Wenonah adjustable seat brackets

I modified my Mad River Freedom Solo seat so that I could lower it for sitting and raise it for kneeling. I made a sub-frame for the seat to bolt to, with hinges at the rear thwart and webbing & buckles handling the altitude adjustments.

It works, but is not very elegant.

I saw a pic on the Rutabaga site of Wenonah’s adjustable seat brackets, and they appear to do the same job with less weight and complexity. Anyone currently using them on their boat(s)?

Pros and cons? Discuss.


I have it
My Solo Plus has the adjustable middle seat. it is alright. it isn’t too hard to adjust, but some times it isn’t easy either.

The seat also has just 4 positions. I find I have a few problems when kneeling with foot clearance. I would like the seat to be able to sit flat at the top position.

I plan to make a new seat that is a bit shorter, but haven’t gotten to it yet.


Exactly how…
flat is the seat in the upright position? Is it really annoying or just marginally so. I’m just about to get a Solo Plus and any input would be appreciated. I’ve paddled them, just haven’t sat in the new adjustable seat…

What liveoutside said
I have it in my Kevlar Vagabond that I got last winter. I am sad to say I have not paddled it all that much, however. I can say that it works pretty well with my size 11 feet. I can get them under it in the top position. Like liveoutside, I gripe that it cannot render the seat flat at the highest position. The thinking is probably that one would be kneeling in the highest position. But, it does not seem like it would have taken much to include an extra slot forward and up, which would significantly increase the distance-range of the positions, and give my feet, in big boots especially, some desperately needed extra clearance, and make it more like a kneeling thwart. The extra slot would also make it more flexible for adapting to other uses/boats. Someday, when I have all the time in the world, I will drill it out to make that extra slot. It looks like it would work out OK, although the way the thing travels, it will be hard to estimate exactly where to drill, and the channel I might drill could turn out too loose, or too tight, or cause some other problem, in real life. I am no engineer or metal worker, but not knowing what I am doing usually does not stop me. But, I digress, big time.

It is not perfect, but I like it so much, I want to put it on my Rx Wildfire with wood gunwales. I corresponded with Wenonah about it. Wenonah said it was not designed or recommended for Rx because it has a flange that seats under/alongside the aluminum gunwale in the Kevlar model. I am not visualizing it well at the moment, but I clearly remember looking at it, and concurred that it would take some major customizing to make it work on wood gunwales. I ordered two anyway. I had a plan in my head at one time to devise a wood adapter to bolt onto the wood gunwales, and bend or cut the flange, but my work-life interfered big time, and basically rendered me useless as far as outside interests or shop time for much of 06. I have had my eye out for a good deal on a used Magic, to swap out for the Prism, and I will try to put the adjustable seat in the Magic if I can ever score that deal. Nobody ever seems to have a used Magic in the mid-Atlantic. Is it just me, or have the classified ads really slowed down in 06? Again, I digress.

I will gladly sell you one of mine at a little under cost, since it seems it will be some time before I will get any significant shop time to fool with it. Unless you have a Magic to sell me, heh heh. Maybe I can get out and paddle with the duckheads when it thaws out, and hand it over then. I do not want the hassle of packing and shipping. I was at Wrightsville last year with my Prism – good time. Missed Raystown. If you are coming through Delaware, you are welcome to try out the Kevlar Vagabond at local pond, or just eyeball the seat (whether or not you want to buy one of my extra seats, of course).

For my build and foot size, one fixed seat position/height does not work well for both kneeling and sitting, especially in a performance hull like the Wildfire or Magic. Those boats are a tad tender if you are sitting up high, but risk foot entrapping, knee-wrenching exits if the seat is too low. IMHO, those boats beg to be set up to kneel because the hull can handle rough water, but I also like a stable platform to bird watch, flat water cruise, and fish, when it is relatively calm. I put a kneeling thwart in my Wildfire. I can not for the life of me understand why Bell especially, and other manufacturers too, would not be engineering adjustable seats. Extra complexity means extra chance for something to break, rattle around, etc., but I think the benefits are compelling.

