The Ultimate foot block.
The block in this example was built for a Dagger Kingpin 6.3 and a 5'11" person with a 32" inseam.
Most any playboat is going to have very similar dimensions so just adjust for your size and taste.
Don't forget that you can use our Skinz for under your ankles. You can build the block either before or after putting the skinz in. I usually build the block first and then install the Skinz and then wedge the block in.
Start with a 3x12x12 square. A 4x12x12 is a good choice too.
A 3" thick piece was used for this tutorial.
On the leading front edge (indicated by dotted line "B") place a pail on top of the block and trace it. A 1 gallon paint can is adequate but the bigger the better. We use a 5 gallon pail for tracing because you want a slow curve that will allow most of the pressure to be on your heels and not your toes. This is very critical to your comfort and needs your attention. Your ultimate goal is to have all your support go through your bone structure and not through your muscles as is the case when you count on your toes for support.
For the distance "A" on a 5'11" tall person with typical size 9 feet you will want around 11". For a taller 6'1" paddler you will want 5.5".
The most accurate way to get this measurement is to sit in the empty boat and mark the bottom of the boat where your heels come together then get out and measure from the tip of the boat to your mark.
Add a little bit extra to this measurement. You can always cut it again or shave more to get shorter.
if you have a bandsaw congratulations.
If not, any knife will do. Even a serrated kitchen knife. Just don't get caught by the wife.
After you make the cut you can clean up the cutting imperfections from surface and make it smoother by going over it with a rasp or 36 grit sandpaper.
Don't cut distance "A" too short. You can always cut more later. It's like a haircut. Its easy to take it off and much harder to up it back on.
The block as viewed from the front tip of the boat direction.
The cut "C" is 33 degrees if you are fortunate enough to have a bandsaw. If you are long legged this is the only bevel you will need at the tip. If you are regular height (5'11") you will make a similar cut to "c" on the top to match the curve of the boat.
For all heights you will need to make the cut "B" to match the curve of boat near the tip.
Use a rasp to fine tune the shape to better match the contours of your boat.
Now to kick it up a notch.
Take a look at the black lines in this picture. Where the solid line is indicated you want to cut all of this out. This will make your toes hang around the edge and actually be dangling free. Where the dotted black line is you want to make a beveled cut on the top edge. This will match the ergomomics of your foot a little better and will especially make more room of you use booties and do not paddle with naked feet.
Sit on the ground with the block out of the boat and visually see where your feet are matching the curves to better dial in the fine tuning.
|If you shaped it well you won't need to glue it in
place, but the glue doesn't hurt to help keep you from loosing it.
No amout of glue will keep a poorly shaped block from
packing out and pushing down into the end. Just use a few
dabs top and bottom to keep it from coming out on your next swim.
(Yes your gonna swim. I just predicted it.
We are all in between swims. For some people its
just longer than others)
Unlike usual gluing procedure, shove it in there while the glue is still wet so that it will slide all the way in.
|One more tip:
Here is a cool idea from member SAB on the NPMB.com message board
Loop a piece of webbing around the back of the block so you can pull it out after it gets wedged in tightly over time.
Key points to remember:
Big radius front edge.
You want pressure on your heels and arches not on your toes.
Cut less and wedge. You can always cut more later if you want.
Loose fit can easily blow out when on the roof of your car. Improve the snugness with Skinz and glue.
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