Origami!  
By Bruce Dillahunty - Stockbridge, Georgia - USA

Some time back I decided to begin a little foray into boatbuilding by starting on a Origami Dinghy. The plans were available for a fair price on the net, delivered via PDF (download now gets you that instant gratification) and it looked like a boat that might work well as a tender for a future larger craft.

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it looked like a boat that might work well as a tender for a future larger craft.

Another nice advantage to this plan was that it would work well as a project to build with my son, and would result in a boat small enough for him to play around with (supervised, of course).

I got the plans, picked up some wood, and made a start. Then life intruded (illnesses, deaths in the family, a new job... it all conspired against me). Recently we were able to get back with things and move to a point that we have a floating boat.

The Origami Dinghy design is geared around using PVC cloth (that heavy tarp type stuff you see on the side of some 18 wheelers here in the U.S.) as the basis of the hull material. This gives you a folding hull that can collapse down to just a few inches thick.

I got the plans, picked up some wood, and made a start.

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Plywood is used for the side panels and for the floorboards (where you sit). Some other assorted lumber for the keel and a few sections of piano hinge and you have most of the required hardware and wood.

I used lumberyard grade supplies... my build is NOT the fancy one you see on the plans order page. I went for the "farm boat" finish (this is worse than a workboat finish :-)). Not a lot of sanding was done, and the paint was some nice porch and floor paint that we already had. This is one place that I think will be ok, since we have some outside use of this paint on a table that has weathered quite well.

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Plywood is used for the side panels and for the floorboards

I didn't follow the plans totally, but was pleased with the result. My main deviation was in quality of supplies (which you probably can't see in the pictures) and in the extension of the PVC cloth farther up the sides. I decided to not trim the cloth but instead let it extend up the waterline. In my viewpoint this would make the cloth to wood seal less critical.

The downside is that this added yet more to the weight. An 8' boat covered with this fairly heavy cloth begins to get to be a handful. I can carry it fine by myself, but putting it on top of a vehicle single handed is about more than I want to do. I think the 6' would have been a better choice for me, but little did I know at the time :-)

The paint was some nice porch and floor paint that we already had.

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The plans were more in the mode of an "instruction manual" than line drawings... you are told to take a piece of wood 500mm x 300mm, measure 30mm from the lower left corner and make a mark, measure from the upper right corner and make a mark, then play connect the dots. You then cut on the lines you have drawn.

This method is a bit different than what I expected, although it certainly works. I would be just as happy with a dimensioned line drawing of each part, but that may be just me. I would really like to have at least one drawing or picture that showed more how all the pieces went together, but it all worked out in the end.

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Its been fun, and I expect to use it more at the lake this summer and give it a better trial.

The craft proved to float quite "high on its lines" and was amazingly stable... a friend did a good job trying to rock it over and it wasn't interested. The flexibility of the cloth helps here... you may rock the keel, but the cloth flexes and helps keep things level.

Its been fun, and I expect to use it more at the lake this summer and give it a better trial.

A detailed blog of my construction with more pictures can be found at:

http://www.craftacraft.com/blog/bdillahu

Another builder's pictures can be seen at:

http://www.craftacraft.com/blog/asloth

Bruce

Origami Plans are available at:

http://www.duckworksbbs.com/plans/origami/dinghy/

SAILS

EPOXY

GEAR