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Advice on Removable Yoke Project

Nov 14, 2018
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Heart of the Shawnee Nation
Getting my yoke completed for the Swift. The inset in the gunnel is not flush with the top of the gunnel. I put a threaded inset in the yoke to retain the eyebolt. It is epoxied in place. I have some better eyebolts with shoulders ordered, and my original idea was to put the yoke inset on the gunnel, which would put the insets in contact (metal to metal). I could, however, flip the pads to the opposite side so the wood sits on the gunnel inset and the yoke inset contacts the head of the eyebolt (washer between). I could recess the wood where the the gunnel inset contacts, so the entire yoke contacts the carbon fiber. But maybe there’s a reason Swift protrudes the inset. Whattaya think? Allow metal to metal or flip the yoke and let wood contact the carbon fiber?IMG_2167.jpeg

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The Swift carry yoke that adapts to ¼-20 threaded gunwale inserts is counterbored so that the wood of the yoke will make gunwale contact. This counterbore allows the wood to slip over the shoulder of the threaded insert, neatly positioning it, a studded knob draws the yoke tight to the gunwale. Swift uses a metal washer that has rubber on one side to keep the knob from falling out when not in use. I could not find such a washer when adapting one of my yokes to a Swift Prospector but found that a 5/8ths dia. faucet washer worked well if a tap is run through the washer before threading it onto the knob. The depth of the counterbore should equal the thickness of the faucet washer and shoulder of the insert, too deep, and tightening the yoke will tend to pull on the insert. I’m sure they are epoxied in place but there’s got to be a limit to their strength. A good fit over the shouldered inserts should require little more than snugging the yoke to the gunwales IMO.
Final edition fits pretty good. I countersunk the other side so wood fully contacts. Hope the inserts in the Swifty are integrated good. The SS shouldered eyebolts made all the difference IMG_2180.jpeg
I have similar concerns to Johnny's deleted post about having a threaded insert in the yoke. I understand the reason you did so was so the bolt wouldn't fall out but for the proper application of pressure there should not be any threads in the yoke. The bolt should spin freely.

It will probably work fine because the load is so light but I don't think it's ideal.

I have pretty well settled on this system for yoke attachment

Cap screw press on handles, obviously pressed onto a cap screw, a nylon lock nut and plastic spacer washers as required

Smaller head to save a few grams


Larger handles for ease


I like to just counter bore the handle part and snug up the nylon locking nut till the handle just spins freely, the counter bore is deep enough to not interfere with sitting on the gunnel.

The various pieces are pretty cheap and readily available, pic of the pieces


On wooden gunnels, I run a metal insert (Helicoil) into the gunnel as the attachment point, the above pieces are all 1/4" - 20.

Thanks for the advice. The insert on the yoke had to be rotated to allow a snug fit. It was a little tricky, but I got the threads aligned. The bolt thread length also had an impact. The eyebolt I used worked well. Other cheaper bolts I tried were not uniform in where the threads began when screwed down to contact.

I’m happy with how it turned out and it sure is easier and safer to get to the landing with the yoke. The negative thing is the protruding bolts can scratch the hull. I added some cap nuts on the ends for protection while it’s stowed for paddling. Otherwise, I have to spin the eyebolt too much to fully retract the eyebolt into the wood. Weighs in at 2.4 lbs.
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To your concern Alan the upper part of the treads could be ground away so it spins freely when fully engaged but still needs to be unscrewed to be removed from the thwart. Just like the screw on a camera tripod.