You don’t have to hire a professional to build a dock. Whether your preference is for a place to cast out for largemouth bass, to moor a small boat, to unload a float plane or to fly fish from at sunset, building a basic fishing dock can be constructed solo in a single day if you’re focused. By using common tools and techniques that almost anyone can master, you can commence your fishing season on a bright note.
Things You’ll Need:
- 19 pieces of 2 x 10 lumber, 16 feet long
- 35 pieces of 1 x 6 lumber, 16 feet long
- 16 pieces of 2 x 6 lumber, 16 inches long
- 6 styrofoam billets, 10 x 20 and 8 feet long
- 4 steel corner brackets with corner pipe sleeves, 3/16 x 16 x 20
- 4 metal 1.5-inch pipes, 8 feet long
- 9/16 wood bit
- 32 hex head machine bolts, 9/16 x 3 inches
- 32 nuts, 9/16-inch
- 32 washers, 5/8
- Socket wrench, 7/8 inch
- Open-faced wrench, 7/8 inch
- 4-inch galvanized nails
- 3-inch glavanized nails
- Circular saw
- Carpenter’s square
- Tape measure
Pre-cut all lumber to save time. Measure, mark using a carpenter’s square and pencil, then cut four 2 x 10 x 16-foot sections. Cut the remaining 15 sections to a length shorter than twice the width of the 16-foot sections–these are the floor joists.
Continue pre-cuts by sawing 35 sections of 1 x 6 x 16-foot deck boards followed by 16 retainer sections of 2 x 6 x 16-inches.
Create the dock frame directly on the shoreline. Nail two of the 2 x 10 x 16-foot sections to the corners of two of the slightly shorter sections. Use galvanized 4-inch nails throughout. Position the 16-foot sections perpendicular to the shore. Place the shorter sections parallel to the shore and inside the 16-foot sections.
Position one bracket at a frame corner flush with the bottom. Mark the screw holes. Repeat on each corner. Drill holes on these marks by using a 9/16-inch wood bit. Attach a bracket firmly to each corner by using 9/16-inch nuts and bolts and 5/8-inch washers, placing the nuts and washers inside the frame. Use a 7/8-inch open-faced wrench and socket wrench to tighten. Repeat these steps to attach a second tier flush with the top of the bracket to complete the frame.
Place the foam billets inside the frame. Position the billets so they are perpendicular to the shore. Push two against the side walls and the third in the center.
Nail floor joists perpendicular to the foam billets. Run a tape measure along the top of the frame, marking every 16 inches. Center the joists on these marks flush with the frame top.
Secure each foam billet by nailing 2 x 6 x 16-inch retainers to the floor joists. Outer billets require four retainers and the inner billet eight. Start on the outside.
Position a retainer vertically hanging halfway below the joist and flush to the billet sides. Space retainers every third joist. Repeat on the opposite side.
Fix the central billet by positioning retainers on both sides and securing in the same manner.
Check for squareness of the frame. Measure and mark from each corner to six feet along the frame side and to eight feet along the opposite side. Measure between these marks; if the distance is 10 feet, the frame is square. Make adjustments by using a long pry bar only at the corners.
Lay the 1 x 6 x 16-foot decking and attach using 3-inch nails.
Entice eight or more strong individuals to help lift the dock into the water. Position and anchor the dock by using metal poles slipped through the corner bracket sleeves. Drive the poles only a couple of inches.
Tips & Warnings
- Steel corner brackets of this size will not be found in a local hardware store. Visit a neighborhood metal shop to have brackets made to your specifications.
- In areas where winter means a frozen lake, remove the dock from the water to ensure it is not destroyed due to pressure from ice.