What Tools Are Essential For Constructing a Raft?

Tools Are Essential For Constructing a Raft

A raft is any flat structure for support or transportation over water. Rafts can be made of wood, sealed barrels or inflated air chambers (such as pontoons). Rafts are not propelled by an engine and must rely on oars, paddles, sails or wind for maneuverability and forward progress. There are many different methods for constructing a raft but six basic elements must be present to create a successful craft.

These key items are flotation, a sturdy deck, some type of propulsion, steering, teamwork and safety. Most rafts are built with recycled materials that can be easily obtained at no cost or very low cost. It is very rewarding to build a raft with free or very cheap materials and even more rewarding to construct it on a shoestring budget. One group of girls built a raft with 5 gallon buckets and duct tape that was so inexpensive they named it the $1.98 raft!

Foam is a very common material used in Flo├čbau construction because it’s readily available, easy to work with, has a good shape to work with and provides the right amount of flotation. It’s also lightweight and works well with all types of raft designs. Other popular flotation materials for rafts include chunks or scraps of foam from old furniture, mattress or pillows that can be stuffed into a wooden frame. Chunks of expanded foam (typically used for insulation jobs) are also a very good choice as it easily fills in gaps and cracks. The most important consideration is to distribute the weight evenly so that a raft remains stable.

What Tools Are Essential For Constructing a Raft?

Once the floatation components are in place a sturdy deck must be constructed to support the crew members and their equipment. This can be as simple or as complex as the raft design requires. Typically, the raft deck will be supported by a series of oars or paddles but it may also use a paddle-wheel, propeller or sail for propulsion. Some rafts are designed with an outrigger to add stability. This is especially useful for rafts that are long and thin. It is also recommended that rafts use a rudder or paddle-wheel for maneuverability in case an oar is lost, the wind disappears or the oars become unusable.

It is critical that the floatation material and any other structural components are fastened securely to the raft’s wooden frame. This is especially important when the raft must be dismantled for transport and/or re-tightened during use. Rope, bungee cords or ratchet straps are the preferred fastening methods as they are easiest to release and re-tighten.

It is also a good idea to bring along some extra oars or paddles. This is essential in case a member of the crew loses an oar, breaks an oar or can’t swim. A paddle-wheel, propeller or sail can also be helpful for faster rafts to help them overcome currents or navigate obstacles on the river. Slower rafts can usually be steered by using a cooler lid, Frisbee or their hands but a rudder is much more effective on speedy rafts.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *