REPAIR & STORAGE TIPS
Updated: Jan 22, 2019
Why is there never enough time to do it right, but always time to do it over?
Kyle Overman, Maravia National Service Center Manager, knows a thing or two about building and repairing boats. He’s been building and repairing them for 25+ years, when he isn't out getting splashy on them. Kyle loves to do it right and hates to do it twice he lives by the rule of two: prep and patience.
The most important step for a good boat patch is to make sure your gluing surface is adequately prepared.
A good gluing surface has been carefully sanded and is very clean. The idea with sanding is to lightly roughen the gluing surface and create a better glue bond – not to remove the urethane coating. A roughened surface opens up more “sites” for the glue to bond. Sometimes a quick rub with MEK will make the sanding go a little quicker. When you finish sanding, clean the area thoroughly, making sure to clear any sandpaper grit. A good wipe with just a little MEK will do the trick.
The patience part comes when you apply the glue. Take the time to apply the glue in two very thin, even coats and wait for the first coat to dry completely. Don’t goober a ton of glue onto your patch and boat. More glue does not mean a better bond! In fact, more glue usually means more air bubbles which can result in a poor bond.
Take particular care in these two areas, follow the repair instructions that come with your boat and our patch job should be a permanent, worry-free part of your boat.
Know your Repair Kit
All too often, river runners don’t open their repair kits until they need them. We all wish for the raft repair fairies to arrive when something unforeseen happens on the river unfortunately for us they are having so too much fun chasing butterflies to assist. So without their help it is most important that you are familiar with your kit’s contents and the proper procedures for boat repair so you can get yourself back on the river to get splashy with it.
At the beginning of each river season it is important to restock adhesive and cleaning solvents with fresh supplies. Most adhesives have a one to two year shelf from the date of manufacturing. A little tip, if you shake your glue and do not hear it sloshing around it is bad. Your kit does not come with MEK but you should have it and it does evaporate. Store in a well vented area when you aren't on the river, it will save the rest of your repair kit if you do. Like with Spring cleaning we need to freshen up our repair kits too.
In addition to traditional repair kit contents, consider some additional items – just in case. Tools such as a pair of scissors, oil pencil, a screwdriver (a Leatherman type tool does the trick nicely), a spare valve and valve wrench, and a spare oar lock can come in handy for even the most seasoned river runner. A small battery powered dremel tool from your local hardware store is the ultimate sanding device. The trip of a lifetime on the No-Tell-Em River in Alaska may call for any one of these tools any time.
At some point in your infamous river running career, right there in your own personal highlight film, will be a sequence where your boat inexplicably develops a mind of its own and inexorably moves directly toward a ripper rock that could pierce the armor on a Sherman Tank. Despite your best intentions, this unintended series of events could potentially lead to a large tear in the tube, which means a repair on the river. That is why you need to know about the “butterfly.”
In patching a large tear on a raft, they key is bringing the cut edges back together, then installing an air-tight patch. Instead of using a full-length patch for the inside of the tear, cut several strips of fabric 3 inches wide by ¾ inch long. (Maravia 3-inch bias tape works wonders.) Glue each strip every 6 inches, center to center, on the inside of the tear, pulling the cut edges together. Be sure to prep the inside of the tube, as well as each butterfly patch. Apply the adhesive as detailed in the repair kit instructions.
After the butterflies have been installed on the inside, place a large outside patch covering the tear. Take your time prepping and positioning the outside patch; this is your air-tight seal. Be sure to let the fresh adhesive cure for about an hour prior to low pressure inflation. After 24 hours, you can pump the tube to normal operating pressure.
Repair Kit Contents
Repair fabric to match your boat 10" x 15"
Floor Material 10" x 15"
3” bias tape 8'
Clifton adhesive 4 oz.
Valve wrench w/ pusher (A tool to smooth out the patch after applying)
Cheesecloth to wipe prepped surfaces with cleaning solvent
Not included in Maravia Repair Kit but should be added
MEK (Methyl Ethyl Ketone solvent/cleaner)
Channel locks or pliers
Screwdrivers – regular head and Phillips
Maravia multi-valve wrench
Extra oarlock with keeper pins
Extra thole pin and clip set
Repair instructions from the manufacturer
Pen and oil pencil