How to Patch a Hypalon Boat
You can do a professional-level repair job by following the step-by-step directions outlined here. This method works on an NRS boat made of Pennel Orca® material, other makers’ Hypalon boats, or any of the other synthetic rubber boat materials.
We recommend Clifton Hypalon Adhesive; it’s a great one-part glue for these materials. Mixing Clifton Hypalon Accelerator with the adhesive significantly increases bond strength and also shortens the cure time. We strongly recommend this combination when you’re making an air-holding patch. It’s also recommended when gluing on accessories that take a lot of stress, like D-rings, carry handles and foot cups. This combination of adhesive and accelerator is what we use to build our top-quality Pennel Orca rafts, catarafts and inflatable kayaks (IK).
Always remember that adhesives and solvents like toluene and acetone are toxic and flammable. Use proper protective safety gear and work in a well-ventilated space.
In this video, Josh from NRS Repairs demonstrates the tips and tricks for a successful, long-lasting repair job.
To find a leak, with the boat inflated, spray on a soapy water solution and look for bubbles. Sometimes really slow leaks won’t show up. To find them, make a solution of glycerin (found at pharmacies) and water; the higher tensile-strength bubbles can pinpoint the slow ones. Cut out the patch with curved or round edges; sharp corners tend to catch and lift.
The three stages of a successful repair are mechanical, chemical and adhesive application. The mechanical is roughening the patch and boat with fine sandpaper to create more grip for the adhesive. Chemical prep is done with a solvent like toluene or acetone, to remove any substances that will interfere with the glue bond. Apply the adhesive in three layers, waiting 10-30 minutes between applications.
After the last layer let the glue reach the “tacky” stage before applying the patch. A very important step in the repair is to use a roller to go over every portion of the patch. This ensures the two glued surfaces thoroughly bond together.