Is this idea crazy? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 04-16-2010   #1
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 32
Is this idea crazy?

I have a welded frame for my 14' Miwok. This makes it a little difficult to expand the frame. For instance, I'd like to add a front rail that would support a seat over the front thwart and/or hold a dry box with thwart removed. The existing front rail, which sits just behind the thwart, is solid, with bends on either end. Not being a welder, I need some piece of add-on technology.

I've looked at the various railing products such as KleeKlamp that have hinged ends to go over exsiting rails, and they just look flimsy to me. I have read with interest Zorba's posts and have reviewed his website where he sells the side rail attachments machined (quite beautifully) from aluminum, and figured the "spud free" version could be attached to my front rail at one end and the new front rail at the other, and solve my problem. Beautiful, elegant, but I'm a cheap SOB when it comes to this boat.

I am, however, a woodworker. I cutting veggies last night on my cutting board made from UHMW polyethylene, and had an idea. Rip such a cutting board to approx. 2" strips, laminate several strips (which are about 1/2" thick) with epoxy and mechanical fasteners (screws, nuts/bolts) and have a 2" x 1" (or maybe 1.5") piece of UHMW (this would be far cheaper than buying 2" thick UHMW). At each end, using a hole saw in the drill press, drill a semi-circle of appropriate size to my tubes (as close to 1.66" as possible), attached to tubes with U-bolts, and then screw my new front bench seat to the UHMW.

A cheap solution, or an accident waiting to happen?

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Old 04-16-2010   #2
Carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1970
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 377
My gut feeling from working with UHMW is that nothing sticks to it. Better to try and find a solid piece I think, but you could try. If you are a woodworker how about using teak?
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Old 04-16-2010   #3
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 32
I could certainly fabricate the piece out of teak, but I'm worried about its durability. Where frame rides over the tubes, via a semi-circular cut, the thickness of wood is at its minimum. The u-bolts would concentrate the stresses or wracking over this thinnest portion of the wood, and solid wood subjected to wracking stresses fails catastrophically or not at all. A more flexible material might deform a bit, but would hopefully not separate. Laminated wood products have better physical properties than most solid woods, but still tend to suffer failure catastrophically. Think of the way a piece of plywood bends then, upon cracking the outer laminations just falls apart.

On the other hand, the problem would be potentially solved by a thicker piece of wood, which would have the effect of raising the front seat a little bit. That is not necessarily a bad thing since, in rowing mode, this raft is used for fly fishing (from a seated position by all but the bravest passengers).
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Old 04-16-2010   #4
Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 623
I've had good results "expanding" day frames to carry gear for short multi-day trips using simple 2x4 planks. Usually 6' lengths work well. So, you put your day frame in the boat, put a plank in front and behind the frame, strapping it in place using opposing d-rings. A drop bag goes nicely between the frame and the plank, rocket boxes, or another cooler drops in nicely, and a table holds it all in place, and makes a nice seat. Super simple, not much to fuss with, and fairly effective. It's also kind of nice to be able to have the boat flex a little bit, rather than being totally stiff with frame end to end.
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Old 04-17-2010   #5
Paonia, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 9
sounds like more work than it needs to be

hey, I am all for cheep franken frames, but why not just make a another rectangle that fits all the way across the boat, " add a bay stile" and mount what ever you want in or on it.
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Old 04-17-2010   #6
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Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 173
I think Luce has the right idea with just adding a bay. Even if you bought one its still fairly cheap.

Like so: Down River Equipment
If you are lucky enough to be in the mountains, you are lucky enough.
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Old 04-18-2010   #7
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 32
Thanks, Luce, sometimes the easiest solution is the hardest to see.

Next question, if I built a rectangular add-on bay, rested it across the thwart, strapped it to the front of the exsiting frame as well as either to the thwart or to d-rings, do you think it would be sturdy enough to take it to the next level, and add a casting platform and thigh bar? I don't really need an answer to that question at the moment, cuz what I'm gonna do is assemble the add-on bay and just test its stability for myself. But would still appreciate any opinions.
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