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Thread: Building a Cataraft frame

  1. #1
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    Default Building a Cataraft frame

    Well, I'll think I've exhausted the search function, but I have a couple questions/requests.

    I recently aquired a set of tubes, 18'x24" And I still need a frame, (along with a bunch of other stuff) I talked to the guys at AK&R, great guys, and will be where I buy my oars and riggings but the price he gave me for the frame was too much for me. And anyway, it will make for a nice winter project.

    I plan on using 1 1/4 sch 40-T-6 and more thank likely a combination of low-pro and speed connectors. I'm also thinking about tigging some of the connections

    So here comes the request, I've been looking at online pics and such and have a general idea of dimensions. And I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel here, does anyone have a homemade frame on a similar set of tubes that I could come and see for a bit, it would be worth 12 beverages of your choice to me, I just want to get ideas and measurements, maybe take a few pics.

    Some of the things I dont have worked out yet is the rowing seat setup and bar, attaching a hard floor, and anchor setup,

    Or on the other end, can you post any pictures of your home-made frames? (sorry no beer for that one) but pretty easy

    BTW I'm in the Anchorage area

  2. #2
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    Default NRS website

    Good evening Youngtrout,

    Check out the following links. It should have all the pics and dimensions you might be interested in.

    http://www.nrsweb.com/shop/product_list.asp?deptid=1053

    http://www.nrsweb.com/frames/Specs.asp

    Regards,

    yhc

  3. #3
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    Default

    I'll take a look there, On Alaska Raft they has a catarft assembly how-to, what gets me is the simplicity of it, is has way less members than say the NRS conventional frame.

    Its the number of structure cross members thats hanging me up,,,, I'll keep researching

    Also if you look at the NRS conventional frame the frame depth is 10" but their frame depth on their yokes is more like 12"

    Again, I have 24" dia tubes, what is a good frame depth?

    Thanks

  4. #4
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Default Not trying to say Buy

    Ok I guess after reading some a thinking on it for a while I have a few questions concerning your needs.

    Lets say you purhcase retail to build your frame being that your in the ANC area you might be able to pick up your schedule 40 pipe for $4.00 bucks a foot in Fairbanks if not a shop i.e. someone who purchase bulk pipe it varies from $4.25 - $5.25 depending on how much you need and who you pruchace from.

    That being said if you build the standard Cat-frame for an 18ft boat you might consider going to a 10ft, 12ft or 14ft frame or variation of them all as an example you might go with a 10ft frame and have two 2ft kickers/speaders one for the front and one for the back.

    You may wish for a narrow frame with 39 inches between the tube or go to a 41 or 43 inch floar. All of these things require additional feet of pipe and additional fittings be it low pro or speed rail.

    back to cost and or Options:

    Lets say you go with a 12ft frame basic - 4 pieces two top, two bottom =48 feet being that your boat is 18ft long you more than likley wish to have aslightly wider frame so for S&G's you go 65 inches wide on top with with 41 inch wide on the bottom min is three bars both ways but more than likley you going to want 4 so 20ft on top little bit extra with knucles so we need less pipe, and 13ft give or take, you will need 4 6 inch piece min for the back and front supports so 2 ft. that takes you to about 83ft of pipe / tubing at let's say $4.50 which is a reasonable deal = $373.00 give or take a couple of buck depenind on what you do.

    Cost to make Retail - Pipe App $373.00
    Seat Plate one App- $63.00
    Seat basic low appx - $65.00
    NRS Lo Pro Fitting 20 Appx x $21.50 = $430.00
    NRS oar Stands Appx - $89.00 per pair
    Oar Locks Appx - $38.00

    Cost to build a standard frame retail appx - $1100.00 plus or minus $200.00 bucks more like
    plus depeind on what options you may choose.

    Mind your these are all approximate values based on potential retail cost to make your frame. That is not to say thing could be less expensive or more expensive just a round estimate of cost on the retail market in AK.

    Now buliding a frame has it's own challanges some are fun some suck!!!! That being said it is an investment in to the future and there is nothing wrong with accepting the challange to build your own frame. It can be rewarding to say the least however after builiding frames for some time if you are not set up to do so you might be better off purchasing from a dealer honest!

    I know I deal in frames and therefor it seems a little shameful for me to post this email in this manner however I am trying to provide sound advise based on cost / time and product.

    Bottom Line Retail for a ready made 10/12ft Frame in Anhc is $1500.00 and some change. At certain times during outdoor shows disocunts are provided. I know that the Anch boat show is coming up in Feb and I know that our friends down at AR&K will be there and more than likley Hint / Hint and offering 10% on certain items Hint / Hint which will put the cost of your frame at just about the retail you will spend making the frame.

