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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, new to the site but have been trolling for a while... Planning on getting a new boat at the Sotar fall sale and have been thinking about frames.

I currently have a 13' hyside with a pieced together NRS frame. I've had the rig for 13 years (most of it). I spend 60% time fishing 40% overnighters on mellow water, Smith (in MT), SF Snake, NF flathead, etc. Main Salmon in low water is as big as I'm likely to go and maybe Middle Fork with the right crew. I can row well and have been doing so for over 20 years, but I like floating sideways, leaning on the gear pile and drinking beer sans life jacket... I constantly am tinkering with my frame, decks, boxes, set up and could not fathom a welded frame. It seems like most of you are right up my ally when it comes at least to floating beer and tinkering...

I love building things and have read most of the posts on frame building (with handrail fittings and aluminum) and was ready to go that route but decided to ask Cheryl what kind of package deal I could get and it turns out that it'd only save me a couple hundred bucks to build my own frame vs getting and adapting an NRS Universal frame, which will give me virtually all the parts to build my perfect frame..(for now).

I'd love some opinions on my plan, so I'm attaching a pdf with a drawing of the boat and frame layout. The plan is to get a 15' sl, assuming my wife doesn't bock (which she is faining as we speak), the frame would be an NRS Universal frame, that comes in various sizes, I'd be getting the biggest, 72" x120" since they are all the same price, then have a bunch of aluminum left over... I would take the drop rails, redrill and turn sideways to make a double rail, take the foot brace but it on the back of the frame and attach a casting brace (that I already have) lying flat near and parallel to the floor to carry a floor then attach sweeps (have to fab) that wrap up over the back tube for a rear fishing seat and anchor system. The packaged frame contains all the components save the one I have plus I'll have to get the rear sweeps bent to finish it out. Oar stands would mount to the outer "rail" of the double rail.

My main concern is where to place the inner rail on the boat so that it carries enough of the load (and not overloading the two attachment points on the double rail extensions. Currently the drawing shows that the cross members are 4', this would have to change to a point where the inner rail carries enough of the load (probably near 5') and I might then have to cut some of the width off the double rail extensions so that the overall width isn't too wide. The main tubes on the boat will be 23" then diminish from there, but Sotar design keeps the inside of the tubes parallel so I should be able to find a width that balances the load between the 4 rails...

What are your thoughts on this layout? what do you all think the minimum width between the inner rails should be?

Thanks for all the info and ideas I've already picked from you all and thanks in advance for your thoughts on my ideas.
 

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Here are a few thoughts:

LoPros are known to turn so I am not sure using the drop rail as your outside rail is the best way to go. I would run the outside rails to a longer front and rear crossbar then connect the inner rail to the front and rear cross bar. All the inside cross bars would connect to the inner rail. If you want to use the drop bar you could run it inside the raft at a location that a drybox and cooler can rest on it. then you could secure them with loop straps over the top.
It looks like the C-C (Center to Center) measurement is 65". If this is correct then the outer rail overall distance should be around 71" the inner rail should be around 59" this would give you a rail spread of 6". If you setup the rails and the front and rear crossbars first, you can fine tune this before cutting the inner crossbars.
 

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As a note you can only cut about 3/4" off the drop bars unless you are also willing to cut/grind the lopro innards somehow. Otherwise the lopro won't seat inside the tube fully. The bend has a pretty long radius and there just isn't much straight tube left to work with.

The drop rails will have the potential to move.

