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Old 05-16-2012   #21
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 76
Raft Floors

Good stuff. How wide is your floor? I'm thinking I'll keep it an inch away from the side tubes? Prevent rubbing on the rubber, etc.

Has that been your strategy?

Originally Posted by kengore View Post
More floor stuff. I like the pics from facebutt, however I do a few things differently...

Rather than thin slots I use a hole saw and make an opening large enough to pass the cam strap buckle. I run a router with a 1/4" roundover bit around all the edges and holes for a smooth surface. I arrange the holes in pairs so I can loop the strap down one hole and up through it's neighbor.

I can stick my fingers into the holes deep enough to push a strap through from the top side. Those slots work great if you can thread everything through will the floor is accessable from both sides, but it a PITA if you need to slip one through once the boat is loaded and can't get to the underside.

I got tired of trying to thread stuff through small slots (fat fingers!) and some times I want to run either end of the strap through the floor. I tend to put in lots of tie down points. The holes help water drain and give me flexibility in how I rig.

I am slowly converting over to the loop style cam straps. Instead of a strap with a buckle at one end these are made up of two sections with looped ends and the buckle in the middle. You loop the ends around the frame or floor and cinch them together at the mid point. This way when you untie something the straps stay attached to the boat and are less likely to go for a swim.

I started with marine plywood (better glue and no voids in the plys) I originally used spar varnish but got tired of the up keep. Now I use an alkylid base outdoor patio paint, it seems to hold up better in the water. 2 coats of the patio paint will outlast 6 coats of the spar.

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Old 05-16-2012   #22
Northern Colorado, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 115
Yeah, inside raft width is 43", my floor is 40" wide so I have a little room-no wood chafing on boat.

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Old 05-16-2012   #23
Wondervu, CO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 390
Yup, wood floor is narrower then the rubber. Just make sure it's a wide enough gap that is doesn't become a foot trap.

Gaps that are just narrow enough to force your foot through can grab
your ankles and not let you out.
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Old 05-16-2012   #24
Wadeinthewater's Avatar
Walterville, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 559
Originally Posted by TUNACAT View Post
I'm thinking I'll keep it an inch away from the side tubes? Prevent rubbing on the rubber, etc. Has that been your strategy?
I wrap the edge with pipe insulation held in place with a small diameter cord.
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Old 05-01-2013   #25
jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 15
anybody ever try something called 'tough tread' plywood as an alternative to skidguard?
lots of great information on this thread. i am in the process of building floors for my beater raft 'the red menace'. actually customizing the frame, then will see about picking up some new rubber.
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Old 05-01-2013   #26
Redmond, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1973
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,031
A caution on a suspended floor made of plywood.

I did one in 1981 on a 10 foot yard sale boat with a ripped floor that I cut out. Plywood was well covered on the edges. Wood frame. Nothing special.
Thought I was doing something OK as I had a self-bailer before they were in. Ran Maupin, (3 easy class IV's), once and all seemed fine.
The floor was too low and too tight.
On the Middle Santiam I was sideways drifting along peacefully and went over a barely submerged rock in relatively calm water.

That raft flipped hard. Not like the videos of rafts going over in slow motion after hitting a wave.
Fortunately we were thrown a bit.
Neither the frame or the oars hit us.

Its not every day you almost kill your wife and yourself before you get to have three kids.


I worked on fires for 40 years. Parachuted to them for over 20.
I wouldn't do a suspended floor again.

And that was without even realizing the foot pin hazard between floor and tubes back then.
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Old 05-02-2013   #27
jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 15
thanks billoutwest for the cautionary tale. my floors will mainly be for fishing, but your warning is well taken.
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Old 05-02-2013   #28
East MT, WestMT, Both sides of the Yellowstone
Paddling Since: 09
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,112
No votes for aluminum ? I always say "they ain't building space shuttles out of wood" but I'm a tad biased. I love my aluminum drop floor. Nothing like the sound of crushing your beer cans flat on it. It fits real tight from tube to tube, I didn't build it but I'm pretty sure she's seen some miles like that.
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Old 05-02-2013   #29
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,363
Depends what you're willing to get bashed in the head with, I suppose

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