Inexpensive Boat Blind Design

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Anatidae
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Inexpensive Boat Blind Design

Postby Anatidae » Thu May 29, 2014 10:21 pm

This comes from a thread in 2012........viewtopic.php?f=24&t=103980

......in which Scotty Lee asked ......
ScottyLee wrote:.. do you have any pics from when you built the blind. i.e. the frame only before the material?

Here's the reply and verbal description.......
Anatidae wrote:You know....I was going to take some 'in-progress' photos just for this purpose, but we picked the rig up the day before Thanksgiving - I didn't have a whole lot of time to get a blind concept finalized, then executed.........we needed to be USING that boat. So, I didn't take the photos that would show the skeleton.

I can tell you this: The compression members are the conduit hoops. The tensile members are the parachute cord (or everything else including the nets). The most tension is on the parachute cord between the hoops because of the weight of the nets (especially when 'wet' and/or loaded with vegetation). To counteract those forces, there are parachute cords attached to the opposite side of the hoop that anchor to static points like grab rails, cleats, or eyebolts threaded into the metal in various places. The 'transfer' (forces) cords on the aft hoop actually have take-up blocks like you would use to adjust tension on tent ropes - these have screen latches on the end of them and hook on the 'lift' brackets of the mud motor. You get everything else 'up', hook the cords onto the lift brackets and hit the tilt switch on the motor to pull the right amount of tension in the whole thing without bending the conduit hoops.

'Sounds complicated - and photos would help understanding........but it's very basic tension/compression members and counter-reactive forces transferred to static objects. You don't have to fumble with knots and all the parachute cord is concealed, providing a tangle-free skeletal 'web', if you will.

The biggest appeal this design holds is that the materials for the skeleton are under $100 - put as much or as little into your nets and it's really an economical alternative to factory blinds. If you're interested, you can either come look at this one, or bring your boat over sometime and I'll help you get it rigged-up or at least started in that direction.

So, almost 2 years later........I have been re-working the nets and while I had them off the boat I 'thought it would be a good opportunity to finally show the basic framework of the blind. And it really probably costs under $75 for this boat, BTW.
Image

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Pretty simple, really........

Rear hoop drops into 4 1-1/4" eye bolts threaded into the false transom and transom beam.

Image

Front hoop hinges on homemade aluminum brackets and folds flat on the deck when not in use. You can actually walk on it on the front deck without hurting anything or tripping on it. [I still need to radius the corners of the brackets off - that's on 'the list'] The clevis pin in the bracket allows you to take the hoop off during fishing season. The eyebolt in the side of the bracket is to hook the top cord of the side net onto, for transport.

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A perimeter cord holds the bottom of the nets against the gunwales and around the bow, to keep the wind from blowing them into the boat.......

It's tied-off to each grab bar on opposite sides of the hunt deck....
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The line with the decoy weight hooked over the gunwale extrusion is not really necessary, but is threaded thru and helps support the rear net where it meets the side net.

Below is a view of cord transition from gunwale to bow surface/deck......(the 1/4" black pneumatic HVAC control tubing helps protect the cord from wear on the eyelets, etc.)
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..... and how everything is secured at the bow nose......
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There's a hem or loop in each net that these cords (and conduit hoops) run through, to keep everything 'taught' so nothing flaps in the wind - 'don't want anything to call a duck's attention to ANY movement from your blind.

Here's a view of the connections at the rear hoop.....
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.........and a view of connections and take-up blocks that transfer forces to the engine lift brackets.
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You adjust the take-up blocks according to desired prop depth in the water, then hit the trim switch to increase or decrease tension in the whole system. I've since replaced the oak dowel 'take-ups' with 3/8" aluminum roll stock to eliminate occassional split ......resulting in loss of tension (sagging nets). All of the cords and t-u blocks in the above photo are tied to the rear hoop and roll-up in the net that goes with this hoop for storage and quick deployment. No hunting for this one or that......they're all right there - just hook'em and throw the net over the motor - you're done.

Rear dog ladder (held in place by a spud pole) - the cord around the spud pole forms the covering/roof OVER the dog on the hunt deck........
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Front dog ladder (folded 'up').......
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I'll eventually post some exterior and interior shots with the nets on it - and how it folds-up for storage and transport.

