Assembly of the pontoon boat frame kits for our 26" wide floats requires some basic tools, as well as a container of anti-seize. Below we have provide a list of everything that you'll need, as well as part numbers and links to where you can get the somewhat special tools from McMaster, which is a reasonably priced industrial supplier. Click on the part number to be brought to where that item is available on the McMaster web site. Many customers will already have the majority of these tools, if not all of them. These tools (other than the transfer punch) should be stocked at your local home supply or hardware store as well.


Plastic or rubber hammer
39/64" transfer punch McMaster PN: 3374A461
Center punch (optional) McMaster PN: 3451A31
1/2" drive ratchet
15/16", 1/2" drive socket
3/8" drive ratchet
9/16", 3/8" drive socket
3/8" drive ratchet extension
15/16" box wrench
5/16" hex-key wrench (Allen wrench) McMaster PN: 7122A25
Linesman pliers
1/2" chuck electric drill
1/4" drill bit McMaster PN: 2896A25
5/8" drill bit McMaster PN: 2933A28
3/4" step bit (must have 5/8" step) McMaster PN: 8841A23
Paint or ink marker McMaster PN: 7162T11
Carpenter square
Tape measure
2 saw horses
Anti-seize lubricant McMaster PN: 1821A63


Place two of the pontoon MAIN BEAM extrusions on top of two saw horses. This piece is the aluminum tube that has a "T" shaped cross section with two slots on the top. Place the slots facing down, as shown here. Place the saw horses so they are near the ends of the aluminum extrusions.


Place one of the plastic float STRAIGHT SEGMENTS over the two pontoon main beams on your saw horses and adjust the main beams so they are even with the end of the float. You will want to adjust the placement of the main beams so they are at the end of the float, which will be the back of the boat. Then take your carpenters square and be sure that they stick out the exact distance from the float on the opposite end. As these floats have slight variations in shape (typical for large molded plastic parts), you can't judge the exact placement of the floats ONLY by how much they protrude from the float mounting flanges.

-We recommend having the end of the float without the lateral mounting flange at the end of the extrusion. It honestly doesn't matter which way these floats face, but it's good to have continuity.

-As the floats can vary slightly in total length, we recommend lining up the pontoons on the ground and matching up the lengths before assembling the boat. Match the left and right floats up for length as much as possible to avoid a slightly longer left or right pontoon assembly. For instance, if two of the floats are 1/4" longer then the rest, put one of each of the slightly longer floats on either side of the boat. Our frame member main beams are long enough to accomodate any length variations that may occur in the floats.


Insert a 39/64" transfer punch into each of the mounting holes and use a hammer to tap it into the holes to make a mark (dimple) on the aluminum main beams. This will mark the center position of the bolt holes. You MUST do this for every 5/8" mounting hole on the floats, including from the inside mounting flanges. You'll end up having to get under the float to do the inner holes. You may have to trim a little bit of "flash" (thin scrap left from the molding process) from the edge of some holes in the float for the punch to fit easily.


Remove the float from the two main beam extrusions and place it on the floor or ground. Use a standard center punch (carpenter type works fine) to make the marks made with the transfer punch in the prior step more pronounce. This isn't necessary if you were able to get a good swing on the hammer in the prior step, but as there is limited room to do that for the inner holes, we find it to be very helpful.


Use a 1/4" drill bit to drill holes where you marked in the prior step. Only drill through one wall of the main beam extrusion at a time. Do not drill straight through from one side to the other, or the holes may become misaligned. When doing this, be sure to keep your drill bit perpendicular to the surface to properly locate the hole.


Install a 3/4" step drill bit into your drill. Use a paint or permanent marker to mark the stopping point for drilling a 5/8" hole. We like to use a white paint marker as it's easy to see the marking. This step is VERY important as you do not want the holes you have to drill in the next step to be too large.


Use the drill with the step bit to drill all the holes in the aluminum main beams out to 5/8" diameter. Once again, DO NOT GO TOO FAR with the step bit, as you need 5/8" diameter holes, not larger holes.


Place the aluminum main beams upside-down on your saw horses once again. Place the float back on top of them and visually align the holes that you just drilled with the mounting holes in the float. Now install a 5/8" drill bit in your drill and put it through the rear holes on each side of the float. This will ensure that these holes align perfectly.


