JamesS291 (author)2016-02-05

where's the instructable? I cant find it just comments

Yonatan24 (author)JamesS2912016-03-12

It looks like the author deleted it's content...

triumphman (author)2013-09-29

I hope the lake is colorful this year! Last year was a disaster. Leaves fell before we could enjoy the colors. So no kayaking last year. Maybe this year will be better.

IndigoBlueMan (author)2010-05-16

I'd love to build one of these, but this instructable isn't too detailed. Maybe you could be more detailed in the measurements of each piece and more pictures.

triumphman (author)IndigoBlueMan2013-09-27

Detailed, ? Its one piece of plywood, canvas, glue and some strips of wood! Its not rocket science! Give it a go! You can do it!

claudg1950 (author)IndigoBlueMan2011-05-12

Indigo: No problem. If you google "rathburn folding kayak" or "rathburn Popular Mechanics" or similar combinations you should retrieve several sets of instructions with measurements Some of them have so-so drawings but some others are really very good. All of them describe the same design originated by schoolteacher Jess E. Rathburn.
There is also another instructable for a yellow version of this same design nicely built by a lady.
To digress: Some ten years ago, a gentleman by the name of Pax Rolfe built the same folding kayak but he used coroplast instead of plywood (you may google it for a couple of photos). It seems like a great idea, though I wonder how he managed to glue the top and bottom together, as coroplast is reluctant to bond to most ordinary glues.

cknaak (author)2013-09-24

What about a 5-6" high wood rim wall around the cockpit? That would make it more impervious to sinking in choppy water

triumphman (author)cknaak2013-09-25

Sure, why not!

triumphman (author)triumphman2013-09-27

You know I was thinking about your comment. I would not take this little kyak out in choppy water ! You would be asking for trouble! Better go buy a kyak built for rapids. FYI

triumphman (author)2013-04-29

Wow, 53,899 views! Who would have thought this would be so popular! Thank all of you for your positive comments!

triumphman (author)triumphman2013-06-25

54,732 wooooeee!

triumphman (author)triumphman2013-09-09

55,870 !

triumphman (author)triumphman2013-09-25

56,084 ! whose counting this ?

triumphman (author)2013-07-20

I can't believe it! The plywood is the size of the Kayak, no bigger no smaller. Yet people can not cut out the two halves ? Come on people do it! It's not rocket science!

popscott3 (author)2010-08-05

Does water get into it?

triumphman (author)popscott32012-07-20

Yes, when it rains.

tigle (author)popscott32010-08-09

yes, but I made a modification to it will not happen, to put a little overboard.

popscott3 (author)tigle2010-08-09

Ok, Thanks!

jimbo480 (author)2010-08-16

is the boat flat bottomed?

triumphman (author)jimbo4802012-07-20

See Pictures!

triumphman (author)2012-06-07

The key here is to keep it as light as possible. It is originally meant to fold up flat. But I made it that way at first and the first maiden voyage the ribs fell in. It sank. But floated. I paddled ashore. Determined to screw those darned spreaders in permanently when I got home! So I did! I also added flotation material in the bow and stern areas. She would never sink now. You can add more stuff, but it will increase the weight. Its up to you. Personally I like the lighter weight of the original design. Enjoy, be safe and wear those PFDs!

triumphman (author)2012-06-01

My brother just called me. He wants the plans for this Kayak. He is going to build a ten footer or a twelve footer. I will help him. The ten or twelve footer is much more stable and less prone to sideward movement.

mysticmoon (author)2011-07-24

I have a 1930's pumpkin duck boat made in the Albert Lea, MN area.
I would like to sell it, but don't know the value. Any help would be nice.

skuitarman (author)2009-10-09

how much did all this cost you?

triumphman (author)skuitarman2009-10-11

 Well ro start: 4x8 sheet of 1/4" plywood was about $20.@ Lowees, quart of contact cement $10.@ Lowees, canvas $8. yard@ Joannes Fabricks, (mine was found in my garage stash), plywood scraps for ribs, get small pieces at Lowees to your needed sizes (price varies, but inexpensive) some kind of wood sealer (I used linseed oil I had laying around) You can use 1 spray can of clear or satin wood spray paint-$3 or so),molding strips for inside and outside $3-4.,  Paddle was made from my leftover 1/4" scraps and a White Birch tree from my woods. Oh yes, Gorilla Glue for the paddles. Thats about it! Very Affordable! The only expensive thing is your time- it is priceless! Enjoy! Happy Paddling. Triumphman.

