Canoe Cart

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About: Professionally I have been a summer camp counselor, a Draftsman/designer, salesperson, bicycle mechanic, laminate flooring machine mechanic, teacher, and designer of the OP Loftbed. Personally I am a human...

This is one of those projects that I thought about long before I made it. I looked at different canoe and kayak carts that I could buy, but I could not find one exactly like I wanted. I wanted something custom. I watched videos and looked at other Instructables. I shopped for second hand bike trailers and folding bikes. I had seen a video of a guy towing his canoe behind his bike and then folding his bike and cart up and putting them in his canoe and then paddling away. I sometimes paddle up river and then back to where I started. The Idea of being able to tow my canoe on the road to somewhere up river and then boating back to the start was an idea that I liked. I found my bicycle first and then a trailer, then the project was put on the back burner. I got the trailer at a really good price, but I could not bring myself to cut it up to use for a canoe cart. I looked at making an axle so that I could have a kid trailer and a canoe cart that shared the same wheels. Then one day I had a Wile E. Coyote super genius moment when I stumbled across the easiest solution for my cart.......OAR LOCK SOCKETS.

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Step 1: Donor Trailer

The trailer I found was the Thule Cadence https://amzn.to/2BInkLU. I bought mine used but in practically new shape. This trailer is light weight, folds up, and best of all has wheels that come off with the push of a button.

Step 2: Tools

I used some common wood working tools:

A circular saw.

A drill and drill bits.

An impact driver

A tape measure

A framing square

A sharpie marker

Safety glasses

A hobby rasp

And a work table https://amzn.to/2JlnxsO

Step 3: Supplies

A good waterproof glue is a must Titebond III water proof glue https://amzn.to/2BD5eeq

I used decking screws: #10 x 3-1/2" and #8 x 2"

Six 12 mm washers

Four 3/8" x 6" bolts

Four 3/8" wingnuts

Four 3/8" lock washers

Eight 3/8" finder washers

A piece of PVC pipe about 6 inches long. (used as a spacer for the hitch)

One 2x4 and one 2x6 I should have used treated wood, but I had regular untreated on hand.

And one of the best solutions ever the oar lock sockets. https://amzn.to/2BMrGl7

Step 4: Oar Lock Sockets - One of My Best Solutions Ever

Oar Lock Sockets: https://amzn.to/32P4vmg I found these when shopping for something else, at an outdoor store. I knew, the moment I saw them, that they would be the best solution for what I needed. They even had holes for mounting. I got them home and tried them out on the wheels off the trailer. The wheels have a push button hub that locks them into the axle with two little balls, much like a socket on a ratchet. The have 1/2" diameter shafts and fit right into the oar lock sockets. The oar lock sockets I got were not the highest quality. Made from a piece of sheet metal and the hole was not a perfect circle. This would allow the wheels to slip out. I thought I was going to have to buy more expensive oar lock sockets with a perfect hole, but then I found that 12mm flat washers would make the wheel shafts fit and operate, and most importantly not fall out.

Step 5: The Cart

I wanted to be able to have a cart that held firmly to my canoe but I did not want to modify my canoe. I was able to make the cart out of 2x6 lumber glued and screwed together and with the oarlock sockets screwed onto the bottoms. I was able to make it clamp on to the carry handle of the canoe by sandwiching it and clamping tightly to the canoe with two of the 3/8" x 6" long bolts with the two fender washers, one lock washer and the wing nut. When boating the cart can be mounted upside down and the wheels either stowed in the canoe or on the cart.

Step 6: The Hitch

I can use the cart as just a portage cart, to move the canoe by hand, or hitch it to my folding bicycle. I used a 2x4 along with a couple pieces of 2x6 to mount to the bow of my canoe. I used a clamping technique similar to the cart but I made the under side piece larger and put the two bolts inline instead of side by side. I had to drill one hole in the plastic bow piece, but it made the hitch more secure. The hitch attaches to the bicycle by placing the bicycle seat post thru a hole in the 2x4 and then clamping the seat in the seat tube of the bike. I also used a piece of PVC pipe as a spacer to keep the hitch from riding too low.

Step 7: How I Made My Cart and Hitch

I measured, marked, cut, drilled, glued, and screwed. To determine dimensions I held up the pieces and made a estimated guess as to dimensions needed. On some projects, I like to make measurements and plan things out perfectly, but this project sort of grew organically and turned out great. I found the angles I needed by laying the 2x6 on the canoe and transferring the angle of the gunnels by tracing them on the 2x6. The only change I made was to shorten the sides of the cart. I originally had too much clearance between the bottom of the canoe and the ground which made it to top heavy. But that modification was easy enough to just unscrew the oar lock sockets off, cut the 2x6 side pieces shorter, and then screw the oar lock sockets back on.

Step 8: Video

As usual, I made a video.

Thank you for watching.

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    6 Discussions

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    crazypj

    14 days ago

    Impressed by the ingeniousness of the simplicity. You could probably leave rear mount permanently attached and just tow it upside down? It would mean making a more complicated front tow bar though?

    1 reply
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    CHARLESCRANFORDcrazypj

    Reply 4 days ago

    Thank you for the comment. I wanted it right side up, so I could have my gear (paddle, vest, food, etc.) in the canoe. I was also thinking of making it so I could just rotate it up, but in the end this was the simplest and lightest way.