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I have an older Avon Pro bucket boat, my favorite boat I've ever owned! And I've heard of folks modifying the floor to be Self Bailing. Has anyone done this? What does it entail and could I do it myself? And does anyone know what the potential cost of this is?
 

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I've seen this question batted around a few times before and once researched it myself for an old bucket boat I had. Doing the conversion will require cutting out the floor with a few inches of rubber flap, installing grommets to match the hole pattern of the SB floor, then stitching the floor in with webbing.

I don't have any specific costs but figure you can probably expect to pay at least $1000 or more for a SB floor depending on the size.

The general consensus I've seen is that the cost of upgrading a floor will probably make the conversion cost about the same as you'd spend selling the bucket boat for $500 and putting the $$ into buying a used SB raft of comparable size. So if you already have a SB floor in the back in your garage or know where there's one for really cheap somewhere, it can be done economically.

I'd be interested to hear what others have to say about this...

-AH
 

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I was told that self-bailing raft floors are set higher on the tubes with respect to the waterline. While that seems to make sense in a general way, I never checked it out.
 

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I researched this pretty extensively a couple years ago because I have an old Avon Pro as well (a Spirit too). The tubes on both boats are in excellent condition and my dad and sister are WAY too sentimental to let them go (although I checked into selling them anyway and no one seemed interested).

Anyway, I figured I could do the labor myself, checked around on SB floors and the cheapest I could find was like $1,600 (new, NO CHANCE of finding a used one in good condition). FORGET about trying to get a new Avon floor unless you have serious $$$......they cost more just for the floor than some brand new boats.

I bought a used 14' Maravia and still have two beautiful Avons that don't see ANY use.....well, we'll take the Pro down Westy but that's about it.

I don't know what to do......I'd love to hear from other folks out there as well on this topic because I just hate seeing these boats not floating.
 

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Here are a couple CAD drawings linked from the Jack's Plastic Welding website <jpwinc.com> that show the height of a self-bailing floor, relative to the tubes.



I sort of recall that a little Avon bucket I used for lake sampling years ago had the floor glued pretty near the bottom of the tubes— is that accurate?



A lower floor would mean less lifting force to drain the water.

Any way to install ports or big grommets around the edge of the existing floor? It might be a dumb question, but I had a friend ask if I could do it on his old bucket-floor raft.
 

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Floor Blew

I know a guy who last year converted a bucket into a S/B. He either already had or found a POS S/B and pulled the floor out. He spent a lot more time than expected on the conversion. I believe it was two full days just on the grommets. The floor blew on the first day out. Ouch! He's now out of the time and money spent and know has two complete POS taking up room. Simply, if your Avon conversion does not come out as expected , you'll have devalued your bucket down to a 6-pack.
 

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I've thought about how to make something like this work.

NRS Cat Cargo Floors - 72" Frames

Obviously the size wouldn't work, I'd need something bigger. Wouldn't be much different than a cat with this type of floor. However, the big challenge is how to mount it. I'd have to put it up higher on the tubes and how would I provide the rigidity? I've tossed the idea around.....just not sure how to accomplish it...if at all. The price is right.......hell, I could buy four of these and still be WAY cheaper than a new floor.
 

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Weird thought— If you went with mesh or something like the PolyMax grid for a floor, why mount it to the raft tubes at all?

You could put drops on the raft frame and mount the floor to those, and glue some big D-ring patches low on the raft tubes to keep stuff in place (and lessen the rubbing). Or rig to the grommets for the old floor(?). The grommets or more dees could suspend front and rear floors, gear nets, etc. to fill in the voids.

Waves would shoot up through the floor (like they do on a cat). But the self-bailing problem would be solved.
 

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I have an old acquaintance who was the first raft descent down the piedra on a plywood floored raft. Not sure exactly how it was rigged (cam straps to interior d rings maybe?)
...now I've really dated myself.
 

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Weird thought— If you went with mesh or something like the PolyMax grid for a floor, why mount it to the raft tubes at all?

You could put drops on the raft frame and mount the floor to those, and glue some big D-ring patches low on the raft tubes to keep stuff in place (and lessen the rubbing). Or rig to the grommets for the old floor(?). The grommets or more dees could suspend front and rear floors, gear nets, etc. to fill in the voids.
Not a bad thought Chip. The other problem I would imagine with this method would be side to side support on the main tubes, I think without a traditional floor, the side tubes will just buckle to easily.

Ah HELL!!! I'll just get a cat frame with a floor like this, cut out the bucket floor and call it good!!! ;) A true cataraft.

I'm just cheap and trying to figure out the best way I can use this boat again.
 

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Not a bad thought Chip. The other problem I would imagine with this method would be side to side support on the main tubes, I think without a traditional floor, the side tubes will just buckle to easily.

Ah HELL!!! I'll just get a cat frame with a floor like this, cut out the bucket floor and call it good!!! ;) A true cataraft.

I'm just cheap and trying to figure out the best way I can use this boat again.
You'd have to come up with a cool name. Like a raftaraft. do you have inside D rings for your thwarts? You could use that for securing a cat frame to. Very interesting idea, especially on a friday afternoon!
 

