Every time I get something done on my jetboat, I keep saying, "It's finally done" But then I think of something else that can be improved. I swear, I'll be 80 years old one day, hobbling around with my cane, saying, "well, it's finally done." LOL
Anyhow, here we go:
One thing I did was to buy a news set of tires and rims, as the ones that were on the trailer were used when I bought the trailer, and that's been over 5 years ago. And since the trailer didn't have a spare, and I like to take it on road trips, I used one of my old tires as the spare. I was amazed at the difference a new set of rims makes. It almost makes the whole rig look like new!
But notice something else? Like, a larger rear seat? And maybe something sticking up from the transom? Yep, those are 2 MORE improvements. Let's check 'em out:
My new swingback seat! And I made it, everything except the upholstery, that is.
Already had the seat cushion, it actually came out of a boat my mom used to own, she had a thicker cushion made for the helm bench seat. For the past couple of years, I've been using it in the jetboat, by setting it on the floor in the bow, for my girlfriend to sit on, using the front of the console as the 'back' of that seat, since the life ring is on a hanger on the front of the console, so it does make a nice object to lean against. That system did work, although, to sit there, she had to sit indian-style, and there isn't much room to stretch out and relax between the console and the forward deck. Plus, she's all by herself up there....
So the more I thought about it, the more I thought, 'there's got to be a way to bring us closer when we go boating'
So, the first thing I did was to fabricate the lower frame, as shown in this photo:
This is made of 1/8" x 2" aluminum angle, except for the 2 side pieces that rest on the floor, those are made of 1/4" x 2" angle. You'll see why when you read further.
So, at that point, it was just the frame, and the flat cushion, it didn't have a back yet. We tested this out last week, by taking a 60 mile round trip up the ICW. While the cushion was comfortable, and it was nice being able to put 2 people at the console..... without a back to lean against, after a while, it gets uncomfortable. So, I knew I had to fabricate a back, and have the upholstery guy match it to my seat cushion.
I used some 3/8" x 2" flat aluminum bar, and then some 1 inch x sch 40 aluminum pipe to make the frame for the back. I used a hole saw, and cut holes into the 2 side pieces of flat bar, so the tube could be inset, and welded on the outside, as well as the inside. I used 3 cross members.
Also, the top and bottom ends of the flat stock were radiused nice and round. Then, I cut some slots on the bottom of the 2 flat pieces, as well as a couple of 1/4" holes, for the adjustment mechanism....shown here:
The 'comb' is made from 1/4" stainless plate (I already discovered that 3/8" aluminum wasn't stout enough....the 'teeth' immediately bent on my first attempt of adjusting the seat) The comb is bolted to the lower member of the seat frame, which is made of 1/4" x 2" aluminum angle. 3/8" SS bolts with washers and lock nuts are the pivot point. Since the flat stock has slots cut, this allows it to slip up. This upward slip allows the 1/4" SS bolt to slip up from between the set of teeth in the comb, for adjusting the frame forward or backward. Then slip it back down into the desired setting, making sure each side is pressed in, and gravity holds it in at that point.
Having done that, I took the frame, and the existing cushion to a local guy that does really good work. He installed foam on the frame, then matched the material to the existing cushion, so it would look correct. I dropped it off late Monday afternoon, and I picked it up late Thursday afternoon....man, I love it when people have the same work ethic as me, and get things done quick! And not only that, but he did a good job, too.
As you can see, the mechanism allows for the seat to be flipped back, and it can also be flipped forward, for use as a leaning post:
This is kinda what I wanted to put in the boat when I first built it back in 2005, but it was just one of those things I never got around to doing, and I just settled for the single seat at the helm for all this time, as most factory swingback seats are 32"+...this one is only 30" wide.
And just to make the boat a little more passenger-friendly, not to mention easier to climb in and out of when it's on the trailer, I used this old johnboat transom handle, as an "O-sh!+ handle" Cleaned all the old paint off, then etched with acid, zinc chromate primer, then nice bright red paint for visibility:
Also, I happened to have some aluminum tread plate channel left over from another job, so, I put it to good use as a kick plate on the bottom shelf of the console:
Now, THIS is a LOT better than what was here before, just an up-turned edge of aluminum that was only 1/8" thick, not exactly a comfortable surface to rest your feet on, especially bare feet!
All right, well, on to the next improvement......
Since I love to waterski, I decided the boat needed a ski pole. But not just any ski pole, it needed to be tall enough to pull from a higher point, for wakeboarding. Wakeboard boats have fancy anodized towers on them for this purpose. But I don't want a tower. I want a removable pole.
So, after a lot of figuring, this is what I came up with:
The vertical member is made of 2 inch stainless steel pipe, and the braces are made of 1.5" thin wall stainless tubing.
To make it easily removable, yet rigid, I made use of the pintle mount on the transom:
The plate on the bottom of the pole is 1/4" stainless plate. Inset and TIG welded into this plate is a length of 3/4" SS solid round stock, this fits into the rear pintle mount.
The braces attach with 1/4" SS carriage bolts and wing nuts, to the gunwales:
Also, to make the ski pole easier to break down and store when not in use, I made a set of internal sleeves, out of solid aluminum round stock, turned down on the lathe to be a snug fit inside the thin wall tubing. Then I cut the tubing, and on either side of the cut, I installed a 1/4" SS bolt with washers and lock nuts.
Also tested this out last week, waterskiing on the ICW, even took some video and put it on youtube. Anyhow, this ski pole works out GREAT!
Finally, for those who have seen my youtube channel, you may have seen the video 'finishing touch' where we fabricate a custom wire harness cover for the jetboat. If not, here's a few pics:
Now, that looks a helluva lot better than all those runs of cable and watertight conduit running down the gunwale!
Also, for those that saw the video.... I went back and took out the SS self-tappers that held it in place, and instead used rivet nuts, with 10-24 SS machine screws, as these won't strip out over time like sheet metal screws.
Well, that's about it....for now, at least! I would say I think I've finally got 'er done....but like I said, every time I say that, I end up doing something else.
Anyhow, these are very welcome improvements to the boat, especially the seat, I know I'm going to enjoy this a lot more than the little standard-size boat seat I was using.