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Maintenance and Projects (page 3)...

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You can always find some kind of project to tackle at the cottage, whether it be painting, fixing up, or making something. We have done all these, plus the following:

As you can see, ownership of a cottage throws a lot of different tasks in the way of a practical cottager. What I have found is that it is essential to think out what you need for even the simplest project, and to make sure that you have everything to hand before starting. If you don't, your project may stall while you take time out to go to the nearest hardware store, or, if that is too time consuming, you may have to delay it until the next weekend.

Most of the projects listed above are run-of-the-mill activities that did not require any special ingenuity. However, there are a few that gave me a great deal of satisfaction. What follows is a description of the ones where some design thinking was needed, and they may be of interest to people facing similar problems.

Dock Sections

Our dock (like many in cottage country) is composed of metal brackets with steel pipe legs that support wooden deck sections that may be anywhere from 6 to 10 feet long. One of the brackets is shown below.

Dock Support Bracket

The bracket consists of two sub-brackets welded at each end of a horizontal bar that is the width of the dock. The sub-brackets support the corners of two adjacent dock sections, with the pieces being held in place by bolts that fit into notches on the vertical side plates. The legs slide up and down inside sleeves that are part of the bracket, and they are pierced with holes every two inches so that the height of the dock can be adjusted by inserting a bolt into the appropriate hole.

Typically, dock sections are constructed as a wooden frame using 2x6 lumber, with 2x4 stringers to provide rigidity. Planks are then nailed onto the top of the frame. The problem I found with this construction was its weight. Some of our original dock pieces were made using unfinished lumber, which is a lot heavier than the trimmed stuff you buy at the lumber yard. Consequently, they were difficult for my wife and I to handle, both of us being of lighter build. When these pieces needed replacing, I was determined that the new pieces should be manageable by one person alone, particularly as we are not getting any younger, and are soon to retire. The solution was to separate the planking from the frame by nailing the planks to 2x2 pieces that are half the length of the dock piece, effectively creating duck boards that can just be dropped into the frame, as shown below.
Dock Section

The advantage of this construction is that each dock section is actually three pieces, and each piece can easily be carried by one person.

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© 2009 - 2019, David Mallinson. --- Last updated 17-Oct-2019