Thinking out loud about aluminum
June 13, 2021 03:30PM
Aluminum boats are the most durable by far. Second place--what ever it is--lags far behind on the durability scale.

Aluminum does have its drawbacks, some of which don't add up to much. Aluminum hulls can be noisy and they are said to be extra cold in cold weather. Most commercially made aluminum drift boats tend to be quite heavy.

Perhaps the biggest drawback relates to aluminum's softness as a metal. Aluminum scratches and deforms slightly when a heavy boat scrapes over the bottom of a shallow riffle. Aluminum boats really do "stick to the rocks" more tenaciously than other boats. Many aluminum drift boat owners trowel on a layer of "GloveIt" which is a thick epoxy--in order to make their boats slide over shallow rocks more easily.

But gloveit and the like chip off easily and need to be maintained frequently, which tends to take the wind out of aluminum's durability sails. Would it make sense to prep an aluminum bottom with solvent and fine sand paper, and then laminate a layer of light fabric on the outside bottom? It might last a lot longer than straight GloveIt.

And if you ever needed to remove it you could turn the boat on its side, heat the inside bottom with a large propane torch and peel that fiberglass off like a banana peel.
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