Leveling a Foot Brace

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I've always measured down from the gunwhales. I guess that's not really level if the shearline is swoopy, but in a solo canoe it's near the middle anyway so close enough for gov'ment work.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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I'd measure up from the bottom where your heel will rest to the ball of your foot, along the fore-aft span of possible foot positions.
 
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I measure up from the floor so the foot brace bar is at the ball of my foot* and install a temporary platform, a shallow box or stack of 2x4’s on the canoe floor to hold the rails and crossbar in place.

I can’t hold both sides of a foot brace bar in place during installation by myself, but resting the bar on a temporary platform I can make sure the bar is level, properly spaced and at the desired height.

On a mechanically affixed foot brace I drill the first hole through the hole in the foot brace rail from the inside, pop rivet that one, then check/measure and drill the second pop rivet on that rail. Then walk around to the other side, more check and measure and repeat.

Then just slide the temporary platform out. Done.

*I am more comfortable with foot brace pedals a bit above the ball of my foot, almost at my toes.
 
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The issue in your question of level, is that it has to be level with respect to some thing, unfortunately on most canoes, there is nothing "level" to compare to.
Luckily, foot braces need to be mounted the same but not actually level in any meaningful way. I would measure down from the gunnels for the back bolt, make a mark ... measure a foot along the gunnel and repeat. Just lay a piece of tape to join the 2 marks ... or lay some tape where you think it should go and put marks on the tape and draw a straight line that way.
The issue with measuring from the bottom, is you have to work around the bilge ... that can be a pita.


Brian
 

Glenn MacGrady

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I'm confused about what is meant by "level".

What I want in a foot bar or foot brace that moves along a track is for it to hit my preferred foot location—call it the "ball" of the foot or whatever—all along the fore-aft track. That track may not be level in a bubble level sense or parallel to the gunwales or bottom.

I don't actually "measure" anything. Two people help.

If it's a movable foot bar or brace, just have someone hold the bar/brace against the hull in the foward track position at the "height" of the balls of your feet. Mark those positions on the hull. Then do the same with the bar/brace in aft position of the track. You have now marked the fore-aft line on which the track should go. Then glue or rivet the track along that line.

If you're just using an immovable block of foam for the foot brace, it's even easier. Just have someone hold the block against the hull at the place where it touches the ball of your foot at the proper leg extension. Mark that place and glue.
 
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“Even”, or “equal” would have been a better word choice.

As in with the foot brace rails each fixed an equal distance below the gunwale*. With the side rails measured an equal distance from the front edge of the seat.

*Not always. On a couple of our loaner canoes with a fixed seat the foot brace rails are angled, slightly lower at the end nearest the seat, slightly higher at the end furthest away, with the correct height for my ball of foot with the adjustable bar positioned at the center

Done that way on the theory that shorter legged paddlers may have smaller feet than taller folk.

In any case I highly recommend measuring. Several times, from several fixed points.
 
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Just FYI here are the instructions that came with the Northstar foot brace that I put in my Magic. I also made a little platform like Mike did to help hold it in position while marking the bracket locations. I used 3M adhesive instead of rivets.
 

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Got it installed, seems about right. I’m not allowed to remove it from the saw horses yet due to recent shoulder surgery. I put a level across the top in the middle of where the brace range will be so it is equidistant from both seats, an inch longer than my legs, measured from center bottom and subtracted 6”, which I measured down from gunwales. The braces bowed enough to conform to the hull arch, but that contorted the angle upward from 90* a scoche. Don’t want to bend them back to 90* and stress the hull. Just a little cosmetic imperfection I’ll have to look at.74A575C3-E978-41B8-8C70-6EE12DD10090.jpeg427CAF1C-EBA4-496F-868E-369FA5CDEB7C.jpeg5C25149D-F926-4955-AA69-D76883A1392C.jpeg
 
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“Got it installed, seems about right. I’m not allowed to remove it from the saw horses yet due to recent shoulder surgery. I put a level across the top in the middle of where the brace range will be so it is equidistant from both seats, an inch longer than my legs”

I’m lost, more than just the “level” and “equidistant” parts, but also the “inch longer than my legs”. Will the same foot brace, with fore/aft adjustability, be use-able both from the stern seat and from the bow seat “backwards”?

If so that is fortuitous; even with a 14’ 10” pocket tandem a single, centered foot brace location was nowhere near usable from both seat locations, but the Prospector seat locations may be closer together.

Of course I don’t paddle with my legs straight out, but instead with knees bent.

I assume shoulder surgery prevented putting the canoe on the ground, getting seated and determining the best location for the foot brace bar.
 
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I’m lost, more than just the “level” and “equidistant” parts, but also the “inch longer than my legs”. Will the same foot brace, with fore/aft adjustability, be use-able both from the stern seat and from the bow seat “backwards”?

If so that is fortuitous; even with a 14’ 10” pocket tandem a single, centered foot brace location was nowhere near usable from both seat locations, but the Prospector seat locations may be closer together.

Of course I don’t paddle with my legs straight out, but instead with knees bent.

I assume shoulder surgery prevented putting the canoe on the ground, getting seated and determining the best location for the foot brace bar.
6” adjustability in both directions. Seats are 67” apart. I measured the proper distance from the seat on other canoes I own with braces, assumed my legs haven’t changed in length. The level just used as a straight edge to determine depth from top of gunwales.
 
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