Installing a kneeling thwart

-- Last Updated: Jul-21-10 6:57 PM EST --

I'm getting ready to install a kneeling thwart in my "new" Mad River TW Special. I've never had one, nor have I ever tried one. But it just seems to make sense for a kneeler like me, especially since It will allow me to put a kid in the bow and stern with me in the middle.

I ordered 4ea 6" 10x24 machine screws from McMaster Carr and they arrived yesterday. I cut and bull-nosed a 3" wide piece of ash, and I'll make the drops. I'm thinking I'll make them so that the thwart is about 9 1/2" off the center of the floor. I plan to cant it some, whatever look right to my eye.

Any other suggestions or things I should consider or incorporate Is 3" wide overkill?

Thanks in advance!

Hi Clarion
3 inch should be OK. My WF kneeling thwart is 4 in. and canted about 12 deg. IMHO the cant varies with the height. I just make sure that the height is adequate to avoid foot entrapment. Also position where the hull is at level trim when you are on board. Have fun.


sounds good
3 inches wide is what I have used. Obviously, it could be more. I usually cant mine at 15 degrees, but that is a matter of individual preference. I try to have the front of the thwart about 8 8 1/2" up off the bottom, but it will depend on foot clearance.

Thanks guys
Yea, 9 1/2 sounds a bit high, but with the V hull, it probably ends up being like an 8 to 8 1/2" in install on a shallow arch

Higher = better
I’ve put a kneeling thwart in a 16’ tandem Prospector which sits 11" off the deck at the leading edge. It is angled at 20 degrees. The stock is 3/4 X 3" ash.

While I understand arguments in favor of keeping your CG low, I have found this height to my liking because my feet do not go to sleep after a while as is the case when I kneel in my solo boat using a seat which is 9" off the deck.

I varnished the kneeling thwart and quicly found that I was sliding around on it. A couple of strips of stair tread non-skid by 3M took care of that.

Finally, I was at odds about placement. The ideal location for the thing would have put it too close to the portage yoke which I did not want to remove. So, I opted to take out an existing thwart and use those two holes plus two new ones (four screws) rather than drill another set of holes in the gunwales. It works OK day in and day out, but does need some ballast in the bow in serious headwinds.

Replace the third thwart

– Last Updated: Aug-09-10 6:11 PM EST –

Best location for a kneeling thwart in a dedicated tandem is to replace the third thwart with the kneeler.

This places the paddler in a narrower section of the boat which makes stacking ones hands easier and allows use of the portage yoke, which, on a TW would be hard to give up. [My Kev TW one was 66lbs, on a scale.]

You'll want to manufacture canted drops, but they are easy. ~ 2" at back, ~ 2.5 at front. One long #10 SS machine screw is adequate, but since MRC already bored for 1/4" carriage bolts, truck down to the local HdWare store for two SS variants of appropriate length.

I am also an advocate of a high kneeling thwart for flatwater use. The rear of mine is almost at gunwale height and the front is a bit lower to give me a comfortable cant. It is still much more stable than a seat, there is ample clearance and I just like the higher paddling position.