Cottage Projects

This last week on vacation I tackles a few cottage maintenance projects. Some required by the passage of time, some required by this years unusually high water levels.

Post Replacement
Post Replacement

The first was to replace a post that had floated away. At the shore end of the newer dock section I suspect that some serious wave action lifted one of the beams and washed out the post. When I built the dock, the post was very far our of the water and with the weight of the beam and deck boards I never thought this would happen and neglected to physically attach the post to the beam. It’s only 9″ long and is a 6×6 so it didn’t need any bracing. So, today it’s cut a new post, jack up the beam,  insert and attach the post to the beam.

The next project is to replace a section of joists that support the walkway from the driveway to the upper deck at the back of the cottage. Apparently we didn’t use pressure treated lumber on this project originally, over 30 years ago, and time has caught up with us.

Walkway Repair
Out with the old and ready for the new

Wood rot has claimed a good section of two 2x10s at the driveway end.  I put in a temporary 2×8 to support one side of the walkway and then unbolt the railing posts and the 2×6 extension boards that support the initial step. Then two offset cuts to remove the bad 2x10s and form a splice for the new pressure treated 2x10s.  Bolt it all back together, remove the temporary support and voilá, good for another 30 years, at least this section anyway.

The next project is a little more challenging. The old section of the dock is tilting down on the shoreward side, quite a bit.

It seems that the crib under the dock has shifted/compressed over time dropping down 4-6 inches. Since the upper deck rests on this edge, it has inherited a bit of a downward slant as well.  After pulling up a few deck boards it seems I did a great construction job here and toe nailed all the deck joists to the top of the old dock section. This will make it very difficult to separate from the dock which was Plan A. Plan A was to lift up the deck, then raise up the joists on the crib to level the dock and then lower the deck back onto the dock. Oh well, Plan B.

Hard at work fixing up the dock.
Hard at work fixing up the dock.

Plan B, after swimming around end checking out the crib is to jack up each end of a crib timber and raise both the dock and the deck at the same time. This required cutting out several dock boards to get access, but is successful in the end.

It was a fairly warm day and the water was about 74°F so it was quite enjoyable to work in a bathing suit and be in and out of the water. Plus with the high water levels boat wakes were keeping the top of the dock pretty wet most of the time.

Part way through the day my super-duper cheerleader and awesome wife delivers a dockside lunch that is just fantastic and we take a break to enjoy the sunshine & view.

The whole thing turned out to be pretty much an all day job with many trips up to the cottage for more tools, lumber etc. Once the repair is completed, boards replaces and everything is cleaned up it’s time to call it a day.


Cottage Stuff

Water Control Valve
Originally uploaded by Big Dadoo

For some reason opening the cottage this year seems to be taking longer that ever. Traditionally, May long weekend and it’s all done. Here we are on June 24th and the boat has yet to be flipped over and put in the water.

Perhaps, the fact that I’m sitting around and enjoying my 2nd, soon to be 3rd cup of coffee that is impeding progress. With the cottage now entering it’s 26th year, every year seems to bring a new little challenge to the start up process. This year, it was the “blue thing” over there. It’s a part of the washing machine that as I write is shaking the cottage on the spin cycle. Hmmmm, that foundation really needs to be checked out. But hey, it’s been like this since day 1.

Back to the “blue thing”. After getting the water on and hooking everything up, I thought I was done, but not so. On one trip into the workshop I noticed that the carpet was wet, never a good sign. It seems that one of the hoses was leaking. The first attempt was to tighten the hose. Didn’t work. Second try was to replace the hose as it seemed to be coming from the hose fitting at the “blue thing”. wrong again. OK, now on much closer inspection, the “blue thing” had a very small crack in the thread fitting for the cold water.

After a brief internet search and an email to a local parts show, we had our replacement part for a whooping $29.95. Not a bad deal to restore a washing machine that is as old as the cottage. Installation was relatively easy, but I’ve been advised this morning that I may have not connected the hot water correctly, as we’re getting a cold water wash when it should be hot but, it’s not leaking any more. Perhaps after another coffee…