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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had speed rail frame a few years on a Aire Trib 9.5. No issues rowing up to class IV. And I like it. However, I never pinned the speed rails, yet never had one slip, so this year I'm going to reinforce it on the Ts where the seat and foot bar is and pin it. To be honest, I never finished the foot bar, so it never was an issue being unpinned. That's also a project: finish the footbar.

OK, now the real question. I have 90° elbows at the end, I'm wondering if I can use either Fasco or JB Weld and epoxy them to the outside rails. I'd keep the set screws in place. So the expoxy would in theory be another security feature keeping everything permanent. Essentially a cold weld.

My rationale... 1) epoxy is strong if properly applied 2) the set screws have lasted 4 years without expoxy 3) the set screws plus epoxy is basically a (cold) welded frame.

I'm hoping someone else tried this and I'm curious of the results. I don't want to ruin a $250 investment that will probably cost $400 to replace. I'm not too concerned about it being a break down frame. Unless I'm flying it in, I can roof top it or put it on extended trunk bike rack or in my van. It isn't that big (54x50). If I was regularly breaking it down, I think speed rail is a poor choice and Lo-Pros are better.
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I have spent a bunch of time messing about with epoxy, and even though under normal conditions and limited UV exposure it is a forever fix, it does have a few Achilles heels, pretty much UV light and heat. If you heat epoxy it will soften and can be removed. I think JB weld can handle a significant amount of heat. You could epoxy it in, and then if you ever need to break it loose heat it above 150 (heat gun, hairdryer) and then back them out. Set screws are easy to strip, so I would suggest a better allen key with higher tolerances to get a really tight fit.
The big epoxy companies (west and system 3, Total Boat ( Jamestown boat distributors)) have a pretty wide range of resins, hardeners and additives. I am a fan of West systems stuff. I am not saying they are the best, but it is what I have used, I get their system, and I have had very few non user caused issues. For this I would use a regular resin, regular hardener so 105 resin, 206 hardener, and 406 silica micro beads to thicken the epoxy. If you wanted to have a small amount you could also use the gflex thickened epoxy syringe too 655-1 G/flex Syringe West does have outstanding customer support, and will give you a ton of guidance. They did not bat an eyelid when I asked for help epoxying an eyebolt into a bowling ball for a physics class.
 

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I need to break mine down occasionally, I drilled and pinned the corners. My frame is older and twice now the allen head of a set screw cracked/stripped, drilling them out is a chore so now I replace them every couple of years. Note that I removed the set screws on the pinned corner pieces, there is a thread here somewhere (Games with frames maybe?) where somebody said that a drilled/pinned speedrail fitting + set screw tension caused the fitting to crack.

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So, not really contributing much in terms of epoxy use on the frame...
 

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oh heck yeah. Aluminum sometimes needs to be etched, but if there is a "tooth" slightly rougher surface it binds really well. For a bunch of marine applications folks will just drill a hole for the fastener, and fill with epoxy and bed the fastener in that and it binds really well. I have done fiberglass to steel to repair a gigantic hole in the floor board in an old jeep.
 

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I just put some SS sheet metal screws in the existing holes in the fitting with some lock tight. I can't see the set screw and the SS screws causing the fitting to pull away. The SS screw is smaller than the diameter of the existing hole in the fitting so it will not crack the fitting.
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I always want to hear other people's ideas and see what people did before potentially doing something irreversibly stupid.

Epoxy will definitely bond to aluminum. I'm somewhat experienced using epoxy though I am not an expert.As an example of epoxy holding in adverse conditions under constant loading I've got a rear full time rear view camera on my van on a aluminum bracket (angle) expoxied to the fiberglass roof of the van for 5 years. No issues. My front screen (mirror) for that camera is also in the sun 100% of the days and it's expoxied to the windshield. To be fair, the windshield blocks some of the UV. Neither has moved or is going anywhere. And a lot of aluminum in my van is expoxied together.

My welder is flux core and you absolutely can't weld aluminum with it. There simply isn't a aluminum flux. So if I work with aluminum I work with epoxy.I believe for aluminum Fasco epoxy is better than JB weld. I also work with Gflex on my royalex, poly and Kevlar canoes. Gflex is amazing stuff as someone mentioned. Hell, I've got Gflex holding some slightly imperfect diesel fuel line couplers together sans leaks. Stuff is impervious to diesel and has enough flex to resist cracking.