THANK YOU!!!!!!i built a blue one of these and sold it for $300!!!!!!!!THANK YoU

Very cool dude!


fastfloyd (author)2010-04-18

have you considered fiber glassing it can be relitivly easy and extra durable

triumphman (author)fastfloyd2011-06-11

I have worked with fiberglass, repairing a hardtop for my 1963 Corvette! Very messy, smelly, toxic to say the least!

starcad (author)2010-04-05

Very nicely built, however, I would have liked to see a reference to the orginal designer, Jess E. Rathbun published in Popular Mechanics, June 1963. 

triumphman (author)starcad2011-06-11

I appologize for that. My plans were handed down to me from my brother. There were no references provided. Rathbun should get credit from 1963 plans. Thanks.

Stonehopper (author)2010-01-24

 I noticed several asking how he got all 4 pieces from 1 4x8 sheet. Looking at the finished boat and reading his dimensions for the cockpit cutouts it is obvious each hull piece is only 1 foot wide. Look closely at the oening and with the 5 1/2" dimension, it appears to have about 7" left.

triumphman (author)Stonehopper2011-06-11

Exactly! One sheet of plywood is all you need!

N8SMITH (author)2009-10-31

What advice would you share to someone trying to follow these instructions? How would you describe the physics behind what makes it float without tipping over?? I love it, but I will not sacrifice safety when playing with the kids. So, would it be safer to make it a little wider and deeper (Larger)?

triumphman (author)N8SMITH2011-06-11

Yes safety is most imporatant. Our water rules now require all humans to wear PFD's (personal flotation devices) which I agree with 100%. Especially with children. Safety is #1, so enjoy the water and get to come back another day!

triumphman (author)N8SMITH2011-06-11

not possible, I used one sheet of plywood, you will have to buy many sheets, your choice!

zevdog (author)2009-10-20

We had these when we were kids, lots of fun, we used beach balls in each end just in case we took on too much water. I remember many trips down the river...not in any white water. Also we left the end frames loose so we could fold them in half and carry them to the water.

triumphman (author)zevdog2011-06-11

Yes, thank you. I have since placed flotation material in the bow and stern, hopefully, avoiding any Titanic-like problems. Cheers and Happy Paddling!

2ManyProjects (author)2009-09-28

This is a beautiful build of a time tested design. I found this build on line. Looks like popular mechanics from the 60's.

triumphman (author)2ManyProjects2009-10-11

 Yes! you hit it right on the mark! I got this idea from my Brother who built one in the 60's from the popular mechanic's mag. Only diff. was back then you could purchase a 10 ' piece of 1/4" plywood. No longer available today! So I had to work with 8'. I would have loved to have two more feet to work with. More flex in the bow and stern. But thats all there is available. You can get 10' exterior ply in texture 111 but it is almost an inch thick. Too heavy and won't bend. AND you could not lift it by yourself unless you were Arnold S. Enjoy! Happy Paddling. Triumphman.

2ManyProjects (author)triumphman2009-10-12

I am not sure where you are, but if you are in the north east you can get 5X10 1/4 Marine ply at Looks like a speciality ply but you should be able to get it ordered at an non-superstore lumberyard.

triumphman (author)2ManyProjects2011-06-11

thanks for the info, I would love to do a ten footer! It would be so much better with a foot more at the bow & stern. But what is the cost of that specialty ply?

tigle (author)2010-07-06

Hola, yo este fin de semana hice uno, fue muy facil y rapido, solo me queda probarlo en el agua, alguien sabe cuanto es el peso que soporta? Saludos

triumphman (author)tigle2011-06-11

No habla espanol !

tigle (author)tigle2010-08-02

Hello, if you want some pictures of the kayak made by me, you can send an email to this address Regards

mylamahasahat (author)2011-03-14

This looks like a fun project but i agree with indigo needs a new instructable

claudg1950 (author)mylamahasahat2011-05-12

Mylamahasahat: Please see my reply to IndigoBlueMan here.
Or you may link to
All the best.

claudg1950 (author)mylamahasahat2011-05-12

Myla: Please see my reply to IndigoBlueMan here. It may help. All the best.

Slainte1 (author)2011-05-08

These are amazing little boats. Our scout troop built them back in the mid to late sixties, and paddled from Blythe to Yuma on the Colorado River every Easter vacation. Very stable and reliable. We used ten foot sheets of 3/8" ply, and saturated it with old formula Thompson's Waterseal. (We tried eight footers, but they were squirrely and required significant runners or skegs.) The canvas, also treated with Thompson's and coated with a rubberized paint, had to be cut on the bias to provide maximum flexibility. We rigged longitudinal hammocks beneath the gunwales for storage, and our bulkheads were easily removed for transport. Some of us made "bras" just in front of the cockpit to minimize water scoopage, which was a bit of a problem when dealing with rough water. These boats are a great, simple project, and provide a super way to get out on the water, rather than just looking at it and wishing.

About This Instructable




Bio: Son of a son of a sailor.
More by triumphman:Teach your duck to make LED circuits !Key Fob Fishing Lure from FimoGREEN HOLIDAY TWIRLABOUT
Add instructable to: