longer.
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Old 02-20-2011   #5
 
Washington, New Jersey
Paddling Since: 2008
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I used GFlex ( the thickened one) to fix a really bad 6 inch curved crack in the bottom of an unweldable Jackson boat ( Crosslink plastic). I had written the boat off so I figured no harm in trying. Amazingly it seems to have worked, a few really bony runs down some local rivers and it's holding, and from the scratches I definetly took some direct hits right over the patch.
I did very carefully follow the directions on opening up the crack, abrading and flame treating ( without the flaming..it does NOT adhere, i did a test), and I added a piece of heavy glass cloth in the inside patch to help reinforce it. I'm sure it's not going to last forever, but it turned a candidate to be a planter or mailbox back into a usable boat.

I would think you should be fine on a crack above the water line on the bow, mine was on the bottom on a very flexible and stressed part of the boat.
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Old 02-20-2011   #6
 
Washington, New Jersey
Paddling Since: 2008
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I wonder if it works better if you include a heavy piece of glass cloth in the patch, mine has taken some direct hits and hasn't cracked yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deepsouthpaddler View Post
partial quote...
The glex will keep the crack held together for the most part, but gets fractures in the glex that let in water and eventually fail. I just touched up the fracture with a little fresh glex and let it dry overnight and was ready to go again the next day.

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