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How to Repair a Hole in a Coleman Ram-X Canoe

by Gus Stephens
Canoes made of polyethylene like Coleman's Ram-X require special patching technigues.

Canoes made of polyethylene like Coleman's Ram-X require special patching technigues.

Ram-X is Coleman's proprietary name for a variety of high-density polyethylene used to manufacture Coleman canoes. Ram-X also commonly used in canoes and kayaks of other brands under other proprietary names. Ram-X is very impact resistant and has excellent memory characteristics. It can take a beating and rebounds to its original shape when dented, a common occurrence for canoes shooting rapids. Unfortunately, conventional glues, resins and patching materials won't adhere to Ram-X. Repairs to cracks and small holes in slick, high-density polyethylene must be performed with a plastic welder designed for the purpose. A plastic welder resembles a large, pan-head electric soldering iron and operates at approximately the same temperature. Plastic welding kits for repair of polyethylene canoes and kayaks are commercially available.

Scrub the exterior surface of the canoe surrounding the hole with soap and water.

Wipe down the surface with a commercially available plastic surface cleaner. These are commonly composed of a mixture of naptha and petroleum distillates and removes wax, grease and slick mold release agents from molded polyethylene structures.

Cut a piece of wire mesh material large enough to cover the hole or split and overlap the edges by approximately 1 inch.

Melt the wire mesh into the surface of the canoe around all edges of the hole with the plastic welder. Allow it to cool.

Cut a piece of supplied polyethylene filler rod sufficient to cover the hole or split and overlap the edges by approximately 1 inch.

Pre-melt one end of the filler rod material with the plastic welder. Flip the rod over and apply the melted side to the repair area.

Apply the head of the plastic welder to the filler and melt it into the wire mesh already in the surface. Spread the melted filler out using flat surface of the plastic welder. Cut off additional segments of filler rod and melt and spread them to cover the entire area. Make sure the canoe surface and the melted filler plastic get hot enough that they thoroughly melt together.

Continue melting and applying filler rod until the entire repair area is covered.

Items you will need

  • Plastic cleaner
  • Plastic welding kit

About the Author

Gus Stephens has written about aviation, automotive and home technology for 15 years. His articles have appeared in major print outlets such as "Popular Mechanics" and "Invention & Technology." Along the way, Gus earned a Bachelor of Arts in communications. If it flies, drives or just sits on your desk and blinks, he's probably fixed it.

Photo Credits

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