Introduction: A Boat From a Single 2x4

Picture of A Boat From a Single 2x4

To get an overview watch the video

Some explanations:

First, sorry for my English.

I built this boat for a 2x4 contest. The rules said I can use a real 2x4 , so my 2x4 was 5cm x10cm and 8 feet (240cm) long. The rules said also I can use 10% other material, this is the reason why I covered it with this ugly plastic bag and I used duck tape so I can remove the plastic bag easily after the contest. The design was really bad and I do not recommend it. I made no plan only a little model to get an idea what it should looks like.My biggest mistake was to use a extra board for a seat. Without this seat it should be much better. The weight of this boat is 6,7kg.

Step 1: Sawing

Picture of Sawing

I cut the bar in many thin stripes

The thickest was 8mm and the thinnest was 2mm

Step 2: The Back Frame

Picture of The Back Frame

The back frame was made with half lap joints.

Step 3: The Side Bars

Picture of The Side Bars

I cut very thin stripes, I drilled holes in a board, put wooden dowels in and glued 3 stripes together

Step 4: Put the Frame Together

Picture of Put the Frame Together

I put the bars in the right position and cut them in length

I glued and screwed everything together. Later I replaced the screws with wooden dowels.

Step 5: the Crosspieces at the Bottom

Picture of  the Crosspieces at the Bottom

The crosspieces at the bottom are simple butt joints

Step 6: the Crosspieces on the Side

Picture of  the Crosspieces on the Side

For the crosspieces on the side I used two piece of paper, put each of them on a bar and sticked them together with tape. I transferred the form to a piece of wood, cut it, sand it and glued it on the frame.

Step 7: The Big Mistake

Picture of The Big Mistake

I thought it is a good idea to make a seat but this was a fail.

Step 8: Cover the Frame

Picture of Cover the Frame

YES, it is ugly!

But it was only for the contest later I removed it!

Step 9: Will It Float?

Watch the video for the launch!

If you like it, please vote for it in the 2x4 contest


Chimonger (author)2017-05-21

Cute! Of course it needs more than the 2x4 to properly finish it....but hey...outriggers? I've seen little boats kinda this shape, being used just fine. Maybe by kid fishing in the farm pond...keep in mind that Howard Hughes made, and flew, his Spruce Goose, _one time_, to prove it could.

TheAquabats (author)2017-02-19

Neat idea, but the need for an outrigger kinda defeats the whole premise of the build.

LongColt45 (author)2017-02-12

That's a gorgeous project boat! Without plans it sounds like too. Don't care what anyone says, to me it looks great!

StephanP1 (author)LongColt452017-02-12

Thank you! Now it is a shelf. You can see it here:

steveofthenw (author)2016-12-28

So, let I get this straight: You create an astounding piece of beautiful craftsmanship & you cover it with a plastic tarp. Couldn't at least go with, like, varnished canvas or something elegant like that?

NancyH56 (author)steveofthenw2017-01-06

You didn't read his comments after the video. Why should we read yours?

JerryS42 (author)NancyH562017-01-09

I think this comment was really meant as a compliment, alias somewhat backhanded.

NancyH56 (author)JerryS422017-01-10

I got the complement, but why ruin it with the comment about the cover? StephanP1 took the time to write an explaination about the "ugly" plastic and duct tape so it was easily removed. I was going to give the explanation to stevofhenw but thought why should I when he does not read explanations. I get tired of people not reading everything before commenting. At least have the courtesy to read the opening comments of the auther. Because of your kindness, the next time I am frustrated I will let it go. Peace.

Poppy Ann (author)2017-01-02

A great video well done,

from someone who has built a small boat from design to completion yours was quite a good one when I built mine I built it out of freezer insulation foam sheet and 18 inch plastic pipe which I cut in half to make the pontoons out of at the time I was living on my 40 foot sail boat which had no area where I could build it on so I asked a friend and he let me build it below his house when I was finished it was 12 foot long by 4'6" wide the centre span was just flat freezer foam that I covered with glass fibre I fitted a 20 hp 4 stroke outboard to it and it would plane at just over half power it worked out a lot less than 1/2 the cost of a inflatable dingy and never gets a leak I left 2 holes in the bottom of the transom which is just above the water level so the hated job of bailing the dingy after rain I never have to do to look at it is bad but compared to an inflatable it beats it hands down.

danny59 (author)2016-12-27

Very good job. If only we could use all our natural resources in such an efficient manner.

gormly (author)danny592016-12-27

@danny59 it is a good job, but there is a reason we make actual boats that sail actual waters with more than one 2x4 ;)

danny59 (author)gormly2016-12-27

I only meant it was a good job using only 1- 8' 2 x 4. I certainly wasn't suggesting that it was a sea worthy vessel.

gormly (author)danny592016-12-27

@danny59 I guess the "in such an efficient manner." part threw me off on your actual meaning ;) Sorry?

danny59 (author)gormly2016-12-27

No problem.

JMurro (author)2016-12-26

Great techniques used! That table saw - what brand is it and where can it be purchased? Never saw one in the USA like that.

StephanP1 (author)JMurro2016-12-26

Thank you. This saw is the circular saw TS55 from Festool built in a special table (= Festool CMS) Yes, it is expensive, but you get a "table saw" and a circular saw!

