Drilling Through Royalex?

Has anyone drilled holes into Royalex before? My goal is to pop a couple of neat, clean holes through both the bow and stern in order to tie painters. But, of course, my main concern is the integrity of the hull possibly being compromised.

Does anyone have experience with this and are you willing to lend some wisdom to my endeavor?

spade bit
preferably the kind with three points instead of just one in the center (sorry, don’t know the technical term).

Take your time measuring. Even with a lot of care, it’s pretty easy to end up with holes that are not placed in exactly the same spot on each side. Even so, the good news is that you’d be the only one to notice.

sure have,
made many holes to hold air bagis down in a lace fashion for bow and stern - no issue.

Done it
Yes, I did it for the same purpose you mentioned on both my Wenonah canoes. I first measured the location where I wanted to locate the painter loops(both side the same). Then I drilled a small lead-in hole and progress in drill size until I had the desired hole diameter. To strengthen the hole and protect the edges I inserted/glued a nylon sleeve in the hole. It looks great and is doing its job. If you so desire I can send you some pictures.

Easy no worries
I use standard twist drills and don’t line the holes with anything. Done it for painters and lashing down airbags and gear. Make sure you drill above the waterline and don’t sweat the rest.

“Tug Eye” is a commercial product
with drilling instructions and insertion sleeves allowing a tow line or security cable. You can do a search on this site or Google for it.

let 'er RIP
and git 'er done.


no biggie. I’ve drilled hundreds of holes in Royalex over the years.


As Simonbee did…
but also added a short piece of flexable tubing (and a touch of sealant) to connect the 2 nylon sleeves inside the boat to help keep H2o from wicking in from the painter loops. Done properly you will get no H2o in through those holes at all.

Forsner Bit

– Last Updated: Apr-11-06 4:08 PM EST –

A Forsner bit.... makes a nice clean hole. You can make the cheapo - and just as good - equivalent of Tug-eyes for about $1.50 (30 cents a piece at the hardware store) per boat by using PVC electricial conduit nipples and a short piece of vinyl tubing. Takes about 5 minutes to modify the nipples if you have a disk sander and about 10 minutes if you don't. Easy.

Fat Elmo

1 Like

I Just Did This!!
I drilled the hole for my painters with a 5/8" “paddle bit”. I used 1/2" cpvc for the sleeve. The cpvc measures exactly 5/8" OD, assuring a good tight fit. I sanded the pipe sleeve with 100 grit sand paper and used Devcon 5 min expoxy. It really turned out very well. Royalex and poly boats drill very well with a paddle bit. Take Clarion’s advise and get a good bit such as an Irwin. On my Wenoanah Vagabond RX that is Ivory in color, the painter tube looks like it was factory installed with no variation in color… I’m proud. I have to credit Cliff Jacobson for the idea of using plastic pipe for a waterproof rope sleeve.

Painters - How Long?
How long should bow and stern painters be?

Long enough to reach the ceiling…

– Last Updated: Apr-11-06 5:00 PM EST –

with the brush. Haw, haw, haw!

Ok, nuff o' dat. Me painters be 'bout 8 feet so as not ta preesent much o' an entanglement problem. Ah' use 1/2" rope - easier to grab. Me linin' ropes be 'bout 25 feet or so but they are not attached 'til ah' needs dem fer linin'.

Fat Elmo

Length of the boat…

from what I understand
… conventional wisdom is 1.5 times the length of the boat.

That seems like a good number to me for actual lining. I tried just using length of the boat but found it was too short for lining.

However, on the boat that I use for WW and don’t line, I go with just the length of the boat.