New dock access stairs and the ducks are jumping.

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I saw a jumping duck today for the first time. I didn’t think they would just jump straight up in the air without some wing flapping. This one did.20150426_180820

I went to the yacht club this morning to work on my stairs leading to my dock. They were in horrible shape. Last season saw them deteriorate very quickly. The season before they weren’t much better… The season before that… Well lets just say they should have been replaced about 10 years ago.20150426_101602 20150426_101545

The stairs were a mash up of concrete cinder blocks that were dug into the hill side and had pipes pounded down through them and a bit of concrete poured it the holes and wooden steps. They weren’t evenly spaced. Some not very solid.  The top of the hill had 4 steps made of wood then covered in shag carpet. Yes shag carpet! (Not a great idea… It holds moisture and starts rotting the wood underneath. The wood treads had broken under the carpet and someone repaired one by putting a old 2×8 over own step. It had lag bolts every 12” and a chunk of tire nailed to it… Nasty nasty!

I tore out the old carpet and took off the old treads to find that the stringers to be in OK shape. (OK meaning they weren’t rotted through. Yet.) I did break a few of the riser parts off when removing the treads.20150426_101751 That’s when I made the executive decision. I’m not trying to make perfect stairs. I’m making useable stairs with recycled material. So I scabbed pieces of wood onto the inside of the risers and used my framing nailer to attach them. (Their on their for good!) I made a stop at the shop to pick up my framing nailer before going to the club. I’m glad I did as I went through about 400 3” spikes!

I repaired the first set or 4 steps at the top first.20150426_115935 Then did the next set of 4. They sat out a bit further than a straight run of 8 stairs so I made a bit of a landing between the two.20150426_121950 20150426_155117 Then I paid attention to the bottom set of 8. It has been cobbled together a couple years back by the previous owner and then by me. They were designed by someone that did a great job. But they made them for inside. Not outside! Each tread was built into the stringer for stability. That’s where it started rotting…

I used chunks of scrap to make support blocks for under each tread. I shored up 2 steps on the middle of the stairs and got to leveling them. This set gets removed and pulled up the hill in the fall so it isn’t damaged by ice during the spring thaw. Knowing that I needed to remove them again I decided to mount them on 4 posts (2×4’s) pounded into the ground. When I got everything level I got to fixing the rest of the treads. It’s more solid than when it was new… And that is with rotten ends on each board!

Once I had that in place I made a 3’ landing at the top. The landing was to fill a low spot a I made as I raised these stairs up from previous years. So I had to fill the gap. I actually incorporated one of the concrete blocks that are post and cement mounted into the hill. I couldn’t get it to move so this was the quickest way to make it work.20150426_155141

Now we have 8 wood steps a the top leading to 8 uneven concrete blocks leading to the bottom 8 wood stairs. It will work fine for this year. (If I get more “free” wood I will fill in the spot over the 8 concrete blocks with more wood stairs and another small landing or two.

All that took me 4 hours. With breaks in between to chat with other members that were dropping off their boats in the staging area. I also took 4 trips to the scrap wood pile at the other end of the club. I used the small club trailer to haul everything to my dock area. I even used it as a workbench to cut everything.

When I got home I unloaded the car and lit the BBQ. I made burgers out of a bunch of ground chicken, ground beef, ground pork and TVP. After we ate we went to feed the ducks.20150426_180754 20150426_181801

I had never seen ducks jump up to get anything before today. Jasmine was feeding her feathered friends and this one would jump strait up for it’s dinner. Jumping duck video. Very cute!

Tomorrow after school I plan to step the mast on the Siren 17 and go for a family sail.


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