Thursday, September 13, 2007

DIY: Fixing A Broken Boat

Here's the damage - 3 slices clear through the bottom.

First, gather the tools you'll need: torch, silicone, knife, lighter, rag, screwdriver, drill.

Take out the seat if necessary - most boats break under the seat.

Drill holes at each side of the crack to prevent it from spreading. I used an 1/8" drill bit.

Shave plastic from the cockpit rim to use to melt and fill the crack.

Use the torch to heat up the plastic around the crack. Apply shavings to warm plastic and they will stick. Keep applying as needed using the torch to weld the crack closed. Don't let it get too hot or it can make it worse and/or weaken the plastic. Start on the outside of the boat and you may need to do a little melting on the inside. Pushing the area with the crack in will prevent it from bubbling out like it wants to. Let it cool, then put more plastic in weaker areas. Repeat until you're satisfied.

Almost done.

Now patch the hole on the inside with a watertight sealer - I chose silicone.

I wouldn't trust this patch job for any remote runs, or any shallow runs (that's how it broke in the first place). I'm planning on giving my boat one final hoorah over the Cascades of the Cascade, hopefully it holds up!!

Paddle Safe,

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