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Thread: Outfitting my Old Town Allagash

  1. #1

    Default Outfitting my Old Town Allagash

    I've been thinking about posting this for a while. "Big Al" asked in this thread if anyone had made their own airbags, so I guess that's what prompted me .

    I bought an Old Town Alagash 174 late last year and have been slowly outfitting it throughout the winter. I'm now looking forward to getting it on the water soon. I'm primarily interested in wilderness trips in Scotland and so wanted air bags to prevent posibly loosing a couple of grands worth of camping and climbing gear at the bottom of some loch.

    I purchased 4 meters of vinyl covered fabric from a shop near Birminghams rag market. This worked out at 20. I also bought some storm proof nylon for another project - making a cargo net for retaining all the gear.

    The vinyl is very thick and I was concerned about stiching it but my mothers "Brother" sewing machine coped reasonably well ; though I did break about 5 - "16" gauge needles. The sewing of the airbags and the cargo net took me about 3 weeks on and off in my spare time.

    I made templates for the inner shape of the canoe from newspaper and the fabric is tripple stitched on the seams. I included some "tails" on the upper seams with eyelets for lashing them to the gunwhales. The images show this better. "A picture is worth a thousand words" . The bags are stashed with polystyrene chippings that were scrap from a project at work, though you can buy packaging chips to do the same thing. The chipings are contained in lots of smaller polythene bags, just to help with the flotation. Access to the bag inner is through a velcroed flap on the front, (black line in photo).....



    I used bungee cord to lash the bags in place, there is a lip on the airbag so that it fits shuggly under the gunwhale. I bought stainless steel deck lacing eyes from a marine chandlers to hold the bungee. These are riveted onto the gunwales using a special "banana peel" rivet that distribules the load on the vinyl gunwale and stops any danger of them pulling through. I thought they were really neat





    I also made an additional seat for my 2 daughters to sit side by side on. Being a bit of a perfectionist ; I wanted this to match the style of the exisiting seats. A friend owns a small timber business and he gave me a couple of lengths of white ash which were staind and varnished to match the existing seats. I had trouble locating a supplier for the webbing, which is the same herringbone weave as a car seat belt but only 40mm wide. I eventually found an ebay shop that stocked it. I'll list all my links at the end of this post.



    I want an effecient means of lashing gear in place. Maybe I went over the top and it's not quite finished yet...

    I bought some polyester net off the web and spent a few hours (lots according to my wife !) on the sewing machine edging these in with the nylon fabric I had bought. I've placed eylets in them at regular intervals for bungee cord and these then clip into place with hooks and stainless "D" rings which are rivited to the gunwhales....







    The net is actually made in two seperate sections that velcro together near the carying yoke. This gives me extral flexibility to discard a section when the kids are using the central seat.




    It's not quite finished yet. I'm thinking to steam bend some ash ribs to fit in the bottom of the canoe which I can attach a few more lashing "D" rings to. Maybe that's a bit of overkill ?

    Well, I hope some of you out there found it informative. I've included the links of some suppliers here to help if you feel inspired .....


    Links :-

    Netting - http://www.allplaz.com/acatalog/Cargo_Netting.html
    Barrels - http://www.smithsofthedean.co.uk/New%20Barrels.htm
    Stainless Lacing Eyes - http://www.sailboats.co.uk/Cat_Disco...dard_4725.html
    Stainless Lacing Hooks - http://www.sailboats.co.uk/Product~R...res_R2900.html
    Stainless "D" Rings and retaining plates - http://www.sailcloth.co.uk
    Banana Peel Rivets - http://www.prifast.co.uk/
    Seat Webbing - http://stores.ebay.co.uk/e-SnugRug
    Chippings for packing flotation bags - http://www.box-it-in.co.uk/product_i...uts-loose-fill (I didn't actually use these, but it was the cheapest supplier that i found).
    Last edited by MagiKelly; 22nd-May-2006 at 07:04 PM. Reason: Add back pictures

  2. #2

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    excellent ...makes my sailcloth flotation covers look positively messy [well they were a bit hack and stich]
    Obscured by Clouds

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  3. #3
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    Nice one Andy.

    Well thought out.

    Where are you planning to go in Scotland.

    MickT
    It'll be right, trust me, I'm a Yorkshireman.



    ::>>> I'd rather be lucky, than good.

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    Andy

    A superb post. you have obviously put a lot of work into fitting the canoe and into the post. With your permission I would like to copy the post over to the main site.
    John

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    Thats a great post. As you say - a picture says a thousand words.

    Most impressive.

    You obviously have the 3 T's:-

    - time
    - tools
    - talent

    Sadly I have none of the above

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bothyman

    ......Where are you planning to go in Scotland.

    MickT
    Everywhere bothyman ! ...well eventually maybe. Too many aventures to be had and so little time...

    I'm hoping to head up for the last week of May with some friends. Loch Veyatie and Suilven tops the list. My friends would also like to go into Knoydart via Loch Horne (which I've done before). Another possibility maybe Loch Ericht for Ben Alder. Playing it by ear really depending upon how the week turns out. I'm open to suggestions

    I'm also planning on booking myself and my wife onto the "Learn to White Water Open Canoe" course at Glenmore Lodge. For which I did a post a while back. So hopefully another week North of the boarder during August.


    Quote Originally Posted by MagiKelly
    Andy

    A superb post. you have obviously put a lot of work into fitting the canoe and into the post. With your permission I would like to copy the post over to the main site.
    Yes. I have no problems with you copying my post. Hopefully the links will save others from the hours of searching that I did on Google.

    Thanks for the replies and positive comments

  7. #7
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    monkey_pork is offline a wind age, a wolf age - before the world goes headlong Super Moderator
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    That's some very impressive outfitting there - the netting looks really very good indeed.

    It's a great way of lashing stuff in, I occasionally use a pre-made bungie netting arrangement (really designed to hold odd shaped stuff onto the back of motorbikes), just kinda hooked into whatever it hooks into, but the level of thought that's clearly gone into this does you proud.

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    While I have to admit I don't do a lot of white water, as most of our trips are wilderness trips (it just isn't worth dumping when you are a week away from civilization) - I am somewhat intrigued with this idea of air bags. In 40 plus years of canoeing, in Minnesota and Canada - I've never seen a canoe with air bags!

    I've dumped plenty of canoes over the years, and I've never had an issue with the canoe sinking. I've don't believe I've even lost that much gear - a couple of fishing rods and some fishing tackle is all that comes to mind.

    On long hauls with big waves, we sometimes lash down the packs. The packs help with boyancy. With all those airbags in the canoe - where do you put your packs?

    PG

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    Pierre's comments are intrigueing.

    I wonder if this is indicative of the UK perspective on things?

    Like for example the whole country grinds to a halt when we get a centimetre of snow. However in Canada and the north, they just cope and get on with things.

    Maybe we just think we need airbags? Granted - a swamped boat loses all stability and needs emptying - but do they sink?

    Please bear in mind I don't yet own a canoe, nevermind airbags, and I've only hired or borrowed boats in the past. I'm just thinking aloud...

  10. #10

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    Suppose I'm at the end of, say Loch Quoich, having a go at Sgurr na Ciche and the surrounding munros (which I'd like to do one day). I have a canoe full of kit, Rucksac 90, Gortex jacket 300, Terra Nova SuperQuasar 500.... you get the idea

    I'm not really going to test if my craft will float or sink and risk loosing all that kit. Like they say in the boy scouts. "Be prepared"

    ...and inexperienced as I am, I did manage to turn it over on the Severn last year.

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    Thing is the airbags will not stop your stuff falling out and floating away if you capsize. They will make it easier to right, get in and bail. They do not help with the handling of the canoe and I am occasionally concerned that people become over confident because they have airbags and think they will save the day. It is a bit like a study that showed that motorcycle drivers were far more careful when they had no helmet. The helmet gave a false sense of security that get them in more trouble by being reckless.

    I am not saying they are bad or anything but I do wonder if they are overrated for the type of canoeing I do. For whitewater etc there is no argument and you can never have too much safety gear but I would debate how high on my list of priorities they should be for the trips I make.

    I notice in Becky Mason's DVD she demonstrated righting the canoe and paddling it back swamped.
    John

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    Excellent post.

    I now feel rather ashamed, as my boat looks like the naval leg of Napoleon's retreat from Moscow on most trips.

    When it's choppy, I use Motorcycle bungee nets, too, from a previous life.

    Jim.

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    Excellent - Im seriously impressed by your attention to detail . Thanks for the links too.
    Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups
    My avatar is the crest of the McAlester clan -

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    Quote Originally Posted by Newdaze
    The vinyl is very thick and I was concerned about stiching it but my mothers "Brother" sewing machine coped reasonably well ; though I did break about 5 - "16" gauge needles.
    I use leather punch needels for sewing thick stuff - usually don't break any.

