"A Great Shanty Design"

The common fold down gable end design is (in my opinion) awkward, because when compacted it is a rather large 4' x 8'.

 This is a unique design, different than the common fold down gable ends. It compacts accordian style so you end up with a smaller, easier to manage unit. Regardless of the length you want to build it (whether it be 4', for a single person, or even 16', for a large group...The fold up dimensions remain the same.) I have selected the lightest possible materials with out comprimising strength. The optional floor is another great idea. For longer expeditions, it provides a barrior between you and the ice, keeping the interior and your feet warmer. For shorter stay's, leave it at home (the floor) making the unit "ultra light".

Ice Shanty Diagram
Diagrams are not to scale and all measurements are given in inches and feet (no silly meters).
The total distance of a,b,c,d,(combined) in the above diagram has been calculated so a 14' wide tarp doesn't have to be cut along the bottom , thus saving the reinforced factory edges. The straight angle roof design as opposed to a half circle gable end makes it easier to apply the "slats" that secure the tarp to the shanty. And for another "irrelevant" reason, it looks much more proffessional. The interior has carefully planned space saving ideas for fold down shelves and equipment storage compartments. All dimensions and diagrams are configured for a 6-1/2 ft. long shanty, which is a roomy size for 2 people. You can change the length with a few re-calculations to the floor if you like.
You'll have to decide which color of "poly tarp" to use. You can get them in opaque or translucent colors. Some people prefer to have total darkness in their shanty so they can see the fish better. Personally, I like the light (it's warmer and I'm not fumbling for bait and tackle)...Your decision.
I'll start out with a materials list. Improvise on materials if you have something similar laying around (you'll have to be the judge if it will work or not).

Materials List

  • 2- 4x8 sheets 1/4" spruce or fir plywood (end gables)
  • 1- 4x8 sheet 3/8" spruce or fir plywood (floor)
  • 1- 4x8 sheet 1/2" spruce or fir plywood (doors & frames)
  • 73' of spruce 2x2 (floor & gable framework)
  • 22' of spruce 2x4 (floor & runners)
  • Poly Tarp 8'x14'
  • 3 poles x 78" (telescopic poles, 1/2" copper pipe, 1x1 hardwood. Anything will work)
  • 4 pr. butt hinges (For doors & lift-up floor).
  • 3 barrell latches (door latches)
  • 2 pcs. 1/8 or 1/4 plexiglass 8"x14" (windows)
  • Screws, nails etc (you can figure that one out)
  • Lay Out And Construction

    Step 1. Cut out gable ends Details
    Fig.1 [Cut Out Ends] The whole idea for exact sizes will ensure that you won't have to cut off the reinforced factory edges of the poly tarp (along the length of both bottom edges). Lay everything out as shown on the 1/4" plywood. Before you cut, take a tape measure and double check to make sure that all 4 edges add up to 14 feet! If you want two doors (recommended), cut both ends identical. Cut the door openings out 20 x 50 as shown.
    Step 2.Attatch framework to gable ends Details
    Fig.2 [Attatch Framework] Cut and fit all the 2x2. Use a sliding t-bevel or protractor to figure out the angles (see below table). A power miter saw makes the job a lot easier but a hand saw will work fine to. Tight miters are best but not critical. For maximum strength, fasten through the 1/4" plywood to the 2x2. not the other way around! Use a 2x4 for the bottom plate. (You'll see why later). After you have everything fastened, cut a filler piece from 1/4" ply, 3-1/2"x20" and fasten it to the 2x4 across your door opening at the bottom.
    Divide any angle in half using a compass
    Divide Angle With a compass, spread to any desired width, set the compass point on ref."A", and mark references "B1 & B2". Next, set the compass point on ref."B1", and mark reference "C". Do the same for ref."B2".
    Now take a ruler or straight edge and draw a line (indicated in blue) from reference point "A" to where reference points "C" intersects. You now have the angle divided perfectly in half.
    With a protractor or sliding t-bevel, determine the angle value.
    Step 3. Cut out door/s and frame/s Details
    Fig.3 [Door Frame] First, cut out the overall size of 24"x52" from the 1/2" plywood. Next, draw your lines 1-1/2" from outside edges. Cut the door from the frame (when you cut the door out, be carefull not to go to far and cut the frame)! Cut the window opening in the door (sit on a pail and look at the door standing upright to find the best window height). Now lay the door and frame on the floor, center everything, and attatch the hinges. Lay the finished door/frame assembly on the end gable, center, and fasten (Door should open to the outside).
    Step 4. Lay out and assemble floor Details
    Fig.4 [Floor Layout] The floor layout is pretty straight forward. You can deviate here , but just make sure that the overall length and width are as indicated. The 2 pieces of 3/8" plywood flooring are the same dimensions (48"x39"), where as the 2x2 floor framing sections are different, thus creating the overlap (detail.1). The 2x2's are staggered to make nailing easier. When the floor is finished, line up and attatch the gable ends with hinges. Nail a piece of scrap wood to span the top and prevent it from moving (Fasten to the inside of the shanty). Set the 3 spreader poles in place. Drape the poly tarp over and center it. Starting from the top begin stapling the tarp to the shanty. Finally, cut several 1-1/2" strips of 1/4" ply and "sandwich" the tarp (use screws with finishing washers for maximum strength). Trim away exess tarp material with a utility knife.
    Step 5. Attatch 2x4 runners Details
    Fig.5 [Attatch Runners] Cut and round off the end of each runner. Fasten to shanty. Install a barrell latch to the inside of each door and one to the outside of one door (or substitute a hasp and lock). Pre-drill holes in the plexiglass windows, center and fasten to the inside of the door. Drop down shelves can be added just above the door on the inside.
    I hope you can use these diagrams to build yourself a shanty.