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Contour Seat

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Ankle Deep, Dec 1, 2020.

  1. Ankle Deep

    Ankle Deep Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Has anyone built a contoured seat?

    I'm looking for a seat that will be comfortable for my spouse. Seeking advice on building this type of seat and any pros or cons regarding usefulness/funtion.

    Thank you in advance!

    Attached Files:

  2. Rod Tait (Orca Boats)

    Rod Tait (Orca Boats) Designer/Builder

    I have put seats like that in new cedar strip canoes. Not sure if any more comfortable than flat seats with cane, but purpose is to lower center of seat a bit beyond length of bolts. And it looks a bit classier. But if you are building from scratch, it might end up costing more than just purchasing one, unless you have all materials already.
  3. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    I've not built one, but have used a couple of store-bought ones. The carved ones can have grain runout, and they have cracked along the weakest points. If you're going to do something like this, make it as a bent lamination for the long rails, which will be much sturdier.
  4. PGC

    PGC Curious about Wooden Canoes

    After years of marathon canoe racing in the 1970s, I’m very familiar with molded fiberglass seat that are used in racing canoes. While not very traditional looking, they are pretty comfortable. After some long days of paddling in our quest to complete the paddling of the Connecticut River from source to sea, I have suggested to my wife that I make a custom seat for her. I proposed having her stand on her head while I molded a custom kevlar seat over her upside down derrière. So far, she hasn’t volunteered.
  5. OP
    Ankle Deep

    Ankle Deep Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thank you for the replies. The suggestion to laminate the contoured portion of the frame is helpful. I assumed these were steam bent ...I had no idea they were "carved". I may attempt a steam bend but I'm unsure
    if my wife will be willing to participate ....
  6. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    By far, the most comfortable canoe seat I have ever used was a typical Old Town-style caned seat outfitted with a tied-on and removable seat pad. The pad was made the size of the seat portion and was simply a piece of 1/2" thick Ensolite closed cell foam sewn into a brown canvas cover with ties attached at the corners to tie it to the seat bars. Especially for longer trips, it makes a huge comfort difference. It can also be handy around camp when you are sitting on a rock eating dinner.

    The curved seat bars look cool and might lower your center of gravity a little bit, but I think expecting them to be noticeably more comfortable than a flat frame is probably not very realistic.
  7. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    I had those seats in a tripping canoe. They tended to act like a gimble and the bow paddler never knew if they were tilting to one side or the other. I had to always tell the bow paddler to mover to one side or another. At times I would be almost sitting on the gunnel to counteract the bow paddler's lean. With a flat seat that never happens to me.
  8. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Part of the bowman's job is dealing with "events" that require a quick assist...Bow rudders, draws etc. are often very helpful assists to keep the canoe from ending up on the rocks or to turn the hull into or out of an eddy. If the bow paddler is glued into the seats and unable to easily move on it their actions could be more counter productive than helpful. A nice flat tightly caned seat is the perfect working space for a bow paddler.
    We have curved weave seats in our Swift (Kevlar concession to old age) canoe and although they look really cool we can't stand them. The curve sort of locks you in and with the weave every move becomes a big jerky adjustment. Not apples and apples but from a comfort perspective we don't see any advantage.
    On long hauls I have placed one of the inflatable hunting pads on the seats.....they work pretty well and they can be strapped in to keep them from getting lost. Bunsaver Seat Cushion | Theisen's Home & Auto
  9. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    Another option for a contoured seat is to use a molded fiberglass "tractor-style" seat and tab it to wooden crossbars, as you can see on this fiberglass Micmac. I think you could get away with it pretty well on a stripper from a cosmetic standpoint. On a wood/canvas boat, I suppose it would depend on your personal taste and what you deem appropriate for the type.
  10. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

  11. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Could always put contoured ones in, and swap them out if you don't like them...

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