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  1. #1
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    Default Stretchers

    You know the bit that connects your feet to the boat. In oar on gunwale non sliding seat boats, you are usually trying to find a bit of boat structure onto which to hook your heels. In some of the glued lap boats there is not even that and I have resorted to a trapese bar kind of thing tied to the rowing thwart.

    My ducker is easy, the cleats for the floor board are on top of the floor board not underneath. I have adjustible foot blocks on tracks in the Harrier. Now I am looking at a dory with floor boards, and thinking about various solutions, but thought it would be interesting to draw on the collective wisdom of the forum. What do you have that is simple and elegant?
    Last edited by Ben Fuller; 06-07-2011 at 06:32 PM. Reason: spelling
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    An interesting foot stretcher solution which I saw previously, but can't seem to find again, makes use of simple adjustable foot blocks which slide up and down the floorboards. Each block is the width of a floorboard and approximately cubic in shape. The front face is slightly angled/beveled to provide a comfortable angle for the ball of the foot to push against. Each block has a lower, below the floorboard block, of the same width and length as the top foot block, but say a quarter or so the thickness (vertically). The lower block is connected to the upper block by a pair of metal bands, one on each side, which are pinned or screwed into approximately the middle of each block's side face, so that all can swivel and move fairly freely. The distance from the upper to the lower face middle point i.e. the distance between the holes in each strap, is such that it just allows the block pair to be slid on to the floorboard and then to be slid up and down into position on the floorboard. The idea is that the blocks are slid into place and that the pressure exerted by the feet results in the top block sliding forward slightly. This produces a camming or rotation action which then clamps the floorboard between the upper and lower block. I hope that makes sense

    I'm not sure if they would require floorboards of constant width.
    "Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors". African Proverb

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    There have been some other good threads on this, worth a Forum search. I like the simple trad setup - two multi-notched blocks/cleat-thingies running fore and aft, with a turned dowel or simple board running crosswise to brace against. The notches allow adjustment of the brace, and the latter is easily removed or replaced when desired.

    Photo from the wonderful TIME/Life book Classic Boat -
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    I recall that LFH's Marco Polo (or Nereia?) pram had rows of 'heel cups' cut into the floorboards fore and aft for different leg lengths. It looked like an elegant solution that also allowed for a pump or sponge to be used without lifting the boards to bail.
    “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs."

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    I remember the heel cup solution and I had not heard about the camming idea on floor boards. I am developing a single stretcher solution to run on a center floor board but i had been thinking about some bolts and wingnuts.

    The bar or foot board is the classic but not seen much at least on this side of the pond.

    When I am down at Mystic for the Woodenboat show later this month, I thought I might do an oar and stretcher crawl. I have some idea of where the good stuff is but need to document same.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    I'll try to describe my blocks. About 1 1/2 wide, couple of inches or so total height, maybe 6" long. Forward face angled back to catch my heel - the angled faces could be scewed thwartship as well. Individual floorboards are set up with a consistant 3/4" gap. The heel blocks are milled with a protruding tongue 3/4 wide. The tongue slips between the floorboards and catches a rib. That simple.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    Here are photos that I've saved over the years of two adjustable types -- the first with a pair with dowels through holes in the burden-boards, and the second located in notches over a single cleat fastened to the boards --




    (In the second, note that the cleat is captive within the side-pieces so that the brace can't slide sideways.)

    Mike
    Visit us to see how we help people complete classic boats authentically.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    Spent some time at the WoodenBoat show refreshing my memory about what was in boat storage in the pulling boat line. Most of the old ones had a pair of pieces with slots at the outer edge of floorboards and a pretty serious bar across them. Nothing fancy, enough slop in the slots so that a change of angle worked and having the cleats toeing in would work. Translating this all to a non floorboard glued hull boat is tricky. Mike's solution is pretty neat, a very small cleat glued to the bottom. Translating the traditional calls for gluing cleats with slots to the boat sides at the right height, which would not be bad. For the dory the slots between the floorboard slats are big enough to take a piece of half inch ply with slots cut into the top. The bottom board cleats stop them from sliding. Then a bar across them. Three pieces, no joiner work. What is not to like?
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    I have a long floorboard in my dory. Its reinforced with plywood at about the place your feet will be if you are at a rowing station. The plywood has three sets of holes drilled through.

    This year I have custom selected organic stretchers. Which is a modern way of saying I found some sticks on the beach and put them in the holes.
    Yachting, the only sport where you get to be a mechanic, electrician, plumber and carpenter

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    Ben, any update on your progress?

    I have something like this in mind.


    FootrestWood1 by Clint Chase Boatbuilder, on Flickr

    I like that has universal adjustability. I'd extend it to be a bit wider and use quick release pins. I like that it can be built in all wood parts. I can see bronze plate or G10 coming in handy, too.

    I'd like some thing that had one track on centerline to which the stretcher mounted. The only thing is torque. Sometimes, in rough water, I'll take one foot off and row hard with more pressure on right or left.
    Clinton B. Chase
    Portland, Maine

    http://tinyurl.com/myboats

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    Because I like to be able to clear my aft floorboards completely for a comfy place to sit while sailing, I use blocks with 3/8 bronze pins in the bottoms fitted into matching holes on the floorboards. They pop in and out pretty easily. Because I have fitted out my own boat specifically just to suit me, I didn't add any options for adjustment. but it would be easy enough to add a few rows of holes to provide a variety of positions if you were setting up for a shared boat.



    Hmmm. . .I'm afraid you can't really see them all that well in this picture because they are nearly completely obscured by my shoes, but there are tapered wooden blocks almost as big as my footprint right behind them. And a portable compass set between your heels like that is a useful trick for helping you row on course in open water without having to crane your neck around any more often than necessary.
    Last edited by James McMullen; 02-10-2013 at 10:59 PM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    James, your compass, is it actually mounted to the stretchers?

    Is it one of 'dem nifty reverse bearing jobbies?

    I still am doing the math when I row with my compass...I'm finding that I don't do math well at sea.
    Clinton B. Chase
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    Dovekie's flat FRP hull had a nice mahogany stretcher attached to the sole by a pair of machine screws threaded into threaded brass bushings bonded into holes so it could easily be unfastened to provide an unobstructed surface for berths on the sole.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    Clint,

    I think Alden and some others carry reverse reading compasses. Since it is blowing too hard to do much else, may be I will get a pic of the stretcher I cobbled together for the dory and send it along. You probably remember the ones for the Harrier where I used sliding seat tracks which are about flush with the top of the floor boards.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    Ben I must be getting old. I do not remember your Harrier one. Pics of those would be great if available. TX,
    Clint
    Clinton B. Chase
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    Clint, that compass is just a Suunto kayak deck-mount compass that I just set there loose on the floorboards. If I really had to row a course through the fog or something, I'd carefully check my actual course and probably get out my GPS too, but this little guy is more than ample enough to let me tell if I'm not rowing straight. I mostly am just trying to row smoothly enough to keep th needle from jittering so I don't have to crane my neck around more than is comfortable.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    Clint here's a useful aid for figuring reciprocals while getting bounced around ,with no hands free. From 0 to 180 degrees : add 200 to the course and subtract 20 .From 180 to 360 : subtract 200 and add 20 .

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    Hey I like that, Bill, thanks!
    Clinton B. Chase
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Perkins View Post
    Clint here's a useful aid for figuring reciprocals while getting bounced around ,with no hands free. From 0 to 180 degrees : add 200 to the course and subtract 20 .From 180 to 360 : subtract 200 and add 20 .
    Thanks gents I like this ready reckoner

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    Quote Originally Posted by KevB View Post
    Thanks gents I like this ready reckoner
    Since this has reemerged I'd like to add an attribution .This comes from Captain Bill Brogdon's excellent book "Boat Navigation for the rest of us " from International Marine . The Captain shares a wealth of personal experience .
    Last edited by Bill Perkins; 08-21-2020 at 10:04 AM.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    Another short cut that I teach to simplify the time speed distance is thinking of a clock face. If you are doing 3 knots it is mile every 20 minutes etc. Then there is all the anthropomorphic chart work: I have a 5 nm hand span, three from fore finger to pinky and a one knuckle that is a nautical mile on a 1: 40000 chart.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    On both my Dovekie and my Herreshoff 17 I'm using an 8" x 24" fender as a stretcher. Lines from the eyes at each end of the fender run forward to jam cleats located within reach of the seat. Easily adjustable, easy on the feet and of course it does double duty as a fender.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    Here are some stretchers I made for a Peapod at the School. They came out pretty good. Would like to try some on the water.


    Rowing Stretcher by Clint Chase Boatbuilder, on Flickr

    Follow the link for more.
    Clinton B. Chase
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  24. #24
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    This is similar what to I did for the dory; the angled stretcher is mounted to a flat plate which has holes, bolts and wingnuts that go through the gaps in the floorboards. Big washers on the underside. In my case the center floor board is not tapered.

