Polyethylene Canoe Repair

Polyethylene Canoe Repair
Polyethylene is the main material used to make plastic canoes. It is fairly durable stuff, but punctures are possible due to wear and tear. The problem with repairing polyethylene is that it presents a poor surface for adhesives to stick to. Strong epoxies offer a short-term solution, but a long-term repair will require you to weld plastic.


Difficulty: Moderate

Patching with Epoxy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Acetone-bearing material like paint thinner
  • Blowtorch
  • High-wattage hair dryer
  • Epoxy resin and hardener
  • Kevlar felt or fiberglass patch
  • Polyethylene raw material for patching
  • Old rags
Step 1
Clean the area around the leak or hole by brushing on acetone and then wiping it down with an old rag. Acetone can be found in most nail polish removers and paint thinners.
Step 2
Heat the plastic surface around the leak or hole with a blowtorch until the plastic starts to lose its color.
Step 3
Mix your epoxy resin and hardener together on a piece of cardboard and apply it with a popsicle stick. In the case of a leak, you can use the epoxy to directly plug the leak. To fix a hole, apply it around the hole's perimeter to fasten a patch. G/Flex is reputed to be a good choice for this base epoxy.
Step 4
Coat a patch of fiberglass or Kevlar felt in traditional marine epoxy and press it onto the hole.

Welding Plastic

Step 1
Apply a layer of masking or duct tape to the inside of the boat around the leak or hole to seal it up so no melting plastic can dribble away.
Step 2
Set your hair dryer to high and air-heat the plastic. A lot of heat is needed to accomplish this, so check the wattage of your hair dryer and make sure it is at least 2,000 watts.
Step 3
Put on a pair of leather gloves and mold the gooey plastic back together to plug a leak. To plug a hole, heat up a patching rod of polyethylene and mold the gooey rod into the gooey edges of the hole by hand.

Tips & Warnings

There are plenty of toys and containers made of polyethylene, and these can be turned into patching material for welding in a pinch.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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