This section is from the book "The Boy Mechanic Vol. 2 1000 Things for Boys to Do", by Popular Mechanics Co.. Also available from Amazon: The Boy Mechanic, Vol2: 1000 Things for Boys to Do.
Swimming is learned only by experience and to get this experience one must not be afraid to trust himself in the water. This is sometimes accomplished by the use of a swimming raft or water wings. As the water wings need to be inflated frequently, I made a swimming raft instead, in the following manner: Two logs, about 6 or 7 ft. long and about 8 in. in diameter, were fastened together with large nails, as shown in the illustration, and a piece of burlap or other strong material was nailed across the center with slack enough for it to be partially submerged.
The middle of the band, its depth, etc., can be adjusted to suit the user. Be sure to remove all the roughness of the logs and boards with a rasp and sandpaper. - Contributed by W. P. Johnston, Sumner, Ill.