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Old 10-29-2008   #1
MaxPower's Avatar
telluride, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 21
raft frame side decking

i want to put side decking on my raft frame for footing and storage. marine plywood, trex type decking, or what? pros and cons please. thanks for the input.

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Old 10-29-2008   #2
rwhyman's Avatar
Unincorporated Douglas County, Colorado
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Posts: 961
My choice is 3/4 plywood covered with epoxy. Add a little sand to keep it from being too slick.

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Old 10-29-2008   #3
Chip's Avatar
SE, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,098
For cat floors and side decks, I've been using a plastic grid, PolyMax brooder floor, that comes in 2 x 4 ft. panels.

There are some photos in a thread 'More Games with Frames' that's farther down the Gear Talk page.

Advantages: easy to cut, no finishing (varnish, epoxy) necessary, great traction, fast draining, can run a strap through anywhere. More info on where to get it is in an earlier thread: 'Games with Frames'.

Laura Howe (lhowemt) made some nice side decks for her raft frame out of the stuff. Can't recall the thread title, but if you search PolyMax and Dog Decks and posts by lhowemt you should find it.
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Old 10-30-2008   #4
king kong kev's Avatar
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 25
The poultry screen looks good and easy to work with. Any good suggestions for attaching it cleanly to a metal frame? Straps would work, but does anybody have a more permanent answer like a clamp or rivet?
Hey diddle diddle; right down the middle... D. Sallaz
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Old 10-30-2008   #5
Chip's Avatar
SE, Wyoming
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Join Date: Apr 2007
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Best solution I've found (so far) is to use heavy-duty hoseclamps with 1/2" vinyl tubing slipped over the band, which has sharpish edges. You also need to be sure that the screw doesn't poke out where it can meet a boat tube (or bare foot). There are pics on the 'More Games' thread.

Advantages: Strong— I've never had one loosen up or shift. Hoseclamps and vinyl tubing are cheap and available. No need to drill holes in the frame tubing. The position of the deck is simple to adjust.

The NRS straps in the pic are for supporting weight and reducing the flex of the plastic grid, not for holding the grid to the frame. You can also use aluminum tubing, channel, angle, or strap to stiffen things up, with the same caution: keep any sharp edges away from raft fabric or flesh.

The hoseclamp attachment idea also works for plywood decks. If the plywood's thick, you can also use u-bolts with acorn nuts (to cover the sharp ends of the threads).
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Old 10-31-2008   #6
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at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
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On my first frame, I used straps, thread them all over the place, but man was that expensive! On this frame, I've used straps in the "critical" spots, and then zip ties all over the place. It's MUCH cheaper and actually holds the polymax a bit tighter than the straps I've found. I'm sure I'll be losing some eventually, but I keep a few in my repair kit, and have enough on that losing one or two won't be a big deal. I even use zip ties for the hinges of our wood platforms that have storage bays underneath. I thought about hose/pipe clamps, but wanted to avoid them if I could. So far the heavy duty zip ties are working great there too.
I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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Old 10-31-2008   #7
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Unincorporated Douglas County, Colorado
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Posts: 961
On my wood side decks, I've also used HD zip ties with great success. They hold the deck in place very nicely. Them I have a couple loop straps through holes in the deck that go to the frame that I use to strap stuff on the deck. That way, in a flip, the strength of the straps will keep the deck with the raft if some of the zip ties would break. The loop straps are pulled tight and flat on the deck when not being used to eliminate an entrapment issue.
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Old 10-31-2008   #8
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SE, Wyoming
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Posts: 1,098
Cable ties are easy and seem to work pretty well to hold decks, etc. in place that are otherwise supported. That is, I wouldn't use them to bear weight or take much stress.

I've got a tool that draws them tight and then snaps off the tails close to the little ratchet thing. But for attaching decks, etc. it's a good idea to leave a half-inch or so of tail. I've had them loosen up, maybe owing to some stretch in the plastic under load. Nice to be able to cinch them up on the river. Those wee needle-nose Vise-Grip pliers are the ticket.
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Old 10-31-2008   #9
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 21
Raft DEck

I've got two catarafts, and built the first out of plywood which I painted and epoxied. The second I made out of a 12' X10" piece of Trex, and that was way cheaper and is maintenance-free. Just drill holes in the right places and secure with cam straps.
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Old 11-04-2008   #10
coloradopaddler's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 206
Trex decking

Hey man, i was interested in the trex idea and found out that they make a 1 by 12 out of that stuff. is that strong enough to stand on. they sell it as facia and i have to special order it if i want it. it will cross five cross bars on my raft frame within seven feet. i was just wondering if it was rigid enough. they sell it for $67 per 12' at home depot.

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