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You'd have to come up with a cool name. Like a raftaraft. do you have inside D rings for your thwarts? You could use that for securing a cat frame to. Very interesting idea, especially on a friday afternoon!
How bout I just call it a "Caft"? :p

CRAP...you actually just reminded me that I don't have removable thwarts in this beast....yet another challenge. I suppose they could be perminently removed though. Here's a picture of the old mama.

House 017.jpg

My dad actually had a pretty good idea.....why remove the old floor at all? Just get a new SB and glue/grommet/whatever....the new floor right on top of the old one (cut some holes around the perimeter of the old of course). Would make her pretty heavy, but she'd bail.

I'm still leaning towards a cat frame....remove the thwarts for good.
 

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You don't need to remove the thwarts, they might help a bit. If you do a NRS style frame, you can just have the yolks in key locations, while avoiding the thwarts. That would require you to put the frame on AROUND (underneath)the thwarts, and I'm not sure if that lower part of the frame drops enough for it.

If you did the floor on a floor, you'd need a lot of holes in the bucket floor so it didn't pool between them. I'm not 100% on that idea though. I like the CAFT idea, you'd have about the most unique rig around!
 

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You don't need to remove the thwarts, they might help a bit. If you do a NRS style frame, you can just have the yolks in key locations, while avoiding the thwarts. That would require you to put the frame on AROUND (underneath)the thwarts, and I'm not sure if that lower part of the frame drops enough for it.
I know a lot of old-timers still swear by buckets on big water....but its not for me. Bilge pumps I'm afraid wouldn't bail it quickly enough. I wouldn't want to keep the thwarts in there...I'm hoping to modify this thing and turn it into my BIG multi-day rig (Grand, Salmon, whatever else I can get on that's more than three days). I have a 14' that does fine on smaller trips. With the thwarts in there I'd lose quite a bit of cargo space.

All this talk about it has gotten me excited about given er' a better effort. I think I'm gonna go with the "Caft" idea, remove the floor and thwarts, and build a frame for it.

Chip and other frame builder dudes out there, I may be pickin' your brains in the coming weeks. I'll post pics as she's comin' along, should be an interesting project.
 

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Before you do that, you're sure the thwarts are sound with the outside tubes, right? I can't imagine CUTTING into my raft! EIIIIOOOOWWWW. But it sounds like a pretty cool plan. I'd just caution though, it would behoove you to enter into this expecting failure. That way, anything that is useful is a success. That is my theory when sewing and other building projects. If the prototype works, flipping cool. But your prototype is your final product.

It sounds like some cool discussions in the upcoming weeks. If this is for the grand, d rings on the inside for the CAFT frame would need to be hell for stout, and gluing can be sketchy. Maybe doubles, 2 d rings to spread the load of LAVA'S WRATH!

All right, it's freaking finally time to go boating!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Before you do that, you're sure the thwarts are sound with the outside tubes, right? I can't imagine CUTTING into my raft! EIIIIOOOOWWWW. But it sounds like a pretty cool plan. I'd just caution though, it would behoove you to enter into this expecting failure. That way, anything that is useful is a success. That is my theory when sewing and other building projects. If the prototype works, flipping cool. But your prototype is your final product.

All right, it's freaking finally time to go boating!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Absolutely...we're (my brother-in-law and I) are entering into this project expecting a few hang-ups (but not total failure). But yes, the thwarts are entirely separate chambers than the main tubes, we can easily (hah!! atleast I think) remove them from the main tubes. This boat has only seen the water ONCE in the last 15 years (westy '07).....it's make it or break it time!!! Plus we have another old Avon if we TOTALLY jack up. ;)

So here's the plan.....using traditional Cat frame designs we're going to mold, modify, weld a frame that'll fit our 16' Avon (sans floor and thwarts). I know most are familiar with the Cat frames that have the "kick" on the front (or whatever you want to call it, splash guard, etc...). We're basically going to design a frame with a similar type bow that will follow the contours of the raft bow.

D-rings strategically placed.....and some extra's for fun.

DAMN.......wish I could go boatin this weekend.....was planning on Cross Mtn. but didn't feel like driving 8 hrs. through the storm. Oh well....

Happy boating this weekend to all that make it out.
 

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Before you cut it out.....you might price a new glue in floor from NRS and glue it in yourself. A couple of years ago you could order one for around $1000.00.
 

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Removable Thwarts????

CRAP...you actually just reminded me that I don't have removable thwarts in this beast....yet another challenge. I suppose they could be perminently removed though. Here's a picture of the old mama.
Looking at your Avon pic, I'm fairly certain that your thwarts are removable. The raft appears to have the old skirts that slide over the ends of the thwarts covering the lacing. Take a second look and make sure they're not hidden in the old cover/skirt that is attached to the main tubes.
 

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Looking at your Avon pic, I'm fairly certain that your thwarts are removable. The raft appears to have the old skirts that slide over the ends of the thwarts covering the lacing. Take a second look and make sure they're not hidden in the old cover/skirt that is attached to the main tubes.
Really?? That'll be quite the discovery....I'm hoping your right. We've had this boat since '78 and I don't think anyone in my fam. ever knew that....if it's so. She's been collecting dust for a long time so I'll get it down from the rafters and check that out.
 
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