Alternatives to stock cane solo seat

New Seat

In most of my boats I build and install what I refer to as a thweat. As it sounds, it’s half thwart, half seat. Essentially it is a narrow caned seat. I laminate the front rail to a uniform curve with approximately a 3/4" drop in the center. I then cant the seat with approximately 3/4" drop front rear to front. I drill the rails and weave with synthetic cane. Locally I purchase the synthetic cane from Craft Supply on University Avenue in Rochester, NY. I believe they have a website. The synthetic cane looks quite similar to the real stuff except it is MUCH tougher and doesn’t degrade with time. I’ve got 15 yr old boats that the cane appears as good as new. It is also nearly puncture/tear proof. If the seat rails are sealed with epoxy and then varnished before caning, you should end up with a low maintenance, wood seat/thweat.

Marc Ornstein

Dogpaddle Canoe Works

Custom Paddles and Cedar Strip Canoes

if you are willing to go composite
then ZRE sells two different styles of carbon fibre tractor style seats

CS repair

The CS strength/repair thing is kinda interesting. Pb has had a couple customers who, maybe, shouldn’t have top end boats.

Customer #1 had a wood railed Spit in the back of a pickup truck and backed into a friends CRV destroying the CRV/s wheel spare wheel cover and back door, denting her cab and bed and snapping both rails and badly tearing the hull where it fulcrumed around the rear pillar of the bed. Yeah, we could have resinated and patched, putting the thing back in the mold and under vacuum etc, but rationally, the poor boat was done. Rails could have been quad scarf patched but, once removed to remold the hull, we’d have just rerailed. We figured the repair would cost the best part of a new boat and never be as strong or light, so declared it a dead boat.

Customer # 2 had a CobraSox SpitFire, left a longish strap dangling and backed over it. A 5000 lb Jeep multiplying that weight by the tire radius with some gain due to the compound leverage of a double strap around the bar crushed the poor boat flat at the rear crossbar. I patched the interior, Joe did the extensive gel work and the customer was back on the road, no damage to the rails.

Then, the same customer decided that secure strapping was overkill and lost the same hull on the Northway at speed somewhat above the posted limit. Patched to the front of the hull this time and lots of road rash, but still no damage to the rail system. I hope Joe bought the boat back - this guy just isn’t ready.

These are anecdotal stories, not indicative of a statistical sampling of severe hull accidents, but the CS stuff is pretty stout and quite forgiving.

Top dog paddler!!!
Marc, congrats on recently winning the gold medal in the 2009 national interpretive freestyle championships.

In a very real sense you have contributed to motivating this old paddler to get off his internet duff to get involved in freestyle again … which requires a proper boat … which requires a proper seat … which required this thread … which requires the … uh … internet.

Hmmm, I seem to be going around in circles. Well, haha, that’s the mark of freestyle mettle. Hence I am now leaving to go look at the Wildfire-not-Yellowstone that may allow me to gyre and gimbal in the wabe.

Can you elaborate on that?

Working on a new canoe seat design
Stay tuned. Won’t have a prototype till mid winter probably. This one will be wood.

That said, we’d love to mold our own off the bottom composite seat for our Tupper, but that’s on the back burner till next fall’s r & d season.

Eventually will want to offer a carbon bucket and slider setup for our Horizon.

We love all materials here at VT Canoe. It’s good to have choices b/c there are so many different designs, uses, needs, disiplines, styles, and opinions. Our canoes will always offer a balance between traditional and new age materials while always trying to keep it simple and repairable.

Happy paddlin’


been following along here , and …

– Last Updated: Sep-26-09 11:13 AM EST –

...... find the discussion interesting .

I'll state upfront I've never had a need to kneel as in solo canoe style , but believe I have the idea of what's required position wise (emphasis on "believe" , which if incorrect negates my whole concept) .