    The difference is it will match your boat no quesitons asked, save you about 40 hours of work, and 10 days of frustration. "Just food for thought"

    To be honest most people who take the somewhat less expensive road come in now and again to the shop and say I wish I would have just purchased a new frame not always but more time than not.

    Any Who if your still making it after reading this email shoot me a PM and I will try an assist you in your specs.

    Best Wishes

    Blue Moose

  5. #5
    Member sbiinc's Avatar
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    Default not a pitch for moose...

    i'd highly recommend getting with Moose if you happen to be in the FB area.

    don't know if this will come accross as bashing or helping Moose but he probably looses more money helping people out than he gains in selling anything. and he is a wealth of info with a lot of experience.

    B

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    Default

    Basically here is what I'm thinking, three welded yokes, and then just speed tees

    Maybe another support across the front


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    Default

    I have built a couple frames, and modified several. I kind of enjoy the process, but it is time consuming, and it's never been cheap. If you are wanting to engage in an interesting project, doing it yourself can be a nice exercise. But if you value your time, there is no way it's financially worth it.

    Evidently, my time is of little value to me because I will probably make another.

    It looks to me that making your own could save money if you are a good welder, and can deal with a welded frame. I prefer frames that knock down smaller, so LoPros and Hollaender fittings are best for me. I think the NRS cat frame yokes are too bulky too.

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    Default

    Nice, simple design. Should work fine. Another upper front cross brace could be added, but for easy rivers it might be fine the way it is.

    So if this is a 12' frame with 4' lower cross pipes and 6' upper ones, and you used a 1' drop, you have a little less than 90' of pipe. But you will likely have to buy at least five 20' sticks to get that 90' to come out right -- $450. Add in the 14 Hollaender speedrail T's at about $18 each - $250. So maybe $700 for supplies, assuming you do the welding yourself. I tidy savings over a $1500 frame.

    The only issue I see is not being able to knock those yokes down, but this only matters if flying in with your boat, and even then it can still be done. The other issue is your time.

  9. #9
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    Default

    Jim, again all great feedback. Like I said I am trying to just go simple. In terms of time, well that's free to me, I don't track my fly tying time, reloading, I just know it costs less, sometimes, but I enjoy it and it keeps me busy

    I'll have to check my numbers but I can get t6 for 2.50 a foot, non anodized, I'm going to paint it. And the speed rails I priced out at 8. Yes I'm welding it I have it somewhere but I came up with about 450 for frame and 80 or so for locks, but need seat

    Anyway, not a huge savings but something I can live with. Yes skipped a bunch of other rigging. I'll track it. Tell you what I end up being it for total

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    Default

    Interesting. AK Steel wanted over $80 for a 20' stick of anodized 1.25" schedule 40 last summer. Non anodized was $70 something. They also wanted a lot more than $8 for a Hollaender Speed-Rail T, but I'm sure you could beat their prices if you switched to mail order or had a better local source. I know that there are some lesser grades of speedrail type fittings that are lighter construction, but I wouldn't use those. In Anchorage, Jim King (Alaska Series Rafts) sells a super heavy duty version for a couple bucks more, and I do think they are worth the premium. These things do break, and/or get twisted up.

    And I forgot to figure in the oar stands, oarlocks (or pins), and a seat & mount. Figure on another $250 or more.

    BTW, if you use a Hollaender Speed-Rail fitting #11 at the bottom of each upright instead of a straight T, you wouldn't have to weld that piece, and you would get the uprights closer to the raft tubes where they would be a little more out of the way. The frame would also pack down a little tighter when broken down.

    Here's their list of fittings. http://www.hollaender.com/?page_id=A...82120A43F7&r=1

  11. #11
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    Default Got a price yesterday...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Strutz View Post
    Interesting. AK Steel wanted over $80 for a 20' stick of anodized 1.25" schedule 40 last summer. Non anodized was $70 something. They also wanted a lot more than $8 for a Hollaender Speed-Rail T, but I'm sure you could beat their prices if you switched to mail order or had a better local source. I know that there are some lesser grades of speedrail type fittings that are lighter construction, but I wouldn't use those. In Anchorage, Jim King (Alaska Series Rafts) sells a super heavy duty version for a couple bucks more, and I do think they are worth the premium. These things do break, and/or get twisted up.

    And I forgot to figure in the oar stands, oarlocks (or pins), and a seat & mount. Figure on another $250 or more.

    BTW, if you use a Hollaender Speed-Rail fitting #11 at the bottom of each upright instead of a straight T, you wouldn't have to weld that piece, and you would get the uprights closer to the raft tubes where they would be a little more out of the way. The frame would also pack down a little tighter when broken down.

