Adjusting a seat in a fibreglass sea kayak - any experiences

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pizak
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Adjusting a seat in a fibreglass sea kayak - any experiences

Post by pizak » Thu Sep 25, 2003 10:04 am

Hi

I've just bought a 20 year old Islander in good (well very good) condition. Its a lovely boat and paddles and rolls sweetly, but the seat kills me. Its a tight squeeze in for me (I'm not that small!) and the seat tilts up to the front at about a 20 degree angle. Its the squeeze on my thighs from the front of the seat to the coaming thats the problem. Its also a problem getting out, as the bottom of my thighs get stuck on the front of the seat and the tops get stuck on the coaming, making for a thrilling capsize drill!

So .... I'd like to adjust the seat, but its built in from the coaming down in one piece, with foam separators between it and the bottom of the boat.

Firstly, has anyone adjusted a seat like this (well I'm sure someone has!)?

The simplest option would be to cut the seat out and glue a foam seat to the bottom of the boat, but I'm concerned that:
a) that would put too much strain on the base of the boat because at the moment there's no real strain.

b) It might reduce the structural rigidity of the boat because the seat is a little like a brace across the boat.

Any thoughts?

Paul

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MikeB
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Seats

Post by MikeB » Thu Sep 25, 2003 12:35 pm

If you are handy with the fibreglass, cutting and refitting the seat IS possible - messy and time-consuming though. How about just removing the offending bit (seat, not thighs)? Careful use of a fine saw followed by sanding would do it.

How about padding the seat using karrimat or similar? Or buy a foam seat pad from the usual suspects?

However, in my Knordkapp Jubilee, the seat base had been removed (from new, by Valley) and a shaped foam seat used to replace it. All that had been done was to cut away the seat base leaving enough of the sides to allow attachment of the back-strap. The new seat was then placed directly on the hull.

In my case this was done to give a little more room in the cockpit and it certainly is used by many to lower the seat. If (in your case) the seat ended up too low, then you can also buy a spacer pad. I used a bit of karrimat material eventually to give a slight upward angle.

I glued it all in place once I was happy with it, but I notice that a lot of people dont do this. I certainly didn't have any problems with structural rigidity although hitting a submerged rock produced a very direct impact transmitted thro the seat as you passed over it. Most strange sensation!

Its a fairly popular conversion. Most of the usual suspects supply them - try SPS www.kayak.co.uk/ or Knoydart www.knoydart-kayaking.co.uk/

Mike.

pizak
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Thanks

Post by pizak » Thu Sep 25, 2003 1:40 pm

Mike

Thanks - useful advice and it seems like I'm not too off with my thinking. If the boats too weak feeling around my behind I'll glass it up a bit first!

Paul

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Jim
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Re: Thanks

Post by Jim » Thu Sep 25, 2003 2:41 pm

You might be able to saw the seat off leaving a small flange, to which you can bolt/glue another wider, less angled seat. Not sure where you would get such a seat but you could try composite boat manufacturers (club polo boats all had seats bolted (I think) or glued in as described and various widths were available), or attampt to make a mould and build your own.

Of course you new seat will bolt on to the outside of the flange so you will need to sand off any edge and glue some padding over the join. You need the flange to be quite thick (maybe glass some extra layers on) so you can use countersunk bolts!

Otherwise I doubt if removing the seat would reduce the structural rigidity too much, the shape and narrow breadth of a sea kayak give it plenty of stiffness without using the seat as a thwart.

JIM

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sub5rider
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Re: Thanks

Post by sub5rider » Thu Sep 25, 2003 6:36 pm

If it's any help, my Orion's seat is in two pieces, with the base being bolted to the cockpit coaming flanges. This allows the seat to be moved fore & aft by about 3" and also inclined at the paddler's preferred angle by packing the front edge with foam). Not all Orion's are like this - but it might be worth a call to P&H. I can measure the width between the inside faces so you could judge whether such a seat would fit your boat, if you like...

