Artist’s tequila barrel boat sails Echo Park Lake

ECHO PARK — Why would anyone make a boat out of a tequila barrel and then sail it across Echo Park Lake? John Knuth, a 36-year-old artist who recently moved to Altadena from Echo Park, answers these and other questions after he posted a video of sailing his barrel boat across the lake after taking a trial run in a swimming pool (the lake portion begins at the 37-second mark).

Much of my art has to do with survialism and exploration. I also canoe and have taken my canoe out many times on Echo Park Lake as well as canoeing the length of the LA River with fellow artist Greg Wilken

How did you make the tequila barrel seaworthy (lakeworthy)?
I first cut it in half lengthwise. I screwed the staves into the hoops to secure them in place. I scraped out the char on the inside with a wire brush and sealed it with a heavy varnish.

I then worked my fabricator friend Chad Peterson to help me weld reinforcements to the barrel and hinges so that the boat would be collapsible. I then made a sail and rutter out of a canoe paddle. I used survival silver space blanket as the sail material. I have used this material in a number of sculptures and paintings.

How long did it take?
From start to finish the construction too about 40 hours of work.

What kind of tequila?
It was Herradura Tequila. Herradura gave me the barrel when they were doing projects with artists.

Knuth’s barrel boat is now for sale on ebay for $450.

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  1. Love the D.I.Y. innovation! I’m puzzled, though, by what appears to be turning in a lot of circles. I’ve been on the paddle boats and never encountered eddies in Echo Park Lake.

  2. Cool flotation device! FYI, it’s rudder not rutter.

  3. What inspired this project?

  4. Oh wow…he’s so neat.


  5. I guess anyone can call themselves an artist.

  6. Oh, the whimsy. It’s shocking that not a single person has bid on his vessel on ebay.

  7. 40 hours Wow. Someone didn’t Ace shop class.

  8. I didn’t think personal “boats” were permitted on the lake .

  9. Kids today… “Get off my lawn!”

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