I would think it would be easier to do a wider single rail frame and put on side rail decking rather than a true double rail frame. This way the oar towers are on something more solid and you don't have to be concerned about both the rail measurement and the drop bar measurement. The frame would remain fairly universal and could be cut down for a future boat.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
low pro's

Thanks for the quick reply Tri Bri1, that was my original thought and how I had it drawn (standard overlapping bar set up) but I thought this way would be cleaner. as far as the fitting turning that is my main concern though even on my current rear frame connection (4' of leverage on the low-pro) I haven't had a serious problem with them turning. I definitely don't want to put all the frame load on those 4 fittings so it will not work as drawn. I would like to keep the inner rail inside of center of tubes to me that's kind of the point with a double rail, spread the load, but I'd like to balance the load so that it's more like 60/40 or 70/30 inside to outside rail if I continue with this plan

Fiya79, good to know about how much workable material there is, I was figuring a couple inches based on photos. I have no problem modifying the back of the low prow for another inch or so but if that only totals 2", they will likely be too wide by the time I find a solid place to put the inner rails... My current frame is wide for the boat, with a series of small decks I add when I need and it works OK...Overall I was hoping to minimize oar length which is why I was keeping it to 74" total width.... so I'll have to do some serious thinking about using the drop rails.

Thanks for the input! It's already getting tinkered with and it hasn't been born yet, love-it...
 

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Here's a picture I came across while searching aimlessly through some frame threads. It shows what TriBri1 is talking about.
I am a notorious tinker-a-holic, which is why I have used an NRS frame for the past 8-10 years. I'm always trying to build a better mousetrap. I'm also looking to buy a 14SL during the Sotar fall sale. I'll be repurposing my 66 inch cat frame cross bars for the raft frame. I have a 12 ft. Hyside raft that has 54 inch crossbars that might work for this configuration? But I also have some NRS side rail racks. So it's a toss-upon which will work out the best and maybe save me some frame weight?

I believe the picture is courtesy of Mania?
 

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Here's another option. I built a frame using these nifty double rail fittings...


It would take 4 of them to build a double rail frame using an NRS frame for most of the material. I just happen to have an extra 4 in my garage somewhere.

I also like the simplicity of the one shared by Cataraftgirl
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hell Yeah

I saw those a couple of weeks ago, it appears that he has quit making them, are you sure you want to part with them? I'd be very interested! I'll pm you. I've actually thought about how I could make something similar. I really like that idea for several reasons I'd dump the whole drop rail idea like a hot potato!
 

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I was just about to reply with this same layout lol and wasn't sure how to explain it (pertaining to the pic cataraftgirl posted)
 

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I was just about to reply with this same layout lol and wasn't sure how to explain it (pertaining to the pic cataraftgirl posted)
Since I already have most of the longer width cross bars already, including my foot bar, I might just run a double rail from the back of my dry box / rowing seat, to the foot bar (AAA foot bar/cross bar combo). This would give me a double rail in the rower bay & next to my rowing seat area.

On my cat, I used the side rail racks a lot for strapping stuff down. I didn't use them as walkways very much. On a raft, I'm hoping to eliminate strapping gear to the side rails. Mostly, I like a platform close at hand to strap down my pelican box with my camera for quick access. I will probably experiment with this in the off season to see if it's worth it. I might just stick with one or two side rail racks instead. My goal is to keep my frame as simple and light weight as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks

I appreciate all the ideas, a strange turn of events occurred last night, I was offered 156 D with a simple NRS fishing frame and 10’ cataracts for $2800. I don’t think I can pass this up, it’s actually cheaper than what I’m asking for my 13’ hyside package (which may mean I’m over priced) but it would leave me lots of room to build my frame. The drawback is I’ve told Cheryl that I’m ordering on Oct. 1 and I can’t afford two boats so I have to call and renig, which is something I want to do, she has been extremely patient with my questions, what if's, etc. Knowing the seller, I'm not going scrap all my Sotar plans until it's on my trailer but I plan on going to get it this weekend.

I'm still excited to build the frame, but now I need to figure out exactly what I've got, what I'll need to buy and what will fit best. The frame that's on it is short, so I think I'll still shoot for modifying it into a double rail, probably either using some wildgoose fittings from JustKip if that works out or some variant of cataraftgirls ideas...or maybe both (ooh, lights are flashing in my head right now). But beyond that speculation I'm going to wait until it's in front of me, then post my ideas. I really like the varying opinions on this site and look forward to more discussion next week.

Thanks again everyone!
 

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where do you find them?

Here's another option. I built a frame using these nifty double rail fittings...


