I built my first 3-bay frame 9 years ago and used the heck out of it for 8 seasons. I'd still be using it, but I just sold it with the raft I built it for.
I used 1 1/4" EMT electrical conduit. It's roughly 1 5/8" OD; just slightly bigger than top rail.
I made a nesting Ham radio mast (geek alert!) with 3/4" EMT, 1" EMT, 1.375" top rail, and 1.5" EMT conduit. The 1.375" top rail was by far the softest and most easily bent of the four materials.
I'd advocate dropping down a size to the 1" EMT and definitely adding a second side rail, or up a size to the 1.25" nominal, 1 5/8" actual OD EMT conduit and the side rails would be optional.
It did make black marks on the tubes, but no worse than un-anodized aluminum. Its replacement will get painted or clear-coated.
Originally Posted by Spanky
You are right it suck welding the galv. Take a deep breath and weld....
Do not weld this stuff indoors or in an enclosed area.
Weld it outdoors with a mild breeze. Orient yourself so there's a good crosswind in your work area--wind at your back will eddy the fumes up under your hood. Wind in your face will blow them directly at you.
A welding-specific respirator isn't a bad idea. They make ones that fit under a welding hood.
Drink milk after welding. The milk fat will bind any zinc that does get into your bloodstream so you can poop it out.
Let me know how the paint works out, that stuff looks bomber.
I'm curious if POR sticks well to the shiny galvanized, or if the galv will require either an acid etch or a self-etching primer to stick.
EMT is often shipped with a light layer of oil. Do plan to give it a minimum of an acetone or alcohol wipe before painting.
Waiting for my electrician buddy to give me some bender time, and then I'll do a build thread on mine.