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I'm looking for a welder locally to make a minor adjustment to my raft frame. I purchased a custom built frame (no idea who made it) to go on my Aire SDP, but the oar towers are only 6" tall. I would like to add an additional 2" to the height of my towers. Seems like it should be a pretty simply fix for someone with skills and equipment.

Any recommendations for someone locally? Should I be concerned about previous experience in dealing with raft frames in the welder I choose, or is any competent aluminum welder going to be fine?

I had been working around the issue for this year with the Regal Sporting Technologies oarlocks. Just bushing them out with the nylon spacers. But now the oarlocks are starting to bend.

Regal Sporting Technologies Oar Locks

My other thought was wondering if anyone had success with using stainless bushings to solve the oarlock bending problem?

Thanks for the feedback and recommendations in advance. :)
 

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I think everyone here knows who not to have build it. Kidding aside, have heard good things about both recretec and drl. They are both in the albany area. Depending on the rest of your frame it might be able to make an nrs or dre style oar tower work.
 

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I don't have any recommendations of people since I haven't spent much time in Oregon, but any welder/fabricator that can do Aluminum will make quick work of that. As long as you explain well what you want, they certainly don't have to have any experience with frame building. I'd say fabricators that specialize in round tubing might be a plus and you can find them in custom railing and automotive/offroad fabrication.

If you were in Colorado I could help a lot more, either doing it myself or referring you.

Oh, and I suspect if the oarlocks bent with the Regal Delrin spacers, they might still do with stainless ones. You would want it to be very tight tolerances and even a press fit onto the oarlock though. I suspect the bending happened as the oarlock lifted up a bit and the space between the spacer and oarlock mount got bigger.
 

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I'm looking for a welder locally to make a minor adjustment to my raft frame. I purchased a custom built frame (no idea who made it) to go on my Aire SDP, but the oar towers are only 6" tall. I would like to add an additional 2" to the height of my towers. Seems like it should be a pretty simply fix for someone with skills and equipment.

Any recommendations for someone locally? Should I be concerned about previous experience in dealing with raft frames in the welder I choose, or is any competent aluminum welder going to be fine?
Talk to Dusty at DRL River gypsies. I'm not sure if he does work like that but if he does he'll treat you right.
 

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I had been working around the issue for this year with the Regal Sporting Technologies oarlocks. Just bushing them out with the nylon spacers. But now the oarlocks are starting to bend.

Regal Sporting Technologies Oar Locks

My other thought was wondering if anyone had success with using stainless bushings to solve the oarlock bending problem?

Thanks for the feedback and recommendations in advance. :)
Understandable that you have to do what you have to do, especially in non-technical waters, but I would never use spacers to lift my locks like that. It doesn't matter what material they're made of, they will push the point of fulcrum to the bottom of the locks and they will all bend. So my opinion is that your doing the right thing by trying to get taller towers.
 
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Post a Pic of the tower configuration and or send me an email.
 

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Most oarlocks bend, a result of the boat being upside down getting tossed around in rapids. The second mechanism that usually bends oarlocks is having a downstream oar in the water, engaging an obstacle and binding between the oar and the boat. The solution to the issue is retracting your oar when traversing sideways.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the good replies. I'll check with Recretec and DRL in Albany, that is only about 30mins from my house so an easy drive. From the website it looks like Recretec makes Aluminum frames and DRL is making steel frames. I'll check Recretec first.

Appreciate the help as always.

I was warned that bushing the oarlocks might result in bending, and it did :( Not even due to a flip, or wedging the oar in a rock. Just the force of rowing seems to have caused some slight bending.
 

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Thanks for the good replies. I'll check with Recretec and DRL in Albany, that is only about 30mins from my house so an easy drive. From the website it looks like Recretec makes Aluminum frames and DRL is making steel frames. I'll check Recretec first.

Appreciate the help as always.

I was warned that bushing the oarlocks might result in bending, and it did :( Not even due to a flip, or wedging the oar in a rock. Just the force of rowing seems to have caused some slight bending.
Dusty has a wide variety of frames, both steel and aluminum and various configurations. He knows his stuff, you won't be disappointed.

As Gary said above, most bends come from the boat being upside down or colliding with bits on the river but the oarlocks take an enormous amount of torque and are designed to seat all the way up against the head. Any of them will bend when bushed out to the bottom like the picture above. Good luck.
 

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I'll vouch for Timmy at Recretec. He built a frame for me and it came out very nice. I've also talked to Dusty a few times and he seemed great on the phone and has a good rep here.
 
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