A Boat From a Single 2x4

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Introduction: A Boat From a Single 2x4

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

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

I cut the bar in many thin stripes

The thickest was 8mm and the thinnest was 2mm

Step 2: The Back Frame

The back frame was made with half lap joints.

Step 3: 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

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

The crosspieces at the bottom are simple butt joints

Step 6: 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

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

Step 8: 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

2x4 Contest

First Prize in the
2x4 Contest

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156 Comments

I think this is wonderful! I love the video when your shoe comes off. You did a really good job! The little dog wants to go with you so much! Cute!
Way to be creative!

1 reply

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.

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

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

1 reply

Thank you! Now it is a shelf. You can see it here: https://www.instructables.com/id/Boat-Shelf/

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?

3 replies

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

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

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.

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.

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

4 replies

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

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.

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

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

2 replies

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

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!