BTW - it's s running joke that there is a 39-step sequential set-up/take-down process .......that if you miss a step, you have to go back 5 steps and start over..... :lol:

But after 2 years of use (and refinements), I think we've gotten it down to about 20 from the time we get to the area, put-out decoys, etc.......'til the time we're ready for shooting time. It only takes about 2 minutes to set the blind up once we get the boat spudded in place. With the new nets and velcro fasteners, I beleive we can reduce that to just over 1 minute (if we don't get out of sequence). :mrgreen:

We've used this design concept on 4 of our own duckboats since '96, plus 'jkb87' and I put one on his Xpress jon several years back. The concept is easily adaptable to most aluminum boat layouts.

There are a couple of tricky things:
  • finding a good source for the bracket material (most of the larger glass companies have left-over 1" x 2" U-channel) Everything else is available at most hardware stores.
  • bending the conduit - I figure-out how large the cockpit opening needs to be, how tall I want the blind (port and starboard - one side is lower - or they can be the same height if you prefer), figure-out how the hoops attach and how they rest relative to your boat configuration and other objects.......then transfer dimensions and trace it out on a sheet of visqueen with a marker, then bend the hoop(s) to that pattern.
  • Getting enough tension in the perimeter cord - you just string the cord everywhere except the nose hook, putting as much tension in the line as you can. Tie it off good. Then get a claw hammer and pull the cord over the bow hook. If you can't play a tune on it - it's not tight enough :mrgreen:
"I'd like to be remembered among my closest waterfowling friends (if I am remembered at all) for how I hunted them - not how many I killed" - [Jay Strangis]
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Re: Inexpensive Boat Blind Design

Postby Anatidae » Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:16 pm

AH........100 views....no replies........y'all are being too nice......maybe a little skeptical, too. :lol:

I have a little more Velcro to add here and there….and I have to ‘mud’ the fore, aft, and starboard camo panels (nets)…..and there’s some detail work around the bow that I have to do with the nets ‘on’ the boat……..but I’m getting close to finishing this project.

The aft (rear) hoop is stored on the floor right in front of the drop deck. The fore (front) hoop folds flat on the deck allowing access to the deck hatch. Each hoop has their respective nets ‘on’ them.
Image

Set-up:

Insert the aft hoop in the eyebolts…. Image

Hook the transfer lines to the lift brackets on the motor…..(new aluminum ‘take-up’ blocks)
Image

Hang dog ladder off hunt deck (not shown because of trailer bunk) and secure with spud pole – hook-up the cord that supports the nets over the dog perch.

Undo the Velcro on the nets and roll’em out onto the motor after muffler cools-off. Image
Undo Velcro off side nets – raise the front hoop (and net), and hook each end of the top cords on the side nets into the eyelets on the hoops. Push the bottom of each side net over the gunwale until the perimeter cord snaps under the gunwale (under it’s own tension). I’ve also installed some Velcro in 4 places along the underside of the gunwales on both sides that match-up to Velcro on the bottom inside of the side nets.Image

Put seat brackets and seats in place……(get guns, gear, etc. out, and situated)
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Pull the cover flaps from fore, aft, and port side nets and Velcro them to the side nets…..
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Interior view…..
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(Those Easton 2018 shafts are for when the nets get wet and have a tendency to sag because of that 10' -8" span on the parachute cord. A 300# MM can only put so much tension on the cords. So, the arrow shafts can be 'knocked' onto the top cord to cut the 'sagging' span in 3rd's. The net behind the guns is the only one with Cordura on it to resist wind and rain. Everything else is die-cut nylap on lightweight mesh netting.)

Pull starboard (14”) and port (6”) side flaps over the top
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That's it. :shock:

Rear Oblique.....
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Front Oblique...('mudding' is a must!......that front net is WAY too shiney, eh?)
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'Kinda looks like a big-ugly alligator. :? :roll: 'Gator Blind', maybe? :mrgreen:

Keep in mind, we stick cane up all around the boat before we start putting the blind up. And before we pull all the flaps over the 30” x 10’- 8” clear opening, we pull natural grass out of a decoy bag and sprinkle it on all surfaces. (Stubble straps will help hold it in place on windy days). Then when it gets close to shooting time, we pull the flaps over the top, and finish grassing everything. Nothing but our heads (including the dog’s head) are sticking out of the blind, and as long as you don’t whip’em around too much, ducks usually never know we’re there. The cane we put behind us is usually taller and hangs over our heads a bit - to give us a bit of a canopy.....and break-up our outline.

