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Thread: DIY Kneeling Thwart help.

  1. #1
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    Default DIY Kneeling Thwart help.

    Hi Guys,
    I have started on making a kneeling thwart from a nice piece of ash I had.
    The main thwart is pretty much finished bar oiling and final sanding.
    I have found most of the information, however I need some help/advice/talking out loud with the hangers.

    this is a pic of the main thwart 750x22(ish after I finished planing)



    And this is a sketch I did of the (borrowed) Idea.



    My plan was to make 2 pairs of hangers so I could either position the thwart near the centre of the canoe when solo, or just in front of my seat when tandem.

    The overall height of the hanger I was going to play with by hanging on bare bolts so I could adjust the height to find a comfortable one.
    Although If there was a ball park distance between the bottom of the gunwale and the top of the thwart that would be great.

    I don't know where to start with the angle, is there an optimum/standard difference between the long and short sides (a and b in my drawing)?

    I had thought I would make the hanger (c) and the small step (d) out of 2 parts and use the bolts to hold it all together (for ease in fettleing), and I was assuming that the square edge of the hanger would go against the gunwale, would that be correct?

    The thwart would then be secured by way of a dowel with one of those spring cotter pins (unsure of actual name).

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    Hi Marty,
    The measurements you're asking for are very subjective i.e. what suits a person of 5'6" probably won't suit someone who's 6'2".
    The distance between the bottom of the gunnel and the top of the thwart is irrelevant, the measurement you should concentrate on is the distance between the lowest edge of the thwart and the floor of the boat to enable easy access, egress and comfort.
    So in my case, (I'm 6' 2", long legs, size 10 feet and I'm not as supple as I used to be) the distance between the lowest edge of the thwart and the floor is 230mm. If I was more supple I'd have the thwart a bit lower, but for my current conditions, this suits me. The lower you can have the thwart without it crippling you, the better, as it will give you a lower centre of gravity - so more stability.

    Yes, the flat edge of the hanger goes up against the underside of the gunnels. The angle you use for the hangers, once again is personal, and whilst I can't tell you how long your hangers should be, the measurement of my hangers, is that 'a' is 25mm shorter than 'b', or vice versa depending on which way you're facing. With the angle that the 25mm difference gives me, I do find myself sliding forward off the thwart a little on occasion, but if you use a lesser angle to make the thwart flatter, there's a chance that the leading edge of the thwart will dig into your underside and cause numbness.
    It's a bit trial and error the first time I'm afraid .
    Last edited by OLD MAN; 10th-April-2018 at 01:38 PM.
    Nin Wanakiwidee Tchiman

  3. #3
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    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for that. It was really helpful!
    I had figured that most of the measurements would be very subjective and personal. I find that having a few ball park figures just help my brain compute what it's doing sometimes.

    I started work on the hangers this afternoon and have gone with a 20mm difference which actually works out to be about 20 degrees.
    Another manufacturer I found, says they make the hangers with a 25 degree angle. So I've gone slightly flatter knowing I can take some more off.

    I don't mind trial and error, especially when I have made everything, I worry less about getting it wrong, but as with any prototype or first attempt, it will probably stay that way until I need to change it.

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    Glad you understood what I wrote Marty.
    Something that occurred to me; whilst I like the fact your thwart will be moveable, your weight on the thwart will be bearing down on the steps (d) you're making and acting as a lever on the end where the bolts will be holding it to the hanger. If you go that route, I'd be inclined to keep those steps (d) as short as possible to lessen the leverage.
    Big apologies if you already know how to suck eggs.
    Nin Wanakiwidee Tchiman

  5. #5
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    I know many folk love their kneeling thwarts but I've tried them a few times and just can't get on with them. I prefer my kneeling seat, which combines kneeling position and greater room for feet of the thwart, and the support of a seat.

