Thursday, February 14, 2008

how to build a bulkhead foot rest

some people like the system that comes with their boat, some do not. Most people at least modify a bulkhead with foam,filling in all the gaps and making a custom fit for their creeker. I highly recommend do that.
Those of us with short legs often need to take it a step further and modify the system more (or build one from scratch) Here is how I have been making mine...

Most hardware stores have 1" wide aluminum bars and tubes. I got these at Lowes.
The bars need to be at least 24" long each (2 of them) and the square tube needs to be between 12" and 20" long

I used 1/4" thick high density polyethelene (HDPE) for the foot plate, bought from US Plastics
A 24" x 48" piece can make 5 or more foot plates so you'll have plenty of extra for your friends or for boat welding when you beat your boat into submission from all the sick boofs and rock spins you'll be doing.

HDPE can be scored and broken like plexi glass or cut with a jig saw. I was out of blades on the jigsaw so used the edge of a chisel for the job.

I copied the shape of DragoRossi's bulkhead for the Mafia and Gangster, made it a little wider, and shortened the length of the side bars a few inches to accomodate my 30" inseam.

The HDPE footplate measures 13 1/2" wide x 7 3/4" high.
The 1" square aluminum tubing was cut to 13 1/2". It will reenforce the footplate.
The 1" aluminum bars are each 24" long.

Be sure to file all the metal corners to eliminate burs and reduce stress risers at joints.
Bend the last 3" of each metal bar so that it will wrap around behind the HDPE footplate and square tube.
I do not have a bench vice so used a c-clamp to hold each bar to the table and bent them by hand.
Line everything up and drill holes for the four 2" screws that will hold everything in place.

How you attach the system to your boat depends on the brand of boat you are using. In this instance I simply stole the ratchets and straps from my old DragoRossi bulkhead and put them on the new one. A super simple technique would be to drill several holes at the ends of the bars, spaced 1" apart to create a traditional adjustable bulkhead. Many manufacturers are incorporating shock absorbing features into their bulkheads. Necky uses springs. DragoRossi's ratchet straps are designed to stretch on impact. Look closely at many different ideas and chose the one that makes sense to you.

Here is a quick comparison of the bulkhead I made (top) and the stock one (bottom). Notice how I made mine wider. I did this so I would not have to fill in as many gaps on the side of the footplate like I do with the stock one, and it gives me more foot room. If I had longer legs I would not have been able to do this.

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