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Old 09-12-2008   #11
 
Chip's Avatar
 
SE, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1986
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6 blocks?

Sheesh, boatwoman! (Picture Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction.)

At 15 lbs. or so per block, that's some serious weight.

Funny, but I think my obsessive/compulsive focus on lightweightness comes from having a FS wilderness job where I had to carry everything on my back— not just the usual gear but also metallic science junk and samples: water, snow, etc. Having to ski a spring snowpack in the Wind Rivers with a 95-lb. pack makes you about excess weight.

Still, being basically weak and timid, I druther be rowing a light boat than a heavy one.

Wait'll you see the super-ultimo-featherweight playboat frame I'm going to build this winter. Rummaging in the 6061 aluminum scrap bin at the local junkyard, I found some cool 0.25-inch T-beam and bar stock, and am hacking and filing my way toward the perfect pair of oarstands.

A machinist/welder friend looked over the pieces and told me how to set 'em up for the optimum MIG welding job.

Besides obsessive/compulsiveness, the issue is having to backpack all my stuff up a short but steep-ass trail after running Northgate Canyon.

Got to mobilize

Chip

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Old 09-12-2008   #12
 
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at my house, Montana
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That's funny, I went the opposite direction. When I started boating I was so excited because it has similarities to backpacking (getting in the wilderness, travelling, etc, etc), except you could practically take car camping gear! On this trip, we were running out of time to plan our rigging. So we just put the blocks in. I was thinking next time maybe we could find a way to cut them in half (the tall way) so they didn't take up so much room, we could use less, and weren't so heavy. With better cooler management we could get by with much less ice, and and would love to drop the weight.

In that photo, I had two rocket boxes behind me, the firepan (you know how heavy those are!), the kitchen (we refuse to go anywhere without our cast iron), tables, and chairs. Like I said, a lot of that moved up front.

Don't forget those two plywood decks, plus the plywood cockpit floor and plywood beaver board.

Maybe because this is still only my 3rd year (and I don't know any better), or maybe it's fond muscle memory of a heavy boat on the grand, but I wasn't bothered by it. Actually I used to carry pretty heavy backpacks too (not 95 lbs though, I think I had a 65 -70 lb one at the start of a trip).

We have a plastics place in town, I might consider looking into that for perhaps the beaver board and floor?

The good thing is that rigging worked, my first frame that I put together! Wahoo! Now I'll continue to tweak it, try to drop weight, etc, etc. Still learning. Maybe the perfect frame/oarstands/etc is the one to build next.

Yeah, I'm going to need to keep building frames, as I expect I'll start catting within a few years - for the Lochsa!
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Old 09-12-2008   #13
 
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Cast iron?

You might be livin' in de back-time. But if dat how you likes it, okay wit' me.

Just for fun, I'll do some gear lists with weights for the Deso trip and shoot them your way.

What dat Urethane Failure you keep talkin' bout?

Chip
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Old 09-13-2008   #14
 
thornton, Colorado
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from raymo to chip nice work on cat frame. when you build your own equipment rafting takes on a hole new experence.
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Old 09-13-2008   #15
 
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!!

Yeah, we don't like the non-stick cookware (they have found out it does emit poisonous gases) and practically don't know how to cook on anything else. After this trip, we have debated finding other options...

Urethane failure. when one applies urethane to wood, and it doesn't happen to dry fully, then subsequent coats go on. The sat before we left all of the wood (cargo bay platforms, cockpit floor, beaver board) went in the sun for the fiirst time. BUBBLES!! clearly I had one bad coat underneath quite a few. I ended up scraping it off with a scraper, grinding down with a metal brush on the drill, then sanding. I didn't end up back at the wood, but pretty close. I got one fresh (THIN) coat on before we left. My mistake was trying to use wood that we had. I thought it would be better to use it up than go buy new stuff. So I'd have to sand it a bit more and put on a few more coats of urethane. It didn't go as smooth as I thought. It was near crisis, but not totally, and thank goodness it didn't happen on the river.
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Old 09-13-2008   #16
 
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Ohhh— You mean polyurethane varnish. I was thinking maybe you had raft trouble.

One durable treatment for plywood, etc. against exposure to water and elements is to use a marine-grade epoxy, like the West System products. They sell kits with the basic epoxy resin, with a choice of catalyst (fast-set, slow-set) and also various solvents and fillers. It can be combined with fabrics (fiberglass, kevlar, carbon, dynel) for lay-ups, or just used as a kind of super-varnish.

I made the mistake of using cheap polyester resin (from one of those auto-body repair kits) that looked good at first, but bleached and started to peel away from the edges after a couple years. The marine grade stuff can be had from boatbuilding supply outlets like Jamestown Distributors or West Marine.

I've used both exterior polyurethane varnish and regular spar varnish (Behr Super Spar) for years— they seem to need a light sanding and another coat at regular intervals, when they go milky & dull.

I've got an aluminum dutchoven/frypan/griddle combo pan that I like. Not long since there was a big thread in The Eddy about dutch-oven recipes and lots of related stuff. I like cast-iron too— just not for river trips. Nancy Hess (Jack's sister) told me a story about losing the dutch-oven box off her boat on Cataract (ploop!) Sorta destroyed the plans for major cookery.

Chip

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Old 09-27-2008   #17
 
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SE, Wyoming
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Cat floor tricks

Having decided the wood-framed floor I built several years ago for this boat was shaky, I made a new one of PolyMax grid. I added a center support and 2 SpeedRail tee-E joints (lighter than the wood frame with aluminum channel and bar reinforcement). Since PolyMax comes in 24" x 48" panels and the distance between the cat tubes is 30", it couldn't be symmetrical in both directions. So I trimmed the length of two pieces and cable-tied them together. (I could've rebuilt the frame to 48" inside width, but I like a narrow rig).

