River Raft – Since the days of Mark Twain, when wrote his celebrated “Tom Sawyer”, boys have been making rafts and sailing them down the river. Few boys, however, seem to know the easiest way to construct these floating craft and a glance at the illustration will make this fairly clear.
You will need a few 5 gallon oil drums that are without holes and quite watertight, a number of old planks and some strong rope. The planks of wood are kept afloat by the buoyancy of the old drums on the surface of the water. The rope is for lashing the raft together.
Six drums will do nicely for a raft of a good size. Test these drums by filing them with water and seeing that are there no leaks anywhere. Now empty all the water out and seal up the opening so that each drum is quite watertight as far as possible. Get some planks, 9 in. or 12 in. in width and not longer than 6 ft. Lay the planks on the ground, about I in. apart, and balance the drums on these so that there are 3 touching each other in a row and another row of 3 immediately behind these. Lash these drums round independently with strong, stout rope and tie them round the planks, securing with knots between the planks. The method of lashing is illustrated. When the drums and the planks are tied tightly, get some tar and paint it over the rope to secure and make waterproof.
The raft is now ready for launching, so get the help of some of your friends and turn this over, so that the planks are on the top. The raft can then be shoved into the water or carried to the river’s edge and dropped in. It only remains for you to run up a mast, hoist your petard and sail off.