Instructables
Below is a set of guidelines for making a raft on the cheap. Our version cost about $80 but it was shared between three people which, for the experience, was quite good! (Keep in mind, this price was because most things were scrounged fo' free)

Still not sold?

Well to help you with determining if this instructable would be fun for you to complete I have assembled a checklist of suggested prerequisites that you can use to evaluate your match:

- Have you ever wanted to escape to the great outdoors like Huck Finn?

- Is it summer?

- Do you love adventures?

- Are you poor?

- Is there an unexplored river in your area?

- Have you taken a bet to make a raft and use it for a day from your friends?

Hopefully after this self assessment, you have realized that rafting on the cheap is for you!

Safety Stuff:

- Please look into local boating laws in your area (just call or email a local marina or police dept. and they should be able to set you straight) to figure out if it is legal to be where you will be on a homemade raft. In most places personal watercraft are tolerated very well and you will not need any permit or experience to get started adventuring!

- Wear a lifejacket at all times (as you will be able to see, we wore ours even while the raft was being assembled). This is a no brainer; what you will be making is a cheap, semi-disposable raft and going down a river on it.............tons of stuff can go wrong.

- Let a landlubber know about your adventure (and I don't just mean bragging, let them know the details so that an alarm will be raised quickly if something bad happens. You should brag a little though)

Cool, now let's get down to business...
 
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So i am a couple of years behind on this, but once you had collected all the materials how long did it actually take you guys to construct?

chipper352 years ago
....and an exceedingly well written instructable to boot!!
chipper352 years ago
11.5 hours to go 9 miles downstream......nobody died and nobody ended up in the ER.....I'd called that adventure a major success!!!!
wusufasa2 years ago
Did you guys have an anchor or something to stop you from drfiting? Thinking of building this but want to double it up as a floating platform to swim of or play king of the hill with.
willdeh23 years ago
This reminds me of the adventure I just finished. Three of my friends and I just finished a trip down the Mississippi River. We started in Minneapolis and ended in New Orleans. We had the idea of building a raft or homemade pontoon but we found a real pontoon for cheap. We have heard many stories of people constructing homemade rafts and taking them down the river, but it is slightly more involved than your process :) ... Very cool though, and good job for actually doing it.

If you're more interested you can check out the blog. willdeh2.wordpress.com
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SIRJAMES093 years ago
using 4 plastic barrels & building a fram around them would make a raft that will maybe out last you. this is something that you could use on a yearly basis....it could be anchored somewhere to swim from or it can be used to float down the river or acoss a lake....
Not to mention that using 4 plastic barrels would be tons more stable. :)

you guys look like you had fun doing this, so that's the main thing...
okayknockout (author)  SIRJAMES093 years ago
Plastic barrels will definitely last longer. If you want this to be a reusable raft, I'd suggest using marine plywood that has been extensively waterproofed. Our particle board + spray on sealer could only realistically last about a week in the water...
SIRJAMES093 years ago
TY guys for sharing & giving this old man something to smile about.
been a long tiime since I had fun like you did with this raft. was a very enjoyable read, & yes it gives me plenty of ideas on how to build my own raft...

TY again for sharing.
okayknockout (author)  SIRJAMES093 years ago
I'm glad you liked it! It was very fun for us too and the story actually earned us free dinner at the restaurant we ended up at!
SIRJAMES093 years ago
you're funny! If nothing else, I'm enjoying just reading this. :)

But for the record, I AM gonna build a raft one day....
would Styrofoam work?
yes, i made one like that, but use insulation foam. its alot more bouyant, and you can get it at your local lumber yard.
So did you just spray the foam over the whole bottom of the raft? If so, has it held well to the raft? I'm not very familar with this material.
Strangely, the '26" rims' part gives me an idea... Raft+bike=paddle boat of some sort? Or you could just put wheels on it and push it around, so you wouldn't have to carry it
i think i might make mine with a few water tight 50gal. plastic barrels. Pontoon Style! :)
 Excellent raft. Your foresight, frugalness, and design  was topnotch. 
I once rafted down a river in a Reno NV sort of spur of the moment on one of those inflatable lounges.
It was difficult to keep my drink dry, some other people came barreling past me on inflatable mattresses.  While expensive to buy, everybody has one and can be borrowed. They are usually built much stronger than even rowboats, and are generally much larger. Also keg shells work pretty good too.
Thanks for the instructable. nice work.
gabo_ftw4 years ago
Nice raft! hope you can improve it! What do you think about using it at the sea?
BgRdDragon5 years ago
you said add a instructable on how to add a sail,cannon,etc
okayknockout (author)  BgRdDragon5 years ago
I said that you could, but we never did. I have some ideas about how to do all of the modifications but I won't publish an instructable until I have done some because then I could work out the inevitable kinks...
potatoe cannon
that would make sense
lil jon1685 years ago
/ive got one ove those boats there cool
mash40775 years ago
thats awesome it's just like vivala bam!!!
lemonie5 years ago
I like it - and it works too! You should put one of the pictures from step 7 at the beginning to show it off. L
okayknockout (author)  lemonie5 years ago
thanks, will do...