Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Removable Plank Seat Experiment

Back in 2012, I made a leather sling style seat for the 15' cedar canvas canoe. This was because I felt the trim was way off when the symmetrical Langford Tripper was paddled solo in the usual manner (by turning around and using the bow seat).

Leather Sling Seat

It worked  perfectly fine as a kneeling seat but turned out to be quite cumbersome when attempting to pole. Basically the presence of the sling required extra delicate foot work to avoid tripping when getting into a traditional poling position. Unbuckling the leather straps to remove the seat and then trying to re-attach them while in the boat proved too challenging. So another solution was in order.

The inspiration for the solution came from a Finnish design company that makes wooden children's tree swings. A carved seat with strategically placed slots for the rope to weave through

Plank seats are nothing new in canoeing history  - they were often used on large trade canoes when the crew wasn't sitting on the cargo directly. Anyway, before attempting to make anything too labour intensive, I set out to make a basic plank seat with some scraps. In this case, discarded twin bed slats left behind by a neighbour on garbage day. These 1x4 pine slats were in great condition and I've since used them in plenty of non-canoe related projects around the house.

Discarded IKEA bed slats

Anyway, some holes were drilled and notches easily cut out in the plank. Then some remnant paracord was tied together in a double fisherman's knot and looped through the inwales. There's enough slack in the cordage to wrap around a third time in order to elevate the overall height, but this is how the plank seat is setup for now.

The seat does wiggle a bit from side to side and front to back because it wasn't perfectly shaped to fit the contours of the hull at this point in the experiment. It might get shaped better at a later date. What does work nicely  though is that it can be unhooked easily on one side and then positioned on the centre thwart out of the way for clearing some leg room.

Hoping to take the canoe out poling later in the season to see if the idea works. Right now, most of Southern Ontario is experiencing record high water levels due to heavy rainfall.

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