The factor that seems to consistently come up is the "partial" use of the seat "to help" support the paddlers weight ... knees on the deck , butt on seat to some extent , feet back under seat on toes , or against brace blocks or similar .

My mind picture sees that a conventional seat set up for setting on only does not lend itself well to the kneeling position . The seat front is too high and the seat back has resticted foot space under it .

Yet , it seems many would also like the option of transitioning from the kneeling position , to the conventional setting position when ever they desired to .

So , why not simply design a nice comfortable conventional seat that can be used "optimally" for both positions at will .

Stop me if I'm missing something here , but it doesn't really seem to be the actual seat itself that is causing the problem , just the way it is mounted .

I see it in the plane that knee to butt is , in which the seat should be parralel to this plane for support .

Assuming you haven't stopped me yet , or I've not been too presumptuous ... I visualize a design that might be acceptable (or even better than that) , which shouldn't be any major hurtle in fabrication .

I see a handful of ways to accomplish it , and even further improvements possible to the concept with more thoughtful attention .

The concept I'm thinking of , is to simply design the seat mounting components (on each side) to allow the seat to be adjusted in tilt or angle .

This would allow the seat front to tilt low and the rear of seat to raise upwards ... can be accomplished with an arch (semi-cicle) bracket that is stationary (affixed to gunnels as any drop bracket) ... and a few other ways .

The seat itself would be the moving part . It would have the ability to slide within the arch/semi-circle following the arch , thus the front lowers and the rear raises . Simple mechanical tension devise would be used to stop and lock the seat at any angle chosen .

The simplist design I can invision would add 0-1 lb. weight over standard mount .

ps., ... I'm certain that this idea/concept is not a world changing event that I have just had the original thought of . Certainly it has been thought of prior and prototypes devised or marketed ... so what are the drawbacks and negetives that have dismissed it (the mechanical adustable seat) ??

The Power Rocker…
“The concept I’m thinking of , is to simply design the seat mounting components (on each side) to allow the seat to be adjusted in tilt or angle .

This would allow the seat front to tilt low and the rear of seat to raise upwards … can be accomplished with an arch (semi-cicle) bracket that is stationary (affixed to gunnels as any drop bracket) … and a few other ways .”

Designed by Barry Simpson of Warren, VT and previously distributed by Voyageur/Mad River Canoe, The power Rocker is what you’ve described above.

The product has been upgraded several times in the past few years. None to mention of in the marketplace yet. The original ones we pretty heavy, but the current version is said to be a good bit lighter (still in wood, I believe). Good chance we’ll have a couple of seats set up in our demos for Raystown.


the power rocker , huh ??

– Last Updated: Sep-26-09 11:37 AM EST –

..... guess everything has to have a catchy name for a market identity .

I figured there must have been angle adjustable seats somewhere , but why is this concept not an industry standard offered to soloist (or even someone who will only be sitting in conventional manner , but wishes a slight adjustment from time to time) ??

Could it be that it really isn't able to accomplish the desired need for a soloist on their knees ??

I can think of a handful of ways to get the seat to do more than just tilt in a single plane , without adding extra components to the arch ... it's all in the bracket . For instance you could have the seat actually slip into a two stage mode allowing it to move forward or rearward and lower or raise in elevation , while still chosing the tilt angle prefered .

Barry Simpson…
is excellent at creating things (mostly of wood), but his “get into the marketplace” efforts are minimal.

Once Confluence was formed, Voyaguer was dissolved and interest to distribute the Power Rocker disapeared as well. Barry has continued to refine the design, but made no real effort to get someone to “sell” it. It hasn’t had the chance to prove itself yet. I paddled early versions back in the late 90’s and haven’t seen one in almost as long. Going to get one this week to install in one of our demos.

Are you going to Raystown?

no sorry , not expecting Raystown

– Last Updated: Sep-26-09 12:07 PM EST –

...... Barry Simpson you've mentioned seems to have the concept well underway , like forever .

