Boat Building Forum

Find advice on all aspects of building your own kayak, canoe or any lightweight boats

Footpeg mounts redux
By:Scott Fitzgerrell
Date: 3/8/2001, 2:32 pm

Once more, into the breach:

To avoid through-hull fittings and improve appearance on our Tern 14, I came up with the following variation on the T-nut-footpeg-pad concept. Here’s a set of instructions:

1. From ½-inch Baltic birch plywood (or similar—just don’t use solid wood), cut four 3-inch circles, using a hole saw.
2. Chamfer the edges at 45 degrees (I used a router table, which is quick, but even a rasp would do).
3. Counterbore about 3/16 inch for ¼-inch T-nuts on the back side of each pad. If necessary, drill out the center hole left by the hole saw, to accommodate the necks of the T-nuts.
4. Sand and epoxy saturate pads, taking care to fill edges and holes. Let cure overnight.
5. Redrill the centers if necessary, and install a T-nut in each pad. Don’t hammer these in: the bolts will pull them home—and create a perfect alignment in the process.
6. Drill out the mounting holes in the footpeg racks, if necessary, and bolt the racks alone (pegs off) to the pads with ¼-inch stainless steel machine screws (bolts). (Use flat-heads and countersink if you’ll want to be able to slide the pegs off for some reason. I used round-heads to act as retainers and keep the pegs from coming off. This was for a boy’s boat, after all.)
7. Rough-sand the mounting areas (which you marked previously, right?) inside the hull. Mix an ounce of epoxy with wood flour to create a nonsagging goop. Apply liberally to the backs of the pads.
8. Clamp the assemblies in position inside the hull, using one clamp per pad and centering the pressure directly on the bolt head. Use scrap wood on the outside of the hull to catch the opposing sides of the clamps. Apply enough pressure to hold everything steady, but don’t over-clamp; epoxy needs only contact pressure. Epoxy will squeeze out all around. Fillet the squeeze-out with a gloved finger and remove excess. Let cure. This procedure compensates for hull curvature and ensures that the racks and pads are exactly aligned—vital for final installation.
9. Unbolt the racks. Sand everything smooth, then reinstall the bolts in the pads. Cut fiberglass circles to fit over the pads and extend two or three inches beyond on all sides. Cut holes for the bolt heads. Rough sand and epoxy the fiberglass in place. Do it one side at a time with the boat on edge, and you won’t get runs. Take out the bolts, sand everything smooth if needed, bolt on the pegs and racks, and you’re done.

Note: Instructions assume that the hull has been glassed inside (though it needn’t be), and that the deck has not yet been glued on. If the deck is on, you can still do this—it’s just a little harder. You’d install one side at a time with the boat on edge, using weights instead of clamps to hold the rack-pad assemblies in position.

Rob Macks has expressed concern at “invisible” footpeg-mounting schemes on this bulletin board, fearing failure in an emergency. The system described above attempts to deal with these concerns, handling point loads at the source and distributing them over a wide area. You’re creating strong mounting bosses at a negligible weight addition. Here’s why I think it works:
1. A circle provides the maximum surface area for its weight.
2. Hardwood plywood is stable and strong, and won’t split, especially under the simple shear loads the pads receive.
3. Through-bolts are stronger than screws embedded in plastic—the stock deal with Keepers brand foot pegs supplied with our Pygmy.
4. Glassing-in the mounting pads integrates them into the hull structure. If you’re nervous, you can strengthen them further with another layer or two of glass, going wider with each layer. Presto: “expedition” footpegs.

All that said, this is of course more work than just drilling four holes in the hull. I found it to be very simple, however, and the boat sure looks better for it.

Finally, just grandma research, but the Tern 14 recently survived an extended outing in 35-40 knots of wind on the Estero Americano. Dealing with the waves and surfing, I was jamming on the pegs for all I was worth and leaning back almost flat on the deck. One local farmer we spoke with after we got ashore said it had never blown that hard in all his years in the area. They had 50 knots steady at Pt. Reyes that afternoon.

--Scott Fitzgerrell

Messages In This Thread

Footpeg mounts redux
Scott Fitzgerrell -- 3/8/2001, 2:32 pm
Re: Footpeg mounts redux
Chet Lee -- 6/5/2001, 2:45 pm
Re: Footpeg mounts redux
Lee -- 3/8/2001, 10:19 pm
Re: Footpeg mounts redux
Scott Fitzgerrell -- 3/9/2001, 1:35 pm
Re: Footpeg mounts redux
Lee -- 3/10/2001, 8:30 pm
Re: Footpeg mounts redux
Scott Fitzgerrell -- 3/12/2001, 4:27 pm