Dock Planning

  1. Determine what features you want on your dock Examples: boat parking, fishing, sun bathing, etc.
  2. Determine the layout i.e. short dock for deep waters, longer for gradual depths
    Download Example Layouts

Wood Selection

There are many material choices for building your dock. Wood is still the most common material for residential docks. It is easier to work with and less expensive than aluminum. For the frame 2x6 lumber is recommended for most applications. 5/4 x 6 material is recommended for wood decking. Plastics and wood/plastic composites may be used for decking but are usually not strong enough for the frame. A dock built with most untreated pines, firs and spruces will not last long in the demanding dock application. Western red cedar is a great choice of lumber. Treated pine is an economical alternative, however it is much heavier than cedar.

Fasteners and Pipe

3/8-16UNC x 2-1/2" long carriage bolts with zinc plating or galvanized finish is recommended. Consult with your local lumberyard or hardware store for decking fastener selection. 1-1/4" or 1-1/2" galvanized schedule 40 pipe is used to support the dock frame above the water. Pipe is available from most well drilling companies, steel outlets, and some home centers and marine dealers.

Tools Required

  • S3/8" Drill with 3/8" Drill Bit, 1" drum sanding wheel and Bits for screws
  • Circular Saw or Chop Saw
  • Jigsaw
  • ¼" hex key wrench
  • Hammer
  • Tape Measure
  • Socket wrench with 9/16" socket
  • 9/16" box end wrench
  • Square and pencil
  • Pipe cutter

Building Instructions

  1. Cut lumber to length.
  2. Layout a dock section frame on a level surface
  3. Shim open the two corners where the post brackets will be located using a 3-1/4" wood block between the header and side joists.
  4. Use the corner bracket to mark bolt hole locations in all four corners of the frame. The picture below shows marking for a corner where a post bracket is located.
    Note the 3-1/4" wood block. Use a straight edge to align side joist with end of header.
  5. Drill the bolt holes using a 3/8" drill bit.
    Note: When hardware is located on both sides of the bolt holes, such as for the hook bracket holes, it is important to drill perpendicular to the frame. A drill press or drill guide is useful.
  6. Install post, corner, and hook brackets to the frame with 3/8"x2-1/2" carriage bolts, nuts, and washers.
  7. Position the center joist in the middle of the section. Attach to each header with joist hangers and joist hanger nails.
  8. Make a groove on the post bracket header to allow clearance for the post bracket set screw using a drill with 1" diameter drum sander or jig saw.
  9. Screw decking boards to each end of the frame. Use two 2" screws into each joist.
  10. Space out all other decking boards with even gaps then screw to the frame with 2" screws.
  11. Cut 2 post clearance slots in the decking board over the post bracket as shown on decking top view drawing using a jig saw and/or hole saw.