Easiest (i.e. cheapest) way to build a raft + rafting disaster!

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by Spyder Ninja, Apr 16, 2004.

  1. Spyder Ninja

    Spyder Ninja Guest

    Hey, me and 4 other friends are going to build a raft to go down a river and I'm wondering if you guys know the cheapest way of making one large enough for us, wood shouldn't b a problem but i've been racking my head for a type of floatation. I was thinking blocks of styrofoam but the closest I found for that was the blue sheets of insulation styrofoam from home depot. Does anyone know where to get the styrofoam or have a better idea for floatation and the raft in general?

    the disaster

    the first raft we built was for 3 of us. we borrowed about nine 10"x2"x15' (rough estimate) and nailed a massive 1/2" sheet to the planks. For floatation we went to walmart and got two large bags of mini styrofoam balls and taped them to the bottom of the raft. We then went down the river under an inch of water (didn't float too great, didn't sink though). We traveled for about a mile and we got to some rapids, the back floatation got ripped off and i turned around (i was in the front) and my buddies were halfway in the water. So we jumped off in the middle of the rapids and somehow swam through them unhurt. we then walked home.

    in conclusion i want to build a better raft this time so suggestions would be great!
  2. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I've used 55 gal drums.
  3. duluthboats
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    duluthboats Senior Dreamer

    A long long time ago, :eek: LOL, when I was just a kid, we could get truck inner tubes from the junk yard for nothing. They always had holes but a cheap patch kit would fix that. We would lash a few together and some times add a few boards for decking. I spent many summer days drifting the Mississippi that way. Keep it simple, have fun, and wear a PFD.

    Gary :D
  4. Frogman111
    Joined: Apr 2004
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    Frogman111 New Member

    Raft Flotation

    what about empty 2 liter pop bottles or plastic milk jugs?

    could you could make "logs" of bottles and jugs by creating a long sock/tube made of netting, to hold them all together for flotation and then lash the "logs" together for the raft?
  5. SailDesign
    Joined: Jan 2003
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    SailDesign Old Phart! Stay upwind..

    And they look prettier floating down the river than gazillions of polystyrene balls :)
    Not to mention, they're easier to collect afterwards...

  6. BrettM
    Joined: Apr 2002
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    BrettM Senior Member

    There's a race in NT (Aust) where they use beer cans to make boats and then race them....ah
  7. djwkd
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    djwkd Senior Member

    swim noodles,apparantly,dont know how many,this is something imtrying to find out!(for a 17' shantyboat).
  8. timplett
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    timplett Junior Member

    1) 55 gallon drums. Already mentioned, but basically best flotation you could ask for.

    2) Ping pong balls float great. You'd need thousands of them, so I guess it might get kind of expensive, unless you have some sort of ping pong connection...

    3) Bath tubs. Plug holes. If metal, you can weld 4 together, put some plywood on top.

    4) If you thought bath tubs were a bad idea, don't read this one. lol Old pickup truck bed. One in good shape. Weld the tail gate shut, along with any holes. Test by filling with water, check for leaks. Use one, use two, plywood platform, just sit in it, whatever you want. You could probably remove the fenders as there usually is an inner bed structure with fenders attached. Maybe a little too crazy.

    5) Basically any sort of container that held a liquid at some point (bottles, cans, buckets, pots), and many of those are just being thrown away or recycled, therefore, free.

    The only method I can really vouch for is the 55 gallon drums, I've seen many swimming docks made from these. Pop bottles or pin pong balls will work as long as you've got a good way to hold them all together and under the platform. I have also heard of races held between boats made from bath tubs, so I know they will work, they may need some modification. I'm probly the only person crazy enough to thing of using a pickup bed, but it would be cool I'm sure.

    Tim Plett
  9. bntii
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    bntii Senior Member

    this river have rocks?

    If so use something soft and pliable like truck innertubes and skip all the wood/nails and such. Too heavy of a raft and you might just end up under it and get ground to bits against the rocks.
  10. U.S.S. Guppy
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    U.S.S. Guppy Kainz Racing #K2

    Use 55 gal barrels. They hold approx. up to 350-400 lbs each so 4 one on each corner of ur raft i think could do the trick.
    Cptn. Kainz
  11. RAWRF
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    RAWRF Junior Member

  12. djwkd
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    djwkd Senior Member

    Thats just a search thing!it leads to more links,but i own a forum for junk raft building and raft building-www.freewebs.com/raftbuilders
  13. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    SamSam Senior Member

    This is what I got.?.? Are you sure that's right? Sam

    Your search - www.freewebs.com/raftbuilders - did not match any documents.

    • Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
    • Try different keywords.
    • Try more general keywords.
  14. djwkd
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Location: Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

    djwkd Senior Member

    it works 4 me! i don't know why it not workin 4 ya!try re-connecting to the internet.

  15. charmc
    Joined: Jan 2007
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    charmc Senior Member

    Sam, It worked for me. Looks like a good raft site.
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