    Here's their list of fittings. http://www.hollaender.com/?page_id=A...82120A43F7&r=1

    I just called AK Steel yesterday and got a price of $66.41 for 20' stick of 1 1/4 Sch 40 anodized aluminum tubing. I knew that aluminum prices where going down but not that much. Is this the same tubing that the raft shops use?

  12. #12
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    Default

    I picked up 60 feet for cheap from a local seller, and will have to get some more from AK steel, which is wierd because they quoted me 57 for a 20' stick but they also were quoting 100' for me so maybe you get a break. Also they quoted me 10 apiece for the number 5 tee, maybe I need to call again.

  13. #13
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    Default

    I had no idea aluminum was going down in price. This might be a good year to build a frame.

    I'm just working from memory on the price of fittings -- and you know how that goes. But I recall them being just a couple bucks less than LoPros last summer, which were $18 plus shipping. I've always found NRS shipping fees to be very reasonable, BTW. But if you can get Speed-Rail #5 T's for anywhere close to $10, that would lower my cost estimate.

  14. #14

    Default these are the best speed rail fittings

    I have built several frames using the Star Inflatibles frame knuckles (high grade speed rail fittings). They are actually made by Zebec from Korea, they are anodized, have stainless set screws and have a hole drilled in the end to accept a keeper pin/bolt. They rule for frames as that is what they were designed for and they are only $10.95 (see Zebec site for pics of the F1 knuckle but order from star). P.S. I just baught one of the CT1 cat frames 96 inches long by 69 inches wide from Star (same as the CTF1 photo except a flat cross rail instead of the raised rail in the front) for $550 (including shipping although to location in lower 48). Also of note is that there are two lower spreader bars on this frame that you can't really see in the small pic on the Zebec site. Star doesn't carry the Zebec cat frames now but still has some in stock. I offered a lower price and they accepted it. I am betting there might be some negotiation room in the near future on raft frames as the economy continues to suck.

    Yes these parts are for schedule 40 1.25 nps

    http://www.zebec.co.kr/english/acces.../row_frame.htm
    http://www.starinflatables.com/mods/default.asp

    However, I am expecting my advice is no good cause this aint the "Alaska Way"

  15. #15
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    Default

    "...no good cause this aint the "Alaska Way"

    Actually, Alaska Series boats use the same frame fittings. They seem to be good stuff from what I've seen. I don't see where or how to order them though. Jim King does sell them in Anchorage, but I suspect his prices are higher.

  16. #16

    Default to order just call up star

    The F1 and F2 frame knuckles are $10.95, oar mount knuckles (F3) are $15.95, Just call up star and talk to Jeanette to order, the new Star website sucks, they don't show all the parts that you can actually buy individually like their old website used to.
    Jason

    Speaking about retailers, I have recently found out there is quite a bit of markup on whitewater rafting goods from some distributors (a lot more than in my line of work), hence possible negotiation room (at least in the lower 48). For example, I got a pair of Maxxon cat tubes (12') from the Maxxon importer in Washington for $385 for a pair! The quality is good for glued tubes (only one seam that is beefed up pretty good). The maxxon stuff last pretty good as indicated by one of our boats which is a 14' maxxon raft that is nearly 8 years old with lots of miles and no major issues (other than a poor location for the pressure relief valve). Anyhow, the tubes are the same as rebranded and sold by Badcat and Skookum (popular 1 to 2 person fishing cats down here). These guys sell their tubes for over $1,200 last I checked. Anyone can get the maxxon tubes for $385 (plus shipping), just google maxxon us and call the 800 number in kent, WA (I am not affiliated with this company or any other equipment company)
    Jason

  17. #17

    Default Frame

    Sounds like you are well underway. To me these things cost time but when the weather hits the cold mark, there is no better place than the shop and to have a project.

    I was going to build my own frame (until I got a deal on a used NRS frame). I have modified my frame a bit. A few summers ago when I bought 1 1/4 Sch 40 anodized aluminum tubing it was pretty cheap. Now I wish I had bought more. I do still have 20' left.

    If I were you, I’d consider having some bends. If you have the materials all cut and take to a shop, it shouldn’t be too pricey at 8 bends or so.

    Fittings seem to suck the money. I have heard the fittings star sells are good. Holleander speedrail fittings can cut costs a bit, but from experience I wouldn’t use in structural positions. I use a combination of Holleander type and NRS fittings.

