Driftwood raft

Here’s something I put together one sunny morning. A driftwood raft. Easy you may think, but it took a little pre-planning as you will see…

First, I decided to assemble bits of a frame in my shop. Instead of salvaging wood from the beach I used wood I had kicking around. This simplified things.

For materials I cut in half one 2″x4″x8′ board, one 2″x2″x8′ board, and one 1″x4″x4′ board. I also used 2″ and 3.5″ long screws and 4 copper plumbing clamps.

Besides my life vest I took my Tommy Bahama backpack beach chair that has handy storage pockets for my snacks and tools. I also took my knee-high rubber boots,¬†kayak ores, the frame boards and a cordless drill with Phillips head tip, plus a pocket full of 3.5″ wood screws and several smaller ones to mount the chair.

I came to the beach right after high tide, so the water was beginning to recede. I found a nice log up the beach and found this one of similar size about 200 feet away.

I forgot my tow rope, so I opted to just push it along the beach in shallow water. This didn’t take too long.

I placed the logs where I had some time to assemble the raft before it became impossible to push it in the water. Check out the water level in this picture.

Notice how fast the water receded in the 30 minutes it took me to finish assembling the raft.

It wasn’t easy dragging it into the water. The board I was tugging on kept coming off the log. This board was screwed over thick, soft bark, so I had to pepper the board with screws. Next time I’ll bring a hand axe to chip away any bark before attaching the boards.

Once it started floating I jumped on. It worked! But how well would it handle?

Here you can see the raft leaning to one side due to the difference in log size, but the seat was low enough that even 12″ waves didn’t affect stability.

These logs were heavy, so it took some effort to get the thing going against the current, but at least I was able to. Needless to say I stayed close to the shore.

I spent a few hours just drifting with the current observing the water foul, harbor seals and the beautiful passing scenery.

Once I decided to end my voyage I beached the raft, unscrewed the chair, grabbed my paddle and hiked back to my truck a 1/2 mile up the beach.

I walked back with a smile on my face. I could have taken any number of boats out, but this day was my Huckleberry Finn adventure day, even if it was 50 years late.

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