Here’s a quick look at how I replaced the factory seat in my Valley Anas Acuta with a foam seat. For the most part I worked from Brian Nystrom’s gallery with a few little differences along the way.
1. Find a good work area – For me that’s the back yard on a cloudy windy day.
2. Gather your stuff – Again I chose to use a Valley foam seat. I have extra mini-cell to fit it out. I will be doing the cutting and sanding with a dremel tool and a Tungsten Carbide Cutter which seems much easier to use than all the other methods suggested. You could use a cutting wheel too but again it’s going to be tough to get the angle right.
3. Next I put masking tape over the cutting area and marked off the cut. Some guys said the tape was not necessary. I don’t know, and it didn’t hurt to do it. The theory is that is reduces chipping of the fiberglass. Notice that at first I left the cut to the rear much straighter, then corrected it to curve up. With the Dremel tool it’s much easier to curve out your cuts.
4. This is a 2006 Acuta. Valley now has a screw that goes into a fitting to hold the backband on. I could find no easy way to unscrew it, so I just left the back band in and moved the stainless steel bracket out of the way when I cut. It was much easier to cut while standing on the same side as the cut and looking down as opposed to reaching across to the opposite side of the cockpit. For what it’s worth cutting the seat with the Dremel tool is very quick and easy. Anyone can do it.
5. After cutting both sides the seat slipped right out. There was not much clean up or “glue” removal to do on the hull. If the seat sticks to the hull, just slowly twist it out to break the glue on the pads. Next I removed the tape from the hangers and used the Dremel sanding tool to smooth out the cuts. Be sure not to set the tool on too high of a speed or use too much pressure. The sanding tool can really dig in if you’re not careful.
6. Next I slipped in the foam seat and made some tentative markings with a wax pencil to estimate placement. The hip pads slid right under the hangers. With a little extra padding I can fit them in nicely.
7. Next came the butt test. I got in the boat and worked on squggling around and finding a comfortable position. Then I worked on laying back on the deck and thought more about seat height. I decided to add about half inch of additional height which put’s the seat at about the same or even slightly higher than factory but at the same time removes that very high bit at the front that was driving me crazy in the first place. My inclination is to also move the seat about 1 or 2 inches further forward.
8. Next I started laying in mini-cell under the seat and re-marking positions based on my initial thoughts. So this is my “base”. Now I will paddle for a few outings before I cut and glue everything into place. This gives me a little more time to re-think it. I learned the first time around not to go too quickly with fitting.
9. Here it is cleaned up with everything in place.
To see more information about kayak modification & repairs I’ve attempted view the “Repairs & Modifications” archive on the blog by clicking here.
** In the end I did nothing more other than to glue the seat down. The hip pads were loose, but provided perfect comfort & security when rolling.