It would take 4 of them to build a double rail frame using an NRS frame for most of the material. I just happen to have an extra 4 in my garage somewhere.

I also like the simplicity of the one shared by Cataraftgirl
So who makes these fittings, and what diameter of tube are you using them with?

Inquiring tube builders want to know.

Jack
 

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They were made by an inmate who does machining. He has gone on to other projects and no longer produces these. There are rumors of a similar product coming soon- but it would be great if somebody would get serious and produce these things! Everybody jumps all over them when somebody posts a pic of the design. I need several for a winter project I've got coming up-
 

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What is nice about them is the ability to screw on a deck board. I currently have a customer who would have really liked these. Alas they are not available. We can do almost the same thing with speedrail cross fittings, just not quite as easy. Let us all know if you find out someone is making them commercially.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Double rail fittings

I'm sure other folks with their finger nearer the pulse will respond but it's my understanding that he tried to manufacture them for a while and found it unprofitable (can't understand why with the price of aluminum).

Looks like others have already spoken...

If your're simply looking for the threaded attachment point I don't know why you couldn't drill and tap a low-pro, or even an area on the flats of speedrail fittings...Since seeing the wildgoose fittings, I've been thinking about trying that to reduce the number of ubolts and/or straps used to attach decking.

I have a hard time believing anyone will be able to manufacture a similar double rail fitting for a reasonable price, but I guess we'll see.

As for diameter, these sound like the work best with tubes around 22-23", but that's hearsay on my part, I haven't actually played with any yet.
 

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Double Rail Fittings.

Hello All,

I am the designer and original manufacturer of the double rail fittings pictured above.

I have completely re-designed the fittings and I will be ready to start production in the next month. Some of the items taken into consideration in the re-design were steps to make manufacturing more efficient to keep costs reasonable, add the flexibility to use either plywood top decking or diamond plate side decks, and incorporate the ability to work with a couple cross-bar tube types.

I am currently in the process of becoming a partner here on the buzz to advertise my innovative cat and raft frame designs. I hope to have my web-site up by the 27th and will have all the info posted there.

Thanks!
Guy
whitewatermachineworks.com (coming soon!)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Great!

Thanks for the update, it's great to see you giving it a go! I look forward to seeing what other ideas spin out of your mind :D
 

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Hello All,

I am the designer and original manufacturer of the double rail fittings pictured above.

I have completely re-designed the fittings and I will be ready to start production in the next month. Some of the items taken into consideration in the re-design were steps to make manufacturing more efficient to keep costs reasonable, add the flexibility to use either plywood top decking or diamond plate side decks, and incorporate the ability to work with a couple cross-bar tube types.

I am currently in the process of becoming a partner here on the buzz to advertise my innovative cat and raft frame designs. I hope to have my web-site up by the 27th and will have all the info posted there.

Thanks!
Guy
whitewatermachineworks.com (coming soon!)

That's GREAT news! Glad to hear that this is a serious effort- Looking forward to seeing what you've come up with.
 

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Ya those are amazing!! If I had known about this a few months ago before I got my DRE I would have gone that route for sure! They look great and easy to bolt on decking or arrange bars and disassemble easily.
 

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So who makes these fittings, and what diameter of tube are you using them with?

Inquiring tube builders want to know.

Jack
I'm glad to see that Guy has showed up in this thread. He'll have real answers about what's up-and-coming.
As for tube diameter, I loved the original design on the 22.5" Sotar Legend tubes (that I never should have sold!), but on the 19.5" sides of my NRS E136 sb raft the 9.5" C-C pipe spacing was too wide and the outside was too close to the D-rings to tie them down effectively.
The "buzzard" called Zorba the Geek of Wildgoose Engineering made a few dozen of the original 9.5" ones, then modified the design to 6.5" C-C. For me, even 5" wide would probably be enough to walk on. 6.5" would be a sidewalk, and 9.5" is like having an innerstate highway running along the top of the tubes.
I hope the new design is closer to 6" that 9.5" (you listening, Guy?)
 
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