How To Restore An Old Jon Boat

Old aluminum jon boats can usually be found in almost any fisherman's garage, in their shed, in their yard or at the end of their dock. They are a great boat to have for fishing on smaller lakes and rivers or for duck hunting. As these boats age, though, they can lose their shine and sometimes lose some of the rivets that help hold the seams together, which can cause small leaks. You can restore your old jon boat and make it like new again with just a few tools and a little bit of work. See below for instructions on how to restore your jon boat.

Materials Needed:

  • Sawhorses
  • Permanent marker
  • Fine grit sandpaper or sanding blocks
  • Buffer
  • Hammer
  • Soap and water
  • Aluminum primer
  • Aluminum paint
  • Paint brushes or paint sprayer

Instructions For Repairing The Rivets:

  1. Grab a buddy and lift the jon boat onto the sawhorses. Fill the bottom of the boat with water and check beneath to see if any of the rivets are leaking. If you notice any leaks, mark the rivets with the permanent marker. 
  2. Drain the water from the boat and continue.
  3. For loose rivets, hammer the top and the bottom of the rivet to secure it back into place. Have your buddy help you again with this. Your buddy can hammer the top while you hold the rivet in place at the bottom with your hammer.
  4. For missing rivets, replace them with aluminum rivets, which can be found at your local hardware store. You'll need your buddy to help tap them in.
  5. Repeat the process to check for leaks again. Be sure all of your rivets are secure and tightly in place.

Paint, Polish And Buff Instructions:

  1. Have your buddy help turn the jon boat over, so the bottom of the boat is facing up. Be sure the boat is steady and doesn't move back and forth at all. Use blocks to help secure it if need be.
  2. Be sure the boat is completely dry before moving forward.
  3. Begin sanding the bottom of the boat using fine grit sand paper or sanding blocks. Work in small sections and remove any paint and debris that is on your boat. Be sure not to press too firmly, as you don't want to leave deep scratches. 
  4. Once you have the entire bottom of the boat sanded, use the buffer to buff and polish the boat.
  5. Use a bucket filled with soap and water and wash the boat down to get rid of any sanding debris. Rinse the boat and allow it to dry completely.
  6. Apply an aluminum primer to the boat first using either a brush or a sprayer and allow it to dry completely.
  7. Next, apply paint to the boat. Use aluminum paint on the boat using a brush or a sprayer and apply a second coat if necessary. Allow the paint to dry and cure for at least 24 hours before using. Touch up in any areas if necessary.
  8. You can apply a clear coat to the boat if you'd like to. The clear coat will help prevent scratches and help protect the paint. Apply it just as you did the primer and paint.

Enjoy your newly restored boat. For more information on the care of jon boats, contact companies like LSK Marine.