Recent Articles and Blog Posts
4 gas-free chainsaws for the cottage
Juiced by lithium-ion cells, battery-powered chainsaws have from toy to big-boy tool. I field-tested four 40V cordless chainsaws by running them repeatedly through a 5x5 timber. They all offer quiet, fume-free operation, instant...
How to build stair stringers
Constructing outdoor stairs, such as those leading down from a deck, can be a challenge,
one that some cottage handypeople avoid, thinking it too daunting. In fact, the planning is just simple arithmetic and geometry, math any...
Here’s a simple method that I use to cut a hinge mortise—a task that can be tricky to do the traditional, chisel-only way. Position the hinge leaf on the surface and score the outline with a sharp utility knife. Remove the...
How to build a gazebo
As soon as the hammering began, interest around the bay was piqued. First, a pedal boat cruised by; the pedallers had heard construction noise and wanted to see what was going on. Their compliments were enough to make this old...
How to build a convertible picnic table
Last summer, my wife, Lynn, and I dropped in on cousin Kathleen and her husband, Ross, at their Wahwashkesh Lake cottage. After the customary welcome refreshments and sharing of family news and gossip, Ross and I naturally started...
How to build a swim ladder
Let’s face it: If you have a dock or a swim raft at your cottage, it’s pretty much a given that you need a ladder. I know your daughter’s skinny 18-year-old boyfriend can exit the water gracefully unaided, but those of us...
How to build an outhouse
Privy, john, biffy, crapper, backhouse, whatever you call it, the outhouse remains a common architectural feature on the cottage landscape.
Technically considered a Class 1 sewage treatment system by the Ontario Ministry of the...
How to build a tree house & tower
When I was kid, growing up in the wilds just outside of North Bay, we always had a treehouse—rather rickety affairs that we built ourselves. We spent endless hours in them; it gave us a sense of independence and adventure,...
How to build a canoe or kayak rack
A couple of rickety old sawhorses. That’s what passes for a winter storage system for my canoe. And during canoe season, I just park it upside down on the beach. I didn’t invest a lot in that canoe—in fact, I don’t even...
How to build an outdoor shower
Looking for some good, clean fun? Build our outdoor shower, designed by Wayne Lennox. A solid plan, a couple of weekends, and basic construction techniques are all you need to get wet in the wild.
It’s cheaper than a second...