How to Fix a Cracked Kayak

How to Fix a Cracked Kayak
Plastic kayak hulls are extremely durable thanks to the materials and molding methods used in construction. However, hard hits on rocks or other obstacles can occasionally crack the hull, causing leaks. While a quick repair with tape on the spot can get you the rest of the way down the river, repair the crack properly as soon as possible. Plastic welding accomplishes this.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Welding heat gun with reducing nozzle
  • Plastic polyethylene weld rod
  • Wire cutters
  • Rasp or sander
Step 1
Heat one end of the weld rod, using the welding heat gun. When the plastic rod becomes sweaty and limp, this is known as "visible melt." When visible melt is reached, you are ready to apply the plastic to the crack.
Step 2
Insert the end of the rod into the crack and slowly twist it. The melted plastic will slowly fill in the crack. Continue to apply heat during this process. If the crack is long, it may be necessary to repeat this step several times, moving the rod a short distance down the crack's length each time until it is completely filled.
Step 3
Cut the remainder of the weld rod off with wire cutters, and allow the weld to cure. Plastic welds will cure in a couple of hours, though it is usually advisable to let it sit overnight before sanding the weld down.
Step 4
Remove excess plastic from the weld area, using a rasp or sander. Sharp, jagged plastic edges post a risk of abrasion, and they can get snagged on obstacles or debris when paddling.

Article Written By Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams has spent over 11 years working in the information technology, health care and outdoor recreation fields. He has over seven years of technical and educational writing experience, and has brought strong skills and passion to the Demand Studios team in articles for eHow and Trails in 2009.

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