Does anyone have any experience in repairing scratches and gouges in Old Town’s Polylink 3? I have a 1st gen’ Heron Kayak that I’d like to try and get a few more years out of. Thanks.
3 layer polyethylene
Old Town and other makers have attached a variety of names to their proprietary formulations of triple layer polyethylene boats but they all share certain features.
“Triple dump” polyethylene boats are rotomolded and powdered polyethylene enters the mold three times. The formulation of the first and last polyethylene dumps are such that the material forms a solid stratum. The formulation of the middle dump is such that the poly expands into a foam core, similar to the foam core of the interior of Royalex boats.
The nature of polyolefins like polyethylene is such that the surface is quite chemically inert so that traditional adhesives and epoxies have a hard time bonding to it. WEST Systems G Flex epoxy probably forms the best bond to polyethylene but it is necessary to temporarily chemically modify the surface by oxidation by passing the flame of a propane torch over the surface to be bonded.
Solid polyethylene boats can be repaired by melting polyethylene from a “welding rod” into a crack. This requires heating the rod and the hull to achieve a bond. The problem is that applying heat to a triple layer poly hull might well deform the foam core of the poly. I have heard of people repairing triple layer poly with thermal welding, but I think it would be tricky for a first time repairer to get a decent result.
If you have scratches or gouges that expose portions of the foam core I would probably fill them in with G Flex. After it cures, wash the cured epoxy and cover it with some spray paint. Scratches and gouges that do not expose the foam core might best be left alone.
Polylink 3 repair
That’s about a thorough as an explanation as I’m going to get. No foam core exposed as of yet, so I’ll pay attention to the deeper gouges to avoid that. Thank you.