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Old 12-08-2015   #1
InflatableSteve's Avatar
Cave Creek, Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 671
Homemade cat tubes?

Curious if any of you have made your own cataraft tubes from scratch. If so please share as many details as possible including where you got the material, what design you used total cost....



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Old 12-08-2015   #2
Coastal, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 258
Yup almost everday

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Old 12-08-2015   #3
wonderment, enlightened
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jun 2015
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Seems strange you have time to produce anything with all the time you spend "not advertising" on the buzz.
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Old 12-08-2015   #4
Coastal, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 258
Lots of machine programming starting at 4 in the morning,in the shop all day and CAD in the evenings until about midnight. A day in the life, occasionally I will rest my brain and make a post here to irritate you dragonfly. Damn I just realized who you are,you were on the Rogue on turkey day, have cousins who drive shuttle down there
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Old 12-09-2015   #5
InflatableSteve's Avatar
Cave Creek, Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 671
I am thinking of doing a small cat. Probably 12', 18-20" with medium rise. Made out of whatever decent material I can get my hands on. I want to keep things simple, so probably one chamber tubes.

I can't seem to find any info about the process at all. Tones of info about building frames, but anything about making tubes seems to be buried.

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Old 12-09-2015   #6
2kanzam's Avatar
Charleston, West Virginny
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 461
I'd like to see/hear something too.

I have a few olds boats lying around that I've considered cannabalizing for this very thing when I need to get rid of some old glue.
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Old 12-09-2015   #7
slickhorn's Avatar
Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 365
There's a reason boats are welded these days. Glued seams are an art -- they are perhaps more forgiving than the one-time-only hand feeding material into a welder, which, if you blow it, hoses your curvature or symmetry.

But older glued seam boats were often segmented so as not to deal with a single full-length seam. Prep work must be exceptional. 2-part stabond only.

Once the tube is roughly assembled and valved and all, you can put it on pressure and use a heat gun to massage smooth seams around your curves.

Talking to guys at sotar, different colors weld differently. mix d rings and base fabric, the combo of colors dictates the weld.

The folks I know who have done this start with small models to figure out the rough pattern ratios. Then they build mockups in lighter material to get a handle for the technique.

I've always wanted to build a set, but doubt my ability. If you go for it, please share! Best of luck.
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Old 12-09-2015   #8
zbaird's Avatar
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 884
Get some material and build a thwart or something small and "simple" first if you haven't already. If it goes well, start designing your cat tubes and buy the material for those. Building a boat from scratch is a whole different animal than doing repairs, even major ones, on an existing boat. Building cat tubes will be a serious undertaking but if you can confidently build a thwart you can do it. I would suggest PVC since it will be cheaper and easier to prep. If you are confident you can do it, you could build a thwart that is the diameter of the tubes you are looking to build. If it goes well you could build off of that thwart and make a 3 chamber tube. That would keep you from wasting the material and give you a multi chamber tube which would be better in the long run. Buy a good respirator and change the cartridges often.
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Old 12-09-2015   #9
Steamboat, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 582
These guys pretty much hand made all of their gear, save for maybe their paddle blades.
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It's a good day to be a duck....
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Old 12-09-2015   #10
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Delta, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1971
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 161
A few years back we ran into a really nice family in a Russian paddle cat. He was from Russia and learned to run rivers on homemade gear. His mom was the river runner and she traded vodka for truck tarps at a truck stop and used soccer balls sewn in the tubes for flotation home made wooden frame and such. He had a wooden dry box, tent he made, a beautiful Titanium wood stove ( again traded vodka for work in a military plane factory.) They run an outdoor school in the northeast teaching these skills. We traded boats for a few minutes, the paddle cat was very quick and easy to paddle. We could all learn form people like them. Where there is a will there is a way!

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