Design & DIY

Five things every “bro” should build for himself

Swim Raft

In a perfect world, we’d all have the time, patience, and proficiency to carve every stick of furniture inside and outside our cabin. But for tinkerers with too-short summers, some projects are better left to the pros. That said, here are five bro-approved builds that, according to the Buckles brothers, every dyed-in-the-wool DIYer should tackle for themselves.

The picnic table

As ubiquitous in a cottage backyard as a campfire, the picnic table is one the simplest builds for bros of every skill level. “They’re super easy to build and there’s a million ways to build them – and you can even find measured plans online,” says Kevin. Spruce yours up with a clever hack and design it with detachable benches for extra seating around the campfire.

The swim-up raft

This project might look like an advanced undertaking, but Kevin assures us that his favourite project of Season One is a build anyone can take a crack at. “It’s just a couple barrels, a platform and a little motor and you’re cruising around on the lake,” Kevin says. Start this project on a long weekend and by Monday, you’ll be the talk of the lake.

The dining room table

Impress your relatives when they come over for holiday dinners with your very own handcrafted dining room table. When you build your own furniture, not only can you customize the size, shape and materials, you’ll also end up saving a lot of money. “I built mine with all salvaged lumber,” says Andrew. “It would have cost a couple thousand bucks but I built mine for less than $20.” To up the ante (and bragging rights!) try building matching chairs too. “None of my chairs have been very good,” laughs Andrew, “but if you’re looking to tackle a piece of furniture, a chair is a good place to start.” Even easier? A stool.

The outdoor shower 

Since the bros completed it during Season One, the outdoor shower has become the focal point at the cottage. “Everybody who tries it is super blown away by it,” Kevin says. “You don’t need to go as crazy as we did, you just need a couple things: a water heater, an enclosure and a pump system, and away you go!” While the cedar shingle cladding and the cord wood detailing adds a cozy design element, newbies don’t need to worry about those frills. “Outside in the summertime with nice warm water, it’s amazing!”

The maple sugar evaporator

The end of winter means goodbye to long johns and hello to swimming trunks, summer bonfires and best of all, maple syrup season. The sweet sauce is incredibly easy to make and once you’ve tapped it for yourself, you’ll never go back to the store-bought stuff. Last year, the bros made a maple sugar evaporator out of essentially an old cabinet and steel pans from a restaurant supply store, and dubbed it the Ultimate Breakfast Bar. “I’m really looking forward to seeing how much we can churn out this year,” says Kevin. However, before building your evaporator, be sure to tap a dozen or so maple trees with spiles and buckets to collect the fresh sap.

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