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2 CommentsHadley, Pennsylvania

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  • mrscloud commented on pilx's instructable Floating Dock with Barrels (UPDATED)6 months ago
    Floating Dock with Barrels (UPDATED)

    We have a cottage on the Alleghany River in Pa. 50+/- years ago (I'm 59 so i was a kid!) Our grandfather built our families a floating swimming raft using 4 or 6 55 gallon steel/metal drums that were readily availble then...at least for him!!With the river having a current, he attached a cement block on a chain that became an anchor. The water (and sometimes riders on the raft) helped us lift the anchor and walk further out from the edge of the river, into deeper water, or carrying it back upstream if our jumping or diving or more likely the current dragged the anchor downstream and not in front of his and our side-by-side cottages. He also placed handles at the sides of the deck so we could help pull it upstream. We'd put the anchor up on the deck and just use the handles if the...see more »We have a cottage on the Alleghany River in Pa. 50+/- years ago (I'm 59 so i was a kid!) Our grandfather built our families a floating swimming raft using 4 or 6 55 gallon steel/metal drums that were readily availble then...at least for him!!With the river having a current, he attached a cement block on a chain that became an anchor. The water (and sometimes riders on the raft) helped us lift the anchor and walk further out from the edge of the river, into deeper water, or carrying it back upstream if our jumping or diving or more likely the current dragged the anchor downstream and not in front of his and our side-by-side cottages. He also placed handles at the sides of the deck so we could help pull it upstream. We'd put the anchor up on the deck and just use the handles if there were as usual 4 or so kids to pull it along.To add to your design: 1) we only used this swimming deck for swimming and not a dock.2) he purposely placed the barrels in the direction to allow the dock to rock from side to side to help swimmers in the water to jump back up on the deck. If it didn't rock, it would be harder to climb on. Its much easier to hop on if it tips toward you.3) the heavy steel drums floated lower in the water so it was easier to climb up on the deck.4) We made another dock years later for my kids as the old one floated away when heavy rains made the river higher and lifted the cement block up. As it wasn't resting on the bottom of the river, it just floated downstream when we weren't there. A fix may have been a longer chain. The plastic drums we used made it harder for our kids to jump on since it didn't rock down to climb on. We had to add a ladder to the front so they could get back on by climbing up the ladder.5) he stapled an old piece of carpet to cover the deck and the sides so we didn't scrape or get splinters in our arms or bellies when pulling ourselves up on deck to dive or jump off again.. 6) at the end of summer, our parents...mabe 6 or 8 men...carried it up away from the river. As winter snow melts would raise the water level, we were unable to leave it out in the river or at the edge, so it was lugged up and stored out of water until the following year.So if a person reading your excellent instructions for building this deck is "messed up" and is too unstable to walk on...keep the mistake for swimmers and build another one with the barrels turned in a different direction! And I'd also recommend using clean, and sealed heavier steel drums for a swimming deck! This is one of my most favorite things in my early pre-teen and teenage years growing up on the Allegheny River!

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