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i want to put side decking on my raft frame for footing and storage. marine plywood, trex type decking, or what? pros and cons please. thanks for the input.
 

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My choice is 3/4 plywood covered with epoxy. Add a little sand to keep it from being too slick.
 

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For cat floors and side decks, I've been using a plastic grid, PolyMax brooder floor, that comes in 2 x 4 ft. panels.

There are some photos in a thread 'More Games with Frames' that's farther down the Gear Talk page.

Advantages: easy to cut, no finishing (varnish, epoxy) necessary, great traction, fast draining, can run a strap through anywhere. More info on where to get it is in an earlier thread: 'Games with Frames'.

Laura Howe (lhowemt) made some nice side decks for her raft frame out of the stuff. Can't recall the thread title, but if you search PolyMax and Dog Decks and posts by lhowemt you should find it.
 

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The poultry screen looks good and easy to work with. Any good suggestions for attaching it cleanly to a metal frame? Straps would work, but does anybody have a more permanent answer like a clamp or rivet?
 

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Best solution I've found (so far) is to use heavy-duty hoseclamps with 1/2" vinyl tubing slipped over the band, which has sharpish edges. You also need to be sure that the screw doesn't poke out where it can meet a boat tube (or bare foot). There are pics on the 'More Games' thread.

Advantages: Strong— I've never had one loosen up or shift. Hoseclamps and vinyl tubing are cheap and available. No need to drill holes in the frame tubing. The position of the deck is simple to adjust.

The NRS straps in the pic are for supporting weight and reducing the flex of the plastic grid, not for holding the grid to the frame. You can also use aluminum tubing, channel, angle, or strap to stiffen things up, with the same caution: keep any sharp edges away from raft fabric or flesh.

The hoseclamp attachment idea also works for plywood decks. If the plywood's thick, you can also use u-bolts with acorn nuts (to cover the sharp ends of the threads).
 

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On my first frame, I used straps, thread them all over the place, but man was that expensive! On this frame, I've used straps in the "critical" spots, and then zip ties all over the place. It's MUCH cheaper and actually holds the polymax a bit tighter than the straps I've found. I'm sure I'll be losing some eventually, but I keep a few in my repair kit, and have enough on that losing one or two won't be a big deal. I even use zip ties for the hinges of our wood platforms that have storage bays underneath. I thought about hose/pipe clamps, but wanted to avoid them if I could. So far the heavy duty zip ties are working great there too.
 

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On my wood side decks, I've also used HD zip ties with great success. They hold the deck in place very nicely. Them I have a couple loop straps through holes in the deck that go to the frame that I use to strap stuff on the deck. That way, in a flip, the strength of the straps will keep the deck with the raft if some of the zip ties would break. The loop straps are pulled tight and flat on the deck when not being used to eliminate an entrapment issue.
 

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Cable ties are easy and seem to work pretty well to hold decks, etc. in place that are otherwise supported. That is, I wouldn't use them to bear weight or take much stress.

I've got a tool that draws them tight and then snaps off the tails close to the little ratchet thing. But for attaching decks, etc. it's a good idea to leave a half-inch or so of tail. I've had them loosen up, maybe owing to some stretch in the plastic under load. Nice to be able to cinch them up on the river. Those wee needle-nose Vise-Grip pliers are the ticket.
 

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Raft DEck

I've got two catarafts, and built the first out of plywood which I painted and epoxied. The second I made out of a 12' X10" piece of Trex, and that was way cheaper and is maintenance-free. Just drill holes in the right places and secure with cam straps.
 

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Trex decking

Hey man, i was interested in the trex idea and found out that they make a 1 by 12 out of that stuff. is that strong enough to stand on. they sell it as facia and i have to special order it if i want it. it will cross five cross bars on my raft frame within seven feet. i was just wondering if it was rigid enough. they sell it for $67 per 12' at home depot.
thanks
jim
 

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That would probably be a great solution for you, since you don't seem to have a double rail frame. Polymax isn't structural enough to not be supported on all 4 sides.

I know NRS is also working on some brackets to help attaching decking to single rail frame, they are essentially like footpegs that stick inwards from your frame, so you don't have a really long span of support between cross bars (like the cockpit). I don't think they have it stock yet, but you could even make your own with a LowePro or Speedrail T, a short piece of pipe, and a plug. Clyde at NRS was telling me about it when I was designing my frame.
 

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1/8" diamond plate aluminum is the lightest option. Alcor (I think that's the name) is a scrap yard in denver that has a bunch of things that might work. Check it out.
 

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Need double rail for trex

1x trex is really only about a 1/2" thick. I think it will break if not supported by a double rail. It would be great for double rail frames.

Also gets really hot, even the lighter colors. Not that most would care, but it is really heavy too.
 

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Sorry to bring back an older thread but had a question:) Has anyone used aluminum sheet (not diamond plate) and just put some grip tape on it so it's not slick? I think this would work good but wanted some input.
 

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I can't afford it now but this summer I will add side decking to my single rail frame. I think these bleecher floor planks won't need an extra rail for support on mine because I have cross bars every 20" or so and the aluminum planks are extruded in a shape to make them strong enough to be used as flooring on bleechers and have built in grooves for a non slip in the vertical direction. I may cross cut the grooves every 6" with a hack saw so I won't slip on them lengthwise. here is a couple of links so you can see what they look like. Also they would be cheaper than diamond plate, won;t need a second rail, lighter than the plastic wood and won't bow like 3/4 plywood.

MARKSTAAR - Aluminum Planks - Category Details

Aluminum Seating, Inc. - all aluminum plank for bleacher, bench, picnic table
 

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I can't afford it now but this summer I will add side decking to my single rail frame. I think these bleecher floor planks won't need an extra rail for support on mine because I have cross bars every 20" or so and the aluminum planks are extruded in a shape to make them strong enough to be used as flooring on bleechers and have built in grooves for a non slip in the vertical direction.
Those sound deluxe, with wood you shouldn't need anything extra as you say. Sometimes we forget to get out of our own little paradigm, for me it's using polymax as decking, which requires the double rail support as I use it.

Nice job reusing stuff too.
 

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I can't afford it now but this summer I will add side decking to my single rail frame. I think these bleecher floor planks won't need an extra rail for support on mine because I have cross bars every 20" or so and the aluminum planks are extruded in a shape to make them strong enough to be used as flooring on bleechers and have built in grooves for a non slip in the vertical direction. I may cross cut the grooves every 6" with a hack saw so I won't slip on them lengthwise. here is a couple of links so you can see what they look like. Also they would be cheaper than diamond plate, won;t need a second rail, lighter than the plastic wood and won't bow like 3/4 plywood.

MARKSTAAR - Aluminum Planks - Category Details

Aluminum Seating, Inc. - all aluminum plank for bleacher, bench, picnic table
VERY clever solution!

And danadog, nice work. Mmmm, beer units as well...
 

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That's looking nice!

OK Y'all might think I'm crazy here, but I'd be terrified of ripping skin on those hose clamps. I've started using some reallly beefy zip ties on my decking. Replace every year, but oh so fine to the touch. Maybe you can replace just a couple of those, that are in key (potential skin and gear ripping) locations with zip ties? Just a thought, use it or leave it. Or straps, you could use straps too.

DUH, I should look at the closeup photo before posting (or just read ALL the words you type), now I see your tubing around them.. Very nice job! Is that an idea harvested from the old Chip-ster? Or your own?
 
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