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Backyard Builds: Man Constructing 22-Foot Tsunami-Proof Pod

 

Palo Alto resident Chris Robinson was pondering how he would protect his family from a tsunami after the devastating disaster hit Japan back in March of 2011. His answer was the Tsunamiball– an escape pod of sorts made almost entirely out of wood.

Sure, others have designed their own wooden ships but Chris has no boat building experience and has never sailed, however he does have some impeccable woodworking skills.

The wood-framed enclosure features a captain’s window and several portholes running the length of both sides.
The wood-framed enclosure features a captain’s window and several portholes running the length of both sides.

Chris began work on the Tsunamiball back in 2012 and has been working on it in his spare time ever since. He designed the survival pod using Adobe Illustrator and a little help from some engineers to help calculate whether his design would float or not. The boat was designed using marine-grade plywood coated in xylitol and epoxy, which will strengthen the 2.5-inch hull.

Chris inside the 22 X 10 X 8.5-foot skeletal frame of his Tsunamiball.
Chris inside the 22 X 10 X 8.5-foot skeletal frame of his Tsunamiball.

 

While most of the frame is complete and even features a captain’s window and several portholes, it’s still a work in progress, however he plans on outfitting it with flexible solar panels, an electric motor and a compostable toilet. It will also feature foldout beds, an electric stove kitchen area and plenty of storage.

 

8 thoughts on “Backyard Builds: Man Constructing 22-Foot Tsunami-Proof Pod

  1. looks nice but not sure how well it can take a beating and stay water proof as it will when the wave rushes inland.

  2. So much talent, time and money invested in something that will (most likely) have no practical use whatsoever.

  3. He lives in Palo Alto for crying out loud. Why’s he worried about a tsunami? Earthquake, certainly. Tsunami, never.

  4. Exceptional craftsmanship with an admiral purity of vision and motivation. A most splendid achievement!

  5. My concern with his design is hull integrity from floating debris. Debris is a major factor in a tsunami’s destructive force. One piece of sharp metal could poke a hole right through the wood and sink the vessel. A coat of fiberglass, kevlar and epoxy resin would do the trick. Pretty awesome build otherwise.

    1. dont forget that the structure will be filled with expanding foam. so in between the inner and outer hull will be about 10 inches of expanding foam. that will help allot if the outer hull is breached

      i still agree that the outside should be coated in fiberglass(at a minimum) or preferably carbon fiber/kevlar

    2. Dino, That’s the plan. Kevlar is on the short list. I’m also considering carbon fiber depending on where that technology is when I am ready for it. Thanks.

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