Paddle Wheeler




Introduction: Paddle Wheeler

When I was a child we had very few store bought toys. As a result, we learned to use any available materials to make the things we wanted. My first paddle wheeler was made from a length of 1" x 6" that I picked up somewhere and used a simple handsaw to cut out.

Being older and a little wealthier now, I was able to make this boat just a little bit fancier.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Most of the materials I used came from my scrap pile:

  • A length of 3/4" X 4 1/2" wood
  • A piece of 1/2" doweling
  • A small piece of 2" X 4"
  • A piece of scrap plastic
  • A rubber band
  • Wood Glue
  • Red, White, Blue and Black paint


  • Band Saw
  • Drill Press with 1/2" bit
  • Combination Belt/Disc Sander

Step 2: Cutting and Shaping the Boat

Start with the of 3/4" X 6" length of wood, and cut off a 12" piece - this will be the hull of your boat.

Draw a line across the board, 4" from one end, and two more lines 3/4" in from each side, from the same end of the board up to the line. This outlines and centres the space you will cut out for the paddle wheel, leaving 3/4 inch legs on each side (photo 1).

Find the centre of the other end of your board, and mark a curve from that point to each edge, 1 1/2" down each side. This will form the bow of your boat (photo 2).

Next, use the bandsaw to cut out the section for the paddle wheel and the curve for the bow.

Using the sander, smooth the bow curve.

Cut the 2" X 4" to 5" and, using the hull as a template, mark a curve for the front of the cabin and cut it out on the band saw. Do the same on the 3" X 4" piece that was cut out of the hull.

Step 3: Cut Out the Paddle Wheel

Take the scrap of plastic and cut two 3" X 5" pieces (photo 2).

Place the two pieces together and use the band saw to cut slots in the centre 1 1/2" (photos 3 and 4).

Fit the two pieces together to form an X.

Step 4: Finishing

To add the stacks, drill two holes on an angle, one in front of the other down the centre line of the wheelhouse about 1 1/2" apart.

Put masking tape on the "hull" and the "cabin" to ensure there is bare wood for gluing. Paint the pieces.

When the paint is dry glue your pieces together.

Stretch an elastic over the legs of your boat (you can add a little notch on the outside of each leg once you have found the best position for the paddle wheel), and insert the paddle wheel.

This leaves one final step.

Step 5: Launching

Wind her up.

Once again a paddle wheeler is floating on the Yukon River!

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    7 years ago on Introduction

    When they sit so low in the water we tend to call them submarines over in Blighty :-) Nice dad and child build regardless

    Yukon Seann
    Yukon Seann

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I agree Steve. This is the first one I've made with infrastructure. From the looks of it I could have used a 2" x 6" for the hull.