I have said it more than once. Kudos to the designer of Wenonah’s seat.

BTW, I installed a Cooke Cover on the Prism in August and tried it out in September on Cranberry Lake and Little Tupper. Brilliant. Easy installation. I was anxious to get out of town, and it took me less than a morning. I was in a rush and just went for it, and only one snap is slightly tight. I plan to order a cover for the Vagabond soon.

Cabin fever, evidently I have.

Tebpac, the angle in the very top position is good for kneeling, but too acute for sitting. The distance between the flat sitting positions is a couple of inches. Those couple of inches make a surprising difference. It is a personal thing, but I would not hesitate to get the adjustable seat.

Good info Dave
Interesting to hear that Wenonah did not design it for Rx. Might take some finegeling to make it work. I will probably be in a position to eyeball one at Rutabaga within the next month so I can get a better idea of the shape of the flanges. The picture on their website doesn’t offer a whole bunch of detail.

Interesting about the observation regarding the angle of the seat in the topmost position. I like my seats canted for kneeling, so it might actually make sense for me.


Seat details
OK - first quick comment, I’m the poster formerly known as Ragamuffin (the old-timers will remember me, but mostly lurk now). I put up a post earlier about being the designer of the Wenonah footbrace, and I also designed the adjustable seat. Once again, most of the points have been covered correctly - I’ll try to fill in a few blanks.

The seat was meant for two heights with two options for angle at each height. The original design had 6 positions, but was too complicated and not robust enough, so we simplified. If you are interested in adding a hole & slot for the top level position I have the CAD file and could send you a paper pattern to scale. With a drill and a jig saw you could probably fake it well enough to make it work, but keep reading…

The seat works best when mounted with the plates perfectly vertical and parallel with each other. Any variation from vertical will result in pinching and binding at one of the extremes. Vertical discrepancies can be dealt with by gluing a foam block between the plate and the side of the canoe as a spacer (some of the models come from the factory this way). Also, the mechanism needs clearance for the head behind the plate, so the seat works best with some degree of tumblehome (which has more to do with it than the material of the hull). With a bit of creativity you can make it work in a vertically walled canoe - but it will take a bit of custom work. If you mount the seat back of center and the plates end up at a slight “V” to each other (not perfectly parallel), it will still work - there is enough tolerance designed in to allow it. It doesn’t have enough tolerance to be used as a stern seat in most canoes.

I think that about covers it - if I can be of any help, don’t be afraid to e-mail or ask here - I’ll do my best to assist.

I’ll get to work on the legal beverage thing…

Kevin Carr


Thanks Kevin
Great info from the one person who knows the history behind the item. Where else but on P-Net…

I have no problem with making mods to items to be installed. And it sounds like the brackets would work in my boat with only a bit of jiggering.


What CVCA said
Jim: Rutabaga will surely have a bead on the bracket, and more. Wish I could be there. I’d be interested to see your original project, and any modifications you do with the Wenonah bracket on Rx and/or wood gunwales. Thanks for the memory nudge that it will be spring soon, and I need to get my priorities straight.

Kevin: Good on ya. Right, foam blocks as spacers. I had that rattling around in my mind, when I was hot on this project. When I get a break to take this on, I’ll take you up on the kind offer for the paper pattern. I’ve got a digital camera now, so I’ll try to post the project in progress when I am back on it. Thanks for expanding on and clearing up a few of the items from my ramble above.

Cheers, Dave

It will work with RX
The adjustable hanger will certainly work with Royalex. All of Wenonah’s solos are coming with this seat hanger. What it will not work with is wooden gunwales. I have not seen this adjustable seat bracket used in composite or RX boats that have wooden gunwales. I imagine it can be done if the gunwales are rabbeted though