    Anyhoo, my real point is regarding your thought to put the thwart in front of your rearward seat for paddling tandem. This will mean your feet will be under your seat behind you. May not be a problem for you but, if it is, do you need a rear seat and a thwart, or could you take the seat out?
    Last edited by MultiMark; 10th-April-2018 at 04:37 PM. Reason: typo
    "I'd far rather be happy than right any day"..........Slartibartfast

    http://apachecanoes.com

  6. #6
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    There is another measurement to work out, which is how close you can go to the yoke and still trim the boat, and still get out without "pulling your pin". On one of my boats I have gone for a removable yoke to get nearer, in a shorter boat, to the centre.

  7. #7
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    This will mean your feet will be under your seat behind you
    This is an excellent point and I have done exactly that in the past, and it didn't work. Using a seat as a kneeling thwart works because your feet clear the rear of the seat, but size 10 feet in an upright position will not fit under a seat if the KT is just in front of a seat.
    If you have size 5 feet you'll be fine .
    Nin Wanakiwidee Tchiman

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by OLD MAN View Post
    Glad you understood what I wrote Marty.
    Something that occurred to me; whilst I like the fact your thwart will be moveable, your weight on the thwart will be bearing down on the steps (d) you're making and acting as a lever on the end where the bolts will be holding it to the hanger. If you go that route, I'd be inclined to keep those steps (d) as short as possible to lessen the leverage.
    Big apologies if you already know how to suck eggs.
    Thanks again Paul, always happy to learn new ways to such eggs
    Having had another think, I'll probably go down the line of just using wing nuts to get things going. I can then come up with an over complicated version after. I still like the removable option but considering I'll need 2 different length thwarts for mid and stern canoe if I was to keep the steps as small as possible. A bit more staring and tea required.

    Quote Originally Posted by MultiMark View Post
    I know many folk love their kneeling thwarts but I've tried them a few times and just can't get on with them. I prefer my kneeling seat, which combines kneeling position and greater room for feet of the thwart, and the support of a seat.

    Anyhoo, my real point is regarding your thought to put the thwart in front of your rearward seat for paddling tandem. This will mean your feet will be under your seat behind you. May not be a problem for you but, if it is, do you need a rear seat and a thwart, or could you take the seat out?
    MutiMark this is something I hadn't thought of but I like it! I have been able to just use my seat for a while but have experienced numb legs quite quickly. I had thought that by adding a thwart in front of the seat I could progressively move to removing the seat. Would making new seat hangers and adding an angle to the existing seat work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Impcanoe View Post
    There is another measurement to work out, which is how close you can go to the yoke and still trim the boat, and still get out without "pulling your pin". On one of my boats I have gone for a removable yoke to get nearer, in a shorter boat, to the centre.
    Thanks Impcanoe, I had been thinking about this and have been experimenting with how close to the yoke I need to be for trim. Last week I was out in a significant blow and in fact I was keeling with my knees under the yoke and leaning over it to keep the bow down.
    I hadn't considered a removable yoke. Do you have a link to some pics of yours? My concern would be that my boat is 16' and has only the 1 centre yoke. If I was to remove this would I have to add additional thwarts to keep the hull from flexing?

  9. #9
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    Would making new seat hangers and adding an angle to the existing seat work?
    As long as the seat you want to alter the hangers on is in the right(ish) position, it will work. It's what I've done on my 15' Prospector.
    It's a bit late for you as you've already made your KT, but making 4 new seat hangers was much simpler than making a KT with hangers.

    You could always cut up your new thwart and make several seat hangers from it .
    Nin Wanakiwidee Tchiman

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by OLD MAN View Post
    You could always cut up your new thwart and make several seat hangers from it .
    Ha well I do often make plenty of tooth picks and firewood from these sort of projects so I'd be well used to this sort of thing.

    What I have done is make 2 sets of KT hangers so I could just cut 1 set in half making a set of seat hangers and adjusting the seat. I still plan on putting the KT near the centre of the canoe for solo paddling.

  11. #11
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    On the seat hangers, yes, you could cut new ones from the kt hangers. I recommend you keep the angled block which you are left with and mount it under the seat bar. This will leave the washer and nut on a level surface underneath and prevent the whole job from twisting horribly.

