Whether sifting through sand, or scrambling over a rocky shore, it's about finding treasures in every day. 

A Tool Repair with Splash Zone

You know when you find a tool that works perfectly and you think that you will have it for a lifetime? I have had this shovel for 35 years, and I love it. It is the right size for a woman to shovel snow without injuring herself. At 13 inches wide it fits along the side deck of the boat. It is plastic so it is light and it doesn't gouge boat finishes or camper roofs.

It has the perfect angle! This is a biggy, and I don't know why I can't find another one with the correct angle. I can stand upright and fling snow off of the roof of the boat. Most newer shovels make you bend down and hurt your back.

But after decades of winter use this shovel has two cracks. It is worth repairing, and I am using Z-Spar Splash Zone to do the job.

Splash Zone is a two part epoxy-polyamide mastic. What I have found is that this stuff sticks like crazy and holds up under difficult conditions. It can be applied to metal underwater, as confirmed by a fisherman I know. He used it to repair the oil pan on his boat engine. The repair was made underwater in oily conditions and it held for the life of the boat.

Splash Zone is on our "Absolutely Necessary" list for the boat.

I don't see any recommendation for using Splash Zone for plastic repairs on the label, but I once used it to repair the plastic water tank on a roller. You know, the type of heavy equipment roller used in paving. The roller needed to run the next day, and was down for the count when one of the guys demolished the water tank when he backed a loader into it. My sweetie and I fit the pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle and glued them with Splash Zone. The roller was on the job the next day.

So here's the kit for the shovel repair - the hand shovel, not an excavator.

  • Cotton cloth and paper towels are not shown
  • Permanent marker, not shown
  • Set of Z-Spar Splash Zone
  • Paint key and rubber mallet (Really! Splash Zone is somewhat expensive, so be nice to the cans.)
  • Sandpaper
  • The dead pen and cap are tools for pressing the mastic down into grooves where my fingers don't fit
  • Several sets of nitrile or latex gloves. Yep, it can be a messy process
  • Water in a disposable container - in this case a cut-off plastic water bottle

Here we go...

  • Sand the area where the Splash Zone will be applied.
  • Clean the area with a damp cloth. Allow to dry.
  • Read the can for prep and cleaning recommendations if you are doing metal, concrete, or other surfaces.


  • Open one can of Splash Zone and then write the color on the lid. Do the same with the other lid. This prevents mixing up the lids and contaminating the (kinda spendy) product.
  • Put on gloves and dip your hands into the water. Wet your gloves often through the process. This keeps theSplash Zone from sticking to your gloves too much. If your gloves get nasty then pull them off inside out and put new gloves on.
  • Grab a glob of yellow with one hand and a glob of black the same size with the other hand. This way you don't contaminate the tins of (did I mention expensive?) Splash Zone.

Mixing just started. Splash Zone will be olive green when thoroughly mixed.

  • Knead the globs together until the Splash Zone is a uniform olive green color.
  • Pull off a manageable piece and shape it so that it will apply smoothly to the surface.
  • Splash Zone needs to be applied at least 1/8" thick.
  • Apply with firm pressure, pushing it along to prevent the formation of air or water bubbles.
  • When adding another glob, start it on the Splash Zone that has already been applied and then work it out onto the surface being repaired.
  • Wet your fingers again.
  • Smooth the Splash Zone out with wet, gloved hands.
  • Wipe up the edges or splatters with damp paper towels.
  • Cure time varies depending on temperature and how thickly the Splash Zone is applied.

To reinforce the repair I applied Splash Zone to the back of the shovel. The pen cap was the right size to work the mastic into the groove. I added more, pressed it in firmly with my fingers, and smoothed it with wet gloves.

I filled and covered the long crack, and then made sure to cover the small sideways crack. On the back of the shovel put in some extra fill in an effort to reinforce the ageing shovel.

I pounded the lids back onto the Splash Zone with the mallet. The cans went back into the box with several sets of gloves for convenience. Splash Zone has a reserved space on the boat. If we need to make emergency repairs then we know right where it is.

If you have an amusing repair story that includes mastic then click the comments button and tell me about it!

May the cracks in your life be easily repaired,

Alaska Beachcomber

More on repairing older equipment: Skiff Rebuild

Making do with what's available: Always Improvising

Boat safety stuff: Go Box