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Pad eyes ??

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Greg Nolan, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    I am considering installing pad eyes on both ends of a couple of my canoes, to allow attachment of painters and to use as tie-down points when car-topping.

    What do you all think about the use of eye pads, and where and how should they be installed?

    I am looking at two styles:

    pad eye brass.jpg pad eye bronze.jpg

    Should they be installed on the top of a deck, or possibly under the deck (where they would be out of the way)?. I know that Morris used to install them at the end of the stem on the floor of the canoe -- but we often tuck things in that space -- a knapsack with lunch, water, a spare pfd, the bow paddler’s feet, etc. -- that would interfere with tying on a painter.

    Does having a separate ring through the eye pad add anything except something to rattle and chip at deck varnish?

    pad eye ring.jpg

    It seems to me that some considerable strain might be placed on the eye pad -- when lining the canoe through a rapid, or on top of a car at 70 mph if the primary tie-down failed. Is simply fastening a pad eye down with 2 screws strong enough, given that the screws would have to be short -- shorter than the thickness of the deck? Would using a 4 screw pad eye make a useful difference? Or would using through-bolts and nuts be worth the little extra trouble?

    At present, we fasten painters or tie-down lines to short loops of rope run through holes bored in the decks of one canoe (by a previous owner), or through the spaces between ribs on another.

    sm cr 100_1680.JPG sm cr 100_1764.JPG

    While this works, it is just a bit too make-shift looking, especially on our new (for us), nicely restored OT Ideal.

    Lots of canoes have them, lots do not. I'd appreciate hearing pros and cons.
  2. shelldrake

    shelldrake LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I prefer short carrying thwarts just aft of the decks Greg. They make a much stronger tie-down point, strengthen the ends of the boat and are nice for carrying the canoe a short distance with two people. And no screw holes in your nice decks!

  3. Rob Stevens

    Rob Stevens Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Ditto on the carry handles, though you can also tie a painter to a seat.
  4. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Another vote for the short carry-thwarts. If you're set on using hardware, use through bolts, with washers & nuts on the underside.
  5. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Unless it's original I am not a big fan of deck mounted hardware.
    The nice clean wood deck and rail lines are broken by them.
    Even if they are existing I do not use them.
    Decks will get split, they are not up to the task of being reefed on for roof top carrying.

    I tie (as you do) through the gap in the rails. On my closed rail boats I tie to the seats.
    The canoes I have hung are all hung from the seat frames.
    Carry thwarts are a perfect tie location if you have them.

    If the intention is to add a place to attach a rope for convenience then I really like the way it is done on WW's boats. This is a nice clean solution that does not interrupt he deck lines and (I think) there is more resistance to load. I would still tie to the seats or rails for car topping though.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 11, 2012
  6. Darryl

    Darryl Canoe Nut

    I used them on a stripper I built around 10yrs back... seemed to work fine for me for what they are intended. Granted this canoe never leaves the cottage so I dont have to worry about strapping it to a car.

  7. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    Though it's probably frowned upon by the purists, I usually just bore a nice neat hole through the deck. It's easy, secure and requires no additional hardware. So far, I've been using this "system" for about 40 years with no failures, and if it was going to cause any problems, I'd probably know about them by now.
  8. JClearwater

    JClearwater Wooden Canoe Maniac

    When car topping my closed gunwale canoes I made a block from a 1x4 piece of scrap pine that would fit inside the canoe, just behind the deck and set on top of the underside of the inwale when the canoe is inverted. The ends of the block were cut to match the taper of the canoe, basicly trapizoid shaped blocks. A hole through the block provides a spot to tie a rope that leads down to the bumper in the conventional manner. It provides the best location for support, ie: directly to the inwale without new holes in the deck, carry thwarts or additional hardware. The block is not fastened in, it just sits there, held by the tie down rope. I never figured that pad eyes or painter rings really had enough strength to withstand the cross wind from 18 wheel trucks etc. You're putting too much faith in two little screws. Just my 2 cents worth.

  9. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    I never considered myself to be a purest but if this is the measure then yes......
    It really hurts when you find a gorgeous old boat with a big ugly hole blasted through the middle of the deck, almost always through the makers mark....yes, yes, yes....
    Every time I look at the deck on one of my IG's the first thing I see is the bloody hole in it.
    It's like someone sticking a finger in my eye...

