Make Boat Cradle Dollies From Carpet Scraps, Metal Chairs, And/or Shopping Carts




Introduction: Make Boat Cradle Dollies From Carpet Scraps, Metal Chairs, And/or Shopping Carts

About: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output devices. His detailed drawings of traditional Pacific...

Moving a boat around on land is no picnic. Your graceful watercraft is suddenly more like a beached whale.
These dollies with padded cradles make it easy and yes, fun!
Perfect to keep your canoe or kayak off the ground, and to raise it to a comfortable height to work on it.
All my boats have skinny hulls, so I made skinny dollies. If you've got wide boats, make yours to suit.

I used homemade welders to do the welding.
I used a big needle and string to do the sewing.

Step 1: The "Snille" Chair From Ikea

In case you're a non-consumer, there's a store called "Ikea" that sells cheap furniture with funny names. A lot of the stuff is high quality, but these "Snille" cafeteria style stacking chairs have a problem. The steel base is very strong and the plastic seat is very weak.

In the middle of a meeting someone will lean back a little too much and "snap!" the chair breaks.
The chair gets added to the growing junkyard in the corner of the room. Eventually I'll harvest them.
I throw the seats into the plastic recycling bin, and add the bases to a tower behind the shipping containers.

You'll probably have some different kind of chair to work with, but the principle will be similar.

Step 2: Rock the Cradle - Turn the Chair Upside Down

Here's how to make a cradle stand to hold a boat hull off the pavement.
Turn the chair base assembly upside down and tie a sling of cloth across the chair leg horizontals. In this case I sewed pockets in the ends of a carpet scrap, inserted sticks, and hooked them inside the chair legs.

To make the cradle more stable I welded it to two steel conduit pipes.

Step 3: 1 Shopping Cart, 1 Ikea Chair, 2 Steel Pipes, 2 Carpet Scraps

To make this wheeled cradle dolly, I:
1. cut the base of a shopping cart in half, separating the front and rear portions.
2. Inserted and welded two pipes to make a very long shopping cart
3. Cut away any pipes that would hit the hull.
4. Tied a carpet sling over the back portion of the shopping cart.
5. Cut the legs off an Ikea chair, welded them to the front, and tied a carpet sling over that.

Eventually the strings holding one of the slings snapped in the sun. So then I did the insert-stick-through-legs-and-hem method of attaching it.

Step 4: Locking Casters, Tube Frame, and Inverted Chairs

This rectagular steel frame ended up in our junk pile.
Time to make another boat dolly!
I welded some upside-down chairs to the ends of the frame, added carpet slings, and welded casters to the bottom of the frame.

The chairs and slings are angled up at each end to match the curve of the boat hull.
I got afraid that a boat on wheels would blow across the lot and cause a disaster.
There's nothing out here on the base to block the wind when it comes howling over the runway.
So I put locking casters on this dolly. Turn the lever to brake the wheels.

Step 5: The Carried Away Cart

Henry Ford was right. Black is a good color for steel things. I scavenged the base of a retail display rack that already had locking casters. I cut and extended it with a pair of square tubes and added the cradles.
I sewed leather trim to the cradles so they wouldn't unravel
yep, I got carried away with this one.

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    7 Discussions


    4 years ago

    Great idea using carpet as a boat holder, I have just bought a few <a href="">Carpets in Hull</a>. with my old carpets i am definitely going to this, we go to rother valley and the lake district all the time in our boat.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Tim, how about adding a picture of one of these holding one of your boats. One showing the entire boat, not just the hull! You know, from above.
    Thanx, Matt W.


    Beautiful work once again. I'm still having trouble finding discarded batteries or microwaves.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    where are you located? boat yards, thrift stores, and city waste disposal people end up with too much of these. Asking around is a good method.
    craigslist may also help


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Tim, once again I'm impressed by your creative use of what most others would thoughtlessly discard. Keep up the good work!

    cool i was wonderig if you could make some welder-less ibles i dont have acsess to one but u make some cool stuff and i want to too i do not have a boat as im 12 but u r obviosly a genius so........


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    try these: