Thursday, August 25, 2011

Why not make your own?

Over at Sail Delmarva, Drew takes advantage of all that "good stuff you save just in case" that we all have, to fashion a set of wheels for his kayak:
Of course, this concept could work for a tender of any sort, so I thought it worth sharing. I've seen them built of everything from angle iron to PVC to copper pipe fittings; only imagination limits the options.


Sure, you can buy them in the store, but most I've seen are home-built. These took a few hours to puzzle out and piece together; a good father-daughter project, better than time plopped in front of the TV or... on the internet.

The lumber is 3/4" x 8" boards left over from a shelving project. We screwed them together with deck screws; I got lazy on the pre-drilling on the one side and the board split a bit, though it doesn't seem to have made a difference. The curve was transferred from the kayak to the saddles using a compass (the front and rear saddles are slightly different). The axle is a length of 1/2" brass rod left over from something, threaded on each end. The wheels are Home Depot mower wheels for ~ $15.00, the only bit I couldn't find on the scrap heap.

The foam was cut from a scrap work-out mat tile. The pipe stubs are scrap 3/4" PVC and fit into drainage holes molded into the kayak hull--these prevent shifting.

The wheels are lashed to the kayak with 1/2-inch line and a snug truckers hitch. I did a sloppy job in the picture--lightening was starting to flash. They normally cris-cross between the axle and the wooden frame.

We throw all our gear in the kayak, grab the handle, and start walking. Miles are possible on a good path, and we have done just that on occasion to reach a prime spot. More often, it's a matter of a few hundred yards. Sure, a sturdy person can heft a kayak on a shoulder, but a second trip will be needed for a day's worth of gear. With the wheels a child (or a tired adult) can tote the works. Well worth a little shop time, and I enjoy turning scraps into something useful.

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