JMurro (author)StephanP12016-12-27

Ah its a Festool - That explains why its a nice saw.
Thanks for the info.

blanchae (author)2016-12-27

Very impressed with your craftsmanship and documenting it. It looked like fun. I see what you mean by not putting the seat in as it raised the center of gravity too high. Well done!

FranklinNewhart (author)2016-12-13

Using Bridal Satin to cover the boat with and then heat shrinking it and doping it with paint would give a much better vessel.

cesar harada made it! (author)2016-11-20

Awesome work! I was inspired by
And your work - wonderful! I did not finish the boat, but I will get back to it! Thank you!

Oh sorry! I made mine from a 4 x 8 ! And some scrap from pallet I found in the street.

Nancyross (author)2016-11-13

Douglas fir would be the best choice and a 2x6 would give better cutting.

boatmakertoo (author)2016-11-12

Very difficult and painstaking work. The result is reminiscent of a coracle. A coracle would be basically a round basket covered with something. Traditionally it is covered with cloth waterproofed with paint or pitch or wax. If you are up to trying a coracle you can find an example at "Hannu's Boat Yard." That one is made from strips of plywood but your 2X4 method should work. Another possibility would be the Greenland Kayac for which there are examples on line. These are larger craft and one 2X4 would probably not be enough. The covering of modern examples is nylon waterproofed with paint. Originally created by Inuit hunters they were constructed from driftwood and covered with seal skin. Used in the open ocean they can travel long distances.

BrandenHall (author)2016-04-13

the dimesions of the boat are very vauge could you please specify the sizes of the idividual struts

mpirarxos. (author)2016-01-27

Very good!! I am planning of making a boat of my own. What wood would be good in your opinion?

StephanP1 (author)mpirarxos.2016-01-27

Thank you. Don't use only a 2x4 if not neccessary. Make it bigger with a flat bottom. My next attempt, will be more like a coracle. Here are some pictures

mpirarxos. (author)StephanP12016-02-05

I meant what tree should i use. Should have told so, sorry

StephanP1 (author)mpirarxos.2016-02-05

Sorry, but I have no idea! This was my first boat. Better you ask a boat builder.

diy_bloke (author)2016-02-04

great instructable.

StephanP1 (author)diy_bloke2016-02-04

Thank you.

KamalM13 (author)2016-01-30


StephanP1 (author)KamalM132016-02-01


warriorethos2 (author)2016-01-31

StephanP1, great job on the boat project. Your instructions, video, and pictures show a lot of technical work to build your boat. Any good tips on maintenance of the boat? Good luck in the contest.

StephanP1 (author)warriorethos22016-02-01

Thank you. Tip: Keep it dry ;)

arnold.walker.77 (author)2016-01-31

Many of your canoe and kayaks were made that way,except they used animal hides for the cover.

Some of the first hovercrafts from Universal Hovercraft were spec'ed with that kind of construction and skinned with 1/8 plywood with a fiberglass finish.Because of that light weight....Newer versions went to foam with fiberglass/kelvar finish.

Alywolf (author)2016-01-30

Way to take on the challenge !!!!!

James Rodgers (author)2016-01-29

In concept It looks to be water or should I say lake or river worthy . When I was a kid my dad had an old wooden boat that he spent i'm guessing about 2 or 3 yrs, rebuilding ' & he try'ed like hell to water proof it . If I remember it had an out bord motor ' I think . The 1st. time he put in the river he started the motor & it went about 10 feet & sank & BOY was he pissed !! After all that work / time & effort . I think I was only 5 or 8 yrs. old at the time & I thought that boat was so cool ' but he ended up selling it . Jimmie R

StephanP1 (author)James Rodgers2016-01-29

Thank you for this nice little story!

عباسپ (author)2016-01-27

That is good idea

StephanP1 (author)عباسپ2016-01-27


ClareBS (author)2016-01-26

That boat is really cool, and I love the video. I got in just in time to vote for you.

StephanP1 (author)ClareBS2016-01-27

Thank you!

mike.southey.94 (author)2016-01-26

Awesome job, great idea and lovely work. I feel this was a far more worthy winner than the truck but that's just my opinion... Well done!!

Thank you.

dausmus (author)2016-01-26

Great work and great project! I loved the Part 2 video,"The Launching". lol. I was totally amazed the strength you built into the design and that it was capable of staying together with you in the boat. Nice job! :-)

StephanP1 (author)dausmus2016-01-26

Thank you!

BackyardWoodworks (author)2016-01-26

I wonder if you could have covered it with a second 2x4 and then fiberglass that... ??

User1 (author)2016-01-24

Thank you for posting this. I never would have believed you could make a boat from a signal 2X4. You did a great job for your first attempt. I'm sure your next one will be even better :-)

BTW, can you post up the contest you made this for?

And no problem with your English. It's better than some English speaking people I've seen!

StephanP1 (author)User12016-01-25

Thank you. The contest was "Summers woodworking 2x4 contest 2015", just google it. Unfortunately the side is down, but here is the winner:

Elliot Lord (author)2016-01-25

I don't believe this is made from that one piece that you said. You can see clearly that most of those strips are much wider than 8mm and there are so many of them that it is not possible.

About This Instructable




Bio: If you like simple solutions then here you can find some of my crazy ideas.
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