Nigel, aka Sub5Rider, Onioneer

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MikeB
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Seats

Post by MikeB » Thu Sep 25, 2003 7:32 pm

Ah yes - P&H's jealously guarded (!!!) seat design. Superb design and very comfy it is too - new P&H glass boats all seem to have this - the Quest certainly does and my 2nd hand Capella (1yr old) has as well.


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NickB
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Comfortable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Post by NickB » Fri Sep 26, 2003 7:31 am

So does my 3 yr old Orion, luxury! For my previous boat I did however need to radically change the seat.

I placed the boat vertically against the house, bow uppermost, sealed the gap between the rear of the seat and the hull with gaffer tape and then used 2 part foam to fill the entire void under and to the sides of the seat. Whilst the foam was curing (and expanding) I scraped the excess away from the front edge.

Once cured I then carefully cut the sides of the seat out with a hacksaw. I left the seat pan in for increased durability. Over the next few trips the foam compressed slightly and I lined the entire seat with a very thin, very durable Karrimat type material, end of problem. Comfortable and durable.

willsc1
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Seats

Post by willsc1 » Fri Sep 26, 2003 1:06 pm

Don't worry about cutting the seat out, if the boat is strong enough to take to sea then I'm sure it would manage with a seat fitted direct to the hull. The small spacers of foam between the seat and hull are to minimise movement of the seat when paddling (to give a more rigid seat and to lessen cracking of the seat) and not to brace the hull.

The slalom and WWR boys (and girls!) have been glassing their seats direct to the hull for quite a few years now with no ill effects.

Foam seats work but I think a glass seat is better solution. Any slalom/wwr/polo manufacturer would be able to supply you with a seat but I agree with Subrider and think P&H would be the best bet.

2 solutions once you have a seat: 1) Cut the seat and side flanges out completely, close to the cockpit rim and then glass the seat to the hull and sides of the boat.
2) Cut the seat out lower down, leaving a flange to bolt the new seat too. The flange may need re-inforcing a little.

Use a hacksaw blade to cut the flange, be careful to keep the cut straight.

If done properly then 1) probably gives a more rigid seat but once the seat is in you are committed! 2) if you bolt the new seat to the flange then this gives you the option of moving the seat backwards/forwards a little for fine tuning.

Alternatively, if you find it all a little daunting, just pay a manufacturer to fit a seat for you. Most do repairs, try Arrowcraft, P&H, Valley, Kirton etc.

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MikeB
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Seats

Post by MikeB » Thu Apr 22, 2004 8:56 pm

www.kajaksport.com/englan...entit.html could be worth looking at if P&H wont sell you a seat without one of their boats attached to it.

(I guess you've already solved your original problem by now of course - - - -)

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gabriel
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Re: Comfortable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Post by gabriel » Tue Apr 08, 2008 2:34 pm

NickB wrote:So does my 3 yr old Orion, luxury! For my previous boat I did however need to radically change the seat.

I placed the boat vertically against the house, bow uppermost, sealed the gap between the rear of the seat and the hull with gaffer tape and then used 2 part foam to fill the entire void under and to the sides of the seat. Whilst the foam was curing (and expanding) I scraped the excess away from the front edge.

Once cured I then carefully cut the sides of the seat out with a hacksaw. I left the seat pan in for increased durability. Over the next few trips the foam compressed slightly and I lined the entire seat with a very thin, very durable Karrimat type material, end of problem. Comfortable and durable. <I></I>



Hi NickB

I just posted a question similar to the onr that you responded to nearly 5 years ago! I was interested in your expanind foam idea and wondered whether you could give us an update?

How durable was it and were you happy long term with this solution?

Thanks

Gabriel
... my glass is always half full

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NickB
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Post by NickB » Wed Apr 09, 2008 7:18 am

That boat (a Meridian) was pensioned off long before I got the Orion, but for the many years I had it, it was excellent. Although be warned the expanding foam is slightly porous and undoubtedly added to the weight of the boat as it soaked up water. If I remember rightly I also included the pump discharge hose under the seat when I poured the foam.
Cheers
Nick Benny

Arguments are extremely vulgar, for everybody in good society holds exactly the same opinions!

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