    I suppose for strippers, grumman's, vacu formed OT, Mad Rivers and the like I have no issue with that bore hole...but not in nice old wood.
  10. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    Really? Gee, I don't think I said anything that resembles that at all. However, if that's the best workmanship you can muster up, perhaps some better tools and practice on some scrap wood might be a good idea before trying it on a boat. Personally, I find a neat hole far less ugly than rope grooves worn into a slotted spruce inwale or a cheap piece of modern Chinese brass sailboat hardware screwed to the deck. Seats really aren't installed with tie down anchors in mind and even the factory-supplied Old Town painter rings were kind of flimsy, with only one leg actually going through the wood and the other one pretty much just there for show. Obviously, if it's a rare or valuable piece of canoe history, one should think carefully about any modifications, and something like boring a hole through the label goes without saying, though I think we're all adults here and that's not likely to happen.
  11. JClearwater

    JClearwater Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Todd is usual.

    My closed gunwale Crandell has a painter ring exactly like Todd describes with only one leg going through the deck as well as a flag/pennant hole with brass escutchen plate. I do not use the painter ring to tie the canoe down for all the reasons previously mentioned. I use the flag holder hole. With the canoe inverted on the car I tie a bowline loop in the rope and push it through the hole. I then slide a 3" long dowel through the loop on the inside of the deck. As long as the rope is taut the dowel stays in place and the load is correctly transfered to the deck without involving any of the hardware. It is about as simple as you can get but of course you need a flag holder hole through the deck. I always use parachute chord. It's strong, ties easy and is thin enough that it doesn't interfere with forward vision out of the car and doesn't hum and whine in the wind.

    With my 1904 Old Town that has no deck hardware and no hole I use the trapizoid block above described. Again simple and effective. I don't use the seat frame as a lash point because the seat is too far back and I don't want rope marks as Todd mentioned.

    That's it. I think we spanked this monkey hard enough.

  12. Rollin Thurlow

    Rollin Thurlow member since 1980

    Hi Greg,
    Lots of good advise but back to the original question: The two hole eye strap will give you plenty of strength if it is through bolted to a decently strong deck. The four hole pad is overkill as far as strength and the wide base does not sit very well on most decks that have bit of a curve in them.
  13. H.E. Pennypacker

    H.E. Pennypacker LOVES Wooden Canoes

    MGC is right. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and so is ugly. It doesn't matter how much you spend on tools or how many times you practice on scrap wood - that crisp clean hole still looks like "a big ugly hole blasted through the middle of the deck" to some people and that should be okay for those with that opinion.

    If you need a tie-down, use whichever of these methods works best for you and gives the least offense.

    I've traveled more than 30,000 miles with canoes on Yakima racks with gunwale brackets or on a canoe trailer. No front/rear tie-downs. Never, ever had a problem. Sure, something could happen, like a meteor... So if it were an Old Town, I'd buy or make one of the OT painter rings and install it as a painter ring, not as a tie-down point. Otherwise, probably nothing (for me). But Rollin's advice is excellent if you want a nice piece of brass hardware to use as a tie-down point.
  14. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    As a long time Yakima Dealer, I can tell you that failing to tie down the ends of your canoe is neither very smart or following the rack manufacturer's specific instructions, but there is always some guy who thinks he knows better. In any case, it would not be very good advice to give to others.

    From Yakima's website:

  15. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    I've had a Yakima crossbar (door frame mount) pop off my car on the highway. If I had not had the bow & stern tiedowns secured, two canoes would have been in landfill; there's no telling what would have happened to the car behind me, or its occupants.

    On a trailer, the end tiedowns are sometimes viewed as optional, as the crossbars are far enough apart that the wind shear force on the leading ends is far less than on top of a vehicle. Also, at least some of the boats are in the draft of the vehicle... but then, you still have to make sure you do your last walkaround, to verify all straps are secured, and stop to check them regularly, as they do work their way loose. I lost a friend's canoe that way... short flights at highway speed are not good for canoes. I was able to pick up the pieces, but one deck, a thwart, the seat, and some pieces of gunnel were never seen again.

    'Nuff said?
  16. OP
    Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Everybody -- Thanks for the ideas and suggestions. I thought I might be over-thinking the issue, but I see that in fact there are a number of ways a dealing with it.

    There were already holes in each of the decks on our OT 50 pounder when we got it, and they are, in fact, quite serviceable for tying the canoe down. One of the holes was drilled off-center -- not a whole lot, but enough to irritate me every time I look at it. I will be restoring this canoe in the next year or two, but am unlikely to replace the otherwise sound decks, and so am likely to continue using the holes. For this canoe anyway, my question is a bit academic.

