Educate me - Raft floors - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 04-02-2012   #1
 
Riverton, Utah
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 348
Educate me - Raft floors

Ok, so I'm curious about raft floors... primarily in the whitewater rafting context and in a bucket boat. What are their purposes, what do they do for you, what are the made of and how are the made/installed?

Just trying to expand my horizons/knowledge.

Thanks

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Old 04-02-2012   #2
 
Wondervu, CO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: May 2008
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Are you taking about a 'suspended floor' vs the floor that came with the raft?

Suspended floors are floors that hang a few inches above the floor of the raft. The are commonly made of plywood, mesh netting or plastic grate. They are usually hung from the frame tubes with some adjustable cam straps. They provide the following advatages...

1. Prevent the raft floor from being damaged when the floor deforms going over a rock. With out the suspended floor the raft material gets pinched between the rock and your cargo, resulting in tears and leaks.

2. Provide a more stable platform for standing. The raft floor by its self moves around as you put weight on it. For fishing or scouting its nice to be able to stand up on a more stable surface.

3. Provides tie down points for cargo. A well designed suspended floor has lots of holes and slots to attach cam straps. Things like ammo cans are easier to strap down to a rigid flat surface and it keeps the sharp metal corners off your inflatable sections.

4. Keeps your feet drier. In bucket boats and self bailers there is always a few inches of water on the floor. A suspended floor will drain and help give you a dry place for your feet. Not so critical on a nice suny day but a pleasure when its cold out.
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Old 04-02-2012   #3
 
Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 15
If I can sneak in and stuff a couple more questions into this thread...

Best raft floor for standing on and fishing (brand, type)? Best floor for manueverability and holding against currents (anchoring, backtrolling)?

Hope this isn't too much of a hijack...
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Old 04-02-2012   #4
 
Riverton, Utah
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Join Date: Jul 2011
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Thanks kengore... great info. Yes, I'm talking about the suspended floor.

So do they typically cover the whole floor under the frame?
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Old 04-02-2012   #5
 
Wondervu, CO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
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In my boats I don't like to cover the whole floor. It makes the drop floor too big and awkward to transport. I usually end up with a floor that covers the rowers foot area and extends to the pasengers foot space. A total length of about 3 bays. The bays used for big coolers or big dry boxes don't need a floor since the cooler or dry box is hung from straps and fills the whole bay.

For bulk gear like dry bags, camp chairs, tents etc. I prefer using an 'everything bag' from Tuff River Stuff. This is a huge mesh bag with a draw string top that hangs in my rear bay and acts like a suspened floor. I don't need to worry about strapping each item to the boat, I just toss them in the bag and cinch down the top.

The Revolutionary Everything Bag

Each boat seems a little different in design and rigging. It depends a lot on personal choices and the gear you hope to haul. It also tends to get modified over time as I change my mind or rig for a different length trips.

Since I'm a cheap bastard and own some wood working tools my floors are home made from marine plywood and painted with outdoor patio paint (holds up better than spar varnish). I can easily modify the design as I see fit and it doesn't break the bank. I have even added last minute tie points at the put-in using a cordless drill.

Since the suspended floor doesn't touch the raft bottom I don't see how different floors could effect the boats performance. Full length floors might effect how the boat can flex going over an big rock, I would probaly cut a full length floor into 2-3 sections so it could flex with the boat. As for standing, in my experiance 1/2" plywood was too wimpy, 3/4" or 5/8" would be a better choice depending on the distance between supporting straps. I like to cut a lot of holes in the floor to let water drain quickly, maybe 1 1/2" dia. holes at 8" on center each way, in staggered rows. I use a 1/4" radius router bit on all the edges and corners. Make sure the holes are big enough to pass the cam buckles. That many holes will weaken the plywood, so the 3/4" seems about right.
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Old 04-02-2012   #6
Be Like Water
 
Rivertime, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 139
Good advice all around...

Personally I like Jan's Everything Bag. I just made a floor for it out of 3/4" Marine Grade Ply.

Jan has great stuff...go here: river gear whitewater equipment custom sewn products
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Old 04-02-2012   #7
 
jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 16
great info!

I have been combing the nether-regions of the internet looking for this info! Any chance a newbie like me could look at some pics? I have a 14' bucket boat (not for long hopefully) that i want to do a suspended floor in. i'm thinking polymax (plastic grid) material fore and aft for fishing, but i'm still not quite sure how to hang the floor in the cockpit? i'm assuming it has to be hung above the floor bars yes? part of my open cockpit bay includes a smaller footprint for a cooler(?)...kind of a bay within a bay. i have looked for a similar frame and have been unable to find.
any info would be great.
thanks!
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Old 04-29-2012   #8
 
Northern Colorado, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
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Wooden Rafting Things...

I recently finished a drop floor for my super puma raft-it's the first pic with lots of holes strategically placed for repair kit, 2 rocket boxes.... the unfinished piece of wood is the drop floor I'm making for my new SOTAR 15 1/2' raft. I started with a piece of 3/4" plywood, cut it to the size I wanted, sanded the edges smooth... Next is to measure and cut in my holes. Once that is done, I'll treat w/linseed oil.

For floors, since they get so much abuse I prefer to use a thinned application of linseed oil. I put on a couple thin coats and then a couple thicker ones-so long as it doesn't become too sticky-although a little bit of tackiness isn't bad for better foot grip. As the oil wares out, I just slap some more on as opposed to having to fully refinish decking with spar varnish or paint.

The other board w/the two small pieces of wood on the bottom is my cooler invention. For this, I did varnish it because I wanted to avoid the fumes/flavor that linseed oil can give off and varnish seals the wood better in a cooler environment. It goes in the bottom of my galaxy cooler and the block ice goes on top. This keeps the ice out of the melt water and I can keep melt water in my cooler longer before draining- to continue keeping the cooler cool. Yes, this piece of wood does take a bit of cooler space away, but I feel it's worth it with my ice preservation philosophy.

Hope this gives you and others some good ideas.
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Old 04-29-2012   #9
 
wildh2onriver's Avatar
 
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
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Hey Faucet, why not use polymax instead of a varnished wood bottom platform? Less maintenance, same overall idea, yes?

Boiled linseed oil will turn black very quickly in humid conditions because of mold growth, just an FYI in case you didn't already know that.
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Old 04-30-2012   #10
 
Northern Colorado, Colorado
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FYI

Quote:
Originally Posted by wildh2onriver View Post
Hey Faucet, why not use polymax instead of a varnished wood bottom platform? Less maintenance, same overall idea, yes?

Boiled linseed oil will turn black very quickly in humid conditions because of mold growth, just an FYI in case you didn't already know that.
If you're attempting to assert your knowledge, it might be a good idea to carefully read the post you're replying to prior to attempting to do so.
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