quick question re: Shrink Wrap seams (heat weld or tape?) - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 4 Old 11-21-2008 Thread Starter
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quick question re: Shrink Wrap seams (heat weld or tape?)

I am going to be shrink wrapping a large boat for the first time today. Support structure is built, everything is ready to go, borrowed torch, etc.

I have Dr shrink in 24' wide roll, but I need to cover a ~40' wide area (well 26' wide but (2) 10' tall sides), meaning one main seam that has to be strong and waterproof.


-should I just overlap a foot or two and heat-weld the two pieces together / OR should I use shrink tape? (I have one roll of 6" wide tape) If I use shrink tape should I overlap (a foot or two, or?) the 2 pieces or tape them edge to edge?

-should I try to attach the two sections together on the ground or once they are in place? - I am worried about being able to get a successful seam because either approach has downsides-
-If I heat weld the 2 pieces together on the ground, I think that the material might shrink significantly towards the (center) seam especially because the sides are not held in place by a bottom band...making the entire piece possibly not "long enough"- also this will be a large piece to try to maneuver into place.
-If the two pieces are spread over the structure separately, the only access will then be from the inside. I am not sure about being able to "pat" the two sections together if I were trying to do a heat weld in this case, and taping the entire seam (whether or not there was an overlap) could be quite a challenge...

-also how well would the tape stick to wood (framework of structure, equivalent of "bottom band")
I know that the correct approach is to fold the bottom of the shrink wrap up over the bottom band and heat weld the two pieces together, but in some places this won't be possible


Last edited by purvisgs; 11-21-2008 at 02:45 PM.
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post #2 of 4 Old 11-21-2008
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Do you have one of those torches that resembles a hot air balloon blower on a broom handle??


Those things are scary!!
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post #3 of 4 Old 11-21-2008
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I've only done my own 3 times so I'm certainly no expert but I can give you what I think are a few definite answers to some of your questions. First .... 1 seam - Trivia.... try two masts and a million (seems like) stays crammed into 33' for your first attempt as I did a couple years ago ..... now there's some seams .... No I won't show you any pictures I have never seen any of the pro's or the amatures at my marina do the seam attachment in the parking lot because as you suspect it will throw the whole thing off if you heat it..... although thinking back now on some of the mega-yachts being done by pro's they do use some pieces that look like they are 50' feet - but you can buy it that big.... so I'm not sure. I always use tape for my seams and then apply some heat for a better stick..... a few inches overlap on the main seams you are talking about but just butt joint taping for the masts and stays. Your concern about making the main seam on your boat can be handled by laying out the first piece, tacking it here and there to steady it, then leaving the second piece folded or rolled with just the flap you need for the joint and then you can tape and heat easily because the whole thing is within reach from the outside - and then tape and heat from the inside for a real good joint. Caution watch out when you are using the torch inside because an unbelievable amount of heat is trapped and It WILL Melt its Own Chimney Yes I made a nice big chimney around my mast the first year Oh ya.. the shrink tape does stick very good to just about everything - even better on the things you don't want it to

'Christy Leigh'
NC 331
Wickford/Narragansett Bay RI
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post #4 of 4 Old 11-21-2008 Thread Starter
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thank you for the tips-

so far, it looks like it will come together pretty well (about 1/2 done)
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