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  • Ultra thin Jon Boat

    I purchased a jon boat with about a 4" split in the bow. I brought the boat to work to fix it, cleaned the area with a nice SS brush, grabbed a 3/32 Aluminum Stick rod, and received the biggest surprise of my life!!!!! Man these boats are thin!!!!!!! For the next two hours I spent grinding filling over and over, and finnaly gave up. Now I have a big mess on my hands and Duck season is less than 1 month away. I have a friend with a Spool gun and plan on fixing it wup with that. I beleive it has .035 wire and I will be running straight Argon.

    I have been reading the post on thin aluminum, but does any one have any aditional tips for me? I am thinking of putting a 1/8" plate on the front, incase I get into some ice, I am sure adding the plate will make it easier to weld, since it will not burn through fast. Thanks in advance, I will be sure to post Pics

  • #2
    SundownIII will know!

    Originally posted by SundownIII View Post
    Don,

    Insightful post.

    One of the reasons I take exception with "guidance" from posters who've never performed a particular repair but are quick to tell someone how to do it is because of all the damage I've seen done by inexperienced "first timer's".

    I've seen so many botched repairs that made "proper repair" almost impossible. If the owner had taken his boat to someone who knew what he was doing, it would have been a simple repair. Almost invariably, the repair becomes much more difficult because some "do it yourselfer" attempted it. You've either got BB's all over the base material, or you've got holes blown in the material. Aluminum that's been exposed to the marine environment presents challenges not encountered in other applications.

    Seriously, after looking at the OP's photos of his practice welds on aluminum, is there anyone on here who thinks he's ready (or will be in the immediate future) to tackle his boat, regardless of the equipment (welder) he has available.

    Thinner aluminum (.10" or so) is tough enough to do properly with mig (got to run so fast). That's when you know what you're dealing with (new, non-fatigued metal). On a used boat, that's nearly never the case.

    Just seen way too many cases where a simple repair became a major project because some inexperienced trigger puller "botched the job". Having "seen someone do it" is not the same as having done it many times over. Would you want someone performing open heart surgery on you because he had seen it done on "General Hospital"?

    Back to watching and laughing at some of the posters here.
    I just HAD to post that! No disrespect meant toward you. He's been welding boats for 40 years. I think he's pretty knowledgeable about it. If you haven't bitten off more than you can chew, it's probably just a hobby.

    I'd say take it to somebody that can TIG weld it, especially if they have boat experience, as it's generally a hard alloy to weld and it gets a lot of contamination not just on the surface, but ground into it from the environment. If you must have your friend do it, I recommend you have him successfully weld a test piece of the same thickness and fitup BEFORE blowing holes in your boat.

    80% of failures are from 20% of causes
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    "Since we cannot know all that there is to be known about anything, we ought to know a little about everything." -Pascal

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    • #3
      I've run into similiar situations where folks would bring me a aluminum intake manifold and they always say the same thing , it should be easy to weld . It always is a ***** when they try to J B weld it first . I tell people if you want me to fix it don't try to do so yourself first , let a pro do it right the first time . Good luck , btw if it were mine I'd tig weld that john boat .
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      • #4
        Originally posted by 2001rotax800 View Post
        I purchased a jon boat with about a 4" split in the bow. I brought the boat to work to fix it, cleaned the area with a nice SS brush, grabbed a 3/32 Aluminum Stick rod, and received the biggest surprise of my life!!!!! Man these boats are thin!!!!!!! For the next two hours I spent grinding filling over and over, and finnaly gave up. Now I have a big mess on my hands and Duck season is less than 1 month away. I have a friend with a Spool gun and plan on fixing it wup with that. I beleive it has .035 wire and I will be running straight Argon.

        I have been reading the post on thin aluminum, but does any one have any aditional tips for me? I am thinking of putting a 1/8" plate on the front, incase I get into some ice, I am sure adding the plate will make it easier to weld, since it will not burn through fast. Thanks in advance, I will be sure to post Pics
        Take the boat to someone who KNOWS how to TIG. They will probable charge more time for cleaning up the mess than they would have to repair the crack.

        I have repaired (TIG) MANY aluminum boats that someone else has tried to repair with a Mig. Maybe some can but I have yet to see it done. Each one would have been 30 minutes to an hour max IF I did not have to grind out and clean up the mess someone else had caused with a MIG.

        I charge the same for grinding as I do for Tigging. Very profitable.

        Griff

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        • #5
          2001,

          After the last thread, not sure I should even comment, what with all the other "experts" on the board.

          Pictures of the boat/crack would be helpful. Your location would also be nice to know. I may be able to recommend someone locally who could help you out.

          One of the things about repairing boats (or whatever) comes from the experience gained in learning the limitations of the welding equipment you have available.

          I've migged a fair amount of aluminum with a spoolgun and the first thing you learn is that it "runs hot and it runs fast". Probably not what you need for the thin gauge aluminum you're dealing with. The reason most knowledgeable posters will recommend tig is because of the ability to "control the heat".

          There are many other factors which enter into how to approach your repair. The first would deal with "why did the crack happen in the first place?". Was it because of a blow, strike, etc or did it crack from fatigue. If it was from fatigue, you've got some serious issues to deal with that probably can't be resolved on an internet board.

          Most jon boats are constructed of a thin gauge aluminum that is very difficult to weld. If you check your own boat, you'll probably find that rivets were employed to fasten it together and that there are few if any welds on the boat.

          Depending on the "crack" involved, the best repair may be a "backing plate" riveted on the back side and sealed with epoxy. The ends of the crack should be drilled to stop the crack from spreading.

          One other comment. Aluminum jon boats don't lend themselves to operation in ice. No matter how you try to reinforce them, there's a major danger involved. There are jon boats built for operation in ice and rocky environments, but they are built with much heavier gauge material than your's I suspect.

