Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle . . . .

When I needed a seat for my new boat, I set to cannibalizing my plastic Baffin. First, I liked the seat and second, it fit in the new boat perfectly. Of course, this left a perfectly good boat without a seat. There was the option to replace the seat with a factory one but it would cost 160.00 plus tax and shipping = around 200.00.  Ouch!!

I decided that I would build one out of foam. So I set to work but was not getting anywhere. It was a warm (relatively) day and I was working outside. Outside the shed stood two lawn chairs destined for the garbage next week. Suddenly I had the craziest idea - "I wonder if I could make a kayak seat out of a lawn chair?' I seem to recall seeing it done but did not know how well it would work out.

Your garden variety lawn chair!!

I simply started hacking, trying to get the chair to, at least, fit inside the hull. I made one cut that proved wrong but was later easily fixed by some West System G-Flex epoxy which is specifically designed for use with plastic.

First round of hacking and one bad cut. These "L" shaped pieces proved invaluable when left in place. The back was too high as well for comfortable lay backs.

B  E  G  I  N    P  A  D  D  L  I  N  G       I  N  T  E  R  L  U  D  E

Having been cutting and fitting for about an hour and making some good headway, I put the seat away for a while so that Cheryl and myself could take our 11 year old daughter for a scoot about in St. Philips. Bridget showed an interest in going so we made hay while the sun shone.

Following Bridget out!

Cheryl (l) and Bridget (r)

Bridget all decked out in a drysuit and Greenland paddle!

Cheryl and Bridget stopping for a snack of almonds!

It was a nice little excursion about the harbour and it helped Bridget gain some confidence on the salt water. She handled her boat very well even though a good breeze came up and she even had to punch out through some waves after landing by herself on the beach. She's on the way!!

E  N  D    P  A  D  D  L  I  N  G     I  N  T  E  R  L  U  D  E

As for the seat, I splinted and epoxied the mistaken cut and later that night I sanded and painted. Here's the final product:

Painted and the back trimmed to the right height.

The "L" shapes that I retained where perfect for bolting the seat to the boat - as per the existing holes in the hull!  I reused the back band  that originally came with the boat but did not use with the new one as I am experimenting with the foam pillar with that boat. I popped in the foam hip pads as well. Total installation took no more than 15-20 minutes.

Back band and hip pads in place.

For now the hip pads are held in place with Gorilla Tape.
While it may look nice, it feels even nicer. I was truly amazed at the level of comfort from this simple setup. It's actually more comfortable than the setup I have in my new boat!!  My intention is to have Cheryl use this boat so I had her come outside and sit in the boat. I could tell from the initial look on her face that she, too, found the seat quite comfortable! She feels the way I do about this setup. I can't wait to give it a whir!!

And that, my friends, is some good recycling!!


  1. Sean, I am amazed, really. Bloody brilliant.
    I have been removing and replacing ill fitting seats from my kayaks for years but never dawned on me to actually use an existing seat and modify it, like you did.
    All of my replacement seats are fibreglass seats I made from a mould.
    I am enormously grateful to you for documenting this simple yet effective way of creating probably a very comfortable seat.
    One question: what width is the kayak you outfitted with the modified lawn chair?
    You know what: I will get one regardless and see if it fits in one of my kayaks...

  2. Can you recycle just 3 single serve beverage containers a week? Join the challenge, blog about it and earn points. Learn more from this video I found on YouTube:

  3. Gnarly:

    The Baffin is 22.5 wide at the maximum but I seem to recall the "seat" being cut to around 16" wide - which is the width at the bottom chine. Once I managed to get it in, I simply hacked and cut till it fit the shape of the hull. I was also quite fortunate that the height of the arms was the exact height I needed to fit under the coaming. I'm still thinking I sat on a horsehoe at some piont in my early life!!

  4. Sean, you did say you had 2 lawn chairs, are you putting the other in your new boat?

    We do throw out way too much stuff and a ingenious mind can put a lot of this to good use. I hope when I get a bit slow and old they don't decide to throw me out!
    Very interesting post.

    Tony :-)

  5. sean your like a kayak mcguyver

  6. I agree with Lee...AWESOME-NESS!!!!

  7. Absolutely brilliant, I must try this! And did you say you rolled with it and all is good?

  8. Thanks all.

    I did not try rolling it yet but the ability to lay back is the same now as it was with the original seat. Rolling should be unaffected. Actually, the roll-ability of this boat is one of the main reasons I wanted this boat back on the water.

    Thanks for reading.

  9. Thanks for posting this! I'm going to help someone put a new seat in their boat with this idea.

  10. I've been trying to figure out a seat for when I get my boat done. Really couldnt see me spending 200 on a seat. If I can get that to work, it'll be great! Much cheaper then mayking my own out of fiberglass even!
    Any chance you can make a set of hatches out of a paper clip
    2 shot gun shells
    and 1 old tire??

  11. Robert, I believe he made one of his GP's out of those items, along with a bit of scotch tape of course...

  12. Robert: Why not make your hatches out of plastic buckets/covers?? Ice cream container top and rim for the day hatch, beef bucket for the front and a larger 5 gal bucket for the rear!! (Just kidding) And BTW, Dean, I only use Gorilla tape on my paddles!!

  13. Thanks for this informative post. In case you haven't heard, Recyclebank has just teamed up with Greenopolis! Now you can earn both Recyclebank and Greenopolis points everytime you recycle. Check out this video-- I learned about the news here.