Patching a hole in aluminum

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Spud, Sep 30, 2007.

  1. Spud
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Missouri

    Spud Junior Member

    I have an Alumacraft utility boat that has had a small hole punched in the side a little below the gunnel by being run into a sharp corner on a dock. The hole is about 3/4 inch long and 1/8 wide in the center of a shallow crease made by the impact.

    The prior owner offered to have it welded closed but it is near a seat filled with foam. If the foam is combustible welding wouldn't be the best approach. Is welding appropriate? Is there a filler (bondo or something) I could use to close this above water, no stress hole successfully?
     
  2. DanishBagger
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    DanishBagger Never Again

    As usual: Caveat Emptor: I'm not a naval architecht.

    Were it my boat, I would rip out the foam and have it welded. As much as I like epoxy, I would prefer it to be done properly, and in this context, this means welding.

    I'd remove the foam, bang out the dent, and have it welded and faired.

    Andre, Denmark
     
  3. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    Of course you cant epoxy a hole in alluminuim. Strip out the foam hammer it out and weld up the hole, fair up the hull and paint --As Danish said.
     
  4. Jratte
    Joined: Jul 2007
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    Jratte Junior Member

    About epoxying a hole in aluminum, Check out the new line of G/Flex epoxy from West Systems. In the latest issue of epoxy works they did just what you need, they patched an aluminum boat using epoxy and fiberglass. You can view the article for free online as well as subscribe to the magazine for free. best of luck.

    http://www.epoxyworks.com/
     
  5. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    SamSam Senior Member

    A small hole way above the waterline can always be left as it is. Next is to put a decal over it. JB Weld putty from an auto parts store will patch the hole, too.
    http://jbweld.net/index.php
     
  6. DanishBagger
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    DanishBagger Never Again

    Well, SamSam, that sounds mighty shipshape …
     
  7. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    A decal is much more shipshapier than duct tape. "Rigging" is also a valid and useful nautical term. I try and keep boating and upkeep balanced. Boating I enjoy, extraneous upkeep, not so much.
     
  8. Spud
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Spud Junior Member

    Thanks mates

    I'll explore all these options. Have to admit though that SamSam's suggestion of using an easy filler like the jbweld and a decal or paint, which I'm going to have to do anyway, appeals if for no other reason than that I really want this boat to be shipshapey - not to mention that I don't know the guy who offered to weld it.

    I think just hammering the crease outward will significantly reduce the hole and even if the plug eventually fails, a decal will hold.

    Please see my earlier thread about tearing the seats out and restructuring the boat, too. Sounds to me like you guys have some answers, whether you know what you're talking about or not - that makes you a whole lot like me! I'd sure give your responses to that thread a fair shake in figuring out what to do and appreciate your efforts in the bargain.
     
  9. DanishBagger
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    DanishBagger Never Again

    Seems like we define the word "shipshape" differently from one another. Looks like you guys define it as "looking 'salty'" whereas I define it more in the sense "fit for the (high) seas".

    Guess it did matter (after all) that english isn't my native tongue :–(

    What do you do if you have water ingress into the foam you mentioned? Even if the foam is "close-celled" it _will_ absorb water in time.

    Or, lets say you hit the same place again? Since it happened at a dock, that to me means that it - at some point - might happen again at exactly the same place (on the boat, that is). Are you happy to have just a wee bit of plaster and a decal there?

    Heck! Why not get it welded and then get a huge "bumper" all the way around:

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Bergalia
    Joined: Aug 2005
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    Bergalia Senior Member

    Patching hole in aluminium


    We must forgive these 'colonials' Danish...The correct use of the English language is not their strong point...(can't really think what is....) :D
     
  11. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    Mr. Bagger, I like the tug.
    Mr Berg, Ha! Au contraire! I demur! Us rustics over here sometimes pay attention. The thread is about "Patching hole in aluminium".

    "Fixing it up ****" is another category entirely, and best left to the experts to whom I acquiesce. :)
     
  12. Spud
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Spud Junior Member

    Now we're getting somewhere. Between jratte's lead to West's new epoxy, samsam's jbweld suggestion, and the strength of Danishbagger's advice to weld the hole, I've picked up almost everything I need to know for the whole project except how to remove the bench seat the foam is under. Can't get to it to rip it out as it is too close to the hull to access it. I can drill out the rivets, but expect the seat was also glued. If so, would gentle heat break the glue?

    BTW, I also stumbled across a product Cabela's has called a Hippo Patch. They claim it will adhere to any surface and provide a waterproof patch. It's cheap and easily sized for the job. Anybody have any experience with it?

    Oh, and one other thing - Danish Bagger's rubber bumper idea is great and I'll do my best to find one. I really like the look of his boat, but do I have to go to Denmark to find a skipper that good looking?
     
  13. Bergalia
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    Bergalia Senior Member

    Patching hole in aluminium

    Pedant.....:D :D :D
     
  14. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    In some other thread someone was saying too much heat would maybe distort the aluminum. Judicious use of gentle heat, a putty knife and a hammer might work to separate the two. 3M's 5200 adhesive plus rivets would probably work on the reasembly.
    As far as your other thread about redecorating the interior, just be aware that the chemicals in pressure treated wood will corrode aluminum.
     

  15. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    I'm going to look it up but I am not one of those perverts!
     
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