          Just my .02
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          • #6
            Originally posted by SundownIII View Post
            2001,

            After the last thread, not sure I should even comment, what with all the other "experts" on the board.

            Pictures of the boat/crack would be helpful. Your location would also be nice to know. I may be able to recommend someone locally who could help you out.

            One of the things about repairing boats (or whatever) comes from the experience gained in learning the limitations of the welding equipment you have available.

            I've migged a fair amount of aluminum with a spoolgun and the first thing you learn is that it "runs hot and it runs fast". Probably not what you need for the thin gauge aluminum you're dealing with. The reason most knowledgeable posters will recommend tig is because of the ability to "control the heat".

            There are many other factors which enter into how to approach your repair. The first would deal with "why did the crack happen in the first place?". Was it because of a blow, strike, etc or did it crack from fatigue. If it was from fatigue, you've got some serious issues to deal with that probably can't be resolved on an internet board.

            Most jon boats are constructed of a thin gauge aluminum that is very difficult to weld. If you check your own boat, you'll probably find that rivets were employed to fasten it together and that there are few if any welds on the boat.

            Depending on the "crack" involved, the best repair may be a "backing plate" riveted on the back side and sealed with epoxy. The ends of the crack should be drilled to stop the crack from spreading.

            One other comment. Aluminum jon boats don't lend themselves to operation in ice. No matter how you try to reinforce them, there's a major danger involved. There are jon boats built for operation in ice and rocky environments, but they are built with much heavier gauge material than your's I suspect.

            Just my .02
            Don't let the "last thread" get you down. You know (and I know) that you know what you are doing. The mouth from the last thread doesn't have a clue what he is doing.

            By the way, I couldn't stand it anymore. I jumped into the last thread this morning. He won't like what I had to say either.


            Griff

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            • #7
              ROLF...the Mouth....I love it. Well, The Mouth didn't like what I had to say either.
              Don


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              • #8
                1st clue... 3/32 stick rod. 2nd clue... jon boat... If you post a pic of the crack and boat, I can probably help with your repair. Make of boat would help.
                Last edited by Steve; 09-14-2008, 10:59 AM.

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                • #9
                  Well I appriciate all responses. I know it is is much easier to take it to someone, that is a no brainer, but I am do it youselfer. I have a vast amount of resources and most of all I wan tot learn how. I realize that Tig is the best, I just have to find a welder here at work to hook me up with a tig torch, they seem hard to come by around here. Everything else is very accessable.

                  The crack happened when they ran the boat up a little to fast and hit the winch on the trailer. about a 4" tear, opened up about 1/8".

                  I too have thought to sandwich the tear with two pieces of aluminum and through bolt or rivet with some type of sealent, or epoxy. I expect to have this boat a while so I thought I would do it right.

                  I did stop by and show a local welding shop and told me to grind all the crap off and bring it back and he would weld it up for $40. Being the season is very close, this is what I will probably do.

                  But that does not help the fact that I want to learn!!!!!!! to TIG. I am pretty experienced in Mig and Stick, just never tried to tig. Looks like it going to be a winter hobbie to learn!!!!!

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                  • #10
                    On your boat is not the place to learn...
                    "If you build it, they will come!"

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                    • #11
                      2001,

                      $40 is a deal for that repair. Jump on it.

                      I don't unwrap my torch and turn on the argon for that price.

                      I admire your desire to learn tig. It is a very versatile welding process. You may want to keep your eyes open for a used Syncrowave 200 or so. They're tough units so they're probably good even if several years old. I just upgraded my Sync 250 to replace a 12 yr old unit.

                      Tig welding will require considerable practice to become proficient. Believe me, it will be a while before you feel comfortable tackling "thin" aluminum.

                      Good luck.
                      Syncrowave 250 DX Tigrunner
                      Dynasty 200 DX
                      Miller XMT 304 w/714D Feeder & Optima Control
                      Miller MM 251 w/Q300 & 30A SG
                      Hobart HH187
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                      Hypertherm PM 600 & 1250
                      Wilton 7"x12" bandsaw
                      PC Dry Cut Saw, Dewalt Chop Saw
                      Milwaukee 8" Metal Cut Saw, Milwaukee Portaband.
                      Thermco and Smith (2) Gas Mixers
                      More grinders than hands

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Marcel Bauer View Post
                        On your boat is not the place to learn...
                        I'll say!!!!

                        I learned on everyone elses

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                        • #13
                          learning to weld on boat is a no no. And definitely not with a 3/32 stick welder and .050" material. Yes those boats are thin and no a mig is not the process of choice TIG is the way to go.
                          Kerry
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                          • #14
                            I agree $40 is a deal. Even after I ground all the weld off and ended up with a hole the size of a softball I took the welder my boat and a couple of pieces of aluminum diamond plate this morning at 6am when I left work. he called me at 2:30 saying I could pick it up. He said it was going to be bit more since there was a lot more welding to be dine with putting that plate all along the front of the boat. $85 was trhe total I unlike many of the stories I read on here don't mind paying, I figure I am still gettting a heck of a deal, it had have taken atleast 3 hours to do all that. So once again thanks for all post's.

                            Guess what I found today at work???????? 3 portable Miller welder's. 2 portable Tig's and 1 251 wirefeed with a aluminum spool gunGuess what I am going to be doing?????????????????? You got, by next duck season I will have converted a rivited jon boat in to an all welded Jon.

                            I will be frequent visitor of this forum, now. Jesse

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 2001rotax800 View Post
                              Guess what I found today at work???????? 3 portable Miller welder's. 2 portable Tig's and 1 251 wirefeed with a aluminum spool gun

                              I will be frequent visitor of this forum, now. Jesse
                              ok, I gotta ask how you just found these at work
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