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How to Build a Raft With Blue Plastic Drums

Updated February 21, 2017

Floating on water in the summer months is bliss. You can drift along and leave, for a little while, anyway, the cares of life behind. One of the best ways to do this is by building a raft. Thor Heyerdahl did it when he built Kon Tiki, and Huck Finn did it when he floated down the Mississippi with Jim in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." Build a simple with blue plastic drums and create your own adventures. The summer doesn't last forever.

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  1. Lay out the body of the raft. Place the plywood sheet on your work table. Slip the four 2x4s beneath the sheet so they form two pairs running perpendicularly: one pair near the top of the plywood sheet and two near the bottom. The top board of the top pair should be about a foot from the top of the plywood and the bottom board of the bottom pair should be one foot from the bottom of the plywood. Each of the 2x4 pairs should be one foot apart.

  2. Drill four holes, evenly spaced, through the plywood and the 2x4s. Do this for all of the boards, drilling 16 holes in all. The holes should be slightly smaller than the lag bolts. Insert the lag bolts into the holes, put the washers over the ends of the bolts, and tighten the nuts.

  3. Lift the body of the raft and place the blue plastic drums under the 2x4s. It should look as follows: the tops of the barrels will extend just slightly beyond the top and bottom of the plywood sheet while the pairs of the 2x4s will hit the drums in their middle and extend a little beyond them. Reposition the blue plastic drums until you are happy with their position.

  4. Drill two holes in either end of the 2x4s. The holes should fall on either side of each blue plastic drum. Insert an eye bolt into each hole, eye facing down. Secure each eye bolt with washers and nuts.

  5. Thread one end of the steel cable through one of the eyes use a crimp clamp to secure it in place. Wrap the other end around the blue plastic drum, thread it through the other eye and pull on it until the drum is securely lashed in place. Crimp clamp the other end of the steel cable and cut off any excess. Repeat this step with each end of every 2x4.

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Things You'll Need

  • Four 2x4s
  • One sheet plywood
  • Drill and drill bit
  • 16 lag bolts with washers and nuts
  • Four blue plastic drums
  • Eight eye bolts with washers and nuts
  • Steel cable
  • Four crimp clamps

About the Author

Marjorie Gilbert is a freelance writer and published author. An avid researcher, Gilbert has created an Empire gown (circa 1795 to 1805) from scratch, including drafting the gown's patterns by hand.

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