    Alastair

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    Quote Originally Posted by Newdaze
    Suppose I'm at the end of, say Loch Quoich, having a go at Sgurr na Ciche and the surrounding munros (which I'd like to do one day). I have a canoe full of kit, Rucksac 90, Gortex jacket 300, Terra Nova SuperQuasar 500.... you get the idea

    I'm not really going to test if my craft will float or sink and risk loosing all that kit. Like they say in the boy scouts. "Be prepared"

    ...and inexperienced as I am, I did manage to turn it over on the Severn last year.
    I'm not, in the least, downplaying your work. It looks very professional. If I felt the need, and you lived near by, I would be going to you for advice.

    I'm sure the airbags would help tremendously with keeping a dumped canoe higher in the water. I've never had a dumped canoe sink, though, and strapping in the packs assists with floatation - plus it keeps the packs from floating off. I understand your concern as some of my canoeing is done on Lake Superior.

    PG

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    Default pictures

    what happened to your great pictures newdaze i was looking for some ideas for fitting my own allagash.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gill
    what happened to your great pictures newdaze i was looking for some ideas for fitting my own allagash.
    He must have moved them, however, as luck would have it I copied his post onto the main site last week.

    http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/out..._allagash.html

    I'll go back and edit Newdaze's post to add back the pictures from the ones on SotP.
    John

  18. #18

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    I didn't move them. I think maybe BT have been "playing" with URL's or something ...I have no idea... looks like the problem's solved anyway

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    Default re kit out

    thanks fella, very informative and professional,keep them coming

  20. #20

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    I don't like to be a wet blanket, but securing airbags to the gunwale is not a good thing. There have been incidents where the gunwales have been ripped out of a swamped boat by the airbags. This is why stitching the canoe is to be recommended.

  21. #21

    Default

    Great thread. I'm not very handy but even I could have a go at the netting. I found this website a while ago and I thought I would share it with you. There is a lot of the stuff you need to complete a project like this.
    pointnorth.co.uk
    Thanks again for the great pics and info.
    Sarah

  22. Default bolting stuff to gunwales

    'I don't like to be a wet blanket, but securing airbags to the gunwale is not a good thing. There have been incidents where the gunwales have been ripped out of a swamped boat by the airbags. This is why stitching the canoe is to be recommended'
    ive just bought a r.lite novacraft prospector and am starting to outfit it, i asked the shop about which bit i should lash buoyancy blcks to and was told to bolt stuff to the gunwales as newdaze has on his allagash. Maybe its different on r lite coz its thinner?

    i am really surprised the gunwales could be ripped out - thats some quite serious' ooomph' though that being a possibility must depend to a large degree on the material the hull is made of, the material and design of the gunwales, and the way they are attatched.

    comments appreciated.

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    Your shop may rivet things to the gunwales just as its standard way of doing things. The strongest way is definitely to lace through the hull - rivets are not a great join where big forces are involved.

    There's more discussion on the topic at http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...ead.php?t=9335
    'Of all the paths you choose in life, make sure some of them are wet'

  24. Default befuddled

    I just emailed novacraft re. gunwales vs hull and the reply was fix to the gunwales- im confused

    though at this point the argument is as they say academic because i still haven't managed to track down anything to make my buoyancy blocks out of- i have the outer fabric, various d rings, webbing and bungee cord etc but having called around every local swimming pool i can't find a single spare swimming float!

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    I suspect for a manufacturer the easiest thing is to say rivet to the gunwales as they probably don't want you "damaging" the hull.

    Are you planning on doing any whitewater soon? If not, why don't you leave the outfitting for now until you've had a chance to go to a few meets and see other people's boats and from there make your own decisions? That would maybe save you rushing into anything.
    'Of all the paths you choose in life, make sure some of them are wet'

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by cicelythepotter View Post
    Maybe its different on r lite coz its thinner?

    comments appreciated.
    If the idea is to fix to the gunwales to avoid loading the "thin" r lite hull you have to remember that the gunwales are fixed to the same r light - just nearer the edge and are therefore more likely to pull off the hull.

