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All Aboard Boats: Build a Dinghy Cart

How an old bicycle, some lumber and various other bits became a boat cart.

March 29, 2011
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I’m getting close to launching my Summer Breeze-design skiff as a rowboat, while I work on the sailing bits. In any event, I need a cart to wheel it the 400 feet to the bay. Here’s what I came up with. First, I scavenged an old bicycle, some U-bolts, a scrap of carpet, some pressure-treated 4-inch-by-4-inch lumber and a piece of pressure-treated stair tread that washed up on the beach. I purchased a length of 3/8-inch all-thread rod for the axle.

I ripped the stair tread to a narrower size and cut the threaded rod to length. The tread had handy recesses in which to hold the rod straight and secure. Next I flipped the board and measured and marked for the U-bolts, drilling the holes and then using a spade bit to countersink the nuts. I laid the axle in the groove and secured it.

Next, I cut the 4×4 into two sections and attached scrap carpet as padding, using Monel staples shot from a T-50 stapler. I secured the padded blocks with galvanized deck screws from below. I used 4-by material since the skeg on my boat is 4 inches tall, allowing the blocks to hold the boat upright while the skeg fits in the slot between them. Then I simply slid the bicycle tires on and secured them with double nuts. I say “simply” but I had to re-tap the nuts for the coarse thread rod (I tried to buy fine thread rod to match the nuts but couldn’t find it locally). As a finishing touch, I secured a length of web strapping to the blocks with stainless-steel screws and cup washers. The idea is that these will hold the skeg. I intend to place the stern/skeg in the slot between the blocks and push the boat across the street. The strap will keep the cart in place under the boat.

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Here’s the finished cart.

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