Slide a washer over one of the included 5/8" x 5 1/2" stainless steel hex bolts bolts and insert it into the hole (from the outside of the float). The fit will still be tight, so take your hammer and tap it all the way through the hole. If you have a plastic or rubber hammer, we recommend using that, but if you don't, tap bolt through the hole, then use a block of wood and your steel hammer to drive it through the holes. These bolts are beefy, so you will not damage one if you have to hit it fairly hard to get it through the hole this way. When we build these kits in our shop, we use a plastic mallet and drive them in with just one hard hit. You will not harm the float doing this. DO NOT PUT THE NUTS ON THE BOLTS YET.


Continue to use your 5/8" drill bit to drill all the way through the holes ahead of the rear hole and install the 5/8" bolts. After drilling all the way through with your 5/8" drill bit, install a bolt. Do not drill multiple holes before installing bolts. Drill through one hole and install one bolt. Drill through the next hole and install one bolt. Do that for the remaining 4 holes. Do this for the middle mounting holes first, then the remaining (front-most) holes. WE KNOW YOU WANT TO, BUT DO NOT PUT THE NUTS ON THE BOLTS YET, NOT EVEN FINGER TIGHT.


Place the next straight pontoon segment onto the aluminum main beam so it butts right against the float you have installed. You will want to orient it the same way as the installed float so that the mounting flanges are in the same direction. Tap the float so it is securly against the float behind it and all the way down onto the aluminum main beam. If you want a helping hand with this, put a ratchet strap around the float and the main beams, then put a strap around each consecutive float until you have your full pontoon assembly. Be sure that all the parts are tapped in place against the float behind it on the assembly. The ratchet strap cheat is not shown in our pictures, but works well.


With the remaining floats on the main beams, repeat the hole marking, center punching, and hole drilling until all the holes are drilled. MARK THE POSITION OF EACH FLOAT ON THE MAIN BEAMS WITH LETTERS OR NUMBERS TO MAKE SURE THAT THE FLOAT LANDS IN THE SAME POSITION WHEN REASSEMBLING AFTER DRILLING. A white paint marker, or painters tape and a marker work well for this. You can either remove the bolts that were installed on the rearmost float and pull that completely, or use a right angle drill to drill the holes for the remaining bolt holes without removing that float. When we assemble these boats in house, we pull the rear float back off and use a drill press to drill all the holes, but a drill press is not a required tool. Place the floats back on starting at the rearmost float, put your 5/8" drill bit through each hole again and drive the 5/8" bolts in, as described in step 8. Once again, drill through the rearmost hole, drive the bolt in, drill through the next hole forward, and drive the bolt in. Do this for all the remaining consecutive floats, including the nose cone for your assembly. FOR THE LOVE OF CHEESE, DO NOT PUT NUTS ON THE BOLTS YET. Now you can flip your pontoon assembly over so you have access to the ends of the bolts.


You're almost done assembling one of the pontoons! Use a 15/16" box wrench to rotate the bolts so a flat part of the hex head is parallel to the top of the float and aluminum main beams as shown here. Slide a 5/8" washer onto each nut and heed the statement below.


BRUSH ANTI-SEIZE ON THE THREADS OF EVERY 5/8" BOLT BEFORE INSTALLING THE LOCK NUTS. We have learned that stainless steel is a fickle material, and with large diameter bolts, such as the 5/8" stainless bolts that we use with this kit, 9/10 times, the threads will gall (jam) unless you brush on a lubricant. It doesn't take a ton of it, but after you brush a grey anti-seize onto the threads (brush it on all the way around - this stuff is cheap and big stainless bolts are not), the nuts thread on smoothly and will not cause any trouble at all. If you do not do this, you will have a bad day. Also, even with the anti-seize lubricant applied, the lock nut will not back-off the bolt during use. For this application, we recommend Permatex item number 80078, which is available at any autoparts store (or as a great deal on eBay or Amazon).

With the washers and anti-seize on the bolts, install the nuts. Tighten them down with your 15/16" box wrench and 15/16" socket and ratchet until you notice that the plastic flex just a tiny amount. These bolts do not have to be very tight as they just hold the float from moving and are not subjected to any major force when in use.


Remove the assembled pontoon float assembly from your saw horses and do it all again for the next float. You nailed it the first time, so this time will be even easier. Once you have built two pontoon assemblies, place them on the ground of your floor to build the rest of the kit. If possible, we recommend that the rest of the assembly be done on grass, or at least something soft like a chunk of carpet or blanket. If you're building the rest of the boat on concrete, pavement, or dirt, we recommend at least putting cardboard or something somewhat soft under the floats. Place the two floats the approximate distance apart that they'll need to be to line up the mounting slots with the holes in the cross members.


