Here is a crash course in welding bolt holes closed. This is meant to be a brief tutorial to help you decide if it is something you want to take on or not. Welding can be a hit or miss process. If you are not particularly skilled you could very well open up the hole much bigger. If you are not confident you should get help or just duct tape the hole.

You will need a heat gun from the hardware store. This is about $30. Also the once uber specalized plastic welding guns for hundreds of dollars can now be had in el cheapo form at Harbor Freight for about $30. 

If you just cant bring yourself to spend this you can use a propane torch but you must be very skilled with this or you will certainly destroy your boat.  I very very strongly reccomend not attempting to use a torch for anything other than an emergency.  The problem with a torch is that you heat the plastic too fast and will liquify the surface before the plastic underneath is even hot.  Overheating also causes burning which introduces carbon which weakens the weld.  

You will need some strips of linear plastic. You can get these from a broken boat. You can get some from your friend that paddles a brand, uh never mind. In a pinch you can also steal some from the inside edge of your cockpit rim.    Plastic rods for welding can be bought, but using a donor boat will ensure the the plastic is the correct density and material.  

Cut strips a little narrower than a pencil.

Turn your heat gun on its lowest tempature. Roll the "twizzle stick" of linear plastic in your fingers while heating it. Try to apply the heat only to the tip and not the whole piece of plastic. Pre heat until the stick appears warm but not gooey. Stick the stick in your bolt hole and continue to twist it in your fingers. Your goal is is to heat the stick just the slightest bit faster than the surrounding boat plastic. The twisting motion will smear the gooey plastic into the hole and also break off the glob of plastic off in the hole.

Once you have successfully got the hole filled you can quickly use the cold end of the twizzle stick to squish the hot plastic flat to minimize sanding


Once the plastic has cooled you can sand the surface flat to minimize the possibility of snagging or a skirt of your hand. If the surface is exposed and you can get to it a rasp will do a better job than sandpaper. You will need heavy paper like our Mirka sheets.

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