Floor D Rings

I bought an old Blue Hole Sunburst and set it up as a down river boat; added a web seat, thigh straps and knee cups, and bag lacing/D Rings. I have some D Rings that I salvaged from the old outfitting that I’m sure I can clean up enough to reuse, and I’d like to glue them to the floor for strapping down coolers, dry bags, etc. Where should I put them?

Only you can answer that
You know what you’ll be carying better than anyone. Keep as much of the weight as low and close to the center of the boat as you can.

a few suggestions
I have reused D-rings sewn onto vinyl or Hypalon patches many times. If the D-ring patches were glued in with contact cement, try to get all the glue residue off but be careful not to damage the stitching that attaches the ring. I have used paint thinner for this and it has worked well, but it takes some time to loosen the glue residue.

If the ring patches were secured with vinyl adhesive (like Vynabond) I have generally just cleaned the bottoms well with acetone or methylethylketone (MEK). Either way I would glue them down again with vinyl adhesive. If any of the stitching is damaged it is quite easy to sew anything loose back down.

As Brian said, placement of the rings will depend on your load and what you want to do with them. If you are carrying a sizable cooler you may want to have it behind you to avoid making the canoe bow heavy, assuming you have it trimmed neutrally. It won’t be easy to access things behind you without pulling into the bank, however. If your cooler fits in transversely in the boat, a D-ring at the bow margin and one at the stern margin of where you want it should suffice. Run a length of 1" wide nylon, or polyester, or polypropylene webbing over it and secure it to the rings with nylon Fastex triglides made by Nexus and others. Most Walmarts sell a kit with 2 1" triglides and 2 quick release side buckles made by Outdoor Products pretty cheaply. A quick release buckle will make it easy to secure and release the cooler.

I usually like to have at least one D-ring in front of me, roughly between my knees to use to secure a water bottle and perhaps a small dry bag so that I can get at it easily and quickly.

I think I’ll just put the things I’m most likely to carry on the floor of the boat and try to visualize where I want the D Rings and go from there. Right now I actually have it slightly bow light, so more stuff will probably be in front of me than behind unless I end up moving the seat forward. I didn’t even think of putting an anchor that close for ready items. That seems like a no brainer, so I’m glad I asked. Thanks for the suggestions.

Customizing a canoe to suit your needs
… is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding aspects of “boat work.” Don’t cheat yourself out of any of it. Take your time to really think it over. Consider your options and potential contingencies.

Have fun!


– Last Updated: Apr-10-13 2:03 PM EST –

I'm really enjoying this process. I had to perform some Bubba mods to get the seat in, but it's comfy. Between my order and the orders from my buddies who decided they wanted to rig out their boats Mike Yee might be running low on knee cups, thigh straps, anchors and patience LOL. I feel very fortunate to have so many "been there done that" people to ask questions.


– Last Updated: Apr-10-13 9:41 PM EST –

One piece of advice I would give; keep anchors and gear away from where your feet will rest. Especially if if you kneel on the seat, and have your feet under & partially extended behind your seat.

You do not want one of your feet getting tangled in some anchored gear that's behind your seat, and the leg that's attached to that tangled foot is under the seat. Not good; especially if you're upside down, doing a fish count.


I have it set up to drop into the

– Last Updated: Apr-11-13 9:29 AM EST –

cups/straps and lean against the seat when that's appropriate. Presently there are two hard plastic (schedule 80 PVC?) toe blocks very permanently glued under the seat. I'll probably just cut them flat and sand the nubs smooth then use some leftover foam to put toe blocks where I want them. I know you guys are familiar with the water I paddle and can probably understand why I did it this way. I'm anxious to test it in some whitewater, which I will do in three weeks under the watchful eyes of some very accomplished open boaters. I'm all atwitter.

Are the foot blocks black plastic?
Mad River Canoe and Voyageur sold a lot of these fixed foot braces back in the day. They were black in color and made of a single rectangular sheet of plastic that was rolled up and folded back on itself.

These were generally bonded in with 3M Scotch Weld 3532 “structural adhesive” which usually cured to a butterscotch color.

If that is what you have I have generally been able to break these loose without damage, or with minimal damage to the hull. If you have a putty knife or paint scraper with a fairly thin blade, try working it around the edge of the blocks to see if you can find a weak spot. Keep the blade angled toward the block rather than the hull.

Often the structural adhesive formed a wafer and one can get into the plane between the toe block and the cured adhesive. The toe blocks often come off without any damage to them. At worst, you might remove a little of the inner vinyl layer of the Royalex, but that won’t result in any structural weakness in the boat. The Uniroyal Royalex they made those old Sunbursts out of was very tough, however, and the vinyl layer on the interior was pretty strongly bonded, much better than the “Royalex” made by Spartech today.

If you can do this you might have a layer of adhesive residue left behind. I find a Dremel tool with a sanding drum works well to grind this off until you are close to the vinyl of the Royalex, then finish off with sandpaper. I have not found it possible to dissolve the cured epoxy with any type of organic solvent.

Yes sir.
They are exactly as you described except for being white instead of black, and the adhesive is indeed a butterscotch color. Thanks for solving that mystery for me. I’d leave them if they were in the right position for me, but they’re not. I have tried the putty knife method you described, but I thought I might try it again with a heated putty knife.

Those power oscillating flush cut saws
Everyone makes them now. I have the Dremmel brand. I’ll bet they’d be ideal for what you are doing, but I haven’t tried it yet. One of the blades is flat like a putty knife.

That’s a possibility.
Thought about going at it with my reciprocating saw, but that seemed a little risky in those close quarters. Sawzalls aren’t exactly known for their detail work type applications.