Help wanted: Polyethylene Kayak Repair

Greetings all,



I bought a Pelican Pursuit DLX a couple of months ago. It was the closest thing to an actual kayak that I could afford. I’ve taken it down the Arroyo Colorado, the Laguna Madre near Port Mansfield, and the bay near south Padre Island. I’m new to kayaking, and am loving every minute of it.



I know it’s inevitable that the hull will suffer dings and scratches, no matter how careful I am. I’ve been repairing the deeper scratches with an adhesive/sealant that eventually just peels off, so I’m looking for a more permanent method of polyethylene kayak repair.



Has anyone used the Plastex Plastic Repair Kit (http://www.plastex.com) to repair a kayak? Is there a better product, one better suited to kayaking?



How does one make temporary (i.e., emergency) repairs to a polyethylene kayak? I’ve experimented with duct tape, but it doesn’t stick to the hull at all.



Many thanks in advance,



Chris

Brownsville, TX

I was forced into
. . . learning this early on. For my linear polyethelene boat, I called the manufacturer and they sent me color matched sample strips of plastic for my boat. I then purchased a heat gun, cleaned the area to be repaired, surrounded the area with a heat shield using aluminum, and began heating the strip and the damaged area at the same time until the strip melted into the gap.



You can use a putty knife while things are hot for smoothing. After the area cools, it can be sanded smooth and then gently reheated to remove the sanding marks.



It is easy to make a seaworthy repair, but usually takes some practice to make a good cosmetic one so you might want to try it elsewhere before working on your boat. Good luck! - Tom

I recommend ignoring the scratches,
paddling a lot, having a good time, and replacing the boat when something serious happens to it, like a tear or crack. I have a poly WW kayak over ten years old with scratches and gouges. Who cares. But sooner or later, sun degradation will lead to cracking. Sometimes the bottom of the boat will wear through, but it takes years, usually. The serious fix for cracks and tears is plastic welding, and you should be able to find a specialist to do it.

P-Tex candle for the deeper scrtches
It’s used by ski shops with some success.

That said: and having owned a soft plastic perception america these past 5 years, I humbly offer this suggestion…Get used to the scratches and less than showroom new hull. I lightly scrape (with a razor blade)off the fussies on the hull but the rest of it…

I’ve tried (the first season)most of the usual remedies even using a body shop buffer and plastic polishing compound…only made matters worse.

Has it slowed the boat down…I have no idea.

Have I slowed down…most probably.

Plastic kayak repair
Thanks, Tom. If/when the hull of my little kayak is punctured or torn, I’ll try to repair it the way you described.



Do you think a plastic welder meant for autobody repair would work? I just now stumbled on one selling for $130.00 at



http://www.autobodydepot.net/scripts/depot.exe?pgm=plstweldgate.bbx



I don’t know about you, but $130 is pretty steep for me. But if it works . . .



-chris

Ignoring the scratches
I do ignore most scratches and dings, but it’s the deeper gouges that really bother me. Just the other day, I was carrying the kayak across a paved parking lot when I lost my grip and the forward section plummeted to ground. It happened so fast, I didn’t even have time to swear. The result was a deep gouge several mm thick, about 2 cm in length, and 1 mm deep.



That’s the sort of damage I’d like to repair.



-chris

Any heat gun
. . . or heat paint stripper will do. I got a Milwaukee Multi-Purpose Heat Gun at my local hardware store for $30. Having two different heat settings is helpful. When I sanded the repair, the hull was discolored. Gently reheated the hull smoothed things out. Let us know how it goes.

Minor gouges
I have sucessfully used a high temperature hot glue gun to fill some old mounting holes on a PE kayak. should also work okay filling minor gouges…

Careful with heat
You can do some plastic repair with a heat gun or a welder… BUT you can easily melt holes or major deformations in your boat too.

I’m with g2d on this. Paddle that sucker till you wear it out.

I always buy my boats pre-scratched.

1 mm deep is not significant.
I have tons of scratches that deep, and I don’t worry about them at all. You need to get out and go paddling.

Harbor Freight has plastic welders
IIRC, the price for their kit was ~$30.

Quik Plastik Epoxy Repair Sticks…
We’ve used this product to repair deep gouges in my wife’s Cape Horn 15, and to fix a cracked rudder rest - holding up perfectly after a full season of use. It comes as a putty-like, two-part stick - just cut off a chunk, knead it until the color becomes uniform, apply to the damage and fair off. We got ours at the local paddle store, about $15 Cdn. Needs no special tools, skills, or heat.

Hope this helps.

Rick