What are the 3 holes on the bow net for?.......(view of front hoop folded flat)…….
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…….removeable light bar and power receptacle……
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And here’s the blind folded-up, ready for ‘running’ :mrgreen:
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That sheet rubber flap on the bottom of the light bar is so I can't see the glare off the bow surface in front of the lights.

It's by no means perfect, but it works well for us. Maybe it'll give you some ideas this Fall when you get ready to put a blind on your boat at the last minute. 8)
Last edited by Anatidae on Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:36 pm, edited 3 times in total.
"I'd like to be remembered among my closest waterfowling friends (if I am remembered at all) for how I hunted them - not how many I killed" - [Jay Strangis]
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Re: Inexpensive Boat Blind Design

Postby eSJay » Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:46 pm

Outstanding Randy!
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I believe in hitting him very hard with big shot from a big gun....."

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Re: Inexpensive Boat Blind Design

Postby Trip » Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:02 pm

Looks good Mr Randy! Looks like a well thought out design.


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Re: Inexpensive Boat Blind Design

Postby Anatidae » Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:15 pm

Thanks, guys.

Trip, I just wish I'd seen a photo of that Beavertail Blind cover in Muddy Water camo about 4 months ago.

I think Gary ('cupnglide') out-did me on material selection for the proposed 'cover' on his homemade blind ('basically the same hull configuration).

Honestly, I don't think my 'trapeeze' will hold-up too well under the weight of the Cordura.....at least not as long a span as I've got from hoop-to-hoop (almost 11 feet). But I really like having that much floor space. You could actually hunt 3 adults and a child out of this set-up if you don't mind crawling over each other during the set-up/take-down process. :roll:

Oh, well :roll: If I go the Cordura route in the future, I'll either enlist the aid of a seamstress to sew'em up for me or get a sewing machine, myself - once I finish the detail work around the bow flaps, I'm 'done', for now! :lol:
"I'd like to be remembered among my closest waterfowling friends (if I am remembered at all) for how I hunted them - not how many I killed" - [Jay Strangis]
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Re: Inexpensive Boat Blind Design

Postby Blake Williamson » Mon Jun 02, 2014 7:45 am

I like that one Randy!
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Re: Inexpensive Boat Blind Design

Postby Denduke » Mon Jun 02, 2014 11:08 am

Looks good. Just wish you could still retain the "fluffiness" of the cerex when you attach to backing stuff. I've got a few manhours sewing burlap. Made a needle outa tig wire and used old nylon deep sea fish line for lasting thread. Kept w/mothballs saved mine since '03....still in good shape.
Amazing attention to detail.
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Re: Inexpensive Boat Blind Design

Postby Anatidae » Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:28 pm

Thanks Denduke.

I know you're an improv. & detail kinda guy......and a 'thinker', like myself.

Detail: I guess the date and hours on that piece of duct tape on the oil filter gave it away, huh? :roll:

Yeah - re: fullness......I stretched it a little too tight on the mesh - shoulda let it 'bunch-up' just a bit. The good thing is - it'll all be covered-up with natural grass. The nets are actually just a 'base layer' that keeps everything else out of the interior. 'Takes a little more time to get set-up with natural stuff, but beats sitting out in the open in a vertical-sided high-rise. I'm hoping the stubble straps will make the difference in any 1-dimensional surface (regardless of how great the 'pattern' is) and something with more depth and texture. Your burlap with rope, rags, and rafia accomplishes that.

BTW - I'm on my 3rd spool (100yd ea.) of 65# test 'Power Wire' fishing line. Remember, it HAS to be puppy-proof. :wink:
"I'd like to be remembered among my closest waterfowling friends (if I am remembered at all) for how I hunted them - not how many I killed" - [Jay Strangis]
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Re: Inexpensive Boat Blind Design

Postby Trip » Mon Jun 02, 2014 2:13 pm

Up here when we hunt out of the boat, water usually ranges from 5'-20'+…but we're able to utilize the trees around us as a backdrop / overhead cover. Burlap or military netting has been about all we've ever used since I was a kid. Regardless of how good a year we had, there's always improvements to be made though…


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Re: Inexpensive Boat Blind Design

Postby Smoke68 » Mon Jun 02, 2014 2:31 pm

That last photo is a thing of beauty. A well equipped machine with everything in its own place and no clutter just gives a warm fuzzy feeling. Thanks for the detailed pics!

