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A good ice fishing shanty offers protection from cold weather, allowing you to enjoy your adventure. It is portable and easy to carry around. Purchasing is not always an option, especially during financially lean times or when you want something customized. The good news is that you can build an ice fishing shack and use it as a portable shelter.
This post strives to show you how to build an ice shelter that can hold 3 anglers. It utilizes an exoskeleton type of room to give you more space while remaining snag-free and smooth for winter clothing. You can use the unit as a lean-to during the summer or close it up on cold days.
What you need
- One piece of 4’ x 8’ plywood for flooring
- 25 2’ x 4’ x 8’ boards for framing
- 1 box deck screws
- 1 bottle wood Glue
- 1 box of small fishing nails
- 4 hinges
- 6 sheets of utility panels (2.7mm 4’ x 8’)
Being a straightforward process, building an ice shanty doesn’t require special tools beyond what you already own. The following tools will suffice:
- Tape measure
- Portable drill
Build the Frame
The first thing you'll need to do is make a frame for the floor. Start by cutting five 2” x 4” boards to 45 inches each. Next, lay the two 2’ x 4’ x 8’ parallel to each other. Be sure to space them 24” apart and center to center before screwing them in place. You will need deck screws for this.
The next step is to nail pieces of scrap wood to the underside of the floor. They should be 0.5 inches thick and 8-feet long. The pieces of scrap wood will function as runners on the ice. If you want to use a wood sealer, this is the ideal time to apply it. Attach the thick sheet of plywood to the floor frame with deck screws. Make sure you flip the frame over such that the runners are on the ground before you start framing.
Back wall supports
Cut five 2' x 4' x 8' boards. They should be 52 inches long and have a 26.5-degree angle at the top. Attach them along the back wall and like the floorboards, space them 24 inches apart center to center. You will want to ensure that the corner boards don't overlap the sides of the floor.
These are also crucial when it comes to building the housing. Cut two 2’ x 4’ x 5’ boards. Like the back wall supports, these should be 52 inches long with a 26.5-degree angle on one side. Square them up with back supports and fasten using deck screws.
The next step is to cut two 2' x 4' 8' boards with a total length of 52 inches and a 26.5-degree angle at the top. These should be attached to the floor frame without allowing them to overlap to the front.
Cut five 2’ x 4’ x 8’ boards with a total length of 56.5 inches. There is no need for an angle. square up the supports and attach them with deck screws.
Front door supports
The front door supports will have a total length of 75.75 inches and a 26.5-degree angle at the top. You will need two 2' x 4' 8' boards. Be sure to square them up with the wall supports and attach them using deck screws. Cut a 26.5-degree angle across the side of a 2' x 4' x 8' to create your top span. Square it up and secure with deck screws.
Now that you are done building the floor and housing frame, it is time to attach the wood panels. You need wood glue and finishing nails for this task. The back panel will most likely fall into place without requiring any cutting. Make sure that you measure and cut the sidewalls carefully. You will need a full panel and a few scrap strips cut from the door for the roof. The scrap strips will fill in the last inches of the slope. When it comes to the sidewalls, it’s important to note that the sides will be a little different due to warping from the lumber yard. The sidewall panels should be cut to 6' x 4' x 4' with a 26.5-degree slope.
Of course, doors are an essential part of an ice fishing shack. They protect you from the elements and help retain heat inside. Cut the two 4’ x 8’ panels to 4’ x 6’. The door panels should be 46 inches wide. There are different ways to frame the door. You can use 2’ x 4’ x 8’ boards or split the 2’ x 4’ x 8’ into 2’ x 2’ boards with a table saw to reduce weight on the door. Attach the wood strips to the wood panel using finishing nails and wood glue. Allow time for the glue to dry up before attaching hinges and hanging the doors to the structure.
At this point, you can apply paint and weather sealing products to ensure the longevity of the shack. Consider going around the edges with silicone caulk to seal up any points where rain or wind can get in. You can put other personal touches in the shelter like jigging holes on the floor or built-in seating. Some anglers opt to cut out windows on the side and back walls. This allows for ventilation and clear views of the surroundings. Keep in mind that additional features like built-in seating and shelves will make the shelter heavier and more difficult to transport. It is up to you to decide what feature you’re willing to forego.
This project probably seems complicated in writing but as you progress through the various steps, building a shelter will become easier and more enjoyable. It is a great project for when you are stuck at home and your kids will love helping out.
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