Larry W. Richardson of Musk-ogee, Oklahoma built a blind to fit his aluminum johnboat. The blind is easily removable and comes off in one unit. Once it is removed, it can be stored between hunting seasons while the boat is put to other uses, or it can be used as a field blind.
The frame is made of half-inch electrical conduit. Joining the conduit was accomplished by inserting eight-inch lengths of 5⁄8-inch diameter pipe into two sections of conduit and the joint welded together. A conduit tool was used to make bends.
The boat is a 15-foot long jon boat with a 72-inch beam. The first step was splicing and bending a continuous length of conduit to conform to the outline of the front and sides of the tops of the gunwales. The rear of the frame was left open.
Next, an arch of conduit was welded across the rear of the boat, extending upward 26 inches from the bottom frame ends and angling slightly inward.
The next step was adding swing open doors to each side of the top frame. The swing-open doors are 12 feet long and 13 inches high with one center support and are continuous lengths of conduit bent into shape. The doors pivot open on sections of 3⁄4-inch conduit welded to form Tees at the ends and center supports of the doors. These conduit Tees are slipped over the top frame before the top frame and side supports are welded into place.
When the doors are swung open to the outside of the blind for navigation, towing or to provide access throughout the blind interior, they are secured to the outsides of the side supports with bulldog clips. Two 90-degree loops of conduit were added to the top front corners, welded at the appropriate angles for the doors to rest against when they are in the closed position and leaving a space for the hunters to see above the top edges.
The side frames were added by welding an arch of conduit from the front corners of the bottom frame to the top corners of the rear frame arch. Five side supports were then welded in place on each side, extending from the bottom frame to the top frame. The side supports angle inward slightly and are 30 inches in length.
The top four corners of the boat deck came equipped with integral welded eyes for tie-downs, which project upward. To the bottom of the blind frame, Richardson welded fence post clips corresponding to the boat’s welded eyes. Through each of these four sets of mated eyes, he inserted bolts to hold the blind in place. Halfway down the bottom of the blind frame, he welded eight-inch pieces of two-inch pipe, cut lengthwise into halves to form clips.
The clips project downward from the bottom frame and around the inside of the top of the tubular gunwale rail. The clips hold the blind securely against lateral movement while the boat is underway or when the blind is in use. Black foam pipe insulation was secured to the bottom rail to help create a snug fit and prevent rattling between the metal blind frame and top of the johnboat gunwales.
The small number of contacts and connections make the boat blind a snap to pop on and off in minutes. Remove four bolts and get a buddy to help lift it off, and you have an instant field blind.
The blind framework was painted flat black using aerosol cans of paint. Heavy bird wire fencing was attached to the outside of the blind framework using zip ties. A trampoline mat was cut to fit the blind framework and fitted over the bird wire using zip ties. The trampoline mat acts as a wind blocker that makes the unit comfortable on those best days to be afield. Fast Grass was added on top of the trampoline mat to provide camouflage. An opening covered by a flap of fabric instead of bird wire was left in one section to provide a dog door.
The blind took approximately 15 hours to build and the weight of the frame is 96 pounds. At a total materials cost of $108.49, Richardson’s removable blind is just as efficient on the checkbook as it is for hiding hunters in land or water situations.