    Having said that all my fixings are to the gunwales.
    Keith

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    Default Easy to damage gunwhales

    It is really quite easy to damage your gunwhales as my husband found out recently. On a fairly low Derwent through Matlock he tried to match the manouvres of the girls and ended up pinning his boat on Killer Rock he now needs two new gunwhales and would also be having to refix his airbags at some expense if he had rivetted and lashed to them. So I'd go for drilling the hull.

    Dizzy B

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    If it was me, I wouldn't use bungee for tying anything in either - its not that strong, and it can stretch enough to let a barrel escape.....for me, for deep 'still' water I leash everything - so it can float out the boat will I rescue / am rescued. In moving, I lash it all in so nothing should move at all - and bungee is not match for a river flow on a barrel / hull.....

    But neat job...

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    Neat outfitting and thanks for the links too.

    TGB
    May the gentleness of morning, greet your silent passage through endless waters...

    May all your winds be gentle. And for ww - May it rain the night before.

  30. #30

    Default Good job

    Newdaze good job and photos are of great benifit to certain idiots who find written instructions hard to follow, ie More photos.
    It did'nt look to steep from the top, it did from the bottom...

  31. #31

    Default Many thanks Newdaze

    Your photos gave me the confidence to recklessly take an electric drill and rivet gun with afore mentioned rivets to my canoe. My buoyancy bags now stay in place; all I have to do now is get the damned thing back in the water to try them out. One bonus is that due to the fact that they are now secure and can be fully inflated is that finned items throwing themselves into the canoe can stay.
    It did'nt look to steep from the top, it did from the bottom...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia View Post
    I suspect for a manufacturer the easiest thing is to say rivet to the gunwales as they probably don't want you "damaging" the hull.
    With many manufacturers it is a great way to void your warranty. With others the thought of puncturing the hull on purpose is little more than an insult.

    Lacing and netting is great stuff to get a wrist or an ankle through when the canoe rolls over a dozen times in a rock garden. Best to stay well up river of a British canoe.
    Lloyd

    Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug...


  33. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Newdaze View Post
    I also made an additional seat for my 2 daughters to sit side by side on. Being a bit of a perfectionist ; I wanted this to match the style of the exisiting seats. A friend owns a small timber business and he gave me a couple of lengths of white ash which were staind and varnished to match the existing seats. I had trouble locating a supplier for the webbing, which is the same herringbone weave as a car seat belt but only 40mm wide.
    Hi,

    Can I ask for some more details as to how you made the additional seat please? I have an idea in my head how to do it - two long bits, two short bits, drill holes where they'd join and glue in ~10mm doweling, then weave the webbing over - but I'm sure there must be more to it than this. How did you fix it in? Did you buy a fitting kit, or make that too? Would doweling be okay, or should it be threaded bar? Did you round off the edges of the wood? What tools did you need? Sorry for so many questions!

    Thanks,

    Morganna.

  34. #34

    Default

    Hi Morganna,
    You could use doweling for the joints; you'd probably need two dowels on each joint. I actually cut mortice and tennons for the joints on the seat that I made. It was a while back now, but I imagine that I would have cut haunched tennons similar to the image below, though I would have cut the tennon "blind" and not "through" as shown...



    The edges of the seat were rounded off with an R3/8" router cutter similar to this...



    I didn't weave the webbing in one length. I cut sections and they are stappled where they wrap around the underside. They are stappled along the inner edge of the "apperture". In doing this I copied how the existing seats were constructed.

    I simply purchased a kit from "Endless River" to fix the seat in my boat and stained the wooden hangers to match...

    http://www.endlessriver.co.uk//produ...roducts_id/566
    http://www.endlessriver.co.uk//produ...roducts_id/569

    Good luck, it'll be a nice project for those Autumn nights...

  35. #35
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    Default Barrels

    The barrels you have seem to fit nicely. I'm currently outfitting my OT Penobscot 174. What size barrels have you got? Did you get them from the link you put on (new or recycled)? Thanks

    Ian

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    Default nice job

    good post ive worked up the courage to fit my boat.

  37. #37
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    Default Canoe Outfitting / Lacing

    Not sure if this is of any help, but recently we were making some Polo goals for the club and needed some netting. After much looing around I found these cargo nets in Screwfix - they are elasticated and come with plastic hooks around the edge - these were later removed and replaced with cable ties for a neater look.
    The size is 52" x 70" and cost 10-99.


  38. #38
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    If I remember right; nets were originally designed to entangle and drown things?
    Lloyd

    Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug...


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