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Old 10-02-2012   #11
theBoatPeople's Avatar
Danville, California
Paddling Since: 1970
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 190
Floor removal

Hey Spanky-

There are a few opposing things to ponder. On the side against doing it would be the fact that the short waterline won't provide any more buoyancy than a small fishing cat. Obviously it's better if the tubes are 18" rather than 16", and if they are 18" that's enough floatation for one rower. The second thing is that it would be a pain to undo. Third, if it is a Wing, it's worth a lot of money and will drop in value if the floor is removed.
Last on the con-side is that if the bucket floor is more or less level with the bottom of the tubes, the remainder that you leave behind is in the wrong position to mount a self bailing floor (if you can even find one without paying a fortune for a custom job). Ideally, the grommet strip for a six inch thick floor would be 3" to 4" higher than the tube bottom. Otherwise, a self bailing floor matt installed on a strip that's level with the tube bottom will end up poking down 3" below the tubes. That's bad for several reasons: a) it will wear down fast, b) it will definitely make the boat flippy (I have first hand & upside down experience with weird floor designs), and c) it effectively ends up more like a raft with a 3" thick floor with a resulting low weight capacity again.
On the pro-side, the bad thing is that the floor on your boat is either partially, or completely glued on even though the rest of the boat is welded. So it may come off on it's own some day soon, as would the part you left behind for a grommet strip. Removing the floor would stop you from having to try to find eddies to stop & bail the boat out, which would be nice.
That said, one of my favorite old boats is still an ancient Sunrunner 10' bucket boat. It's been down some fairly continuous runs solo with me rowing, and with paddling buddies too.

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Old 10-02-2012   #12
kikii875's Avatar
Orem, Utah
Paddling Since: 1969
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 207
I have also been thinking about doing this to a boat. My one problem is the $ for a frame with the drop bars. They wouldn't have to be but half way down on the tubes. All of the motorized S rigs on the Grand are donuts with no floor. We used to run frames that went a little less than half way down the tubes, but the frames now go about 60% down. Keeps the coolers colder. Either way as long as you have the straps going from the bottom corners of the drop bars around to the to of the frame it will keep it very stable.

You had me at 'Hey, Row'
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Old 10-02-2012   #13
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 883

Tube diameter is the key here to ascertaining what kind of load capacity this will provide.

Think of it in these terms. A typical 16' NRS cat has 25" tubes that are relatively parallel to the surface of the water -- providing maybe 13' of waterline and a great deal of displacement compared to a 14' bucket with 18" tubes (and maybe 12' of full waterline). As a result, you may well wind up with far less floatation, even with the curved portion of the bucket's tubes providing some lift. Of course if you chop a 16' or 18' bucket with 20" or 22" tubes, then the equation shifts.


Rich Phillips
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Old 10-02-2012   #14
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 3
Originally Posted by Swank View Post
I had a 14' AVON bucket that I bought off my buddy Terry that they had gotten fed up with and cut the bottom out of. It had an oar frame and did pretty well. Depends on what you want to run with it. In the attached photo you can see me flipping Terry off on a Pumphouse run we did together. I did load it up on another Pumphouse trip with boxes, cooler, a passenger, camping gear, and it did great. My setup had the rear box behind me (not shown in photo) hanging a bit low and it scraped on a couple rocks. A mesh floor slung higher up on the frame and raft with a big drybag would have been great back there. My second attachment is of it on the trip in which they got tired of the bottom and cut it out. They had it really loaded for a long float and 2 people. Check out the awesome DIY canopy. I had no part in that trip.

Attachment 5198

Attachment 5199

I was on the trip when we cut the bottom out of that boat. Cisco to Moab. Absolutely epic trip for lots of these type incidents. Those two guys got stuck against a wall in a class 3 forever before they finally broke free and we managed to drag the boat over to shore. The entire raft filled up with water. There was about 6 of us bailing for quite a while before Terry lost his patience and started cutting the floor out.
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Old 10-03-2012   #15
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 332
The idea I have been toying with to make a self bailing conversion is as follows.
Using a #4 grommet punch and die and place bailing holes around the edge of the floor is the same fashion as a self bailer. Then by a lg piece of PVC material and some round swim noodles, the round skinny floats that are used as pool toys. Then, using a Speedy Stitcher attach the Pvc to the top of the old floor. Now place the noodle and do another line of stitching to create a pocket. and repeat. If you used two pieces to pvc and left an access point in the middle of the boat you could install and remove the noodles as needed.
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Old 10-03-2012   #16
yesimapirate's Avatar
Denver-ish, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 739
Originally Posted by Avatard View Post
Get a fleet of old bailers, cut out the floors and then stack four high so it really obstructs your vision and makes it be able to handle any whitewater
Stack-o-donu-cats! Now that would definitely out perform CC's!
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Old 10-03-2012   #17
welch, Oklahoma
Paddling Since: 1976
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 207
Actually about 40 years ago I believe Charlie Sands raft company in Jackson Hole Wy cut the floors out of his 18" rafts and used Marine plywood and cover the plywood with out door carpet Then they used 2"STRAPS TO HOLD THE FLOOR up and ridge .
That was the first self bailer I had ever seen.
Novel idea worked great
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Old 10-03-2012   #18
welch, Oklahoma
Paddling Since: 1976
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 207
the straps went around the tubes and the floor was about 4-6 inches above the water
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Old 10-05-2012   #19
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 71
8'4" self bailer---just one example of a successful floor removal/retrofit

Ran Colorado/Ladore in a fully loaded,floorless 14' ,many years ago,and many other sizes,over 30 seasons.The big determining factors are (a)condition/construction of the remaining outside tubes(they will now be taking on more abuse---are they up to the task?);(b)tube diameter;(c)modifications needed to frame and/or boat to secure frame(a major mistake many folks do who try this,poorly);(d)you understand a reduction in carrying capacity,over the bucket floor,is likely.We take each boat on as a one-off custom project,with no pre-conceived ideas.

The previous buzzers who compare the loads carried, to a smaller cat,are on the right path,but we go one step further---consider a boat at full load,to be at 50% of total diameter,in water,so how flat,or how curved the bow/stern are,do now play into the load ability---more than a tapered cat tube.

Here is a recent build;original boat was a great hypalon rubber dinghy,8'4" x 4' x 12" tubes,w/a rotted out floor.Had the original motor mount,and 4.5' oars/pins for trolling.Boat had a printed rating of 3 person/3hp/540 lbs,with its bucket floor intact.

After frame build(only 39"x56"x 6" drop---1/2 of 12" tube diameter),it was rigged to 400lbs,one person,and it was easy to stand up,fly fish/class 3-4 whitewater in---super stable,with a roomy 2' interior---boatsman legs arent stretched out!the boat can be powered by kayak paddle/original oar setup/motor--gas or elec/solar.

Again,each boat is unique,as well as the owners load needs---this was a fly fishing/whitewater/lake cruising, mini-mini me raft IK hybrid.

this was just built/shown at Down Rivers Fall Sale for $600(boat,frame,original oars and motor mount,pump,one thwart--no cam straps)--still available.

dont mean to sound like an ad,with that last line,but wanted to show otherwise,a concrete example,of the process to think thru/build it correctly the first time....
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