    Besides Star for ideas and fittings, try Down River Equip ( I think they use all Hollaender structural fittings)

    http://www.downriverequip.com/asp/pr...sp?product=240

    I order my NRS fittings direct from NRS. I like to support local but sometimes money is the main issue. With shipping I paid way less than local.

    http://www.downriverequip.com/asp/pr...id=DRE1600.jpg
    http://www.riverconnection.com/inch-...ame-p-206.html

    Another thing to consider is weight. I ended up getting a NRS top cat frame (used). It is great frame, but it is 118 lbs. So my boat set up for fly in trips is a little heavy. A different frame and different dimensions but the Down River frame seems to weigh less. I am not sure why and don't have dimensions to compare lengths, but this product is about 88 lbs. I see the DRE fits to a 16' and the top cat is probably for 18', but I don't think that can account for 30 lb difference.

    Another thought / question. I see some frames with 90 bends in going parallel to the tubes, whereas the NRS frames the bends follow the tubes or perpendicular to the tubes. Any advantages / disadvantages?

    http://www.downriverequip.com/asp/pr...sp?product=223

  18. #18
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Default WOW! Great info and work

    youngtrout after reading your PM you are well on your way to egtting it done and Jim always provides sound advise so adding to what has been discuss would be almost a mute point. Best of luck with your continue efforts your plans were well thought out and your knowledge regarding materials will see you through the end.

    SHAPP than you for sharing as well and doing a ton of homework and providing insight on cost savings.

    As always some times I hesitate to post replies concerning certain data on certain post "no one wants to sound like well you know" however I do have to post one comment and hope I am not high-jacking this thread.

    My issue with the thread is this and PM please akrafter with some details I would love to know. I order my NRS fittings direct from NRS which is way cheaper.

    Please feel free like I say to PM me with the details. Retail after shipping over the past two years has been killer. Would like to know if your in ANCH or Squarebanks? Maybe we can change your mind about cost. I know if someone ordered direct from NRS for a single LoPro and hardware someone is paying about $24.00 which is WAY More expensive than retail. That being said if NRS is having a sale or cut rate shipping your statement holds water (I know bad pun on the rafting forum)

    I guess when it comes down to brass tacks what chaps my oar locks is general statements concerning cost and what is what compared to location. I do not blame anyone for an opinion and by all rights post away. As always I wish for al users to find the best deals that fit into their budget and styles. I hope as a group my post is not taken the wrong way. Just trying to figure out some of the generalized statements concerning cost in regards to our local dealerships.

    "The Grass is always Greener over the Septic System"

    Respectfully

    Richard M. Mousseau
    www.bluemooserafting.com

  19. #19

    Default

    I can respond here, if appropriate, if not please delete.

    Somehow I knew that statement would be questioned. I do not wish to say certain retailers are overpriced. I understand everything has to be shipped up, so things will cost more than the lower 48. I am by no means an expert like others on this board. I was just trying to share my experience.

    So maybe it isn't "way" cheaper, or maybe "way" is all about perspective. If I can save $20 - $50 - $100, that is way cheaper to me. Maybe I was quoted the wrong price when I called, but let me clarify. This was also in May of 2007. I'm not sure what prices are reflected now.

    This was a few years back. At that point, when I purchased fittings, I really didn't know about Blue Moose's store. I am Fairbanks. The funny thing is, I didn't order enough fittings, and did end up getting 4 more from Blue Moose (After I already ordered though). When I was ordering I called down to Anc to check their prices. I don't know what it is about me or Anc, but I never can call at the right time to get the right help. The kid I talked to didn't know what "NRS lo pro frame fittings" were, and after several call backs, I received a price that was more than I could ship them up for, which was somewhere between $24-$25 a piece. The price I paid before shipping is $17.95 each, and after shipping I paid $20 each for the fittings. While seemingly little difference when comparing one to one, buying 20 fittings at $20 vs. 20 fittings at $25 is $100 difference. At this point in time, I don't know what everyone is charging. I have had retailers change the price on me, saying freight is more.

    I don't know what any retailer in Alaska is charging, nor to I want to sway anyone from supporting local businesses. Sorry about the comment. I did not wish to offend anyone or take away from business.


    -------------------------------------------------------------


    Youngtrout -

    Whatever way you go, I for one would like to see where you end up. Sounds like a neat project!

  20. #20
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Default I hope it stays

    Great retort, polite and to the point thank you.

    One of BMR goals are to not increase the price for shipping if the item in quesiton is brought up from Anch so that standard pricing is equal across the state not inlcuding any discounts that may apply.

    Thanks for taking the time to reply. As stated great post.

    Did not offend honest just chapped my oar locks :-) As we continue to build our business we need honest input for thos who utilize our prodcuts and services. Post such as yours are needed just looking for the cause and this forum allows business such as ours to meet the ever day challanges of providing better customer service.

    Richard Mousseau
    AKA Blue Moose

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