UHMW Jet Boat: From Welding To Water

Posted: July 6, 2015 in Boat Building, UHMW
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Attaching black-reprocessed UHMW (ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene) to the bottom of a jet boat is one of the most popular UHMW applications for the “advanced” Do-It-Yourselfer. The UHMW is very slick, does not absorb water, and protects the boat bottom from rocks and impact. But this type of project is one of those cases where small business are trying to make a go of doing custom installs for people, making legitimate information on how to actually do it yourself hard to find online. It’s even hard to find good pictures of well-done applications. However, we recently found a good YouTube video that is essentially a slide show of the jet boat from its skeletal frame to being on the water. Good shots of the UHMW in application are at 8:43 into the video.

According to the video description 3/8″ thick UHMW was used, the strips appear to be about 8″ wide and would be the full 10′ length of a standard sheet. UHMW is readily thermoformable, just add perhaps 100 degrees heat to soften it. You’re going to want to attach it right after thermoforming as it will bounce back if you leave it unattached. Attachment is a concerning part of this application as many commentators on the various DIY websites will promote a type of weldable UHMW or adhesive-backed UHMW. Our experience is that mechanical affixation (countersunk holes with bolts) is the only reliable way to affix UHMW. We recommend you do your own research into the application.

You can see the video below:


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