Build Your Own “Tom Sawyer” Raft With No Rope

Man makes a rope-less raft, inspired by childhood heroes Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Want a fun project to do with the kids? Follow the simple step-by-step instructions below.

First, he chops down a couple of dead, dry tree trunks trees, because they have “a lot of air” in them and float better than live ones. For the video he uses poplar, but says he prefers spruce.

With an axe, he cuts the trunks in half and drags them to the riverbank, where he removes the knots and branches:

Then he hews a couple of small logs into thwarts to put across the top of his raft to hold the logs together:

Then he drills holes all the way through the thwarts and 5 inches deep into each log:

Next, he whittles square pegs out of fresh, green wood. You don’t want dead, dry wood for the pegs or they’ll break, he says. And it’s important that they are square, he says, because round ones won’t hold:

Next, he pounds the pegs into the drilled holes with the flat side of an axe:

Finally he attaches an additional log diagonally across the top of the raft, to help stabilize it. Here he is, ready for his Huckelberry Fynn adventure:

Here’s the full video demonstration: