Aluminum repair

I searched, but didn’t find what may be a common question - what is the easiest way to fix a leaky aluminum canoe.

One leak seems to be along the keel-line seam, while another is a simple scratch that allows a trickle of water through. There is another serious fissure on a bow stem. Duct tape has held for a while, but I was considering:


Caulking (3m marine adhesive)


JB Weld



You about covered the options - any of those you listed would work, and adding a “patch” like a piece from a soda can wouldn’t hurt where you can do it.

Aluminum can be arc welded “heliarc” need to use helium gas or some mix of it. Check local welding shops - I’m thinking that might be best for the cracked stem?

mexi engineering
when I was in Mexico I watched some locals fixing leaks in their aluminum boats by melting styrofoam in gas (they just threw old cups etc in a bucket with about an inch of gas in the bottom) the styrofoam melted upon contact. When they had put in enough styrofoam to make a gooey mixture they then poured it into the bottom of the boat in question making sure it ran into the areas in question. When the gas evaporated the melted styrofoam hardened, and presto fixo.

I like using epoxy. JB weld is a type of epoxy. It makes a more permanent repair than silicone sealant. I’d paint the epoxy repair to protect the epoxy from uv light.

West suggests special surface prep
before using epoxy on aluminum. For that reason, I might prefer one of the gooey, flexible setting urethanes, like Aquaseal or Seamgrip.

a 2 part epoxy , patched LOTS o old gruman canoes with it . Simple easy to use/mix , lasts long time


Many Thanks
Welding isn’t an option in my location. I will look at a hardware store and try to find one of the epoxy-based puttys. I recall using a fairly thick two part black/white paste that came in a divided syringe. That stuff was really easy to use/mix/apply.

Thanks again.

with the epoxy
get some 4 oz glass cloth, use a couple layers if it is a large opening. Some holes in the old Grumman I patched 35 years ago you can see light through, still watertight.

Auto parts stores carry Permatex epoxy-2 part syringe.

3500psi strength at 30-180 degrees F.

My 2 cents worth.

I had luck many years ago
by tightening the rivits along the seam where the boat was leaking after we attempted to destroy it. We also rivited on a patch or two (with caulk underneath) where the skin was torn. A couple of new thwarts and 8 hours of labor and the boat almost looked seaworthy.