From Inflatable to Infallible




Introduction: From Inflatable to Infallible

Hello everyone.
I've always enjoyed fishing, although I'm not very good at it, and a few weeks ago I bought an inflatable boat to go fishing with it. The obvious problem that I faced was the fact that I was on an inflatable boat and at the same time, I was carrying my fishing gear (hooks, blades, scissors, etc).
No one needs to be a genius to realize that what I was doing was completely dangerous, or crazy; not to mention that I had no life-jacket (Shhhhhh...).
Fortunately I had no incidents (and I didn't catch anything), but from that moment on, I decided I had to do something about it, and what I did can be seen in this ible'.
In order to protect the fragile vinyl like boat material, I built a carpet layer that sits on the top of the boat. It goes all the way from the deck, until the border of the boat, where the orange end touches the black bottom of the boat.
This carpet is totally removable. It is not glued to the boat. The reasons why I didn't do this way are:
1) I don't use this boat only for fishing. I also use it for navigating Guanabara Bay, in Rio de Janeiro, where I live;
2) It would be very hard to deflate the boat, or to know the correct inflation point.

I would like to thank a friend of mine, José Resende, who gave me the piece of carpet and glue. Without his help, I would have spent a lot of money to buy these things.

Step 1: Materials

I'm using a boat with a 210Lb. (95Kg.) capacity
It is about 69" / 45" / 10~12" (175cm / 114cm / 25~30cm)

This is what you'll need:
About 9.4ft² (3.1m²) of carpet
Glue for the carpet
SuperGlue for the paper
Screw driver (to open the big glue can)
Scissors (I used a Swiss multi-tool)
Knife (I used a Swiss multi-tool)
Chalk (mine is a bit broken)
A pot
A piece of rope, used to spread the glue. You can use a brush instead, but you'll have to dispose it at the end of the process.

Step 2:

Start by putting several pieces of paper on the "deck" and mark the edges with a pen. Follow the contours.
Glue the pieces of paper all together to make a single piece. Don't forget the nipple to blow air. In this kind of boat, there are two nipples: one on the deck and one on the main body
The type of glue I used for the carpet, and the one I hope you use too, is the type the you have to spread on both pieces to be glued: one of them, on the carpet size, and the other piece, on the bottom side of the carpet. Be patient and let it "dry" for at least 5 minutes (10, if you live in cold countries) before putting the pieces together.
Don't skip this last step!

Step 3:

Place the mould onto the carpet.
Now a piece of advise: depending on the type of chalk you are using, it is easier to score on the fiber side of the carpet, or on the bottom of the carpet where it is sewed and glued. I sarted scoring with a highlighter pen, rather than chalk, and then, I had to score on the back side of the carpet. If you choose to do the same, remember to use the reverse side of the paper mould, or else, when you flip it to the desirable carpet side, it will be like a negative of your mould.
After scoring, cut the piece, but consider some 1" or 3cm clearance from the edge because you will have to make several small cuts around the piece. These cuts will be bent upwards to be glued to the next piece of carpet, that will make the very first inner wall on the boat.
Once again, don't forget the nipple hole.

Step 4:

Do the same with the inner wall: a mould of paper; score this mould into the carpet; cut it giving some clearance, and, the most important: when you come to curved places, use the scissors to cut up to half way down. These cuts will help bending the carpet to the next piece of carpet.
Don't worry if it leaves some unprotected parts of the naked boat. It can be fixed later. I'll show you how.

Step 5:

This is how the side covers look like. To pass that black piece which holds the row, simply score the carpet with the chalk and cut it with a blade or scissors.

Step 6:

The front side of the the boat is kind of tricky, not only because we have to pass that standard white rope attached to a black nipple through the carpet, but also for this part is completely rounded. The sequence of photo shows you how to contour a round piece.
You can see how elevated the side of the carpet is, when its front is touching the nose of the boat (picture 3)
I took picture 4 without flash, so that you can realize how elevated it is through the shadow.
Well, to solve this problem, simply score the carpet where you need to cut (picture 5), cut it (pic 6), spread glue on both parts (pic 7), wait 5 to 10 minutes, and then, glue them together (pic 8), overlapping.
When you do this, you cause a slight shrink on the side of the carpet, making it to curve.
There are many other places on the boat where this procedure needs to be applied. Sometimes you have to do many of them on the same piece..

Step 7:

Just a general hint: the glue chemically reacts with the material of the boat, which seems to be some kind of vinyl.
Try not to let glue touch the boat, only the carpet.

Step 8:

This is how you produce new pieces. The beauty of this is that you don't need to have the exact same boat as the one I have, to do this instructable. By the way, you'll just have to adjust the amount of carpet you are going to use, depending on the size of your boat.
Back to the production, let's say I have to produce one piece to fit pic. 1;
Place a piece of paper right underneath the edges of the surrounding carpet parts (pic. 2);
Score it with a pen, forming some kind of triangle and then, cut the marked part with a pair of scissors (pic. 3)
Place it to the carpet (upwards, if you are going to score the fibers, or backwards, if you are going to score the bottom of the carpet), and score it again, leaving some margin to go underneath the surrounding carpet (pic. 4);
Cut it (pic 5);
Place the cut piece in place, and SCORE AGAIN (pic 6), so that you know where to apply glue (pic 7).
I apply glue like this (pic 8).
LET IT DRY for 5 to 10 minutes, and then, put it back in the same position as picture 6.
Press one part against the other, just to make sure it won't come out.

Step 9:

I didn't take picture of the process on the rear side of the boat, but it is pretty much the same thing. On the whole orange portion you see in this picture, I glued 5 pieces of carpet.
You can see the preliminary result on the other pictures

Step 10: Final Touches

After covering te entire boat (it took me around 10 hours in total), remove the whole piece and flip it over.
Fix some unglued parts (pics 2 and 4) and use the left over material (pic 6) to fix problems like those of pictures 3 and 5.

Step 11: Result

Sorry about the mess...

Step 12: In Action

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    25 Discussions


    4 years ago

    This reminds me of the time my moms boyfriend and I filled a raft with expandable foam. worked great, but we destroyed it.

    Ole bally
    Ole bally

    Reply 7 months ago

    I'm wanting to fill an inflatable boats skirt with foam... Question is how to get it very dense?;


    Reply 4 years ago

    Same happened to this carpet cover :(

    Dom Toretto
    Dom Toretto

    7 years ago

    Do you live by where they shot fast and furious 5???

    Fish Nerd
    Fish Nerd

    7 years ago on Introduction

    I would love to see it in action... Nice work

    camping crazy

    We have an inflatable boat like this we used to fish out of before we got a canoe. This would have been awesome for a little safety.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Indeed. It would only take maybe twice the time, and materials I used, due to the size of your boat.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    very interesting solution for your problem


    I always wanted to take an inflatable like this and fill it full of that two part expanding foam. That would be pretty much infallible.