self bailer to bucket boat conversion? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 04-23-2015   #1
 
Flagstaff, Arizona
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self bailer to bucket boat conversion?

I picked up a 14' Sotar for real cheap that needs some love. Main issue is the drop stitch floor is failing towards the bow. Rather than cutting and gluing it I've been toying around with the idea of converting it into a bucket boat. I know a bunch of folks go the other direction here, BB to SB, but has anybody converted from SB to BB? Sotar quoted me at ~1800 for a new floor, which is more than 3x as much as I paid for the full setup. I'm thinking I could spend less than half that, convert to a bucket boat, and have something that's fun as hell.

Anybody have some insight on this? Terrible idea?

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Old 04-23-2015   #2
 
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why do you need to glue/sew a floor in? i've often thought about cutting the floor out of a BB and throwing two drop bars and maybe a cross bar or two. then put in a mesh or wooden floor like you see on cats. a raft-a-cat of sorts. unconventional of course, but i think you're already on your way to that.

edit- this is assuming you already had a raft frame to add the drop bars to.
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Old 04-23-2015   #3
 
Flagstaff, Arizona
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The existing floor drop stitching is coming apart, so it's progressively delaminating. There's a plywood floor on top of the existing floor that's in there now that seems to have slowed the problem but it's not a fix. Jack's Plastic said they'd be concerned about the floor completely failing on the river. From the handful of conversations I've had it doesn't sound like drop stitch floors can be repaired in a proper sense, just made to work. The repair I've heard most is to cut it open, glue beams to maintain the floor height, glue it back down, and put a big patch over everything.

The raft-a-cat sounds like a fun idea, wonder how something like that would handle in big water.
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Old 04-23-2015   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yesimapirate View Post
why do you need to glue/sew a floor in? i've often thought about cutting the floor out of a BB and throwing two drop bars and maybe a cross bar or two. then put in a mesh or wooden floor like you see on cats. a raft-a-cat of sorts. unconventional of course, but i think you're already on your way to that.

edit- this is assuming you already had a raft frame to add the drop bars to.
This is a cool idea. It won't be as maneuverable as a cat, but if you got a raft with a broken floor, it could be a cool project. It would be kind of like a beefier version of JPW's Mosquito. https://www.jpwinc.com/proddetail.ph...=4306-Mosquito
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Old 04-23-2015   #5
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Its a fine idea if you want a bucket.

If the the floor was glued in, which I'm sure its not, it could be a simple as patching over the bailing holes and calling it a day. That would leave you with a floor that was a little heavy and a little saggy for a bucket but it would be simple.

Since the floor is laced in, it will be a little more involved and there is no reason going into the other options of a glued in conversion. It would be a fairly serious project to do it right. It would involve lots of labor, glue and a big pricey piece of material. I would pull the floor, glue up a floor for you, fit it over the bottom nice and tight, and then glue a piece over that to protect it. Probably run $800 +/-.

The easiest and cheapest way I can think to do it would be to glue strips, probably 4" wide from the flap that covers your floor lacing up onto the floor. That would seal off the floor and voila, you'd have a bucket. You could either just keep your valve closed or pull it and patch over it. It is a little tough to get all the air out if you went with the patch over method but it can be done. Again, you'll end up with a heavier floor but you'd save on materials and labor. It would work well assuming you got all the strips well set and overlapped without leaving tunnels on the overlap for water to get in. It will be looser than a true bucket floor and raised instead of straight off the bottom but it would be cheap and you'd be good at gluing by the end.

On a self bailing note, if you decided to go that route, depending on what model you have, a RMR floor may retrofit well with minor alterations. I just did a 13' SOTAR and the RMR floor fit very well. The floor and webbing was $850 and the labor was $160 to add some grommets to the floor for a better matchup and lace it in. That falls in your half price range and you'd have a new self bailing floor with a warranty.

Give me a buzz if you want to chat about it.
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Old 04-23-2015   #6
 
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I don't claim to have a hyrdo-physics degree, but in my head I've always believed rafts were more susceptible to getting "sucked back in" and flipping on those big holes because of the added surface area the floor presents. Raft-a-cat wouldn't have the same floatation as the SB does, but I would think the carrying capacity would be loosely comparable one of those 14x20 play cats.

I bet it would handle big water just fine if not loaded down.
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Old 04-23-2015   #7
 
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Zach's got a much more professional answer for you. Mine's just a ghetto engineering idea.
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Old 04-23-2015   #8
 
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I used to run my spider with the floor out all the time. Worked great. Different style boat but its worth a shot. My maravia floor took about 10 minutes to remove /install with two people.

You would probably need to add D rings and attach the frame in a cat like manner.

With a cargo net you get some cargo room back.
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Old 04-23-2015   #9
 
Flagstaff, Arizona
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Thanks for all the advice. I'm having everything looked at right now by a local repair shop and they're fixing the tubes for me. Floor remains an open question but you've all given me a bunch more options than I realized I had.
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