Wing-Nut the Wheelbarrow Boat click here to read or make an observation about this  article
by Bruce Hector - Kingston, Ontario - Canada

Here’s the problem, the park we have our winter double-wide in, although on the Intra Coastal Waterway at the Largo Narrows, Largo, Florida, does not allow us to tie up to either of the two docks or to leave them on the park's tiny beach. They don’t allow trailers and boats to be kept on your lot either. That’s why I made Wing-Nut last year. A modular 16 foot flat bottomed canoe made in 4’ by 2’ sections. The famous Wing-bits? The sections connect with wing nuts, hence the name.

Contrary to popular legend she is not named after her not yet famous designer, me.

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The park does not allow us to tie up to either of the two docks or to leave them on the park's tiny beach.

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New problem, Elaine would be here alone in March and wanted an easy way for her to get on the water. Carrying all the sections down to the beach one at a time, whenever the mood to get on the water struck, was out. That would simply mean the mood would never strike. Too much like work.

Solution, why not add a wheel and make her handle like a wheel barrow? Seemed obvious. Here the backing plate is being sized.

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And cut out. The beer in the photo is simply to give scale of course.

The plate is left as an uneven side, saved a cut. Of course, it was a warm day so I had to fasten the beer cooler sleeve. Warm beer is a serious detriment to serious boat-building.

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Then I used a pen to mark the hole locations on the backing plate. Wing-Nuts hull sides were only ¼”, so this would spread the load onto a ½” thick plate.

Drilling the holes. A very experienced Mexican bartender once told me to always cut ALL the limes you’re gonna’ need before opening the tequila. I used the same simple logic for the drilling operations.

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Using a ¼” drill as a stirring spoon to get 3/8” bolt holes. I didn’t have any larger bits. And we are improvising a bit here anyway. Got to be careful though. It’s not un-like taking dried PL Premium off your hands with a belt sander. For experienced professional only. Kids, don’t try this at home!

Foul up about to happen. Plan ahead and work the plan, I always say!

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Wrong orientation of the holes, and therefore of the wheel. Good thing I’m a genius.

Re-orienting, ignore extra holes…., they’ll all be above the waterline anyway. At least in any sea state I’d be in her.

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Disaster, beer spill ……

Not a recommended way of checking for leaks. But effective nonetheless, I’m pleased to report Wing-Nut shed not a drop. I shed a few tears though. After all, it wasn’t milk.

Success at last! Note how the re-oriented backing plate covered all the superfluous holes. Design excellence that!

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Scientifically determining aft handle locations

Cutting the handles to length. The commode will become a head in my next boat. I’ll use a variation of the aromatic cedar wood chip buffalo chip holder. To beat Canada’s no port-a-potty rules I’ll apply a handicap washroom sticker to the door. That’ll slow the bureuocrats down. Can’t limit the disadvantaged from nautical activities, now can we.

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First test push, it works! Note all required safety gear on board and the entire single handed 12 footed version of Wing-Nut hits the road.

To the beach, some might find the notable presence of a wheel on the starboard bow un-nerving. Some might not!

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Paddle away on the briny lad! She floats and handles well. Stable too, an advantage of the flat bottom. Draws about 3 inches with 230 pounds of boat-nut on board.

Even little women’s can do it! Elaine should have a ball!

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More articles by Bruce Hector