DRE Frames vs Cambridge Welding - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 10-17-2019   #1
 
SLC/Sugarhood, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 7
DRE Frames vs Cambridge Welding

I've been a Cambridge Welding Salmon Expedition raft frame guy and recently rowed on a DRE set up. I have a few questions and would love to hear preferences, experiences, etc.:

With the CW frame, does everyone struggle with the captains boxes impeding on the cooler opening and vice versa?

While doing a lot of desert rowing, do DRE users find the check plated decks too hot to touch/store penguin boxes on?

What are the best deck options for CW frames?

Is there any benefit to having a "rest on the tubes" vs "rest on top and in between" the tubes set ups?

Hit me with your likes, dislikes of each.

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Old 10-17-2019   #2
 
Defiance, CO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 189
I don't see how the two are even comparable, Cambridge is custom built to your boat/equipment, DRE is a modular jack of all trades. Kind of an apples/oranges thing


I have rowed a DRE for 20 years now (same frame) and I like the ability to change the frame for different equipment as I replace or have different needs. For instance I upgraded my cooler this year, the size was a little different so I just slid a bar to accommodate. As for decks I ordered just a basic frame and built plywood decks, it's pretty easy to do and with a little maintenance they last a good long while.


The Cambridge stuff looks nice, I have no experience with them so not much to say, custom.
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Old 10-17-2019   #3
 
SLC/Sugarhood, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2019
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Hey Noah,

Thank you for the response. The adaptability is a great feature of the DRE especially if they're lasting 20 yrs +. That's a great point.

I understand the modular vs fixed - but both are custom built to your boat unless you order a standard DRE model like the Gunni 4 (or whatever) or the CW Salmon Small/Large. Then both are standardized.

I guess I am looking for what are the functional differences like stability benefits w/nested tubes vs bolted, accessorizing benefits vs dialing-in down and minimizing. Weight likes/dislikes. Tube rigidity vs adaptability.

I liked the DRE set up a lot and I have enjoyed my CW set up but both have limitations and I am really just looking to hear peoples likes/dislikes similar to your point about life span vs gear changes!
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Old 10-18-2019   #4
 
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2011
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I have one of each. I have a salmon river (CW) frame for my 156R and a DRE frame for my 14' wave destroyer. I haven't used a DRE frame on the round boat. The salmon river frame has the advantages of breaking down very easily for transport, and is bomb proof. One of the biggest weaknesses is the lack of a crossbar at the front of the rowing bay (back of the cooler bay), which makes captains boxes or other stuff kinda hard to strap in well (unless you buy your captains boxes from Cy, which I haven't). I solved that by adding an NRS crossbar there when I think I need it. The DRE frame's adjustability is nice, and is seems solid. My only real issue with the DRE frame is actually with the captains chairs that I got with it. They "lock in" the size of the frame bays you bridge with them (mine are 20" if memory serves) which makes using the coolers and dry boxes I have impossible in those bays without adding additional crossbars, which I do for multi-days. they are also very tall.
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Old 10-18-2019   #5
 
SLC/Sugarhood, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2019
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Grifgav,

Thank you for the response. Have you tried assembling any decks on your CW? If so, what's your likes, dislikes about not having the dbl top bar for longitudinal support behind the towers? I made some out of 1/2 poly and they flex a ton.

Also, what inserts did you use to fit the NRS clamps onto the smaller CW tubes? I like your idea of adding that cross bar but the CW tubes are an odd OD - I think 7/8" ... I forgot.

Anyway, thanks again. I'm torn on if I should sell my CW and customize a DRE this winter or just keep tinkering with the CW to get it dialed in.
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Old 10-18-2019   #6
 
Defiance, CO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 189
Yup just an old Gunny frame, bare bones. Have not ever had problems with my bars moving, the set screws work well with no modification.



Not much weight to it but it is plenty rigid and so are the tubes, have run this in 80K+ CFS Cataract. Tube OD is a factor in the strength of the tube, eg. a 2" OD .120 wall tube will be exponentially stronger than a 1" OD .120 wall tube, there are material data charts you can look at if you want to know the specifics. 2" might be overkill, 1.5" might be overkill but the weight difference is nominal.