    Of course, angling the seat will mean the holes in the gunwales are too far apart, and the rear seat frame may be a little bit too short. If you have a new seat made it can be cut to a shorter depth, enabling it to be angled more steeply and also meaning the new holes will be well clear of the old ones.
    "I'd far rather be happy than right any day"..........Slartibartfast

    http://apachecanoes.com

  12. #12
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    Here's one I made earlier.

    https://www.flickr.com/gp/139950807@N04/s97G02

    You can just make out the wedges under the seat.
    "I'd far rather be happy than right any day"..........Slartibartfast

    http://apachecanoes.com

  13. #13
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    Hi Marty!
    Two things.
    One. You’ll get numb legs anyway. The only way to avoid that is to me mobile in the boat.
    Two. Whatever arrangements you come up with, a primary consideration is getting out in an emergency. If your seat is too low or your thwarts too close together you might be stuck when it matters.

  14. #14
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    Thanks Mark some really good tips there, I think I'll try to modify my seat so the holes match the gunwales, if not I really like the look of yours... Are they available from apache?

    rbm, Thanks I'll be considering these points carefully when I fit the KT. Im interested in a removable yoke idea mentioned above, which needs a bit more research. But for now definitely just as low and close as is safe.

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    Yes, Stu makes seats for sale individually. Sooner or later we'll get the shop up and running on the website but in the meantime if you need one send me a PM.
    "I'd far rather be happy than right any day"..........Slartibartfast

    http://apachecanoes.com

  16. #16
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    Work out the height of your KT by using it and a pile of books. You need it as low as you can comfortably manage an hour or two watching tv . The angle is more of a guess, but if the thwart is over long at present, put a screw in each back corner to give an alter-able slope to try.

    Sam

  17. #17
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    This is a flying visit to the web. I think I have photos of the yoke, and of my kneeling sitting, failsafe arrangement, but we are in full grandparent mode for the next couple of days, after which I'll find them. A pm with your email address will ease the problem of sending them to you.

    Peter Impcanoe

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    My two'penneth for what it's worth.
    Every one is a different shape/size so setting up a boat is a personal thing.

    Getting the KT in the right position in the boat is crucial. I set mine up (be it right or wrong) so the start of a standard power stroke is at the centre of my boat, I can also lean forward and apply power (and trim) in front of the centre or lean back and add power (and trim) behind the centre and importantly I have enough room to escape when I swim... This did take a lot of sitting/thinking in the boat with a pencil and a plastic stool to sit on. TBH I am happy with it and have paddled for days in the kneeling position with no real issues.


    The height at this time is not that crucial as it can be altered by adding/removing "spacers" in the hangers, so don't put too much thought into it.Time in the boat will determine if you have it right or nearly right and needs a little adjustment, don't forget adding in a wet exit in controlled conditions (if nothing else but for your own piece of mind)

    Mine is a quick release but never needed the release bit, like a kayak a wet exit is far easier than a dry one....just wetter.

    I have added a couple of foam "hip" blocks and a kneeling mat on my KT for a little more connectivity and comfort also I have added a seat directly behind my KT for when I need to rest my ankles on a gentle stretch of water, FYI my boat is set up for solo paddling...
    Cheers
    Tim


    Paddles a Prospector

  19. #19
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    Someone once gave me a calculation for the location of a kneeling thwart but it included an odd fraction. If you convert it to a simple equation it puts the kneeling thwart at 84% of the half way mark towards the back. So you take your length, divide by 2 multiply by 84% and measure from the stern to the thwart. It gave the following results back from the centre line

    15' = 14"
    16' = 15"
    17' = 16"

    Of course they are rules of thumb and people will have preferences but they don't sound far wrong.

  20. #20
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    erand kids have returned, but I have a dimension somewhere which is whether I can get out, and also whether I can stretch my legs out under the yoke when siting on the kneeling sitting thwart. That, of course , also depends on the depth of the canoe. Of my two theWWboat is fine, the glider is not and hence has the removable one.

  21. #21
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    Thanks everyone for your help, so many responses, I haven't had access to a computer for a few days and I struggle to do much more than browse from a phone!!

    Quote Originally Posted by MultiMark View Post
    Yes, Stu makes seats for sale individually. Sooner or later we'll get the shop up and running on the website but in the meantime if you need one send me a PM.
    Thanks Mark I'll be in touch!