    I kind of like the fender idea for a quick and dirty.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    Ben, I may have gotten this idea from you...I also recall seeing a photo somewhere...I'd like to look at a way to make this thing lay flat. I put QR pins in the fwd two holes so they pop out and the thing can be flattened, but it sits a little high. I have not heard feedback yet on these.

    The new Drake owner may get a set of these.
    Clinton B. Chase
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    http://tinyurl.com/myboats

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    Possible that I sent you a pic. But I think the point is that you need to think about stretchers as you set up the boats interior. Not as an afterthought.

    The Brits for example like to put a stringer in below the seat stringer for full width foot stretchers. And in some 17th century craft they worked the floorboards across the boat from lower stretcher to lower stretcher with the height of everything worked out so that the floor boards hit the keep as it came across, which is pretty much the way the floorboards run in the faering. Across the boat with a cleat in the center to hold the sections together.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    These stretchers I made were definitely an afterthought.

    I would take your argument one step further, that the stretchers need to be drawn into the plan. I just finished a good session drawing my midship station for the new boat, mocking up seat, floorboard height, sheer height, oarlock spread, etc. My foot placement and desired spread is in there too, so I can be sure the floorboards are wide enough for a stretcher...or the hull gets configured to take a proper stretcher.

    My new boat will have well thought out stretchers this time. I wish I had the ones above for Drake with all the guest rowers I had. Somehow, people's legs aren't as long as mine!

    The ones above are OK because they can drop in to different boats with floorboards and the two fore aft rails can be changed in width.
    Clinton B. Chase
    Portland, Maine

    http://tinyurl.com/myboats

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    One of the ways that the can be set up from a clean slate is a series of angled wooden cleats running from seat riser to a riser or longitudinal that is fastened to the boat and runs at the outside of the floorboards. Then a board gets dropped in. Don't know if the web has plans for a Thames skiff in it; I think we ran a Thames skiff plan in 3rd edition of Watercraft and I know there is good ones in McKee's Working Boats of Britain. Good to think about this now on paper rather than at the end of the build......
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    Found this shot of a T' Skiff interior.

    You can see the boards Ben speaks of with leather straps!!!


    Skiff Interior by Clint Chase Boatbuilder, on Flickr
    Clinton B. Chase
    Portland, Maine

    http://tinyurl.com/myboats

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    This thread popped up again. Reminded me to note the stretcher I just put in my Good Little Skiff which I recommissioned. I remembered seeing what an Apprentice had done to a Susan Skiff. He'd run a board across the boat resting on the chines, and bearing on the frames. I'd been using the end of the keelson to which the skeg had been fastened. I thought I'd see if it would work.

    Looking at the skiff there was a frame that was about right. So I looked in my scrap pile and found a 4" board that was an honest 4 quarter. After work with bevel gauge and some fitting I set it up. It's great. High enough to catch the ball of my foot. I may stiffen it a bit with a rib.

    Now on to my little Chaisson tender which has no floor boards and bent frames. Am thinking a removable board that fits in between a couple of the floor cleats. I'll hack one out and see how it works.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    Tested my new footrest/stretchers for my 12 foot skiff (Oughtred Spike) today. It worked fine an distance can be easily regulated with wingnut and counternut:


    Larch panel with a wooden wedge aft and a stainless steel rod Diameter 8 mm going into a 8 mm hole into the bottom-frame.


    See pictures:

    stretcher1.jpg

    stretcher2.jpg

    stretcher3.jpg

    stretcher4.jpg
    Hay mas tiempo que vida!

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    Guess I am lucky, the aft thwart in my dinghy is just the rich length.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    Here's the simple setup in my Cosine Wherry -

    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne View Post
    Here's the simple setup in my Cosine Wherry -

    Thanks for the reminder. I need to add one to my traditional dory skiff. I did a test, I can take a bit of board sized to drop in between some floor cleats ( removable) on which to mount the stretcher. Something like this would give me some adjustability.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Stretchers

    I'll be honest, lately I find the simplicity and effectiveness and stowability of a nice piece of wood carved to be comfortable with a channel down the middle for a piece of low-stretch line, made off to two frames a very nice stretcher. I take Spruce and 8-side it and dado two halves in the middle and glue it. Then run the line from a frame member, through the foot bar, back to frame member and make off with a slip knot. Adjust and row...when you want it out of the way just push it out of the way.
    Clinton B. Chase
    Portland, Maine

    http://tinyurl.com/myboats

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