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Digital Subscriptions > Cottage Life > Summer 2017 > Workshop





Easy tricks, genius ideas, and unexpected solutions for your next puttering session.


Building bridges

We had just installed a new roll-in dock when we realized we would need a ramp to access it easily from the shore. Hesitant to drive all the way to the city and shell out up to $1,000 for a store-bought version, I took a cue from my brother-in-law and fashioned one from an extension ladder. What’s a cottage project without a little improvisation?

I chose an inexpensive medium-duty 20’ aluminum extension ladder, separated the two 10’ halves, and removed all unnecessary hardware. Then I bolted them side-byside along their length using stainless-steel fasteners to reduce galvanic corrosion. This is, of course, not how ladder manufacturers intended for their products to be used. Proceed with caution, cottagers.

For the decking, I screwed lengths of marineapproved 5/4 pressure-treated boards to the ladder rails with self-tapping screws (if necessary, countersink the holes to eliminate any trip hazard).

I added one board at either end, on the bottom, and secured them to the top board with carriage bolts to keep the ladders from spreading apart under weight. I added hinges to the bottom board to secure the ramp to the dock (though this creates a ledge—watch your step).

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About Cottage Life

Cottage Life’s Summer issue gets you ready to Jump in the Lake! We’ve got 21 ways for you to have fun on the water, featuring new gear, games, and expert tips for young and old, plus meet some cottagers who take their waterskiing to the next level—pyramids included! We also talked to the experts about how to choose the right dock for your cottage, and we found out what you can learn from this year’s floods (and how to protect your cabin for next time). Up your workshop game with easy, genius putterer’s hacks, and make a secret outdoor storage project. And, when the days get smokin’ hot, use our no-cook recipes to keep your cool. This issue has everything you need for a refreshing, inspired summer at the lake.