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Old 12-12-2007   #11
West of Boulder, CO
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 96
Forgot to mention: I convinced my wife we needed another boat (the 14' cat) because IT WAS FOR HER! Now the challenge lies in convincing her to let me use it now and then....

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Old 12-13-2007   #12
DanRauer's Avatar
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 137
If you are going to go with a Jacks Plastic boat, give Ron at Riverboat Works in Salida a call. He is a Jacks dealer and will cut you a deal on the whole package. I have had him build me a few frames and they are always the nicest frames on the river. He uses 1 7/8" tubing and slip joints so you can move stuff around etc. Downriver frames are nice too and made of the same material, they just generally cost alittle more. Check out Roverboat and give that a thought. I have been 110% happy with him and will always go to him for frame even if I am out of state. The only frames I have seen that I did not like at all were AAA Inflatable frames. The ones I have seen are 1 1/2", but for some reason the squeak like hell, which would drive me nuts.

Hope this helps. The first thing you need to consider is the type or material you want. Sotar makes nice steel ones with sweetass webbing floors.

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Old 12-14-2007   #13
Wishing I was back in Colorado, Vermont
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 16
AAA Inflatables frames

I got my entire package from AAA in Denver a few years ago and have had no problem with the squeaking that was mentioned above. Mark and Judy were great and customized the boat to what I wanted. Best of all, it breaks down entirely so I can change it as I search for just the right set up. I have a 14' cat with a 4 bay frame that works well as a good compromise between extended and day trips.

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Old 12-15-2007   #14
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SE, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,098
Buy or Build?

I'm a stellar fan of Jack's cat tubes: we've got four sets and despite all manner of hairball runs over almost twenty years have never had a puncture. Tough, and beautiful.

I build cat frames (for my boats, not for sale). It's fun and costs 1/4 - 1/3 what you'll pay for a DRE or NRS cat frame (both excellent and highly recommended).

If you look at the 'Similar Threads' box below the last post on this thread, you'll see 'Games with Frames'. Scroll through and you'll find specs for homebuilding and sources for materials. On p.2 you'll find photos of a homebuilt frame for a 15 ft. Jack's Flyer Cat with 19" tubes. It's been down our local runs hundreds of times, Deso (high water), Lodore, and Northgate Canyon on the North Platte, with no problem whatsoever.

Using galvanized chainlink toprail tubing and SpeedRail joints, I've only had one bollix and that was an ultralight frame with only one front cross tube (both footbar and frame member- risky). One end torqued loose in a hole, but I pulled into an eddy and fixed it in a jiff. Twisting loads are a problem. I rebuilt the frame with two front crossmembers.

On the Grand Canyon, the combination of heavy loads and many rapids can be tough on frames. So whatever you choose, check the joints and especially the straps that hold the frame to the tubes. A loose strap can break under a shock load and cause other straps to fail.

Jack himself had a bunch of straps blow on Lava Falls— he was rowing his sister's Daddy Cat through and some straps were evidently loose. Spooky. It's easy to pull up to camp and unload and start the booze-up without checking your rig. But a quick go-round with a wrench and a jerk on every crucial strap doesn't take much time, and you'll sleep easier.

In any event, good luck—

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Old 12-15-2007   #15
DanRauer's Avatar
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 137
I have also looked into building my own frames. When it comes to that, I decided that having someone that builds frames for a living makes me sleep better. Yes, tightening bolts and straps does too.
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Old 12-17-2007   #16
four corners, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 102
Building your own!


That is some GREAT work; it's obvious you have invested lots of time and thought into building frames. I'm trying to decide whether to buy a frame or start a new "project." It looks like fun trying to build your own frame, I'm just not sure how well I would do.

Are there any odd tools required for building one of these frames? Do you need a welder?

Thanks for sharing your ideas!

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