One question: how long does it take to setup the blind, not including brushing?
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Re: Inexpensive Boat Blind Design

Postby Anatidae » Mon Jun 02, 2014 3:15 pm

Smoke68 wrote:That last photo is a thing of beauty. A well equipped machine with everything in its own place and no clutter just gives a warm fuzzy feeling.

Thanks - we've grown quite fond of it, ourselves. And I do everything I can (organization-wise) to avoid the inevitable pre-dawn 'fumble-fest'. :lol:
Smoke68 wrote:One question: how long does it take to setup the blind, not including brushing?

I haven't put a stopwatch to it, but 2 Anne and I can easily set the blind up in under a minute. She un-does Velcro while I'm setting the rear hoop, and doing the rear nets.

One person could probably do it in under 1-1/2 minutes (just the blind).

The first thing we do is put the dog mat, ladder, and spud pole on the hunt deck so the dog can sit 'there' (keeping her tail out from under my size 12 Burly's) while we set everything else up. She just sits there trying to identify everything that moves in the dark, while keeping one eye on me at all times. :mrgreen:

After 2 seasons of using this rig, everybody (especially the dog) knows the entire set-up sequence! :shock: But it's taken that long to establish and 'program' that sequence. :roll: :lol: There are some spots we have to set the blind up and get it grassed - then pole it under the limbs we'll hide under - then 'spud' it or tie it off. But we do that to keep from knocking a bunch of cypress balls off, into the boat. The sap from a smushed cone makes a real mess of the hydroturf.

Trip - I wanted to experiement with the 'true' military netting, but it's gotten really difficult to find in the last year. The military style netting by Camo Sysytems doesn't appear to be the same stuff even though it's called Genuine Military Issue - I may be wrong.
"I'd like to be remembered among my closest waterfowling friends (if I am remembered at all) for how I hunted them - not how many I killed" - [Jay Strangis]
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Re: Inexpensive Boat Blind Design

Postby Barq's » Tue Jun 03, 2014 1:30 pm

The "real" military netting isn't really "available" anymore that I know of. I have tons of it where I'm at and would love just one box of it (could probably easily do 2 boats). The backing material is a dense weave type mosquito netting that is really durable and covered with real looking camo on the outside. I'd hate to know what it costs but it would be worth the money if you could buy it.

Is there anyway that ya'll could send me the pics of the above set-ups to: sbarq1@yahoo.com

I can't see any of the pics attached to this thread....
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Re: Inexpensive Boat Blind Design

Postby Anatidae » Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:24 pm

The blind is not much to look at (i.e., it's not 'pretty').......but it works. I plan on spending a lot of time in it the next few season., so I'm trying to make it quicker, easier, more versatile and more comfortable.

I'll copy/paste the text then insert/re-size photos and convert it to a .PDF to e-mail 2 separate files (skeleton and skin) to you .

Reply via e-mail when you get the .pdf about the blind skeleton. If it goes through, I'll compile and send you another one about the cover. :wink:

Just sent it 8:10 p.m. CST

Thanks for the info on the military netting. Keep your head down over there.
"I'd like to be remembered among my closest waterfowling friends (if I am remembered at all) for how I hunted them - not how many I killed" - [Jay Strangis]
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Re: Inexpensive Boat Blind Design - 'Grassed-up'

Postby Anatidae » Mon Dec 22, 2014 2:03 pm

I still have a couple more stubble straps to add here and there, but this is my view from the forward gunner's seat (i.e., standing-up).......showing how well the dog is hidden on the hunt deck.........

Image

It's hard to get a photo of the whole thing without being in another boat........but there have been more times this year that birds finished inside of 25yds and had NO clue we were there. This includes 3 occassions that we have taken honkers in the timber.........and not pass shooting them, either. So, it must blend-in pretty well with the surroundings.

Overall, it has been worth all the sewing I did during the Summer months, trying to get this ready by November.

BTW - the grass stays on the nets and just rolls-up in them for storage.
"I'd like to be remembered among my closest waterfowling friends (if I am remembered at all) for how I hunted them - not how many I killed" - [Jay Strangis]
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Re: Inexpensive Boat Blind Design

Postby mfalkner » Mon Dec 22, 2014 2:32 pm

Nice! I really like the low-profile aspect as well as the method for reducing the "skirt flap" effect.

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