Raft and Kayak Repairs Part II – Repairing on the Water

On River Repair of Tear or Tube Leak (Hypolon/rubber) -Part II, On the River

1. Empty the boat and get it out of the water onto a flat area.

2. When working on a floor put a small tarp under the boat.

3. For leaks: pump the tube up super firm. Check the whole tube for additional punctures. It is a major bummer to work like a surgeon on an obvious leak only to put everything away and discover you have another.

4. If you have a tear in a tube over two inches I would recommend put on an inside patch first. Even if it doesn’t hold air it will provide strength for your exterior patch. Same repair step for inside and outside patch, floor or tube. The floor patch is more forgiving for a bucket floor. It just has to reduce the volume of water that leaks into the boat. I am more relaxed about doing a patch on one side of a bucket floor. When I get the boat home I plan on inside/outside floor patching (again for tears over two inches).

5. Tears over seams are going to be nearly impossible to repair leak free on the river. Your goal should be to provide the best inside/outside patching to slow down a leak. Permanent repairs will probably require deconstructing a seam. HUGH JOB … not for on the river.

6. Here we go on river patching:

o Dry off the work area.

o A cool technique to create a smooth, flat, firm surface is to put a flat-bladed oar or paddle under your work area. Make sure the oar does not have any sharp edges.

o Get someone started on buffing (sanding) the fabric (inside/outside)

o Cut your inside patch 1/2 inch larger in diameter than the tear.

o Cut the outside patch one-inch larger in diameter than the tear.

o Get someone to start buffing the back of the patches.

o Clean all buffed areas with toluene.

o Shake well the shore adhesive.

o Apply a thin coat of shore adhesive to the buffed areas … let this dry to the touch.

o For an inside patch, take a ballpoint pen and draw a dotted line down the middle of the glue on the patch.

o Apply a second coat of glue. Here’s the TRICKY PART. In a shop with a glued inside patch you can put the material in place and move it around … line up your dotted line with the tear. Then you can heat the whole shebang with a heat gun and reactivate the patch in the proper place. SLICK! However, on the river it will probably be too hot (in summer), so once the glued patch hits the inside glued surface they are going to stick! So, you have to be very careful and patient in this process. It will not be perfect, but will it add strength to your outside patch? If for some reason you bring the two surfaces together and they don’t stick, get them into place and wipe a small amount of toluene on one surface then bring the surfaces together.

o Repeat the above step for an outside patch. Then, roll the heck out of it. Or, use your smooth rounded tool to apply pressure to the patches. Wait ten minutes and then roll it again. Put some air in the tube so that it takes shape. Wait 30 minutes (or longer if you can) before you fill it up for travel.

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