Cheap Grab Bar Build

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Cheap Grab Bar Build

Postby atownducks » Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:08 pm

I've been reading a lot on how you almost need a grab bar in your boat when running a longtail. I recently upgraded to a 670 Predator with the large SPS swamp runner kit for my 14x36 and having about a foot longer handle is going to make me want to stand up when running. Before anyone says that's too much motor, I'm not in the market for a bigger boat (even though I'd like a 15x42) and I'm mounting pods on the back when I get a chance to support the weight and help me plane faster.

I started looking into buying grab bars and was not willing to spend more than $50 on something I haven't used before because I wasn't sure if I'd actually need or like using it. After looking around for a bit and not finding a solid DIY, I decided to build my own and post this.

I don't have welding equipment and my conduit bender is only a 3/4 EMT bender, so I needed a work around. I went to my hardware store and bought 1 x 10 ft. long 1'' piece of conduit, 4 x 1'' conduit straps, 3 x 1'' EMT set-screw couplings and 2 x 1'' 90 degree EMT elbows. All together was $20 and it took me about 30-45 mins to complete.

The other parts I had on hand were self-tapping screws, electrical tape, a hack saw and a screw driver.

Step 1: Assemble Parts
I laid all my parts out so I knew what I was working with
Image

Step 2: Measure
I'm about 6 ft. tall so I decided to measure my poles to be 34'' long which brought the bar just about stomach level when standing
Image

Step 3: Handle
I used the one set screw coupling in the middle of the 2 x 90 degree angled EMT joints to form the top of the grab bar
Image

Step 4: Cut
I used my hacksaw to cut my 2x 34'' poles
Image

Step 5: All Together
I used the two other couplings to combine my two poles to the top of the grab bar
Image

Step 6: Tape
The set screws from the coupling were sticking out, so I decided to use electrical tape to make a more comfortable handle
Image

Step 7: Screws
I used self-tapping screws I had laying around for my mounts on the seat in front of mine in the boat
Image

Step 8: Mounts
These are the 4 mounts I placed on the back of the seat in front of mine for the bar to slide into
Image

Finished Product:
Image
Image

Final Thoughts:
I decided to go with 1" conduit because it was cheap and sturdy, even though I had a 3/4'' bender already. The 3/4'' conduit seemed way too flimsy to grab onto and fairly unsafe if I was running in cold, deep water during duck season. The finished product is sturdy and I made it so they I can slide it in and out of the mounts if I want to. If I wanted to have a more permanent bar that would be even sturdier, I could have drilled holes through the middle of the straps and ran the set screws into the conduit. If I could have done this differently, I would have bent the conduit into the shape I wanted at the store and had a full bar with no joints. This also could have saved me about $7, as I wouldn't have needed the 90 degree angles or set-screw couplings. Hope you boys enjoy!
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Re: Cheap Grab Bar Build

Postby merlyn » Fri May 19, 2017 1:33 pm

This is the best diy grab bar build I have seen so far. I just copied it for my boat and really like it. I did make one change by bolting a 1" by 6" board either side of the seat using threaded rod and attached oversized straps to it ( I was afraid my lardass would pull screws out of the aluminum seat) I also drilled holes at the base of the uprights and inserted pins so I can pull the grab bar out if I want to. thanks for a great idea well presented.
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Re: Cheap Grab Bar Build

Postby mudpack » Sun May 21, 2017 6:55 am

Nice, simple, cheap, effective grab bar you made there, atown.
One suggestion I might offer is to replace the self-drilling sheet-metal screws that hold the U-brackets to the seat with riv-nuts and bolts. The rivet nuts will hold 5X better in the thin aluminum and not vibrate loose as quickly.
There are several styles available, and these will be the easiest to install since they don't require purchasing a special tool:
https://www.mcmaster.com/#standard-rivet-nuts/=17pzxjd

Also, you could replace the coupler setscrews wtih shorter, button-head screws so you won't catch clothing on them. Using shorter screws will also let you put some foam pipe insulation on the grab bar. Take it from me; when it's 20 degrees out on the water, that bare steel pipe can suck the heat out of your hand very quickly....the electrical tape notwithstanding.

EDIT: Better yet, take the assembled grab bar to a welder and have him weld the couplers in place, eliminating the setscrews. You'll have a smoother, cleaner, more solid unit to hang onto.

Thanks for the nice write-up.
Last edited by mudpack on Mon May 22, 2017 7:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cheap Grab Bar Build

Postby Bluesky2012 » Sun May 21, 2017 8:58 pm

Second rivnuts.


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Re: Cheap Grab Bar Build

Postby mudpack » Mon May 22, 2017 7:19 am

atownducks wrote:Image


Just looking at your pictures again and this one caught my eye.
You either have the nicest shop in the country, or your wife lets you work in the living room.
Either way, you are a lucky man.
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Re: Cheap Grab Bar Build

Postby atownducks » Mon May 22, 2017 7:41 am

Thanks guys. Had some free time so I walked around Home Depot for awhile and came up with that. Definitely could have done it better, but it worked and it was cheap. Glad you guys are using the "base model" and improving on it! Didn't think this post was going to get much traction bc of how easy it was to put this together. Also, I'm 26 and am 100% not married :lol: it was just in my living room when I put it together.
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