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Old 26-01-2013, 08:03   #1
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Replacing Air Floor with Plywood

Has anyone replaced a dinghy air floor with a plywood floor?

I've only ever had plywood floor dinghies. When our 2 year old Achilles was stolen this last November I bought an older Achilles 104 with an air floor that is in pretty bad shape. I've been having trouble getting it to stop leaking. I finally found that patches using gorilla glue would hold back the high pressure in the floor, for a while anyway, but I'm still not happy with how flexible the air floor is. I only have a 3 hp motor on it now and want to move to a 8-15 hp motor.

My feeling is that if I put a plywood floor in it it will be stiffer, and better support a higher power motor.

I want to build the floor in three pieces. The dinghy tubes have two places where they rise up to the bow. The joints for the floors would be at these rises. The aft floor piece, which is normally three separate pieces in a production wood floor, would be one long piece of plywood. I would stiffen this long piece by fiber glassing some fore/aft stringers to the top of the plywood.

I know that the floor, if made in three pieces like this, will be nearly impossible to remove. I'm ok with that, this dinghy is really only supposed to get us through a year or two until we can afford a new one.

Has anyone built a replacement plywood floor for an air floor dinghy who can comment on how successful it was?



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Old 26-01-2013, 08:13   #2
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Re: Replacing Air Floor with Plywood

I've heard of using bed slats, like Ikea with the webbing connections, as floor replacements

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Old 26-01-2013, 08:24   #3

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Re: Replacing Air Floor with Plywood

I wonder, if you don't mind having a permanent floor, couldn't you fill the floor tubes with a high density urethane foam and be done with it? May still flex or dent, but once it kicks off it will solve any "leak" issues.

Plywood would mainly be a question of it, making it fit snugly and adding some anti-chafe material where it edges up against the fabric. I'd cut double sheets of cardboard, or same-thickness foamcore, to try as templates before cutting up the plywood.
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Old 26-01-2013, 08:35   #4
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Re: Replacing Air Floor with Plywood

No experience with replacing air floor, but I got my Avon with a 3-piece plywood floor. I have always felt that plywood would be much more durable and stiffer than air, and less susceptible to damage than aluminum. The plywood pieces are held together between 2 aluminum channels that fit under the port and starboard tubes.

I normally take the floor out at the end of the season each year. It involves pulling the dinghy out of the water, partially deflating it and takes about 10-15 min.
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Old 16-02-2013, 05:02   #5
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Re: Replacing Air Floor with Plywood

I did this with an air floor.

Used foam pipe insulation on the edges of the ply to minimize wear of the ply on the tubes. That worked pretty well.

Used 3 ply sections. They won't stay in place without help. I put 2 ribs under the fore and the aft sections that stuck out toward the center. Screwed the middle section to these ribs to hold everything in place.

overall it worked well
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Old 16-02-2013, 06:45   #6
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Re: Replacing Air Floor with Plywood

Have you looked at the design of the wood floor Archilles? I had a 20 plus year old wood floor model and replaced the rotting wood with new plywood following the original design.
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Old 17-02-2013, 15:09   #7
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Re: Replacing Air Floor with Plywood

I tried that with 1 piece of plywood and a length of PVC down the middle for a keel. It tore out seams in something like 2 weeks of use. So maybe more than 1 piece of plywood for some flex?

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