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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking to build a frame in the next couple weeks. What is everyone's thoughts on raft frame rails? Double or single rail?? Commercially all I've really used is double side rails. Is there a real benefit? Or is it just extra weight and welding?
 

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They have a point and a benefit for some applications. If they have a deck associated with them they offer strapping alternatives and facilitate movement around the boat. I saw a huge difference going from single rail to a decked double rail with my dogs and kids stability when moving back and forth. I won't put them on my small boat, but for the main boat I think they are priceless. Not decked I don't see an advantage. And you can deck single rail frames. I guess I'd say it depends on your goals for the frame.

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I like double rails with decking. You can strap things to them, but you can do that nearly as easily without decking, and even with just a single rail (although the strapping can get more creative). My reason for liking the decking is simply moving safely about the boat carrying gear. I've worked full seasons on boats without, and IMO, for how often guides are on and off of boats with heavy gear, it's just a safety issue.
 

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Double rail vs single rail

I'm looking to build a frame in the next couple weeks. What is everyone's thoughts on raft frame rails? Double or single rail?? Commercially all I've really used is double side rails. Is there a real benefit? Or is it just extra weight and welding?
A double rail raft/cat chassis transmits load from the intermediate cross bars to the inner longitudinal rails and then on to the transverse end cross bars. This reduces the moment and subsequent deflections in the cross and longitudinal members, aka, makes it stiffer. For narrow frames, the stiffness is insignificant. For large frames, 67 to 80" width, the affect is quite pronounced. For strapping and rigging, a strap attached to the inner rail affixing cargo is substantially stronger since the angle between the frame and the tension is >>0 eliminating the tangent multiplier.
 

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Yeah what he said... and they look cool and stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks everyone for the input. I have enough aluminium to do double rails, so that is like what I will do. All I've really ever rowed are double railed frames, I guess I thought that the main benefit of them was they are stronger/hold up to more abuse and constant trips all season long. For a private boaters frame doing around 4 short trips a year i wouldnt think it would make a huge difference, but since I've got the metal, I might as well make it bomber. right?
 

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I'm working on a simple, decked, four bay, single rail frame based on Gary's t-fittings, locally sourced aluminum pipe and half inch baltic birch. I'm pretty happy with the way it is shaping up. (and I'm putting it on a PVC raft, so don't tell Gary).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I guess my other question is, what is the average distance from the seat that my oar towers should go? Or is just what ever I like. I have a small (12') raft with a really small, basic day trip frame that I've always felt the towers are too close on, so I sit on the cooler to get a few more inches of room
 

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I guess my other question is, what is the average distance from the seat that my oar towers should go? Or is just what ever I like. I have a small (12') raft with a really small, basic day trip frame that I've always felt the towers are too close on, so I sit on the cooler to get a few more inches of room
We have some videos on our website that talk about setting up your frame. The basics concepts talked about should make sense for most frames:

https://downriverequip.com/how-to-videos/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDy5pOk0Imc#action=share
 

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tower placement

I guess my other question is, what is the average distance from the seat that my oar towers should go? Or is just what ever I like. I have a small (12') raft with a really small, basic day trip frame that I've always felt the towers are too close on, so I sit on the cooler to get a few more inches of room
12 to 15" in front of your knees or that dimension that you can swing your oar past your waste-line to clean an obstruction in the river.
 
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