Floating Dock With Barrels (UPDATED)

1,170,808

523

215

Introduction: Floating Dock With Barrels (UPDATED)

About: I worry too much.

This is a floating dock that's easy to make and works beautifully.
Here is quick parts list of everything I used:

4 - 2x8" pressure treated lumber. 8 feet long.
7 - 2x4" pressure treated lumber. 8 feet long.
17 - 1x6" pressure treated lumber. 8 feet long.
4 - 4x4" pressure treated posts. 8 inches long.
4 - 55gallon plastic Barrels
100ft of Rope
16 - Screw in Eye Hooks
10 to 20 - L shape braces
Galvanized screws and Nails
Drill/Screw Driver
Hammer
Silicone Caulking

UPDATE
Here are the parts for the ramp/walkway I added (Step 7)

1- 55gallon plastic Barrel
2 - 2x8" pressure treated lumber. 12 feet long.
2 - 2x8" pressure treated lumber. 3 feet long.
2 - 2x4" pressure treated lumber. 12 feet long.
3 - 2x4" pressure treated lumber. 33 inches long.
4 - Screw in Eye Hooks
6 - L shaped corner braces
1" steel pipe...length depends on water depth.
Rope...screws...hammer.......

Step 1: Build the Frame

So once you have your parts head out to the body of water you want to place the dock in. Get as close as you can as your final product will be quite heavy and you don't want to have to move it too far.

Luckily I had a relatively flat area near the lake I was placing mine and I could keep things pretty level.

Lay your 2x8 boards out in a square and screw them together. Make sure and keep two sides of the square on the inside of the square effectively making an 8'x8'4" square. I used the pieces of 4x4" posts in the corners as a right angle. I didn't screw these in yet incase I needed to make adjustments.

At this point you can also ready your barrels. Make sure the plugs are tightened and then apply a layer of silicone caulking over the plug to ensure a good seal and prevent leaking. I did not fill the barrels with any sort of ballast but some people suggest doing so for stability. But my final product was quite stable so no worries.

Step 2: Support the Frame

Now that you have the basic shape we need to add supports.

Measure out the middle of the square and place a 2x4" support there.

The remaining bottom layer pieces are playing two roles. They are supporting the frame as well as holding the barrels against the dock and preventing them from pushing up against the decking. Place two of the boards as the picture shows and lay a barrel on top. Shift the boards around until you get the barrel sitting nicely in between the boards without touching the ground but also fitting nicely around the curve in the barrel. Mark that point, screw them in and do the same to the other side.

Now the top layer of supports that run perpendicular to the rest also have two jobs. The provide the cross support and keep the barrels from moving back and forth while in the water. So once again place your barrels on the bottom supports and measure where the barrels end. Place your top layer supports here and screw them in.

Step 3: Add the Barrels

After screwing in the 4x4" post pieces in the corner to solidify the structure you can make things a little more stable with L Braces places at each of the support intersections. This will make sure that everything stays where it is and really tightens up the frame.

Now, place eye hooks in the bottom layer of supports where your barrels lay. Two on each side the barrel. Lay your barrels in their slots and tie them up! I started on one eye hook with a knot and ran rope across the barrel, then diagonally, then across again and tied it off on the last eye hook. After you do all 4 barrels you are ready to flip.

Step 4: Flip It.

I did everything up to this part alone. Now I recruited some friends to come and help me move the beast. With only 3 of us total we easily go it up on it's side and slid it in to the lake. I'd say we might have been able to do it with just 2 of us but 3 worked nicely.

Flip it in to the water and tie it down to something. You don't want it floating away while you go inside to get the beer.

(It just rained for a week straight so the water level was quite high here, hence the dock basically floating in the grass.)

Step 5: Deck It.

Now that you have a friend or two...and your beer, this part is a breeze. Lay out the 1x4" boards and make sure everything fits nicely. Leave a little spacing between each board. Drink your beer and hammer in the boards along each support. Once you get a few in you can jump on top and finish from there. Feels nice and stable doesn't it!

Step 6: Float.

