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Old 06-02-2011   #11
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 427
If you wanna go cheap and functional build it yourself. I used galvanized line posts for my crossbars to be uber cheap. Alum. is better(lighter, stronger, will corrode less) but more expensive and more risky if you are cutting and fabricating for the first time. I used speedrail fittings from grainger, pipe from home depot, and some NRS stuff I had on hand. I run 2 drop bags with plywood dance floors on top. Just got off the Owyhee on a multi-day and the frame performed flawlessly. If you don't want to build yourself, stay away from DRE/AAA/Clavey/NRS and call Gary at rowframe. His frames are as good or better and cost way less and he even includes things like oar locks, etc. Good luck...

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Old 06-02-2011   #12
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 166
Build it your self. The only thing I farm out is the swages. I have a bender, but any custom auto shop can do that pretty cheap. A raft frame only has 4 bends anyway. I have tried to bend a DRE type seat..... not worth the time. DRE even farms that one out. I like DRE towers, others do not. I have made towers from Garys stuff at rowframe, and they work great, and are cheap.

If you do not want to screw with any of it, Gary at rowframe will build you a very substantial frame at a great price. I have been real happy with his cast alum T's and other material. His charges to me were less than half of other shops, and even less than wholesale fence suppliers. The connecting peices do add up on a custom build.

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Old 06-02-2011   #13
Cpt. No Scout
idahofloater's Avatar
In a Van, Down By the River
Paddling Since: 91
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 517
If I didn't know excatlly what I wanted, then I go for an NRS frame. Just cuz they can be moded easily. And people seem to buy them used, if ya end up hating on it.
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Old 06-02-2011   #14
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Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 296
DRE AAA, NRS, Clavey etc all use 6063 anodized tubing, Gary uses 6061 non anodized. Gary's tubing is actually quite a bit stronger and lighter than the competition, but they do mark up your boat a bit (eventually the anodizing on pricier tubes wear off and mark a boat too) 6061 is what NRS markets as their "unbendable" frame rails. For what I do 6063 is plenty tough, and looks nice. That's what I went with. There's a place in Denver has anodized 6063 for less than $3 a foot (usually $6-$7)

The one thing I don't like about the DRE frames is that you have to add all the fittings you think you may ever need when you build the frame (for rear seat, floors, lean bars etc) as they make the bends out of one piece so you can't add or remove fittings. not a big deal if you don't use fishing accessories but unwieldy if you use your frame for both fishing and whitewater.

Gary is an engineer who used to own an AL extrusion, casting and fabrication business, making railings, ladders etc for industrial applications as well as 0ar towers and other parts for Hyside, River Boat works etc. He still makes his own fittings, that are as good as any out there, and sells them for $5 a piece. He doesn't have his bending stuff set up at the moment as he is building a fireproof shed in the back yard (apparently he had a tendancy to burn down a building or two while welding...sure there's a good campfire story there.

If all this is too confusing, just call Gary and order his 3 or 4 bay double rail frame, and sit on a cooler for now. you can add any of the DRE, AAA, River Boat Works niceties at a later point, but have a perfectly working frame for now. just make sure you measure the the frame to the outside of the chafers and to the inside of the chafers for the inner rail. It seems preferable to me to have both rails of a double rail frame to rest evenly on the tubes.
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Old 06-02-2011   #15
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,136
Originally Posted by BmfnL View Post
Commission a custom bike frame builder to go to town with titanium. AND a series of specialized trailer frames - one to hold kegs on ice, one with a stationary bike that powers a water cannon turret, one that is a solar powered waterproof sound system, one that suspends a hammock...

This from the guy with the narrowest cat frame EVER built!

I agree with titanium.

Brian, I will be on the RF on Sunday, know you said you work weekends but not sure when, could do an evening run. Also up for the RF or Crystal on Monday. 303-589-302one
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Old 06-02-2011   #16
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 3
Originally Posted by idahofloater View Post
If I didn't know excatlly what I wanted, then I go for an NRS frame. Just cuz they can be moded easily. And people seem to buy them used, if ya end up hating on it.
I have to agree. With all the parts/pieces you can get from NRS, the possibilities are endless. A drill, hacksaw, and a pile of cash means you can fab just about anything you can dream of...
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Old 06-02-2011   #17
Newberg, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 287
[QUOTE=Whoapiglet;231643]DRE AAA, NRS, Clavey etc all use 6063 NRS Frames are made from 6061 not 6063
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Old 06-02-2011   #18
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Up North, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,150
You could fairly easily make your own frame using the various DRE/Speedrail type fittings. 1 1/4 NPS Schedule 40 6061-T aluminum pipe (NRS type with actual spec outside Diamter of 1.66 inches) is $2.75 per foot at Everett Steel (they have another shop down your way I think) I just costed it this week for a job project. I know that you can learn how to use a chop saw with carbide blade and a hand drill, and measure tape if you don't already. If you can use these 2 tools, you are basically set. THe real deal is determining what dimensions you want to build not building it. I bet for a 12 pack you could get someone from WRRR to loan the tools and even give you a lesson in their proper usage. You can buy it by the foot, don't even need to by the standard 20' stick, and for 1$ per cut, I think they will even chop all the lengths out for you at Everett Steel. Plus Brian in the Everett Warehouse is a very nice dude with a fabulous soul patch. Then all you need is the hand drill with step-drill bit (cheap at Harbor Frieght) and you are set. Hell you can get a chop saw for $40 off craigslist, throw a carbide tipped blade on there and you are cutting like butter.
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Old 06-02-2011   #19
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portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,188
Just make sure you have a good way to clamp the pipe to the fence and keep your hands away from the blade. I use the built in hold down clamp plus another clamp to clamp it against the back of the fence. Use a high tooth count blade and go real slow with the chop saw.

You might want to use the NRS pipe anyhow as it's anodized so it doesn't leave frame marks. You can order from Nrs cut to size
Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it "guaranteed", I will. I got spare time.
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Old 06-02-2011   #20
shappattack's Avatar
Up North, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,150
I never have understood this "frame mark" issue. I have been using a non-anodized frame for my cat and rafts for 9 years, there are a few marks, but nothing to get my panties in a wadd. Also you don't need a high tooth count blade to cut aluminum pipe. A standard general blade will work perfecly fine. You don't need to clamp it to make a safe cut, although you need a good fence to hold it against. I have proably cut 1,000 feet of 6061 with a standard chop saw, I've even cut it with a 12" speed square and a skill saw, clamping a 2x4 to a bench to make a fence to hold up against and that method works pretty good too. With all tools, you need to know how to properly operate them etc. etc., while a chop saw or skill saw are fairly easy to operate safely, you can also fairly easily loose a finger or a hand or much worse.
Good luck

Pic of my raft after proably 60+ days of use of a non-anodized frame, man them marks are huge! You can hardly seem them through the dirt. Plus you have an aire raft, the whole dam outer skin is one big chafe strip, a few marks aint going to hurt it a bit. But of course lots of folks have shiny SUVs with 4x4 that stay entirly on the pavement their entire lives.
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