Barrel Boat





Introduction: Barrel Boat

My first boat I ever built. Best for kids Originaly built in 2010 by my brother and I to explore the small pond at the end of the street.Total construction takes arond 1 hour with very little skill needed.Very simple construction requiring basic tools and materials to build. Can be built for free or little cost.
Note: Build and operate at own risk. I am not responsible for any harm or injury caused by building or operating boat.Life jacket recommended.

(2) 2x2x4 feet
(2) 4 foot landscaping timbers
(2) 2x4x4 feet
Duct Tape
3" Screws
55 Gallon Plastic Barrel
Counterweight ex. barbell weight

Drill & Drill Bits
Jigsaw & wood/plastic blades
Measuring Tape
Saw to cut wood

Step 1: Seal and Cut the Barrel

First, if your barrel has caps on the top and have holes in them like my barrel you need to seal them. Caulk the cap where the hole is.
Next cut the barrel. I don't have any actual pictures but do have a Google SketchUp Model. Trace in the bottom of the barrel like shown a opening based on your size. Cut the hole big enough to get in and out of but not farther than half the length of the barrel. Drill a hole in the middle of your traced opening for the jigsaw to start cutting. Than with the jigsaw cut out the traced opening. If you have rough edges sand them smooth with sandpaper.

Step 2: Build the Frame

Lay the landscaping timber parrallel to each other. Lay the 2x4s across at the ends like shown to form a 4'x4' square. Screw with 2 to 3 screws at each corner.

Step 3: Barrel Mount

Next lay the 2x2s on top of the 2x4s ach 1 foot from the end of the 2x4s. Screw on with 2 screws.

Step 4: Attach Barrel to Frame

You may need another person to do this. Lay the barrel in between the 2x2s. Make sure it is centered. Then duct tape around the barrel and 2x2s going around 2-3 times. Do this at front, middle and rear of barrel.

Step 5: Finished Product

Now your finished. Put your counterweight in your boat to balance it fore and aft. Make sure your seals are good and enjoy the water. Eventually a seat was added to compensate for height.



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    40 Discussions


    2 years ago

    What do you do if the barrel is missing the top

    1 reply

    Don't go into the water.

    most ingenious thing I have ever seen!

    This is Awesome! I maybe a grown man, but I might just have to try my hand at this! I can add an RC Transmitter, some motors, and a mini wireless cam, and I could build a surface ROV!

    Nice Instructable! Just remember the life jacket!!!


    I know where you got the idea for this. The 1918 Boy Mechanic Volume 2 book. Construction is identical. Still a good idea.

    1 reply

    It ok if i make a modded version of this i will include your info

    I have made similar boats in the past, a lot of fun. But I would like to suggest a modification I have used that decreases the weight and increases the buoyancy. I have used PVC tubing all around and on the out side edge I stepped up the diameter of the PVC to 4" to act as pontoons. It really worked well. After all the glue is set and it is attached to frame it is very reliable.

    just to make sure i got the pounds right... if i multiply the kg (200) by 2.2 that will give me the pounds which would be 440 pounds if im right? and it also crossed my mind that it might be possible to use a weedeater shaft attached to the drill use with the propeller as long as you could work it all in together.

    2 replies

    Yup 440lbs.
    The weedeater shaft would have to be solid, because the flexible shafts wouldn't handle the torque needed to turn the water and the resistance of the water against the prop. I believe to much stress of resistance would be placed on the motor.
    Also with a solid shaft it would have to stay as short as needed, or to much torque will be lost in the length.
    Another good idea though. ;)

    i wonder if you could use a cordless drill with a small rod with propeller attached to the back if it would give it momentum? oh and can somebody give the weight capacity in pounds? i dont understand kg. :) ( usa ) .

    1 reply

    multiply the kilograms by 2.2 and that's the pounds.
    If you could find a high torque cordless drill, like ones used for mixing mortar, that would be an awesome portable prop. Good idea kdf.inc1969 :)

    This is a really coo ideal.

    To add buoyancy and balance, replace the landscaping timbers with 2x4x4s and attach 3x 3 litter bottles under each of the replacement 2x4x4s. They will act as pontoons.
    Also you could add a hand controlled rudder to the back cross arm if you turn this into a sail boat.

    Happy sailing :)