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An Alaskan Barge
by Bill Walker

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We have been boating and camping around Alaska's Kachemak Bay State Park for almost 20 years.  We answered an ad in the local paper, for a parcel of land 4Sale. This scenery is typical of the area. campvw1.jpg (46877 bytes)
campvw2.jpg (67943 bytes) We toured the land and it didn't take long to decide to buy it. This land is one of few private parcels surrounded by Alaska's Kachemak Bay State Park
First we established a camp, as a place to live while we built the cabin. Then we picked a spot on the land to locate the cabin. camp2.jpg (43911 bytes)
roof3.jpg (45048 bytes) I designed the cabin and estimated the materials to be purchased and hauled.
To haul the cabin lumber, I had to build a freight scow. First I designed the scow, assuring that I had the needed displacement to haul over 5000 pounds worth of building materials. scow6.jpg (29174 bytes)
 

Then I built the scow. I employed simple wood-framed, plywood-sheathed boat
building technics. Since the life and usefulness of this scow were limited, I used
cheap common lumber.

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We loaded the scow with lumber, towed it across the bay and up the fjord to the cabin site.

Towing the scow had to be accomplished at late-night, when the day breeze slowed and the water calmed enough to tow. We towed at 5 to 7 MPH and it took 2 to 3 hours to tow the scow one-way. tow1.jpg (56777 bytes)
scow8.jpg (43886 bytes) There, we beached the scow and waited for low tide.
At low tide, we built an aerial tram to lift the lumber, from the beach, up the bluff to the cabin site. The lumber was pulled up thetramway by hand.
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tram1.jpg (59342 bytes) It took two of these trips to get all the materials delivered. Each trip delivered about 2500 to 3000 pounds of lumber.
First I built the foundation. Below-ground all-weather wood 6x6 posts were sunk. But, I could only dig thru 2 feet of peat before I hit bedrock. So, lots of cross-bracing was needed. Due to the slope, the posts in back are cut-off at the ground level while the posts in front are as high as 6 feet above ground. Then we built the first floor deck. deck1.jpg (46219 bytes)
walls2.jpg (37882 bytes) Then we built the two main walls
. Then we installed the roof.
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And that is all we've got done so far.

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e-mail Bill Walker at:

bwalker@alaska.net

Visit Bill's website at:

http://www.alaska.net/~bwalker/sadie/schome.htm

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