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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all. Long time reader, first time poster...

Got a Tributary 9.5 SB and I want to make a homemade frame, similar to the nrs skidguard frame. Planning on using nrs side rails, oar stands, and 2 4x1 ft 3/4 inch coated plywood planks to span the tubes as seats. I would like to attach using nrs u-bolts but not sure if they'll be long enough. Will this frame be strong enough? Class III and maybe up to Class IV, nothing too strenuous. Main goal is structural integrity and keeping the price way down.

All advice and opinions appreciated
 

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Call Gary at Rowframe.com

For a great frame on a budget, call Gary. Below is my old Trib with a Rowframe.com frame. The frame that Gary built made it easy to readjust the frame for one or two people. (1st pic is one man, 2nd is two man)

Since these boats are small, you really need to move the seat if you are rowing solo. this design allows that. just slide off the crossbars (with fittings attached) and rearrange as necessary. I positioned the oar towers so they didn't need to be moved- just change where the seat goes. the nice thing about a frame on the trib 9.5 is that its a pretty wide boat to begin with (a 52" wide frame is perfect which allows for 8-8.5" oars without getting all fancy with the oar towers (for width) my new Mini Max is much narrower and needed some fancy thinking to get the oar towers wide enough so I wasn't using 7' oars.

the cost will be the same or cheaper than building one out of wood and NRS parts(especially after you factor in time and whatever varnish/skidguard/epoxy you use to treat the wood)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks but...

I wanted to keep the cost down. I already have the side rails and can get the oar stands for pretty cheap. I wanted to keep things simple i.e. inexpensive. My goal was to avoid the possible 100 bucks for seat, another possible 100 for seat bar, another possible 100 to 150 for cross bar(s) and all required fittings (even more money). I was going to buy the wood anyway for a different boat which would run about 20 bucks. Did "Gary" build you a frame for less than 100 dollars?

To further clarify my original post, I am curious if bolting plywood planks down onto alum. side rails will be strong enough for class III (for now). I am still open to all advice and appreciate good products, but I also enjoy building things myself, saving $, and am not extremely interested in you or your friend's ability to "sell" me something.

Thanks
 

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If you want to cheap out on your frame have at it.

The frame you see was about $200 all in. (including CAD drawings so the oars were setup right and the right length) I found the seat used for $20 here in the swap. Wood frames work, lots of people have used them back in the day. No one uses them much any more because they have issues. (weight, splinters, soak up water, not adjustable, not adaptable in the future for front seats, not to mention ghetto...)

If thats what you want to build, I'm not going to talk you out of it. And I'm definitely not trying to sell you anything, and I have no financial interest in Gary's operation. To me, the $100 over a shitty wood frame is worth it. If its not worth it to you, get out the tools and enjoy.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Now we're talkin! I enjoy both the honesty and help and am glad to see your first reply was not a plug. You bring up good points about woody ghettoness (since I was definitely going to try to use cheap ass plywood). I recently saw a newish frame from nrs called the "skidguard" and the frugality took over. Back to the drawing board, or should I say pole as you have probably swayed me back toward aluminum. If anyone else can attest please let me know. Thanks whoa...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
BTW

What kind of oar stands are those? Did they ever unintentionally rotate or is there a pin through the frame keeping them from rotating or anything? Thanks again for the pics of your frame on a trib 9.5. I have not seen many if any on that particular boat. Why did you get rid of the boat?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
New design

Be it slightly more expensive due to adding two nrs cross bars, it will be much stronger not relying on wood alone for the cross beams. Still thinking of nrs oar towers and for seats, 1x4 ft planks of 3/4 in. plywood. The frame will be a very basic 4 ft square (possibly slightly larger) and I am wanting to have the planks near the stern and bow resting on the frame rails and cross bars (so at least three sides of the planks will be on metal for support). I will sand/coat/strap the wood to the frame for a rower and a passenger. Does anyone see any major flaws in this setup? I am all but dead set on cheap ole plywood as I will have extra from another project. Much stronger structure and probably still cheaper than buying seats and seat bar mounts...but I have not ruled out having someone build me a frame could they do it cheaper.

Fire away all ye who are interested
 

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BTW

What kind of oar stands are those? Did they ever unintentionally rotate or is there a pin through the frame keeping them from rotating or anything? Thanks again for the pics of your frame on a trib 9.5. I have not seen many if any on that particular boat. Why did you get rid of the boat?
towers are Gary's and they don't budge. The Trib was too small for fishing w./ a passenger and rolling the PVC with bladders was a pain in the ass (had to open the zippers on several occasions to fix wrinkles in the bladder)
 

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Hello all. Long time reader, first time poster...

Got a Tributary 9.5 SB and I want to make a homemade frame, similar to the nrs skidguard frame. Planning on using nrs side rails, oar stands, and 2 4x1 ft 3/4 inch coated plywood planks to span the tubes as seats. I would like to attach using nrs u-bolts but not sure if they'll be long enough. Will this frame be strong enough? Class III and maybe up to Class IV, nothing too strenuous. Main goal is structural integrity and keeping the price way down.

