Homemade Boats Made of PVC Pipe

Written by mike schoonveld
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Homemade Boats Made of PVC Pipe
Many materials could be used to make a raft -- including PVC pipe. (Raft image by Studio Pookini from Fotolia.com)

People often try to update old ideas using modern components. Traditional wooden archery equipment has been supplanted by fibreglass, warm, woollen coats have given way to space age fibres. If you would like to substitute PVC pipe for traditional boatbuilding materials, here are some things to consider.

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One could easily engineer a raft-type boat using "logs" made of capped-off PVC pipes. The amount of flotation provided by your raft can be calculated by determining the volume of air captured inside the PVC logs in cubic feet, then multiplying that number by 62. A 10-foot length of six-inch PVC pipe contains 1.96 cubic feet of air which will float a little more than 54.4 Kilogram. Multiply this capacity by the number of pipes (logs) you assemble for the total amount of flotation your raft will support.


Many traditional and modern boats are made by stretching a thin, hull material such as birch bark, canvas, thin aluminium or other material over a framework of wood, bone or metal. PVC pipes and fittings could be glued up into a framework to be covered with any number of waterproof materials.


PVC pipe is relatively inexpensive, easy to work with and widely available. Though it is possible to construct a boat or raft from PVC pipe, no commercial boat builders use the material; spotting a home-built PVC water craft would be a rare occurrence. There are more suitable materials available if building a homemade boat is something you are considering.

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