I selected this frame because I worked for an outfitter who used them. It was a significant upgrade from the old 2x8 wood frames. They were on the water 150+ days a year. I am sure that at some point they wore out, but I never saw one retired in my 7 years and we abused them.



As Grif points out the captains chairs are made for a specific bay size and that limits adjustibility. I tried one for a short time and it just wasn't for me, thats just a personal choice as I prefer to sit on the drybox with a paco pad.


I am fully techtarded so I don't know how to post pictures, but with minimal effort I built wooden decks that run the length of the frame and strap on. Also a wood front hatch cover that pulls double duty as a camp table. I was able to add a bimini on sliders easily.


The whole thing could be broken down very quickly/easily although I admittedly never do.
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Old 10-18-2019   #7
 
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Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 254
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeltsnBoots View Post
I've been a Cambridge Welding Salmon Expedition raft frame guy and recently rowed on a DRE set up. I have a few questions and would love to hear preferences, experiences, etc.:

With the CW frame, does everyone struggle with the captains boxes impeding on the cooler opening and vice versa?

While doing a lot of desert rowing, do DRE users find the check plated decks too hot to touch/store penguin boxes on?

What are the best deck options for CW frames?

Is there any benefit to having a "rest on the tubes" vs "rest on top and in between" the tubes set ups?

Hit me with your likes, dislikes of each.



I'm a big fan of the Cambridge Salmon frame. It does have some design quirks. I did have issues with the captains boxes but have found that if I use rollercams and tie the cooler back to to the frame it pulls it away from the boxes and I no longer have this issue. There is no great option for decking on the Cambridge frame but I don't have an issue with that as I like to keep it clean and tight on my rig. I did make some custom plates for my frame to attach a bimini to, using some extra material wrapped around the frame bar and some NRS U bolts. You could conceivably do this with the NRS decks and utilize one of the crossbars up front for support. Diagram attached.



As far as resting on top or on top and in between. The in-between will add some structural rigidity, similar to how a thwart would act. In my option this gives the boat better torsional stiffness and allows for increased punching power and responsiveness.
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Old 10-18-2019   #8
 
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeltsnBoots View Post
Grifgav,

Thank you for the response. Have you tried assembling any decks on your CW? If so, what's your likes, dislikes about not having the dbl top bar for longitudinal support behind the towers? I made some out of 1/2 poly and they flex a ton.

Also, what inserts did you use to fit the NRS clamps onto the smaller CW tubes? I like your idea of adding that cross bar but the CW tubes are an odd OD - I think 7/8" ... I forgot.

Anyway, thanks again. I'm torn on if I should sell my CW and customize a DRE this winter or just keep tinkering with the CW to get it dialed in.
I haven't ever tried to build decks onto the sides of the salmon river frame, never really needed to. I do have a small "deck" that holds 3 modified ammo cans. Was made by a local guy who had his own business for awhile (Pulse fabrications) he called them motherboards. Pretty neat system. He works for Maravia now.

I used a piece of 1/2" tubular webbing threaded onto the u-bolt to allow it to clamp onto the galvanized side bars of the CW frame, works great as long as you are careful about tightening the sides up evenly.
including a picture from how I am currently setting it up for a grand canyon trip. In the pic, I hadn't yet installed the bar in front of the cooler, but it does have the motherboard and the trailer frame I built from NRS parts for a second cooler.
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Old 10-18-2019   #9
 
SLC/Sugarhood, Utah
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I like the "motherboards"! Smart Move. Enjoy the ditch!
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Old 10-18-2019   #10
 
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Salt Lake City, Utah
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https://www.nrs.com/product/14061/nr...ded-oar-sleeve


These are what I used to increase the outer diameter of the Salmon River frame to allow for the NRS U bolt to clamp on. I originally used this to attach a bimini, but now am wondering if I can use them to add some decking. The main area I feel is under utilized on the Salmon frame is on the side of the cooler. I normally put square water jugs or a Yeti Roadie 20 in these spaces, but since they rest on the tubes they tend to lean into the cooler and can make opening the main cooler difficult sometimes.
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