It is still baffling me as to why this concept has not been marketed in various design fashions if indeed it would fit the need .

To design such a bracket and acompanying seat that meets all the requirements , funtions flawlessly with ease , is very strong and lightweight ... would not take excessive efforts .

The components of course would be a bit more complex than a standard bolt in seat and bracket , but not much ... really no big deal .

I wonder if all objectives were met , if such a seat/unit bracket would be a worthwhile endevor to spend time designing ??

My theory is , if you can make "one" prototype to meet all the funtion and cost objectives ... you can then make as many as are asked for , or as many as you feel like producing (home based manuf./supplier) ... a few extra bucks for retirement and such ??

We’ll report back…
after we give one a shot. Maybe I can put up some pictures of it, too.

I know there are some Pnetters who have tried it. I’ve seen a thread or two with mention to it.

Powerrocker, patent, pictures, cane evil

– Last Updated: Oct-06-09 8:56 PM EST –

Here is the patent issued to Barry K. Simpson in 2000 for what was called the Powerrocker by Mad river:

Here are some pictures of the Powerrocker posted by CanoeDancing on

The Powerrocker using a cane seat doesn't solve the fundamental problem with a cane seat, which is the cheap construction of such seats. They are uncomfortable whether kneeled against or sat upon because the cane quickly sags with slight age or wetness -- and you end up kneeling against the sharp front rail or sitting on the cutting profile of the front and back rails. Polyester webbing is less prone than cane to sagging with age-wetness or to breaking.

I ended up buying the Bell Wildfire that engendered this thread. This is a superb hull (which is a different topic) and Bell installed the flat cane seat as well as can be done. The front edge of the front rail is even beveled at an incline. But the seat is as uncomfortable as I expected -- producing a sore, throbbing bum in less than 20 minutes of kneeling, which pain never goes away.

This discomfort hardly ever happens with my Galt carved and contoured wooden web seats, or with my Hemlock carbon touring bucket seat.

Canoe manufacturers should feel at least slightly guilty for selling us $3,000 canoes -- touting all sorts of fancy schmancy cloths, glues, lamination schedules, nuclear fusion technologies, colors, patterns, designer labels, and weight claims -- yet sticking under our tender spines and gluteus maximi an el cheapo and uncomfortable $20 cane seat. Or, maybe, $40 retail for the "state-of-the-art" Ed's cane bucket seat. Worse, most of these cane torture devices can't even be moved or adjusted, unless one counts the movement associated with the inevitable rotting and ripping.

The best alternatives mentioned in this thread may be a widened version of Marc Ornstein's custom-strung, curved "thweat" or Hemlock's secret and clandestine curved web seat. I would hope they both put pictures of their seats on their websites.

Cane is able
to get you going on a rant, eh, Glenn? That was funny because it is mostly true to my experience, too. I’m with you on webbing vs. cane and Conk’s description of the Hemlock seat sounds promising.

Hemlock seat will be at Raystown
Just talked to Dave Curtis and he told me his entire fleet of solo boats will be at Raystown this weekend outfitted with his new contoured webbed solo seat.

Not sure if I can make it to Raystown, or whether vice-free old sticks in the mud are even allowed there, but for purposes of this topic, it would be interesting to get reports and pictures of Dave’s seat or any other seating alternatives that show up.

Love this thread!
It warms the cockles of my heart to know that so many others are Questing for the Holy Grail of Butt Comfort.

I love you guys! In a manly way, of course.


Not to crack wise, but, in the end, it
can be a pressing matter for us hams.

BTW, whatever happened with your improved model of the “Booty-us Maximus”?

Project delayed.
But since I cannot attend Raystown this weekend I plan on doing some shop time. Maybe have some pics to post by Sunday eve.


Holy Grail of comfort
This might come close

Jim, we will hoist a Yeungling to you and all who are gainfully employed this weekend.

Thanks, conk. As Rob said above:
“Wood is good.”