All advice and opinions appreciated
I have built 4 or 5 full wood frames from 2x6 and 2x4 aquired for free from construction sites. They discard a lot of wood. These wood frames have been down the GC, WW, Cat, Deso., NP., Dolores,MF, Green, Yampa and Tat. It might be difficult to find the oar pin set up that bolts to the frame , but I know they are out there. Just food for thought. If you build your frame from aluminum plan it out right like Whoapiglet did. Because mistakes and do-overs with aluminum gets very costly. A 200$ aluminum frame is really a good deal. Parts availability is a plus. I think you would be happer with the all aluminum frame.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Excellent! Thanks for the input. Here is my new current design. I would love for people to let me know what they think of this setup...

2 nrs frame rails and 2 nrs cross bars...all bolted together. The seats, 1x4 ft planks of 3/4 in. plywood. The frame will be a very basic 4 ft square (possibly slightly larger) and I am wanting to have the planks near the stern and bow resting on the frame rails and cross bars (so at least three sides of the planks will be on metal for support). I will sand/coat/strap the wood to the frame for a rower and a passenger. Does anyone see any major flaws in this setup? I am all but dead set on cheap ole plywood as I will have extra from another project. Much stronger than relying on wood for structural integrity and probably still cheaper than buying seats and seat bar mounts...but I have not ruled out having someone build me a frame could they do it cheaper.
 

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You may need to add extra support under your decks as one side of each will not be supported. Sit on a 4' long piece of 3/4" plywood and it will most likely flex. You want something you can jump up on to scout rapids and grab swimmers from. If you add additional crossbars to support the decks, you can also then put drop bags underneath the decks for storage, and you will have a pipe in front of you to brace against instead of a sheet of plywood. I know this is adding even more expense as aluminum is not cheap, but could save you alot of greif.
A work around to the extra cross bars might be screwing some 2x4 across the unsupported edge of the decks.
Good luck!
 

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I know of quite a few companies that run day frames consisting of 4 2x6 boards bolted into a square. That's like, $20 worth of wood and bolts. My frame is 2 2x8 mahogany planks connected by 4 unistrut cross-bars. I wouldn't trade my wood planks for ankle-breaker aluminium for any amount of money, and I don't think wood is ghetto for frames at all. I spent around $200 including all oar towers, thole-pins, and hardware, and probably $120 of that was the expensive wood. I've even been surprised at the longevity of the pieces of 3/8 plywood that comprise decking on 2 auxiliary frames I run.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Keep em comin' everyone! Climb-your post has inspired the cheap bastard in me (and dormant woodworker) to resurface. I had been pretty narrow minded and had for some reason ruled out actual wood planks. I looked at unistrut fittings and am unsure about how they work. I would love to see some of your homemade frames if you have pictures. Thanks woodboat for your insight as well. This frame will be for my 9' boat. I already have an 88 inch frame on my gear hauler, and am trying to see how cheap a frame I can build for my mini raft. Thanks everyone for your ideas so far and also to those who have not posted yet but wish to.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Climbdenali - If you have seen my first post you probably saw my original plan regarding frame rails and two plywood planks crossing the width of the boat while anchoring the plywood to the frame rails. Do you think the plywood would be strong enough to span the tubes?
 

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You can use steel chain link posts for your cross bars with Hollaender 'T' fittings for pretty cheap. The size is 1 1/4" pipe, and is compatible with the NRS frame parts. Here’s a link that shows how to do it:

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-build-a-river-raft-frame/

You can get the Hollaender fittings (5E-7) from Drillspot.com for $8.89 each. They had free shipping when I last ordered, but it looks like free shipping is not available now.

Jim Lee
Idaho Falls, Idaho
 

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You don't even need a seat. I have strapped my paco pad to the frame and I also used my partially deflated thwart. The thwart was nice. I did this not because I'm cheap or can't afford a seat, but because I am forgetfull. Your wallet should be so full of extra cash from all these great ideas that you could just sit on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Indeed! I am even thinking of making oar towers and possibly using some Clavey parts. I love the NRS lo-pros due to their inability to be pulled apart and their propensity to not rotate. However, 20 bucks for one and nearly 70 for a cross bar is brutal on that padded wallet. I know a lot of people use speed rail fittings, but I have been weary of their durability, mainly because I have never used one or even seen one up close. Can anyone attest to their longevity and/or structural integrity? Does one little set screw really have enough authority to hold tight?

You all have been very helpful and I am finding the feedback very useful...thanks!
 

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Another option to consider: Keep your eyes open for used steel tube frame on the cheap. You or a friend or a shop can cut it down to fit your raft. I picked up a used steel tube frame for $100 and it included the high back seat. I had a friend with tools cut it down and then weld it back upto fit my 10' NRS raft. I could have made it a breakdown but figured it was small enough that I made it one piece (solid). The pic in the link below is of the frame without the plywood bench - it was zip tied on and was claimed by the river when the raft was flipped in Velvet Falls, MFS during a medium-high run. The frame isn't much heavier than what an aluminum one would be and it's bomber tough. A little touch up paint each year keeps the rust away.

Mountain Buzz - FatmanZ's Album: Mini-NRS Raft - Picture
 

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I use wooden plugs inside the steel tubing to back up the set screws on the speed rail fittings. It makes a pretty secure connection. You could always drill them and use bail pins for more security.

Jim Lee
Idaho Falls, Idaho
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Nice! I was hoping someone would say I could drill the fittings. I would love to use breakdown pins as well. This being the case i think I'm gonna get some galvanized fence pipe and some fittings from frontierplay as I think they're the cheapest I've seen and drill away. Still need a drill press though...Craigslist/Harbor Freight here I come!
 
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