Introduction: Fishing Boot Bar Crampons
The absolutely best crampon design for fly fishing boots. Bar crampons have superior gripping compared to studs, felt or rubber lug soles. Work extremely well on dry rocks, slimy rocks and algae/moss covered rocks. Cannot believe how well they work. Also, very stable in the river or on land. Pictures show crampons for size 14 boot.
Aluminum bar stock (available at stores like Home Depot)
One 4' length of 1/4" x 1"
One 4' length of 1/8" x 1"
Heavy Duty Velcro
Rivet tool (under $10.00)
Vise, ball peen hammers, hacksaw, metal drill bits, file or bench grinder
1. Start by measuring length of boot and allowing an extra 4 inches for each "frame" (defined as the longitudinal pieces...two per boot). Note, we'll refer to the cross bars as "bars")
2. Use the vise and hammer to bend and shape each frame piece, which varies by brand of boot. NOTE: Avoid sharp angles in the bends, as you can break the frame pieces. Grind or file sharp corners.
3. Note that there needs to be a lip on each frame piece at the toe end to keep the boot from sliding forward.
4. Similarly, at the heel, each frame piece needs to rise behind the heel. Also, at the heel, add a center frame piece that connects to both of the heel area bars and rises behind the heel. Create a lip (about 1/4") that bends toward the boot. Drill a series of holes across the back of the heel (about 1-1/4" long), making a trench. Don't make the trench too big, as it should take a lot of hand pressure to push the lip into the heel. The lip will fit into this trench and keep the crampon heel area from separating from the bottom of the boot. Alternative is to have this lip grip on the heel, and not use a trench, but this is not as secure a fit as using the trench.
5. Turn boot upside down and decide on where the bars will be located. It's best to allow 1" or at least 3/4" space between each bar. Measure the width of the boot at each bar location (measured to the edge of the boot or slightly beyond. Don't make it so long that it will catch on rocks or debris and prevent lifting your boot). Best to use 5 bars if your boot size will permit, although four would work (if using 4, use two on heel, if possible, and two on sole).
6. On the frame pieces, mark the locations of the bars. Cut the bar into appropriate lengths and grind or file the ends and corners.
7. Drill holes in each of the bars such that the holes will be in the center of both the bars and each frame piece. Countersink the holes in the bars, such that the rivet heads will NOT protrude from the surface of the bar...I prefer them to be 1/16" below the surface. This reduces the risk that rocks will grind down the rivets after a lot of use.
8. Place the bars back on the frame and boot. Use permanent marker and stick through each hole of the bars, making a mark on the frame, where corresponding holes should be drilled.
9. Drill holes in frame.
10. Using rivet tool, insert rivets (from bottom of bars) into bars and frame. Attached with rivet tool. Best to do these one at a time, placing on boot and ensuring a good fit after each riveting.
11. Complete all rivets.
12. Flatten top end of rivets (the end that is next to the sole of the boot). DO THESE ONE AT A TIME AND FIT TO BOOT. This not only flattens the rivet, it makes it tight; so if you do them all at once, you may have difficulty fitting it to the boot. Best way to flatten the rivets is to put a ball peen hammer in a vise, ball end facing upwards. Then place each crampon bar on it, with the rivet head (recessed in the countersink hole) on the ball in the vise. Then, using another ball peen hammer, make multiple strikes to the top side rivet end, shaping it slightly with each strike, until the rivet is fairly flat (looks like a rounded mound when finished).
13. Put the finished crampon on the boot and measure & cut velcro straps. Experiment with the best layout for the straps for your brand of boot. I prefer one strap across the toe and another that wraps from the ball of the boot, around the ankle and is held in place across the laces. In my design, I used my sons old roller hockey boot straps...very heavy duty and they work great. Might pick up a pair very cheap at Play it Again Sports. NOTE: the obvious goal is to create a tight fit of the crampon to the boot that doesn't slide or separate from the sole.
GO FISHING!!! Tight Lines.