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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello!

Couple questions for the community if anyone has helpful advice/thoughts -

1. I just built a frame for my raft (14'1" STAR Outlaw). The raft C to C is 65" with a flat area of 83". NRS suggests using their frame size of 66" width and 82" length. I decided to go slightly wider to start with my build, for fear of it being not wide enough. I made it 69" wide and 82" long. I'm wondering if I should cut it to be slightly less wide. Picture attached. Thoughts on this? It still sits on the tubes but sits wider than the middle of each tube.

2. I used the Frontier Play t-clamps to attach all my pipes together (T-Clamp QuickFit). Has anyone used these before and if so, how well do they work? Before I bought them I did some research and it sounds like they have been tested on rafts and other people have built frames using them. But looking at them in person makes me a little bit nervous, as they just screw down tight onto the pipes and "grab" them, rather than connecting into the pipes. I think this will work fine, but wondering if anyone has experience. (btw, I will be using blue threadlocker on the screws)

Thanks all!
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I don't think the extra frame width is a problem, as long as nothing is extending past the wear patch. As far as the set screws go, I have a frame that uses set screws and it works just fine. Keep your Allen key handy at the beginning as the set screws find their bite. And then periodically check them. I never used Threadlock, because the point (for my purposes) is that the frame can be broken down (for air flights, mule packs, etc.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't think the extra frame width is a problem, as long as nothing is extending past the wear patch. As far as the set screws go, I have a frame that uses set screws and it works just fine. Keep your Allen key handy at the beginning as the set screws find their bite. And then periodically check them. I never used Threadlock, because the point (for my purposes) is that the frame can be broken down (for air flights, mule packs, etc.)
Thank you!!
 

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My frame is similar, you'll like the extra width for the oar locks and also strapping things down. You have extra space plus easier to get a strap under the side rails. Mine is about 15 years like that. Make the frame as long as the boat will allow, if you are going to do multiday trips you'll want to change it from 3 bay to 4 bay at some point.

Those hollaender type fittings are pretty much how most places build frames except for NRS (DRE, Pro, etc.) Just check them periodically but they'll definitely stand the test of time.
 

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I build a similar setup for a similar raft a few months ago using T-clamps and galvanized posts, with side rails just off center. I wanted more room for side decking, which is my next project. I know some DRE single rail frames also sit just wide of center.
I was worried about the integrity of the frame with just the set screws so took the advice from a few different MB threads and through-bolted the corner brackets. Working well so far. I was playing with a small 5th bay behind the dry box but ended up taking it out to make more room for my feet. Also, fits NRS frame accessories and low-pro fittings which is great.
Good luck with the raft!


66938


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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My frame is similar, you'll like the extra width for the oar locks and also strapping things down. You have extra space plus easier to get a strap under the side rails. Mine is about 15 years like that. Make the frame as long as the boat will allow, if you are going to do multiday trips you'll want to change it from 3 bay to 4 bay at some point.

Those hollaender type fittings are pretty much how most places build frames except for NRS (DRE, Pro, etc.) Just check them periodically but they'll definitely stand the test of time.
Awesome, thanks! I did end up putting four bays in it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I build a similar setup for a similar raft a few months ago using T-clamps and galvanized posts, with side rails just off center. I wanted more room for side decking, which is my next project. I know some DRE single rail frames also sit just wide of center.
I was worried about the integrity of the frame with just the set screws so took the advice from a few different MB threads and through-bolted the corner brackets. Working well so far. I was playing with a small 5th bay behind the dry box but ended up taking it out to make more room for my feet. Also, fits NRS frame accessories and low-pro fittings which is great.
Good luck with the raft!


View attachment 66938

View attachment 66939
Oh that's a great idea. I appreciate it. Thanks!
 

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I'd buy some rubber caps for the nut ends of those bolts when you have them on the outside (pic above). If you're climbing back in the boat and drag flesh or anything else over them, you're asking for trouble...

Side boards without double rails have design limitations. If your bays are not too wide, the span won't be that much of a factor - but particularly the center bay/captain's compartment is usually 24-28" and that is a lot of unsupported span. 3/4 ply or MDO or HDPE can do it but will eventually sag if you've got big people walking on it. I haven't built a single rail frame with side boards for 20+ years - the extra expense of a couple more rails is offset by the stability and convenience (easy breakdown, adjustability, etc.). And diamond plate - particularly if you haunt surplus/scrap piles - is relatively cheap and lighter than the other materials.

I will say that I much prefer working with wood. Aluminum is just nasty stuff unless you have the right tools - which I don't. But you can cut pipe and plate with your circular saw, and use bi-metal hole saw bits to put cutouts where you want them for straps. Whether wood or aluminum, make these holes (or "half holes/mouse holes") at least 1& 1/2 inches in diameter for 1 inch straps, 2 & 1/4 for 2 inch - you will appreciate the extra width the first time you have to snake a strap through your frame while it's on the boat.

I've used Hollaender/Speedrail/Nurail fittings for 25+ years, never had a failure and never had to bolt through them.
You do have to tighten them at the beginning, usually 3-4 times to get them to seat. Don't overpower, just snug 'em up periodically and let them cut their way into a "seat" in the pipe. (You want a dent, not a "mash.") Don't have any experience with the Frontier Play fittings but pretty sure the same advice applies.

Aluminum there's lots of filing and "adjustimicating" and final sanding (again, often with a file) to get everything to fit right. (Or maybe I'm just not very good at this stuff...!). And all that creates nasty shavings and slivers and grit, all of which you want to keep well away from your boat. But you can build the lightest and strongest frames with it. Wood (or MDO) is perfectly fine, especially for sideboards/floors, and way easier (and more enjoyable, at least for me) to work. But you need to seal it properly, and it requires maintenance. HDPE was a discovery for me, works like wood altho' heavier, and no maintenance - but pricey.

Maybe should have posted to "Games with Frames"...
 

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If I had a choice between aluminum and wood side boards.........I would go with wood. Aluminum gets so damn hot.........especially if it is shiny.

Wood and bare feet or skin go together. Aluminum......not so much.
 

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Paint (rattle can works fine, but there are now cheap epoxy/urethane/alkyld alternatives, some of which don't require primer or etching) takes care of that heat problem. Bare feet are for sleeping... the only thing I don't like about diamond plate is kneeling on it. But Seadek takes care of that as well.

I built at least a half dozen wood frames back in the 70's and 80's, and helped build at least that many more. Last 3 or 4 were redwood with metal plates to reinforce the corners - being dropped on the corners is almost always the cause of breakage with wood frames, not on river abuse. But wood takes maintenance, no matter how much the finishes and coatings have progressed since spar varnish days. Ask wooden boat people...
 
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