Installing Float-Bag Lacing

-- Last Updated: Jan-28-06 8:45 PM EST --

Some time this spring I think I'll install lacing and anchor points for end bags in at least one canoe, perhaps two. Lace-up kits that I've seen for sale have included eyelets that get fastened to the underside of the gunwales with screws or rivets, but most lacing jobs I've seen have been laced through holes drilled in the hull (in this case the hull is Royalex).

Which method is better? It seems to me that drilling holes in the gunwales for eyelet mounting would create weak spots to a greater degree than drilling the hull, since the hull contributes very little stiffness against side impacts in that area in comparison to the gunwales. I'm also thinking that if I drilled the hull, I might install a permenant zig-zag stitching, either with loops, or maybe just stitch it a bit on the loose side, so that the main lacing would be quick and easy to install or remove (seems like it would be a lot easier to thread the lacing under loops of cord along the hull than to thread it through those tiny holes each and every time).

Comments? Thanks!

Good hardware

– Last Updated: Jan-28-06 9:02 PM EST –

I've used this Northwater lace kit twice and like it a lot. It comes with plenty of d-rings and eyes. I like these eyes because they are not the little tiny ones. They are big and quick to lace.

As for installed hardware, here's my thinking thinking (This is theory only. I don't claim to be an expert in in collapsed gunnels, or anything else).

If you think about the physics of an arch (the side of a canoe along the gunnels), it seems to me that the holes drilled and filled with screws along the inwale is not going to present a problem. If the pressure ever gets to the point of stressing on those drilled holes on the inside of the gunnel, the arch has already collapsed and your pretty much screwed anyway.

Once the arch has collapsed, the main pressure on the inwale at the screw points will be compression, which would not be weakened by the presence of screws.

Anybody have a better theory? Or better, practical experience with gunnel failure at screw points?

I have WW boats set up both ways- lacing going thru holes in the hull, and under-gunnel eyelets.

both have held up equally well.

If you want to remove the flotation occaisionally, you might want to try a float bra:

All 3
All 4 of the whitewater canoes(1 Dagger, 2 Mohawks, 1 Mad River)I’ve owned had lace kits installed using holes drilled through the hull. On 3 of them I did the drill work; 1 was custom outfitted by Mohawk. None were ever a problem. The 3 older boats I no longer have, but they are now being used by either their 2nd or 3rd owner.

Besides the lace kit; I typically install a nylon strap running from the bow/stern of the

boat to an anchor installed on the hull, at the center of the widest part of the airbag.


I drill the hull. It goes faster than
installing eyelets. I would be OK about eyelets in vinyl gunwales, but not in ash. Any drilling to the inside of ash gunwales is going to risk splitting under an outside impact.

Unless you like gagits and tinkering

– Last Updated: Jan-29-06 7:30 AM EST –

for tinkerings sake, just drill the hull. It is easier, cheaper, and stronger. Fewer parts mean fewer failures. K.I.S.S.


either way
I’ve done both. Both work fine. I’ve come to prefer the rivets and “cable clamps,” partly because I still think it’s fun to use a rivet gun - that’s some clever engineering.