One thing that is nice about a floating dock is that you can untie it and float out in to the middle of a lake or pond for a nice swimming platform or just a nice place to hang out.

I'm still working on a ramp and a good way to keep the dock from drifting while actually on shore. I'll be sure to post that once it's complete.

Step 7: A Ramp Begins...

So now with the floating platform/dock I needed a way to easily get on to it without stepping in the water first, so here is the walkway/ramp.

I'll go through it quick as it's basically the same thing as the platform.

Working with this was different in that the 12 foot boards are much harder to get level where I was working as the slope of the ground really came in to play with the extra 4 feet length. So I used a lot of extra boards and stuff lying around to try and keep everything flat.

Basically though it's the same idea. Frame the entire ramp with the 2x8" boards. Screw them together and level. Add the 2x4" boards down the middle as support for the barrel as well as the walkway area when you flip it over. Throw in the 33" pieces of 2x4" board for support every 3 feet. Add the Eye Hooks for the barrel, rope it down and you are ready to flip it.

I did this in about and hour and a half. Most of that time was spent making sure it was level...and it still wasn't perfect.

Step 8: Flip It and Float It.

Once again, bribe a friend with beer (or in my case my friend actually brought the beer) and flip the ramp over and walk it in to the water.

Now, this is where this could easily not work for some people depending on their shoreline. Mine has a nice little hill the ramp can sit on while on land. So I set that end down and the other side floated nicely out by the platform. I had to add some dirt underneath the land side just to get everything straight but it wasn't too bad.

Now just put the decking on just like before...thanks to those 2x4"s running long ways you have plenty of support for the deck boards.

I actually ran out of boards for decking because I wasn't really thinking...remember, after wood gets milled and sent to the store it is no longer it's original dimensions...I calculated for 1x6" boards, when it reality they are more like 3/4x5 1/2"....so I came up short.

Step 9: Attach and Secure...

Now it's all finished but the platform is floating free and the ramp is somewhat unstable. So I placed poles (not pictured) on the corners of the platform and sunk them as far as I could in to the lake bed. I also placed a few on the ramp to keep it from getting pushed to the side. Just don't make anything too tight, everything needs to be able to move by wind, people walking, water level changes. I've already found the poles make great places to lauch bottle rockets from as well as place tiki torches! (I'll throw a pic of that in soon)

I also attached the platform to the ramp with rope, carabiners and eye hooks. Check out the pic on how I did it. Now it can still be easily detached to float out if need be.

It's not as stable over all as I hoped...if you walk to the far corner of the ramp it dips pretty low in the water and actually rolled the ramp before I added the poles. I guess I could just add 4x4" pillars and take out the barrel........maybe once the water level goes back down to winter levels.

9 People Made This Project!

Recommendations

  • Back to School: Student Design Challenge

    Back to School: Student Design Challenge
  • Organization Contest

    Organization Contest
  • Space Contest

    Space Contest

215 Comments

0
Vsg910
Vsg910

3 months ago

Instead of a ramp, has anyone anchored this down to use as a swim-to raft away from the shoreline?
I am building it today, but looking for an anchored solution.

0
rmurray-adams

I'm back and my walk way is in place. Yes I did some modifications which seemed to work out great. I increased my walkway to 4 FT. and turned the barrel sideways I added an extra 2x4 in the middle laying it down for extra support of walkway. I figure with all the kids I have with me I needed to make it wide enough for all the kids to get in and out safely. I also added 2x4 for handrails with some rope just for looks and a quick grip if needed. I also used cable to put my barrels on with a turn buckle to tighten the barrel if needed. It is really stable. I joined my dock and walkway with 4 eyebolts, 2 on dock centered and 2 on walkway that went just on the outside of the ones from the dock. which, I ran a metal pipe with caps on the end. If you put a nut on the eyebolt and mount it through the dock and walkway you can slide the pipe through and tighten the caps down easily. It was really an easy project.