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The wide center rib (on the right side) looks sketchy, but so what. The main fasteners holding it to the frame are stainless hoseclamps. The leading edge of the floor (at bottom) has a piece of aluminum channel cable-tied over the edge of the grid, then covered with foam pipe insulation and more cable ties.

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Since hoseclamps have sharp edges, I used some 1/2" vinyl tubing that slides snugly over the clamp band. This is the top view.

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This is the underside. Note that the sharp end of the clamp band slips inside the end of the vinyl tubing. I cut off some of the bands with tin snips, nipped the corners, and filed off the sharp edges.

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This shows two 4 ft. straps woven through the grid and around the bars. Wet the straps and crank it. Otherwise they'll get sloppy. I put the straps where my feet go when I stand up to scout. (It flexes, but not anything like those mesh trampoline floors).

I'm taking it out for a spin next week. We'll see how it stands up to the terrors of class III.

Chip
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Old 09-27-2008   #18
 
Richmond, Virginia
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Frame Noob questions

I am interested in building my next raft frame..... got a cheap Recretec steel frame it has been okay the few times I have used but lack of customization and weight are some issues I have with it. It seems that a ton of excess material was used that wasn't need and I have been thinking of trying to make my own frame. I currently own an Aire Puma and 8' oars.

Chip You mentioned aluminum scrap piles at a junkyard. I live in Va and am wondering if most yards have these scrap piles. Also What O.D. pipe would be the best to use if I plan on using Aluminum. Who makes the best Oar stands that can be moved to accommodate different gear or passenger set-ups. Same goes for foot bars, and seat bars. Love to hear everybodies input. I constantly follow your threads chip and try to get some Ideas from your designs and am really considering using kennel flooring for my dogs. Any input would be great. Thanks
Nick LeReche
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Old 09-27-2008   #19
 
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I was thinking you might be able to cut up the Recretec frame and use some of the parts in a new one. But I think the Recretec/Cambridge Welding steel frames are mostly 1-3/8" OD steel tubing— the size isn't compatible with SpeedRail joints. (Somewhere earlier in this thread is a discussion of the weird sizing for pipe, tubing and SpeedRail joints).

The Aire Puma is not a large boat (11.5 ft?) and you probably won't be running big water with heavy loads. So I'd go with the small size chainlink toprail (about 1-5/16" OD) and SpeedRail 1-inch IPS joints (as shown on this frame) and/or the Sid's Sports steel components (double-rail corners). Raft frames can be more lightly-built than cat frames of the same size, since the raft is all one piece and doesn't exert the twisting stress that two cat tubes do, trying to head off in different directions.

Oarstands are a butt-cramp: the rainbow sort from Sid's are heavy and not adjustable without drilling several holes in the frame. I've got the cast 6-inch NRS oarstands on my playcat, but had to make up the diff between 1-5/16" tubing and the NRS size— 1-5/8". I slit pieces of reinforced plastic hose to fit over the frame and also piled several washers on the u-bolts so I could use acorn nuts on the inboard ends: you don't want an exposed bolt thread there as it could open up a serious gash. They have to be tight to keep the oarstand from rotating. But they are adjustable without buggering up the frame with drilling, setscrew divots, etc.

On a double-rail frame you can use the sort of oarstands shown earlier in this thread, mounted on wood. I've not tried the Clavey or DRE oarstands, but Laura Howe wrote about her Clavey stands earlier in this thread, I think.

I'm making some aluminum oarstands that'll attach with 2 U-bolts each. When they're ready to be welded, I'll post some pics of the parts and the finished pieces. Which leads into your question about aluminum scrap.

If the salvage yard will let you poke about, ask for the bin of 6061 or 6063 alloy. The former is the most common; the latter, with a nicer anodized finish, is what NRS uses for their frame tubes. Our local yard has a lot of small offcuts and scraps of channel, angle, T and I beam, and bar: basic machine shop waste. Usable lengths of schedule 40 pipe are rare to nonexistent. If there are universities, aerospace firms, etc. in your area you might look for a specialised aluminum recycler— call ahead.

But unless you can weld the stuff, the time you put into cutting and shaping the parts, and what it costs for custom welding, will likely be more than buying something ready-made.

There's a good writeup on choosing a frame here:

Riverconnection.com - NAVBAR_TITLE

For designing a frame, you can find a plan view of your raft from a catalog or brochure (or tip it up on its side against a wall and shoot a picture. Dump it into PhotoShop or similar, and superimpose a grid (say 0.5 x 0.5 ft.) Print out copies as needed and sketch away. Nice to have a scaled drawing when you start buying tubing.

If you think you might get a bigger raft, then it could make sense to go with the NRS standard (1-5/8") tubing, which fits both NRS LowePro joints and 1-1/4 inch ips SpeedRail joints. You can reuse the joints and the tubing from your first frame when you build a second one.

Probably the main thing is to sketch and think (and check the web for info) before you spend a bunch of cash and start hacking away.

Have fun!

Chip
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Old 09-28-2008   #20
 
Richmond, Virginia
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 52
question about the tubing...

Is the 1.315 OD tubing the same as 1 3/8 OD tubing?

What do you think about the vinyl coated galvanized tubing? Waste of time or worth the extra $? On the other frame post you have up you mentioned several types of oar stands. Which would work best with the 1 3/8 OD tubing?

Thanks Chip
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