Updated date:

How to Make Foot Braces for a Wooden Kayak or Canoe

Author:

Jim is a retired software/electrical engineer who enjoys the outdoors. He likes to challenge himself with creative projects at home.

how-to-make-foot-braces-for-a-wood-kayak-or-canoe

DIY Wooden Kayak Food Braces

I am currently in the process of building a cedar-strip solo canoe. In recent years I have constructed two cedar-strip canoes and two cedar-strip kayaks.

Foot braces are desirable in kayaks to increase stability when paddling and turning. They are not generally needed in canoes, since while you're in the seated position, your feet are usually planted firmly on the floor of the canoe, but while you are seated in a kayak your legs are usually outstretched. The same goes for a solo canoe with a low seat, which is what I am building.

how-to-make-foot-braces-for-a-wood-kayak-or-canoe
how-to-make-foot-braces-for-a-wood-kayak-or-canoe

In my kayaks I purchased and installed foot brace assemblies. I used this Attwood brace in one kayak and this Sea-Lect brace in the other.

Purchased foot braces

Purchased foot braces

They were fairly inexpensive but I wanted to try to build them myself. I thought about it for a few days then came up with an idea: Use wooden rails, with holes for adjustment, glued to the inside of the canoe with thickened epoxy.

The footpegs would wrap around the rails and fold down. When foot pressure is applied the pegs would stop against the rails.

How I Started Building My Foot Braces

  • I first built a model from scrap wood and hard plastic to figure out where the pivot point on the brace should be.
  • I then glued ¾” maple and ½” oak pieces together.
  • Once the glue set, I added wood dowel pins for extra strength.
  • Then to decrease the weight of each peg I drilled holes with a Forstner bit.
  • To further decrease the weight I beveled the backside of the pegs and trimmed off the corners.
  • Once I drilled a hole in the peg for the pivot, using the plastic piece from the model as a template, I made rails from some ¾” cherry.
  • I used the peg to mark a line for holes in the rails, placed one inch apart and slightly larger than the pivot hole in the peg.

Sketch

Sketch for the footbraces for my canoe

Sketch for the footbraces for my canoe

Mounted in Canoe

I finally mounted my braces in the canoe I most recently built. They seem to work great. I used steel 10-32, 1-1/4" adhesive mount studs from McMaster-Carr and attached them with thickened epoxy then covered the base with a few squares of fiberglass cloth soaked in epoxy.

The 3/16" 2-1/2" long pins were also from McMaster-Carr. I used a thick rubber washer to help hold them in place.

I sat on the floor with rigged-up boards and blocks of wood to measure the distance from the edge of the canoe seat to there peddle of the brace and the distance off the floor.

my trial run

my trial run

before mounting

before mounting

adhesive mount stud

adhesive mount stud

ppin

ppin

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Comments

JohnAfton on April 12, 2020:

How did these work out?

Related Articles