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rickster

08:31AM | 02/14/03
Member Since: 02/13/03
3 lifetime posts
Bvmisc
Hi! I am thinking of putting in a dock on a lake. The water level is never lowered. Is this something that can be done by me, or do I need an expert? I am going to use all wood. Are there any good books on dock building?

homebild

05:13PM | 02/14/03
Member Since: 01/28/03
694 lifetime posts
Dock building usually needs an expert and is not a diy project.

The reasons are more governmental than technical. Environmental Protection laws demand strict adherance so there is no ecological damage.

In some cases, you might even need permission from the Army Corp of Engineers and even Coast Guard if your waterway is deemed navigable.

Start with your local building code office for oversight.

joed

04:01AM | 02/18/03
Member Since: 09/17/02
527 lifetime posts
A dock is basically a deck with special considerations. Those would be setting the footings and using water resistant woods like cedar, pressure treated or some of the new plastic woods.

treebeard

03:48PM | 02/21/03
Member Since: 01/14/03
265 lifetime posts
Once you've gotten past the environmental issues, building a dock isn't too hard for a small crew of guys with a little construction know-how to handle. But, there's those environmental issues. Check with your local authorities first so you don't have someone knocking at your door with a cease and desist order in hand telling you to remove the whole thing. After you done that, you just need to decide on a floating dock, or stationary.

A floating dock can be constructed out of PT lumber and framed so as to accepted 55 gallon drums underneath for flotation, or large sealed blocks of styrofoam, or some other air filled pontoon device. Frame it much like a house floor frame except for the pockets for the flotation device.

A stationary dock can be contructed out of PT lumber and supported by 4x4 posts drive to solid bearing, through the pond bottom muck, to the gravel below. That will minimize settlement. Bracing between the legs will minimize movement from wave action. Key to this effort will be the depth of the water at the end of the dock. If it's less than 10 feet, you can probably do this. But if it gets much deeper than that, you'll need more professional experience for the support structure. The deck frame and floor isn't anything different than a normal deck.

rickster

02:52AM | 03/19/03
Member Since: 02/13/03
3 lifetime posts
Treebeard,
I appreciate your post. My dad has been very ill, so everthing was put on hold for a while. How do you drive the 4x4 posts into the mud, and how deep do you drive them? The water will be about 6' deep at the deepest point.

treebeard

06:37AM | 03/19/03
Member Since: 01/14/03
265 lifetime posts
Well, you might laugh, for it's a heck of a picture, but one method we've used is to set the 4x4 from a boat...yes, a boat. The water where we've built these things is about 5 feet deep, so we can get a couple of guys in the water to hold the 4x4 relatively plumb and straight. Another holds the boat in place while yet another, in the boat, sinks the post with a sledge hammer. We've found that using a skill saw to create a point of sorts on the bottom end of the post helps. One point I should make here is that you'll need to do a little exploratory work up front to get an idea how deep the muck is, so you don't go pounding a 10 foot post into place only to find that a 12 footer is what you needed. You can always cut the excess off, but it's difficult to add more. You'll never get them perfect, but close enough is good enough if they're driven through the muck into the gravel below where you'll feel the downward progress ceasing. You'll also want to protect the pounding end of the post with something to prevent it from being totally demolished by the sledge. It ain't pretty, but it can be done.

Oh, and one more thing before you make you're decision about floating vs. permanent. Ice. If you live in an area where the water surface freezes in the winter time, remember that an ice sheet on a lake, or river, can do unimaginable things to what we might think of as "permanent" structures on or near the shore. A floating dock can be removed from the water, a permanent can not be, and will go wherever the ice takes it. I know, we've put ours back in place a number of times, and lately decided that the floating dock is better for that reason.

I almost forgot, there is another option. One we've tried on one dock and it seems to be working for now. On the bottom of the posts we've built "feet"...big "feet" out of 2x12's braced to the post bottoms, and about 24 inches square. They sit directly on the muck. They sink in a bit, but if you compensate for that by making the posts a little long to start, like we did, they eventually settle at one elevation...more or less. Of course, one can simply place very large rocks on the bottom where the posts will sit and leave them there for a year to settle, and then build on them the following year.

[This message has been edited by treebeard (edited March 19, 2003).]

Paul in Toronto

01:55PM | 03/19/03
Member Since: 10/07/01
51 lifetime posts
Try the book "The Dock Manual" by Max Burns. I haven't read this book but it sounds very informative and may be just what you're looking for. It is available from an American online retailer who take their name from a river in South America (sorry for the riddle but the administrator of the website keeps blocking the name) and Chapters Books in Canada

The book provides information on building a stationary dock using "cribs". I don't know if this style of dock building is popular in your area but it is widely used in areas of Ontario where water levels do not fluctuate very much.

Cribs are square boxes constructed of overlapping timbers (usually 8" x 8") which are lowered into the lake and then filled with loose rocks (This is usually done in the winter. The cribs are built on the ice and then after cutting a hole in the ice the crib is lowered through the hole). Long timbers that span the distance between cribs are attached to the top of the cribs and then planking is nailed to these timbers.

This construction method results in very stable and long lasting docks that cope very well with icy conditions.

Hope this information helps.

Paul

[This message has been edited by Paul in Toronto (edited March 19, 2003).]

[This message has been edited by Paul in Toronto (edited March 19, 2003).]

rickster

05:38AM | 03/21/03
Member Since: 02/13/03
3 lifetime posts
THANKS PAUL AND TREEBEARD. I HAVE READ THE BOOK, "THE DOCK MANUAL". I AM BUILDING AT LAKE REDWINE NEAR NEWNAN, GEORGIA. THEY WILL NOT ALLOW A CRIB STYLE DOCK. THE DOCK MANUAL WAS HELPFUL, BUT IT DID NOT GIVE DETAILS ON HOW TO GET THE POSTS DOWN INTO THE LAKE BOTTOM. I WILL TRY TO USE THE METHOD SUGGESTED BY TREEBEARD. I WILL START WHEN THE WATER TEMPERATURE WARMS A BIT. THANKS FOR YOUR ADVICE.
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