The question really is what epoxy? It's (galvanized) steel to anodized aluminum. Gflex isn't a bad idea. The flex would be a positive. Fasco probably has the best bond between dissimilar materials and on aluminum. JB Weld I didn't realize was weak to heat. I've heard it being used to fix engine blocks but I like being able to undo it while gaining the security of it.

Anyone have a final verdict?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I need to break mine down occasionally, I drilled and pinned the corners. My frame is older and twice now the allen head of a set screw cracked/stripped, drilling them out is a chore so now I replace them every couple of years. Note that I removed the set screws on the pinned corner pieces, there is a thread here somewhere (Games with frames maybe?) where somebody said that a drilled/pinned speedrail fitting + set screw tension caused the fitting to crack.

View attachment 72645

So, not really contributing much in terms of epoxy use on the frame...
I'd have to look at my frame (again just to be sure) but I think I can't pin my elbows like that. Which is why I want to do epoxy. I believe my screws go in on the sides (where your pins are) and my pins would then go into the tubes. If I could do it like yours, I'd probably be ok with it and call it a day, since that's how my T's will be. The whole point is to make sure there is as close to zero chance of failure in any situation as possible.
 

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I drilled mine at a 45 degree angle, the way my fittings are cast, there is a horizontal seam that I didn't want to drill through. If I had the set screws on the side I would use the set screw hole as a guide and drill the fitting horizontally. I think a quality (flex) epoxy would also work and/or dimple the pipe where the set screws go and use red loctite on the threads.

Food for thought:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
This is why I'm leaning towards epoxy as well. While any permanent fixing will stress the speed rail fittings, I feel like epoxy should distribute the stress on the fittings more evenly over the entire area. This should make stress fractures less likely. Drilling the rails makes it more likely a fracture will occur.

One thing I haven't fully considered is if my seat or foot bar fitting fails/fractures, and my ends are epoxied, it would make it tough or impossible to replace them. A low-pro based seat bar would be the simplest solution. I'm leaning this combo with my cat frame.


I drilled mine at a 45 degree angle, the way my fittings are cast, there is a horizontal seam that I didn't want to drill through. If I had the set screws on the side I would use the set screw hole as a guide and drill the fitting horizontally. I think a quality (flex) epoxy would also work and/or dimple the pipe where the set screws go and use red loctite on the threads.

Food for thought:
 

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I always want to hear other people's ideas and see what people did before potentially doing something irreversibly stupid.

Epoxy will definitely bond to aluminum. I'm somewhat experienced using epoxy though I am not an expert.As an example of epoxy holding in adverse conditions under constant loading I've got a rear full time rear view camera on my van on a aluminum bracket (angle) expoxied to the fiberglass roof of the van for 5 years. No issues. My front screen (mirror) for that camera is also in the sun 100% of the days and it's expoxied to the windshield. To be fair, the windshield blocks some of the UV. Neither has moved or is going anywhere. And a lot of aluminum in my van is expoxied together.

My welder is flux core and you absolutely can't weld aluminum with it. There simply isn't a aluminum flux. So if I work with aluminum I work with epoxy.I believe for aluminum Fasco epoxy is better than JB weld. I also work with Gflex on my royalex, poly and Kevlar canoes. Gflex is amazing stuff as someone mentioned. Hell, I've got Gflex holding some slightly imperfect diesel fuel line couplers together sans leaks. Stuff is impervious to diesel and has enough flex to resist cracking.

The question really is what epoxy? It's (galvanized) steel to anodized aluminum. Gflex isn't a bad idea. The flex would be a positive. Fasco probably has the best bond between dissimilar materials and on aluminum. JB Weld I didn't realize was weak to heat. I've heard it being used to fix engine blocks but I like being able to undo it while gaining the security of it.

Anyone have a final verdict?
Oops, my bad, regular jb weld is good to up to 500F, and there is a high temp version too that can withstand sustained high temps of 500 F too, the west systems will start to soften around 140-150, so it can be backed out
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Oops, my bad, regular jb weld is good to up to 500F, and there is a high temp version too that can withstand sustained high temps of 500 F too, the west systems will start to soften around 140-150, so it can be backed out
Does that include Gflex? Ive probably got enough of that left to do one side (or both). My Gflex is getting old so using it up wouldn't bother me. I'm really a fan of Gflex and for this situation a little flex might protect the fittings from stress fractures while keeping everything tight.

