How to Build a Raft

By knowing how to build a raft, you’ll get to enjoy those lake vacations even more. Making your own raft takes a while, but it is cheaper than buying one.

Required Tools and Materials

(3) Styrofoam buoyancy billets, 10-by-20 inches by 8 feet long
(4) corners, 4-by-4-by-16-1/4 inches
(3) skids, 2-by-6 inches by 11 feet 2 inches
(4) cross ties, 2-by-6 inches by 8 feet long
(24) decking, 2-by-6 inches by 8 feet long
(2) skirts, 2-by-6 inches by 7 feet 9 inches long
(2) skirts, 2-by-6 inches by 12 feet long
(3) deck braces, 2-by-10 inches by 2 feet 6 inches long
(2) deck braces, 2-by-10 inches by 11 feet 9 inches long
(2) ends, 2-by-10 inches by 7 feet 9 inches long
(2) inches by 12 feet long

Step 1

Get the 4 x 4 corner pieces. Join the end and side boards to make a square frame. Put the 4 x 4 pieces on the 4 x 4 boards.

Step 2

Fasten the frame lengthwise using the deck braces. Make sure they are spaced similarly inside. Put some smaller braces widthwise on the lengthier braces.

Step 3

Continue to build a raft by putting the skirts at the bottom of the outer frame. Set them on the corner stakes’ bottom. Make sure there is space between the skirting and the edge parts. The wood should not be butted.

Step 4

Turn the frame upside down. Put 4 cross ties along the frame’s width. Space them evenly.

Step 5

Join the Styrofoam buoyancy billets lengthwise on the frame’s bottom. Make certain the spacing is correct. Do not set them too near the edge. Put the skid parts on the Styrofoam’s bottom.

Step 6

You are almost done. Flip the raft over. Use the decking boards to fashion out the swim raft top parts. Make sure that the boards are not butted. The space is needed for the water to totally dissipate. If the water does not evaporate, the wood will rot.

Tips and Warnings

You can build the raft any size you like. The standard raft size though is 12 feet x 8 feet. A larger raft means more stability. However, these will be quite heavy. The larger swim rafts however, can be harder to bring ashore.

If you are going to build a raft, consider getting the wood cut to the sizes specified above. If you are going to cut the wood boards yourself, measure it twice before cutting. Wear eye goggles before sawing.

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