Making the Most of Winter

If you've been following our instagram or facebook pages, you've probably seen a picture of our pond with a dock on the side opposite the house. The dock has provided great entertainment to many friends and guests. We've had people fishing off of it (with no luck) jumping off of it (no diving please!) and we are still trying to convince our dog to take a splash off of it. But one thing has become clear: the dock is tired. It's seen many seasons in the sun and it needs a little love.

The dock construction project

The dock construction project


Nobody is really sure how old it is but we have some pictures dating back about 30 years and the dock is in them, so it's safe to say it's been well loved. In the intervening years the snow and rain has taken it's toll on the lumber, fasteners aren't fastened anymore, and a ladder that used to be fixed to the side fell off long ago. We figured it was time to breathe new life into it, and get it back to it's full glory. 

We figured the easiest way to work on the dock would be to wait until the ice froze solid enough to get out and walk on it, using it as a scaffold of sorts. Sure enough, just before Christmas the ice was pretty thick and I ventured out with a sledge hammer and had the old dock in pieces within a few minutes. Unfortunately, then the weather stopped cooperating. It rained, it got warm, and the ice was no longer suitable to work on. 

Eventually, after a nice long freeze, we were able to get back out and rebuild the dock off of the existing pillars. As with every building project I embark on, I have an idea in my head, and some rough drawings on paper, but I never stay committed to any one design. Our old dock consisted of two long beams that sat on top (mostly) of the pillars, and then some decking was fastened to the beams. Over time, the connection between the beams and the pillars failed and the whole thing was pretty much just floating. We decided to build the new dock six inches closer to the water, and place the beams adjacent to, instead of on top of, the pillars. We reasoned this would give us something extra to fasten the beams to and make the whole thing a little more stable. 

After bolting some supportive cross beams to the pillars, we erected 24 foot long beams on those supports and then fastened bracing in between to make everything square and rigid. After that it was simply a matter of fastening down the decking boards. We have not fully completed the decking because once the ground thaws we'll need to go out and work on the footings for the dock on the bank, but otherwise all it need is a few lounge chairs and someone to jump off it!

-Luke McCarthy