14' cat frame

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Robert Engleheart, May 21, 2012.

  1. Robert Engleheart

    Robert Engleheart Robert

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    Wondering if you guys would be so kind as to give me some feedback on my proposed cat frame? I picked up some 14' x 22" RMR tubes with the intension of using my scadden frames on them, doubled up as on an Avenger XX or the older MacKenzie pontoon (13' x 18" tubes). after evaluating that and getting feedback from people who tried the same thing, I decided to go with a bigger diameter aluminium pipe (1-5/8" o.d.) for strngth in Class III water I may want to take on. Note: I'm not interested in discussing steel vs. aluminium, going with Al for weight benefit.
    Here's a boat I saw on another site that I like a lot, just want to go a little bigger between the tubes (he's at 33", I'm thinking about 38"). These tubes pictured are 13' and have more rocker than my RMRs, so I think I can make a little bigger boat: 38" wide between tubes (vs. 33") and top frame @ 66", 72" @ oarlocks. I would make my front passenger space on same module as rower's with bays, rear-to-front of approximatley 16", 36" for rower's bay, 16" for front cooler and 24-26" for front floor; 94" oa length.
    photo-1-XL.jpg

    I could then add a 24" module to the back for a rear casting position for stillwaters or class I & II water and still be inside the rocker on the tubes. This is for later, depending on a lot of things, such as how the boat handles 2 (or 3) with the 94" frame.
    A question I have is for those of you using Lo-Pro (NRS) style or speedrail fittings: Like/dislikes? I'm considering the speedrail fittings as they are 1/2 the cost of NRS LP's and I need 20 as the current plan goes. Not inconsequential cost. I want the advantages of breaking down the frame to alter it if I change my mind as to size/layout and welded pipe is probably out of the question for now.
    Floor? Think I'm going to give this a try:
    row-pass-floor-1-XL.jpg
    View attachment 15369
    The flyfisher who built these floors says they are taught, strong and cheap. I've time, so will try. Materials run about $50 which is way less than the NRS style and from what I've been told, these will support a load better.

    Oartowers: Thinking about the offset ones at the bottom of this page; http://www.rowframe.com/oarlockstowerspins.html

    Last, coatings:
    http://www.rowframe.com/clearacrylicanodizing.html
    Powdercoating reduces strength and is expensive, anodizing has it's issues; looks to me like a clear acrylic coating or POR-15 seems like an viable and economical alternative. Anyone have an uncoated frame? Does it really mark the tubes (and your hands) that bad?

    Any input/pictures appreciated. One thing I have picked up in my research is a lot of people would do otherwise once they got what they have on the water. My purpose here is to have a fishing cat that'll carry up to 3 people on Class I & II+ waters, breaks-down to 2-people for III+ waters. Frame at 100 lbs. or less (without accsy's).
     
  2. Plecoptera

    Plecoptera Active Member

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    I just built a 98" frame for 12' tubes with mostly the speedrail type fittings. I also have a NRS raised crossbar for the front seat which uses the NRS fittings. I would say the NRS fittings appear stronger, but for what most people will put a fishing cataraft through, the speedrail fittings should be more than adequate. Like you, I largely chose the speedrail fittings to save on cost as I had about 20 fittings on my frame. They are also easier put together for a guy building a frame in his garage, whereas the NRS fittings need to be precisely drilled.

    I've built a couple frames now and have never coated either. The tubes get marked a little, but it doesn't really seem to cause any adverse effects other than cosmetic (which is minor). I may anodize it eventually, but for now it works fine the way it is.
     
  3. constructeur

    constructeur Active Member

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    Robert-

    Get on top of your plan, and get a hold of Gary ASAP as he's hard to get a hold of at times. I communicated with him via e-mail, and at times I'd get a response in a couple of hours, other times it took a week and a half. I tried ringing both numbers listed on the site,one's dead and the other goes to a line that doesn't have the answer set up. Some people on the buzz have had luck with calling and getting his wife though. I don't think he's squirrely at all, just too busy for his own good, so plan accordingly and get your order in ASAP.

    Anyhow, He makes his speed rail fittings, and offers them @ 5.50 each, with a minimum $50 order. I ran out of time, and ended up getting my speed rail fittings from star inflatables, which are pre drilled for a quick pin, and run $10.95 for the fitting and the quick release pin. Damn near double the price, but I'll still be well under the price than if I'd used the NRS lopro's or had just bought a full frame from them.

    In regards to towers I did get the NRS 8" as all of the towers offered from DRE, AAA, etc. were generally over $100 a pair.

    I don't think you have anything to worry about with strength. I know somewhere on Gary's site he talks of tubing size and the benefits via R^4. I'm no math whiz, but am shure that has something to do with circumference, etc. and what you and I will be putting together with 1-1/4" or 1-1/2" will bomber.
     