    But at Assembly this past summer we acquired a very nicely restored 1922 OT Ideal:

    sm cr 100_1145.jpg sm 100_1387.jpg sm 100_1139.jpg

    It has no easy, convenient way of attaching lines fore and aft lines. While tying a canoe down by the seats or regular thwarts when car-topping may be sufficient to keep the canoe on the car, it is awkward and inconvenient to have to reach up into the small space between the canoe and the car top, through the side rails of the car rack and the cross rails of the Yakima rack. And a seat that is not fastened to the gunwales but is hung a few inches below them seems an insecure tying anchor to me.

    In 40+ years of car-topping (never lost a canoe or other load, but have come close), I have found that without bow and stern tie-down lines, a car-topped canoe is not as stable or secure as I would like when buffeted by side winds or truck turbulence. It worries me to see the unsecured bow of a canoe moving 2-3 inches back and forth -- something that is virtually eliminated when a tie line runs at least from the bow. Gunwale clips on the rack bars help a lot, but are not always enough -- indeed, I have had the experience twice, when car-topping a canoe securely fastened with straps into gunwale clips on a Yakima rack, of having the wind pressure on the canoe move the canoe and rack cross-bar together sideways a few inches through the support towers – and the cross-bars were fully tightened down into the Yakima rack towers. Eye pads bolted through aluminum angles supporting the aluminum decks on my ancient Mohawk Royalex canoe have given decades of good sturdy service as anchors for bow and stern lines for all purposes -- which is why I think of eye pads for the task. But I worry about anchoring them securely in the relatively thin wood of a canoe deck.

    Sometimes for a short, low-speed trip I will forgo bow and stern lines (the town ramp in Dover-Foxcroft is less than a mile through town streets from our house), but otherwise I use them. Indeed, when I have hauled canoes that had no tie-down anchor points, I have improvised with the universal cure for anything that ails man, beast, or canoe:

    sm 100_4796.jpg sm 100_2737.jpg

    On our new OT Ideal, I have been running lines through the rail openings, and while this works, it is far from ideal -- the rail openings are quite thin and difficult to thread a line through – and if the line is left in place while canoeing, quite unattractive – indeed much less attractive than either a neat hole (which I don’t want to drill) or a small eye pad would be.

    Jim, I like your idea very much, at least for the tie-down line running forward from the canoe over the front of the car. However, even a 15’ canoe hangs out beyond the rear end of our Subaru Outback, so the tie-down line there would, I think, pull the anchoring block in the wrong direction.

    I have been considering installing a couple of carry thwarts in the OT Ideal just to make it easier to haul around on dry ground. I hadn’t thought of them as possible tie-down points (I’ve never had a canoe with carry thwarts -- but it makes sense to use them that way). I have a suitable piece of mahogany for making them, and I have a small stash of diamond-head bolts for fastening them down. So I think I will make and install carry thwarts and see how they work. But if I’m not satisfied with them for the task, I will likely through-bolt a couple of small two-hole (thanks for your thoughts, Rollin) brass pad eyes, which will match the brass of the OT diamond head bolts and the bang strips, and in my opinion (ain’t no accounting for taste), will not look jarringly out of place.

    Again, thanks.

    Last edited: Oct 14, 2012
  17. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    another idea

    What I like to do is to add carry thwarts made of strong parachute cord. I leave them in and use them to carry the canoe and tie it down. One inch straps could be used thru open gunnels too and remove/install as needed. They weigh nothing and no holes are required. I don't trust the strength of decks for lifting the canoe or for tie down to painters although they are probably perfectly strong enough to do the task. I've seen a number of cracked/broken decks that I assume are from lifting or tie down pressure.

    Attached Files:

  18. MackyM

    MackyM LOVES Wooden Canoes

    There are 1" wide motorcycle tie down straps on ebay from 14" to 18" long. They work great on open gunnel canoes.
  19. Rob Stevens

    Rob Stevens Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Quoting Greg Nolan; "And a seat that is not fastened to the gunwales but is hung a few inches below them seems an insecure tying anchor to me."

    Of course, there are several seat configurations. If they are cleated, they are quite strong enough to use as tie-downs. And no holes through the gunwales to potentially weaken that structural feature.

    Glad to see you are considering carry handles. Also, para cord or webbing loops through the scuppers are a simple and effective solution. I actually attach my Y shaped end straps to a loop of webbing around the carry handles, since they have metal hooks.
  20. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    I see a lot of Thompson canoes that come in with a hole drilled in the bow deck. I usually dress them up a bit by putting a brass grommet in it.
    The grommets are from a tarp repair kit that I bought at Wally-World. I don't have a good photo, but they look pretty good and accept a knotted line to use as a bow rope.

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