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#12260168 - 05/24/17 02:01 AM Blue Moon's DIY Boat Dock Blog
Blue Moon Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 08/16/02
Posts: 501
Along the journey Iíve had the chance to build and restore a lot of fun things from aircraft, Airstreams, boats, bikes, homes, cabins, and pole barns. Since Iím currently on the sideline between professional gigs, a quandary I often seem to face during the spring spawn or the great waterfowl migration, I decided to use the downtime to build a boat dock and chase trophy bass at my ancient fish and game club.


Tip 1: Build your dock or duck blind on the X. Our biologist and his helper (shown with fish) shocked up this hawg during our dock build.
Tip 2: Stay out of the water when the biologist is shocking fish...




While I grew up swinging a hammer in my youth, building in the water has its own set of challenges. For starters, itís hard to get anything built when you chase bass twice a day so I reluctantly throttled back fishing to only once a day. As an avid wildlife photographer Iíve always enjoyed seeing gators, snakes, beavers and other critters when Iím fishing from a boat but working neck deep in the water for days on end around them is another matter.

Bass thrive in the spring fed water at our little club lake, but after working in it for a few hours spawning water is numbing cold, even when itís hot outside. Itís only marginally tolerable with a tropical wetsuit on. On the first day I started out pretty comfortable in my waterfowl waders but by the end of the first day I was working in water too deep and unlike a wetsuit, waders are very uncomfortable when theyíre full of water.

Also, the wetsuit provides peace of mind because I have it on good authority from one of our club elders that our sacred water has leeches in the summer; thankfully so far I canít confirm this myth. Hopefully Iíll be out of the water by the end of the week so I should miss leech season.

As with most of my building projects, I started weeks in advance just daydreaming, then sketching dock plans on paper and finally making a material list. Once on site, I hunted for square by staking out Mason lines so Iíd know exactly where to jet each of the ridiculously heavy, 16 foot long, marine grade pilings. Due to the difficulty of staking out lines in water, it took a painful amount of time to get square. What normally takes me minutes on solid ground took hours and hours overcoming wind and wave motion along with mechanical problems on the clubís work barge. Not long after my geometry teacher would have been proud of my right triangles, a good friendís waterdog pup showed up full of reckless abandon and playfully destroyed a full dayís effort; dogs are an important part of our life so Iím OK with a few puppy setbacks.

With the wisdom of the learning curve in hand, I was back to square much sooner the second time around but my plan and new timeline only held true until I attempted to jet the first piling and ran into a train wreck in the form of a debris field, otherwise known as a 100 years of crappie structure... Had I been building a dock on the other side of the world the size of the debris field may have led to speculation we found Malaysia Flight 370.

Before the first piling was set, I ended up having to put on my scuba gear so I could remove bottles Ė a few likely dated back to prohibition, model A tires, a ton of bricks, barn tin from long-forgotten boathouses, and waterlogged trees. Since the lake is nearly 100 years old, I had to dig down several feet below the silt layer to remove the oldest debris. Despite my best effort at clearing debris, in a few cases I still had no choice but to set a piling fore or aft of the perfect spot along my Masonís line; so much for my well thought-out plans. This project is taking site built to a whole new level for me.

To jet the pilings, I went to a lot of effort to keep the 4x4ís and 6x6ís plumb and square. It would have been magnitudes easier to use round posts for pilings but the design I cobbled together requires square posts.


Water Jet Pilings - check out my jet pipe

One of the most fun parts of this project so far was designing, fabricating and using an adjustable jet pipe that allowed me to sink all the pilings between 8 to 12 feet deep depending on the depth of the water. To tackle this project I built an expandable length water jet powered with a 3Ē trash pump.

The jet pipe is big, heavy and has a wild spirit when it comes to life; itís not for the faint of heart or casual DIYíer. Iím fortunate to have a fishing buddy thatís as big as a NFL lineman that offered to help me during the project, mainly because he knew I was planning to fish every day and he also faces similar unemployment issues during the spring spawn and great migration.


Heavy and cold weather. Some mornings were still in the 40ís forcing us to fish in the morning and wait for the sun to warm things up a bit. On the day the tornados hit, I decided it would be prudent to leave the area early to avoid what looked like possible heavy weather. We ended up spending the next few days removing downed trees before we got back on the dock project.


Dock Spars - I took a page from my background cobbling together aerobatic flying machines and built aircraft style spars for dock beams. While not conventional or necessary for docks, it makes for a very strong structure.


Joist Prep - adding 2x6 nailing boards to reinforce the 2x8 rim joists.


Galvanized bolts were used to attach the 2x8 rim joists to the 4x4 and 6x6. Combined with the aviation spars, it should be strong enough.


pulled lines to keep the joists straight so the deck screws will run straight.







Before you ask, it will be done on Tuesday, I just don't know what Tuesday...

Blue Moon


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#12260442 - 05/24/17 08:54 AM Re: Blue Moon's DIY Boat Dock Blog [Re: Blue Moon]
coachfish Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 187
Loc: Conroe, TX.
Very impressive.

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#12260455 - 05/24/17 09:01 AM Re: Blue Moon's DIY Boat Dock Blog [Re: coachfish]
lipjerk Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 03/04/09
Posts: 2274
Loc: Lantana,Tx
Originally Posted By: coachfish
Very impressive.

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#12261946 - 05/24/17 11:40 PM Re: Blue Moon's DIY Boat Dock Blog [Re: Blue Moon]
TwoLakes Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 08/04/09
Posts: 853
Loc: Texarkana, AR
Nice. I'm planning to build a dock on my pond soon. Still unsure if I'm going to build a stationary dock or a floating dock. Keep up the good work.

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