August 25, 2006
The unusually cool weather this week made me start thinking about fixing that torn drysuit neck gasket. I ordered a new gasket from Kayak Academy some time ago. I decided against purchasing the entire "repair kit", thinking that I already had a tube of Aquaseal and I could figure the rest out on my own. It turns out that the repair kit would have made things easier, but eventually I was able to quickly put my own kit together. The steps are:
1. Cut the torn neck gasket out, leaving the inch that overlaps the fabric in place. In my case, since the old gasket was already a replacement gasket that had been glued onto the original gasket, I just pealed the torn gasket cleanly off and sanded the remaining 1 inch of the neck with 120 grit sandpaper.
2. Cut out a DISC and RING that will be used to clamp the new gasket in place. The disc is about 9.5 in in diameter. To determine the diameter I just placed the new neck gasket on a surface and traced the edges. I cut an old plastic cutting board with a saber saw to make the disc and ring. I thought about using plywood but Aquaseal doesn't stick to the plastic. The ring is the same diameter as the disc but 1 inch wide.
3. Place the disc inside the drysuit and tape the remaining neck edges to the edges of the disc so that they lie flat. You can use double-sided tape. I used duct tape folded over.
4. Use double sided tape to stick the ring to the outside border of the new neck gasket. Again I used small pieces of duct tape folded over. You have to be careful of duct tape though because after clamping overnight it can be difficult to get the duct tape off without stressing the new bond between the new gasket and suit.
5. Clean the mating surfaces of the neck and new gasket with rubbing alcohol. This removes any oils from the neck and traces of mold release compound from the new gasket. Allow to dry.
5. Spread a generous bead of Aquaseal around the remaining 1 inch of the old neck gasket. Use a gloved finger. By the way, between uses Aquaseal is best stored in the freezer.
6. Place the new neck gasket carefully over the old neck gasket. The plastic ring helps the new neck gasket in place and flat against the neck of the drysuit. After carefully adjusting the position so the new gasket lies flat against the suit, and making sure that there are absolutely no wrinkles, clamp the ring and disc together with several clamps.
7. Allow to cure overnight.
8. Unclamp and peal off any excess Aquaseal. Trim the new gasket to size.
A more detailed version of these instructions comes with the gaskets supplied by Kayak Academy.