  4. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    I like the sound of your plan. I have nrs lopros and uncoated frame. The marking of the tubes is there but only cosmetic. My decks are load bearing plywood coated with line-x. Not heavy, stud proof and the texture is great.
     
  5. shawn k

    shawn k Member

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    Two things A 94 inch frame with three people on it is very cramped If you have one in front of the rowers seat and one behind.
    A 14 ft boat is really a two person boat. A cataraft becomes a pig in the water real fast when you have it overloaded.

    The other thing to consider is if you opt for the nrs low pros fittings just order the whole cross bar and seat bars from nrs. The little bit of money you save on doing it yourself isn't worth the time you are going to spend fabricating it and it will be done right. Drilling the lo-pros is a pan in the ass. Plus all the pipes are anodized already. Also unless you can find aluminum tubing for a lot less than 4 bucks a
    foot just buy it from nrs. I made some frame stuff for one of my rafts with pipe that wasn't anodized and I was always having to clean frame marks off my boat. use

    if you speed rail fittings make sure you don't over tighten them and use the blue loctite on them so
    they don't come loose all the time.
     
  6. Robert Engleheart

    Robert Engleheart Robert

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    Thanks for the feedback.
    I can get 1-1/4" (1.66 o.d.) sch 40 for a bit under $2.50/l.f.
     
  7. Robert Engleheart

    Robert Engleheart Robert

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    KVI_CTF1.jpg
    Pulled the trigger on one of these frames today. 8' long x 40" between tubes x 72" at oarlocks. Didn't get the floor, going to weave them out of
    1-1/2" seat belt material. Got the NRS anchor system.
     
  8. constructeur

    constructeur Active Member

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  9. ten80

    ten80 Active Member

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    check out the floors from http://www.stitchesnstuff91.com/cataraftfloorsrigging.html, they are not very expensive and sturdier than the NRS mesh floor (which I have).

    Alaskan Copper carries 6061 schedule 50 1.25" pipe in 20 ft sections. I think the price is better than $4/foot, but it is not anodized.

    I've made floors for my cataraft using 1/2" plywood sandwiched between layers of thick fiberglass matt and sprinkled with crushed walnut shell for grip (fine sand also works but is tough on bare feet).
     
  10. Robert Engleheart

    Robert Engleheart Robert

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    Yes, I sent "Stiches-n-Stuff" an email asking for a quote. When returned, I'll weigh that against doing one myself as Osseous did in the thread and shown in my OP. He's a flyfisher and says he's really happy with it. I have lots of time now and believe the cost will be much less if I do it myself. Maybe $150 vs 300? Just a guess, but I have a lot more floor than he does. I'm at about 7' x 40". Haven't got the frame yet, it should ship this week, so I'm guessing sizes. Also considering plywood with non-skid surface.
    Did find a trailer:
    Zieman 2.jpg

    Zieman.jpg
    Plywood box will come off, as will the side-load ramps. Put a couple delrin rollers on back and maybe a skyhook winch on front and it'll hunt. 6' x 12' Zieman Quad trailer. I like the box and frame behind it. Decking is smooth steel; no wood:)
     
  11. shawn k

    shawn k Member

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    You are going to have to build a box on that trailer so that your cat sits above the fender wells. A 72" in frame your tubes will hang over the side by 7 inches on each side of the trailer.
     
  12. ten80

    ten80 Active Member

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    Please let me know what your quote is for stitches-n-stuff, my floor is starting to show some serious wear. If you build a box for the trailer, you could make a nice lockable storage compartment for the oars along the bottom. I always worry about my oars being stolen when I leave my raft unattended (which is rare).
     
  13. Robert Engleheart

    Robert Engleheart Robert

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    The bed is 72" wide inside, then a piece of 1-1/2 x 1/4" trim, and the racks for the side-load ramps. It's almost 80" inside the fenders. I don't think overhang will be an issue, if it is, I can add some 4 or 6" x 1/8" strap at a 45 to fix.
    @ ten 80. I thought about adding a box down the center; between the tubes & below bottom of frame. 10" hi x 36" wide for oars. Taking delivery of it today, when frame gets here I'll set it up on trailer and see how it all fits out.
     
  14. isaacfab

    isaacfab Member

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    Cool project. One thing I realized after the fact when I built my cat was gear storage problems. Give some good thought to rod and equipment storage and it will pay dividends down the road. Also the frame fittings from your first post are aluminum railing fittings with set screws not made for rafts but hand rails on ADA compliant building ramps. I used this type of fittings on my boat and didnt have any issues. Bought them from Farmtek....very cheap compared to NRS.
     

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