Life-size Wooden Ark




Introduction: Life-size Wooden Ark

About: I like building things with wood - both new and reclaimed wood. Profesionally I work as an exhibition builder/designer. In my spare time I build stuff with reclaimed wood.

we build an ARK!!

first of some dimensions:

  • length: 16 meter (52ft)
  • width: 12 meter (39ft)
  • floor height: 2.60 meter (8.5ft)
  • railing height: 3.60 meter (11.8ft)

we build this ark for the cartoonfestival in belgium.

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Step 1: Ready, Set...GO

materials & equipment:


  • - osb-3 sterling board 244cm*59cm 22mm thickness. (about 150 sheets)
  • - douglas beams 90mm*90mm 510cm long (about 300 beams)
  • - thermowood sidings (for info on thermowood: )
  • - screws: 6x160, 6x180, 5x90, 4x50, 4x35,


  • - festool kapex
  • - 18V impact drivers
  • - festool ts55r
  • - minibrat nailgun

the first step in making this build possible was making a decent drawing of the ark in sketch up. just before building the first square I changed the dimensions, the actual squares are 2360mm long, 2360mm wide and 2550mm in height. I had to do this in order to lose as little material as possible. the width of the osb flooring is 590mm, so 4 x 590 = 2360mm. by making the squares 2360mmx 2360mm I only lost 80mm of material on each osb sheet.

as you can see on the drawings the ark is build up off 20 identical squares. the "knee-braces" on top are very important to give the squares their strenght. without the "knee-braces" the whole square would go sideways when moving it in place. Knowing all this we started building 20 identical squares.

Step 2: The Corners

to construct the corners we started out with a square (2360*2360) on the ground and then we drew the corner we wanted. this ended up being 2 straight pieces of 1100mm and 3 pieces of 1150mm that were cut at 15° angle. Again we needed 2 identical sturctures to make up the top and bottom of the corner. and repeating that process 4 times to make up the 4 corners.

Step 3: Making the Boat Shape

this was a tricky part of the build. we had to keep in mind that we were building the ark in our location but we still had to move the ark to it's second location (and in years to come it's third, fourth, fifth,...location). so the ark has to look like a solid piece but it's actually 36 seperate pieces we put together to make up the ark.

we made the side corners is the same way we build the upright corners. start out with a square of 2550*1100mm on the ground and then draw the desired corner. the "bend" side is made up of 3 pieces cut at 15° except the bottom piece which is cut at 55°. on the straight sections we could take 2 of our side corners and connect them to make each pieces an overall length of 2360mm. building the side corners onto the upright corners we attached the side corners to each upright beam on the base corner. then connecting the side corners with additional beams (which were all cut at 15°)

Step 4: Starting to Put the Sidings

the next step was putting up the siding of the ark, on the straight sections this was pretty easy and simple to install. the corners were a pain in the ass!!! to make the corners seem seemless we had to cut and measure every single siding - especially on the first corner when trying to figure out all the bevel cuts, this was a very time consuming task.

Step 5: Deck Flooring and Staircase

to get to the top deck we first installed an temporary staircase and guardrailing. the deckflooring was a screwing down the osb sheets, not much explaining needed i guess.

Step 6: The Railing on Deck and Naoh's Control Room

the railings on the deck were constructed in the same douglas beams (90mm*90mm). we followed the outline of the ark and constructed the railing, the straight pieces were easy to make (it's basically framing but on smaller size) the heigt of the railing is 100cm.

the control room is made up of 4 framing walls, it's 4720mm long, 4720mm wide and 2100mm heigh. the same as if you were building a shed in your garden without the flooring.

Step 7: Finishing the Siding

next step was finishing to put the sidings, mostly to see if the ark looked the way we intended it to look, I think we did alright...

Step 8: Making Some Additions to Deck Out the Deck

so the ark was looking good but it lacked atmosphere, we build a captain's chair, some wooden gears, a loading dock and wooden barrels to make it more fun and interactive for kids

Step 9: Reinforcing the Inside of the Ark + Final Staircase

we installed the final staircase in rubberwood. the staircase is a bit steep but it also had to fit into a single square so the stairs didn't have to be removed when moving the ark to it's locations.

we reinforced the inside of the ark with some additional beam supports to spread out the weight and make everything more rigid.

Step 10: End of the Prefabrication Stage...

we did al we could in our prefab stage, it looks like an ark, we finished all the additional pieces.

Step 11: Teardown of the Ark + Prepping to Move It.

first step of the teardown was to remove all the sidings and naming and numbering all of the pieces. we were able to keep the side corners in one piece which makes reassembly much easier. we reinforced all the squares and corners to make sure nothing happened to them during the moving.

Step 12: Moving the Ark to Its Location

moving the ark (the seperate pieces) was no small task, it involved several flatbed trucks and a bulldozer. to add insult to injury the tent structure where we had to rebuild the ark wasn't ready yet so we had to unload everything on the boardwalk...funtimes as you can imagine.

Step 13: Rebuilding the Ark

rebuilding the ark went without any hickups, we knew the layout and because we numbered every piece it was a straightforeward job to rebuild the whole thing. we also added a decking floor. these were douglas boards - 220mm wide, 18mm thick and 5100mm long that we cut to size and mounted in place with a nailgun. the deckingfloor was then treated a monocoat bourbon wash.

Step 14: Finished!

dotting the I's and crossing the T's, then put a fork in it because we are done.

hope you like the instructable and in case something isn't clear don't hesitate to ask me.

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    7 Discussions


    3 years ago

    i searched up boat i stared scrolling through pictures of canoes and then this appeared. good god it made my day seeing something this giant in an instructable. great work


    Reply 3 years ago

    thanks, this instructable seems to go by unoticed by a lot of people...great to hear your comment!!


    3 years ago

    Wow, that's awesome! Some words on the the costs an the timeframe to build it?


    Reply 3 years ago


    cost to build the whole ark was about 16.000 Euro = 18.000 USD. That is including everything: wood, screws, stairs, deckfloor coating. it took us about one and a half months to build it (3 people) in our workshop, then about a week to tear it down and transport, and another 2 weeks to rebuild the ark on site.


    3 years ago

    Well you definitely don't mess around when "projecting" :-) I think you can host the festival inside. Very cool project!!


    3 years ago

    That is incredible! You did such a fantastic job. So where is the permanent home for your ark?


    Reply 3 years ago

    thanks! no permanent home yet. it's staying in belgium at the cartoonfestival during this summer and it's scheduled to go to 3 more locations later this Year.