Fishing kayaks are designed to take a lot of abuse, but even the toughest plastic craft picks up some dings along the way. Luckily, it’s easy to fix scratches, grooves and gouges on your polyethylene kayak with this simple DIY technique from Chad Hoover. Using only a spoon and a propane torch Hoover shows how to smooth out imperfections until his hull looks as good as new. His only warning? “Do not lick a hot spoon!”
How to Fix Scratches, Grooves and Gouges
First, heat up the hull area in question with a propane torch. Hoover says you can use a heat gun instead, “but it takes twice as long as if you do it with one of these little Coleman torches.” As a commenter notes, this is also more affordable than buying a Hobie KC Welder, though you won’t get the Hobie-colored rod stock that comes with it.
Once the plastic begins to soften, lick the bottom side of your spoon and use the rounded surface to smooth out the damage. Hoover demonstrates how to use the spoon to smooth over scratches, grooves and gouges. You can also dip the spoon in water, but Hoover says that saliva does a better job of not sticking to the heated plastic. Of course, this opens up the possibility that you might accidentally lick a hot spoon—so be careful!
This Fix is for Rotomolded Boats Only
One more word of caution: This technique is for use with rotomolded polyethylene boats only; do not attempt to heat up a thermoformed or polypropylene kayak. If you do, Hoover warns, “it’s going to look like you melted a paper bag in a campfire.”