Slide 6 of the included 3/8" stainless steel square nuts into each slot at the rear end of each of the pontoon main beams (more nuts shown installed in the last picture in this step). Slide the first four nuts for each slot a few inches away from the rear so they are out of the way for the next step. The sides of the nuts are typically symetrical, but if any of the nuts have a side that is tapered, be sure to install this taper facing down when sliding it into the slot.


Place one HAT CHANNEL cross member on top of the rear portion of one of the floats and align the back edge of the channel with the back end of the aluminum main beams. You will note that one set of four of the mounting holes are slotted on either end. This will accomodate for any mounting flange width variation that occurs during the float molding process. Align the mounting holes with the nuts in the aluminum main beams and install two sets of the included 3/8" diameter, 7/8" long stainless steel hex bolts with a lock washer and flat washer on the back flange of the hat channel as shown here. Only finger tighten these bolts at this time.


Use a carpenter square to make sure the hat channel is perpendicular to the aluminum main beams. Also be sure sure that the hat channel stays even with the end of the aluminum main beams. Tighten the two installed bolts and install the remaining 7 bolts and washers for this end of the hat channel. You will require a 3/8" drive ratchet, 3/8" drive extension, and 9/16" socket. Fully tighten all bolts mentioned in this step.


Follow steps 16 and 17 again, but for the opposite pontoon assembly. Your boat sure is coming together!


For this step, you will need to reference the cross member positioning diagram that is appropriate for your kit. Click on the small diagrams below to see full size versions. Place the set of cross members labeled "Rear set" on the diagram for your boat on the main beams of your boat (that's right, it's a boat now!). Starting from rearmost member, bolt them down onto the pontoon assemblies. Be sure to use a tape measure to verify their positions before tightening the bolts. All of the frame kits for our 26" floats have multiple "Rear set" cross members. For larger boats, you will have to slide more nuts into the main beams for this step.

7'x9' KIT

7'x12' & 8'x12' KIT

7'x15' & 8'x15' KIT


Referencing your cross member placement diagram, count how many cross members remain for installation and slide two square nuts down the slots of the aluminum main beams for each remaining hat channel cross member to install, then add one more (or two if you're assembling our 15' work barge kit - uses a hat channel for the front cross member) for the front cross tube that will be installed next. Double and triple count the number of nuts that you have in the channel, as you'll have to remove many parts if you get to the last cross member and you're short a nut. Also note that the front cross member only requires one nut per slot. Slide the nuts roughly into their positions per the cross member placement diagram.


Place the included 2" x 2" square aluminum front tube cross member on the very front of the frame for all kits other than the 15' tri-toon work barge kit. If you have that kit, place one hat channel at the front of the boat. Align the edge of the tube or channel so it is flush with the ends of the aluminum main beams and adjust it so the holes align with the slots on the main beams.


For all kits other than the 15' work barge, you now have to make a special tool. Use a pair of pliers to bend the included piece of aluminum wire into the shape of an "S" as shown here. Bend this hook tool so that the included 3/8" Allen bolts fit into the "S" on the tool. Assemble the bolt with a lock washer and flat washer as shown and use the tool to insert it through the end of the square front frame tube. Use a 5/16" hex key wrench to meet the bolt at the hole and just barely turn the wrench until the bolt catches the nut, then pull the aluminum hook tool out of the tube. A good tug on the aluminum hook tool will disconnect it from the bolt. Do this for the remaining 3 bolt holes. Make sure that the square tube is even with the ends of the aluminum main beams, and tighten all the Allen bolts. For additional tightening leverage on the Allen wrench, use your box wrench as shown. If you have the 15' work barge kit, bolt down your front cross member with your 9/16" socket and ratchet, just like the rear cross members.


Place the rest of the aluminum hat channel cross members on the boat in their approximate final locations per your diagram and work your way forward from the back of the boat, bolting them in place using remaining 3/8" hex bolts, lock washers, and flat washers in your kit, just like the other hat channel cross members. You WILL have some left-over hardware that will NOT be used. When doing this, measure and put the cross member in the correct position per the diagram, finger tighten the bolts, measure again (adjust position if necessary), and tighten the bolts down permamently using your 9/16" socket. Do this moving forward on the boat until they are all installed and the bolts are all tightened.


You have now completed the assembly of your boat frame and float kit. The rest of your build is completely up to you, but we do have other parts and accessories available for your boat. Please check out our Accessories page to see what we offer.

Good work! Pat yourself on the back!