    Quote Originally Posted by Impcanoe View Post
    This is a flying visit to the web. I think I have photos of the yoke, and of my kneeling sitting, failsafe arrangement, but we are in full grandparent mode for the next couple of days, after which I'll find them. A pm with your email address will ease the problem of sending them to you.

    Peter Impcanoe
    Thank you Peter, I have sent you a pm


    Quote Originally Posted by tim View Post
    My two'penneth for what it's worth.
    Every one is a different shape/size so setting up a boat is a personal thing.

    Getting the KT in the right position in the boat is crucial. I set mine up (be it right or wrong) so the start of a standard power stroke is at the centre of my boat, I can also lean forward and apply power (and trim) in front of the centre or lean back and add power (and trim) behind the centre and importantly I have enough room to escape when I swim... This did take a lot of sitting/thinking in the boat with a pencil and a plastic stool to sit on. TBH I am happy with it and have paddled for days in the kneeling position with no real issues.

    I have added a couple of foam "hip" blocks and a kneeling mat on my KT for a little more connectivity and comfort also I have added a seat directly behind my KT for when I need to rest my ankles on a gentle stretch of water, FYI my boat is set up for solo paddling...
    Good advice, I have been having a play and I think I am nearly there been moving around the boat with others watching for trim, as well as paddling with head/tail winds.
    I like the seat ideas, gona see how I get on with the thwart and then look into kneeling seats.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Cooper View Post
    Someone once gave me a calculation for the location of a kneeling thwart but it included an odd fraction. If you convert it to a simple equation it puts the kneeling thwart at 84% of the half way mark towards the back. So you take your length, divide by 2 multiply by 84% and measure from the stern to the thwart. It gave the following results back from the centre line

    15' = 14"
    16' = 15"
    17' = 16"

    Of course they are rules of thumb and people will have preferences but they don't sound far wrong.
    I like rules of thumbs normally pretty close to where it needs to go and to have a ball park is really helpful thanks!

  22. #22
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    I had a laced kneeling seat and didn't like it as much as a kneeling thwart. The lack of an angle, the edges of the lacing and the fact that when you kneel you tend to move from one side of the boat to the other more, meant that it made my rear end sore.

    If you do go for a kneeling seat, make sure the fore and aft 'ribs' of the seat extend almost to the gunwales, otherwise you have a void when paddling Canadian style... another ergonomic issue for your behind.

    Maybe I need to 'man up', but my derriere much prefers the silky smooth angle of a kneeling thwart.
    I'm at that difficult age... somewhere between birth and death.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duck Feet View Post
    I had a laced kneeling seat and didn't like it as much as a kneeling thwart. The lack of an angle, the edges of the lacing and the fact that when you kneel you tend to move from one side of the boat to the other more, meant that it made my rear end sore.

    If you do go for a kneeling seat, make sure the fore and aft 'ribs' of the seat extend almost to the gunwales, otherwise you have a void when paddling Canadian style... another ergonomic issue for your behind.

    Maybe I need to 'man up', but my derriere much prefers the silky smooth angle of a kneeling thwart.
    I never understood the desire to lace seats with cord for exactly the reasons you mention. On some Nova Craft canoes I see they actually mimic the pattern of cane which must feel like a cheese grater! As regards width, yes, the seat area itself should be extra wide. This and 38mm webbing is very smoooth
    Last edited by MultiMark; 17th-April-2018 at 09:49 PM. Reason: Typo
    "I'd far rather be happy than right any day"..........Slartibartfast

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by MultiMark View Post
    I never understood the desire to lace seats with cord for exactly the reasons you mention.
    I guess laced seats are designed to be sat on and not for kneeling and shuffling across their edges (which are rough), and definitely not for fixing at an angle - although Wenonah uses adjustable hangers and webbing, presumably with kneelers in mind... and/or to save time and money. Lacing looks nicer (like the maker made an effort) and maybe it dries quicker too, but I've not yet (touch wood) had a capsize or been out in torrential rain.
    I'm at that difficult age... somewhere between birth and death.

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