I will say, Gflex doesnt break down in the heat of a car. I have a ghetto magnet mount for the cheapo van Infotainment system which is a galaxy tab S in a tpu case with Gflex metal bar on the case. On the car end JB plasti-weld holding 3 high power magnets for 5 years.. No separation and the whole thing works great. Granted the van only gets to 113F mid summer. The cars (if I move it over) probably get much hotter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
What is that little orange boat? Reminds me of the Sortyak I used for Kayak support. Esquit? I can't quite read it.
The canoe is the Esquif L'Edge. The original modern OC. Open boating is a lot more popular out here on the east coast with the epicenter being the southeast and then Northeast and Eastern Canada being pretty popular.

I actually got into rowing to teach my wife so she could support me on multi-day western rivers and I could OC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
How about the name as that creek in the picture, looks like east coast, New York? I'm planning to take my Mini Max east and looking for creeks to run. Have the Esopus in mind.
That's the Deerfield. Fife Brook (II). Lots of fisherman row it but take out above Zoar Gap (class III). It's about 7-10 miles with the Gap depending where you take out of class 2, + the one legit 3 drop with a technical finish. It's a nice day on the river but nothing exciting.

Other rivers I've run:

Hudson, high water... Big!
Schroon, high water... Big!
Deerfield -Monroe Bridge, Dryway-, spring high water (2000 and 3000cfs)... Technical!
West -below Jamaica SP-...just a float but sections are 20+ miles
Middle Moose, high water... if you got the skills you can keep going past Iron Bridge where this turns from class III to legendary class IV Lower Moose. <---the video is a group of guides so if they make it look easy, it's not. Search for the same run on customer boats and it doesn't look so pretty. And everyone swims that last rapid.

On my must do (not done) :
Fish Creek (it's like Catskill Creek below but flows any time it rains)
Upper Moose...(just because and it's a potential overnighter)
Quabog... (Paddled it a bunch, had a phat cat on it, seen its been rowed, definitely want volume but could be fun)


I haven't done the esopus yet. Only flows during the 4 releases a year. Even rain doesn't really bring it up because the dam isn't far upstream. Totally doable in a raft. My wife and I OC2 it in 2017 after I got back from rowing school on the main salmon. The esopus during a high water release is fine for an oar rig as far as I remember, nothing too low. Reasonably fun.

I'd love to run Catskill Creek as an overnight on a magical time when it's flowing. We do have overnights here in the northeast but they aren't like out west. It's the Hudson or a bunch of creeks that flow for a few magical days a year. Catskill Creek is like Disney land for hard boaters, surf paradise ledge drop heaven, but also wonderful rafting when it's big and plenty of state land around it.
 

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The hudson is magical, one of my favorites to row. The scenery is incredible and there is stuff to do the whole way down, if it is not flowing on natural, you will not take out before 3pm, and you need to be a member of AMC to use the first takeout.
Doing a full lehigh Upper and lower at 4800 cfs or over is a hoot, but that happens pretty rarely, and the tohickon at over 3 feet is fun to R2, but tight to row.
 

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Surely you could locate a welder that could put tacks onto them instead of epoxy.

JB Weld is complete and total crap, it's the ford tarus / Audi fox / Chevy Vega of epoxies. It works, sorta, for a lot of things, and isn't good to use for any of them. Adhesion is NOT it's strong point, IF you're going to undertake the "goop the glue on solution" something like this
is what I'd use.
I could go into the reasons from an engineering standpoint, (ASTM C-881 Type I, IV Grade 3, Class C and AASHTO M-235 specifications. ) and the issue that pinning a joint will eventually wear the soft metal of the casting, and eventually the AL pipe if the hole is not close tolerance to the diameter of the pin, but to me anyway, being a welder, if you want to affix it solidly, tack it with a 4043 bead of filler material and a TIG machine, or even MIG, many folks have a spoolgun these days, that way if you ever need to undo the "fix", a small recip saw blade will cut thru it like a got knife thru butter, dress it with a file / hand grinder and start over.
No need to overthink this. It would take a competent welder 15 minutes to do every fitting on that frame, I can't imagine it'd cost much.

Just sayin
 
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