Cruisers Forum
 


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 24-01-2018, 06:22   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Charlestown, MA
Boat: 1989 Freedom 38
Posts: 6
DIY plans for dock steps?

I am looking for plans, would prefer a lightweight plywood frame (1/4") with dimensional lumber treads (or composite). If we can build small boats with 1/4" plywood, steps should be possible...
TIA
JJMc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-01-2018, 06:35   #2
Registered User
 
Suijin's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Bumping around the Caribbean
Boat: Valiant 40
Posts: 4,627
Re: DIY plans for dock steps?

Is this a moveable step for getting from the dock to the boat? Is it something you plan on keeping on the boat when it's not in use? How many steps?

1/4" plywood is not going to have enough strength for the frame at all. If I wanted something to be sturdy and last I'd make it out of at least 1/2", probably 5/8". That would be strong enough for the steps as well if reinforced properly with dimensional lumber.
Suijin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-01-2018, 14:32   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Charlestown, MA
Boat: 1989 Freedom 38
Posts: 6
Re: DIY plans for dock steps?

Thanks. Yes, portable steps (that I can screw to the dock).
If it's possible to build a 20' sailboat with 1/4" plywood, dock steps should be no problem. I plan to use dimensional lumber for the treads.
JJMc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-01-2018, 14:53   #4
Registered User
 
TheOffice's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Annapolis
Boat: Hylas 44
Posts: 897
Re: DIY plans for dock steps?

I'd get precut risers from a home improvement store and go from there.
TheOffice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-01-2018, 14:54   #5
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2013
Location: Oregon to Alaska
Boat: Wheeler Shipyard 83' ex USCG
Posts: 3,000
Re: DIY plans for dock steps?

The steps need to be strong enough for not only a person, but anything they might carry. I'd be surprised if 1/4" will hold up. My dock steps are made like a stairway. Notched 2x12s. Any wood should be sealed before painting if it's continually in the sun and weather.
Lepke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-01-2018, 16:05   #6
Moderator
 
JPA Cate's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: aboard, cruising in Australia
Boat: Sayer 46' Solent rig sloop
Posts: 20,723
Re: DIY plans for dock steps?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lepke View Post
The steps need to be strong enough for not only a person, but anything they might carry. I'd be surprised if 1/4" will hold up. My dock steps are made like a stairway. Notched 2x12s. Any wood should be sealed before painting if it's continually in the sun and weather.
Agreed. Think about whoever's the biggest, heaviest that will use the steps, and the weight of batteries. As for attachment to dock, consider through bolting, and sealing the holes with epoxy, then caulking when you install, rather than just screwing down into the wood, moisture will get in and soon rot the timber.

Ann
__________________
Who scorns the calm has forgotten the storm.
JPA Cate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-01-2018, 16:31   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Slidell, La.
Boat: Morgan Classic 33
Posts: 2,451
Re: DIY plans for dock steps?

Don't know how long they'd last, but they'd be plenty strong...pilot holes. glue and a finish will work wonders...
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	1st.jpg
Views:	578
Size:	260.8 KB
ID:	162794  
jimbunyard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-01-2018, 05:09   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Charlestown, MA
Boat: 1989 Freedom 38
Posts: 6
Re: DIY plans for dock steps?

Jim, it looks like you just drew those. Thanks! I'm going to use 7 1/2" risers and adjust the rest. Much appreciated.

By the way, no paint as it's just an invitation to peeling one day. Thompson's Water Seal and a stain, which is easy to renew.
JJMc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-01-2018, 05:40   #9
Registered User

Join Date: May 2011
Location: Lake Ont
Posts: 6,704
Re: DIY plans for dock steps?

I would either bang some steps together using pressure treated deck lumber (2x6, 2x8, risers) -fastest-, or, if the goal was for something lightweight but durable, I would use at least 1/2" plywood in a sort of box-like construction.

I probably wouldn't use Thompsons as the primary finish, but it's better than nothing, as long as you apply annually. If I made the plywood version, I would either use deck Cetol, outdoor urethane, or maybe even a coat of runny epoxy and a couple coats of urethane or spar varnish. All depending on what I've got in stock already.

It's the sort of thing I would doodle up in an old notebook, based on stairs and other things that I've built before. Pretty much like Jim just did.

btw it would get you halfway there to tell us how high, wide, etc you need.
Lake-Effect is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-01-2018, 06:07   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 748
Re: DIY plans for dock steps?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JJMc View Post
Thanks. Yes, portable steps (that I can screw to the dock).
If it's possible to build a 20' sailboat with 1/4" plywood, dock steps should be no problem. I plan to use dimensional lumber for the treads.
The panels in a sailboat have curves..

Steps are generally flat.

Curved plywood is stiff, flat plywood is not.

You might be able to get sufficient stiffness out of 1/4" ply by adding a camber to the stairs, but then stepping on them will create significant tension on the stringers, and you'll need something to keep the risers from spreading apart, destroying the camber.

The obvious design for a set of stairs is for a notched stringer on each side with treads between them that are stiff enough on their own, or are backed by dimensional lumber to provide the necessary stiffness.

But suppose you tied your two stringers together with four 2x2s, to hold them in position, backed by rods of allthread, to keep them from spreading apart under load. Then used 1/4 ply as treads, cut a bit long so they had a bit of camber in them when locked into the stringers. The result might be considerably lighter than the traditional.

Alternatively, you could make the treads light and stiff by making them from torsion boxes - two thin pieces of ply separated by spacers, glued together.

Jdege is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-01-2018, 06:20   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 8,892
Re: DIY plans for dock steps?

Big problem with using plywood is it delaminates unless you get high grade marine plywood (very expensive) or you do an excellent job fiber-glassing and sealing it with epoxy (cost and time consuming)

It is possible but not practical structurally. If you have enough evenly spaced supports under each step, it can be done but it won't be much lighter and it will be much more complicated to build.

Since you say it's going to be screwed to the dock, I assume it will stay for the season so weight isn't a big issue. A couple of precut stringers with 2x4's for treads would be about the cheapest option. I've got one with the RV I made that way that's 3yrs old and shows no sign of rot. Probably won't last for decades but it's also cheap and easy to replace any boards that start to rot. If you want it to last forever, get pressure treated wood (the stringers usually already are).
valhalla360 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-01-2018, 09:08   #12
Registered User
 
LeeV's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Md
Boat: Lagoon 450F
Posts: 1,149
Re: DIY plans for dock steps?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbunyard View Post
Don't know how long they'd last, but they'd be plenty strong...pilot holes. glue and a finish will work wonders...
Ok, Jim; we need a garage at my house! ;=)
__________________
LeeV
Lagoon 450 F
Momentum
LeeV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-01-2018, 09:22   #13
Registered User
 
CaptTom's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Southern Maine
Boat: Prairie 36 Coastal Cruiser
Posts: 2,122
Re: DIY plans for dock steps?

Just to complicate things, are you considering storage inside the step unit? It would be a perfect "dock box" for odds and ends you want to keep around, but not on board.

As for the best design, it would all depend on the height and width needed. That would drive the size of material needed for the treads.

One tip: instead of stringers, for 2-3 steps you can just stack progressively shorter 2x8s horizontally on each side, with the treads between them. This is easier than cutting risers, and gives you a solid side wall.
CaptTom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-01-2018, 09:24   #14
Registered User
 
Cheechako's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Skagit City, WA
Posts: 23,476
Re: DIY plans for dock steps?

If you can keep the 1/4" flat enough it could work for the vertical parts. It's in compression not tension so keeping it "in column" is what you need. But by the time you add a few cleats to make it rigid/flat etc, you are adding weight anyway. If you are screwing it to the dock, why make it lightweight ? I'd use 1/2" or more and make it easy to fabricate.
Then again, at today's lumber prices etc, I'd just buy a set of fiberglass steps. You'll need to finish it with paint or etc too. Exterior ply has the same glue as marine ply, so you dont need marine ply.
__________________
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard











Cheechako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-01-2018, 09:34   #15
Registered User
 
S/V Alchemy's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: Nova Scotia until Spring 2021
Boat: Custom 41' Steel Pilothouse Cutter
Posts: 4,973
Re: DIY plans for dock steps?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JJMc View Post
Thanks. Yes, portable steps (that I can screw to the dock).
If it's possible to build a 20' sailboat with 1/4" plywood, dock steps should be no problem. I plan to use dimensional lumber for the treads.
I guess you weight 40 kilos, then. If not, your premise is faulty. You could build it from lumber and use 1/4" to sheath it, but not as a structural element. If you need it lighter, you could probably build it with countersunk screws into 1/2" over a basic box frame, and then put a series of small hole saw holes in it.
__________________
Can't sail? Read about our travels at https://alchemyonpassage.blogspot.com/. Can't sleep? Read www.alchemy2009.blogspot.com for fast relief. Can't read? Avoid www.volumesofsalt.blogspot.com, because it's just personal reviews of sea books.
S/V Alchemy is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
dock

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
DIY Tube Knot meter Plans ?? sunbear1 Navigation 17 08-01-2020 09:12
[SOLD] 5 Step Fiberglass Dock Boarding Steps with Handrail and Locking Storage bumblevi General Classifieds (no boats) 0 17-09-2017 21:01
For Sale: Roto-molded Dock/Boat Steps w/Handrail TMT2 General Classifieds (no boats) 2 06-10-2016 03:36
Dock steps are expensive ErBrown Auxiliary Equipment & Dinghy 48 13-04-2015 20:12
For Sale: Dock steps amsvatek Classifieds Archive 2 02-06-2013 15:31

Advertise Here


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:40.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.