2012-07-05_15-48-48_951.jpg1341517732211.jpgDSCN0536.JPGDSCN0537.JPG
0
davis.bain
davis.bain

Reply 6 months ago

Nice...Yours looks pretty much exactly like how I need to build mine except on a river. Similar slope. How are things holding up, especially where the walkway attaches to the dock?

0
jamiesonmoore
jamiesonmoore

Question 10 months ago

I was wondering if I was to attach a small ladder to the side of the dock, so we can swim out and climb up onto the dock once it's floating, would the dock tip/flip with the weight of someone climbing the ladder? Thank you!

0
inti27
inti27

1 year ago

Awesome deck build. Got mine done and we’re loving it!! Thanks again! Working on the ramp next!

2C5A4401-FCE0-4A6A-B77C-E9F0FE4DF1BA.jpeg75896A5B-95BF-4876-B0BD-2F2FEA66B0D0.jpeg498D4E64-50D0-46AE-AFCA-9F8A8A262972.jpeg
0
bobsmith1234five
bobsmith1234five

Question 1 year ago on Step 7

I don't know if you make money when someone downloads these plans but this site does not work correctly for me and never lets me download the PDF.

0
ThiccScubaSteve
ThiccScubaSteve

Question 1 year ago

Has anyone who has made this dock had to deal with adverse conditions such as very hot summers, high muskrat populations, or heavy pond scum? If so, how is it holding up? I am definitely opting for wire instead of rope to secure everything, but any other advice on modifications for longevity would be much appreciated.

0
Shadowx343
Shadowx343

Answer 1 year ago

I used it for a floating dock at my lagoon. I doubled up with making 2 pieces and bracing them together for a 16x8 floating dock. I am since getting a bigger boat and have returned as a reminder how to build this dock. I used rope the first time and i can tell the rope failed. The next time around I am using 316 stainless steel cable and cramping it. The dock has not been an issue in over 3 years I built it it floats nicely and no issues being stable. I'm sure i have alot of growth on the barrels but it hasnt affected it at all. Once I am done completing the expansion my dock will be 32x8. My only complaint would be i kind of wish he had plans for a larger than 8x8 so i wouldnt have to brace the dock...oh well not that it would be easy to get the dock into the water from my bulkhead if it was bigger.

0
JigglyPiggy
JigglyPiggy

Question 1 year ago

Just curious how much this project roughly costs? Cheers all.

0
loridav
loridav

3 years ago on Step 7

I'm no engineer but if you placed the barrel that is on the ramp perpendicular instead of parallel so the top and bottom are against the frame sides, wouldn't that prevent it from rolling?

0
jjosephjones2
jjosephjones2

Reply 2 years ago

Yes, I did that and it works very well.

20190706_101003.jpg
0
JohnC1201
JohnC1201

Reply 2 years ago

perhaps, but it increases the draft unless you have added water..

0
JamesJ294
JamesJ294

2 years ago on Introduction

Can I build it 8' by 10' and not affect the over all buoyancy?

0
JannekeD1
JannekeD1

2 years ago

Thank you for sharing this great idea! I made this deck 5 years ago and it is still floating.

IMG_6333.jpg
0
jure77
jure77

2 years ago

What an amazing idea! Already ordered some cheap blue plastic barrels from http://theplasticbarrels.com, I got a lot of wood so let's do this! Love it! I will update it here when it's completed.

0
ChristianC268
ChristianC268

Question 2 years ago on Step 9

Hi mate, when you put the poles in to secure the deck, can it still be floated out onto the lake? Do you drive the poles in then attach the deck to them when the dock is near the ramp?

0
Southernghost420
Southernghost420

Question 3 years ago on Step 2

I need this to hold about 2000lbs is 4 barrels enough?

0
bkastrinos
bkastrinos

Answer 2 years ago

Water is 10# per gallon. A 55-gallon barrel, (55x10=550#) 4 barrels is 550# x 4, or 2,200# The amount of water displaced (550# per barrel) is the amount of floatation provided. by an empty barrel.

0
JohnC1201
JohnC1201

Reply 2 years ago

Love this but water doesn't weigh 10 lbs per gallon.