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Building an Early Ice Wheelhouse??


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Hey guys,

Just want to pick your brain on some ideas here.

I've been looking at buying a small aluminum fish house like the Lil' Bugger made by Ridgeline, but have been thinking about building something instead.

The upside is it would be far cheaper, but the downside is the frame would have to be steel.

Basically all I want is something lightweight for sleeping and fishing in when the ice is at the 5-12" mark.

I was thinking about welding up a light frame of thin tube steel with angle or tube joists. And making up some drop axles with long tubes for leverage to raise and lower.

For the wall frames I'm leaning towards regular conduit (1/2" or 3/4") bent in an arch so the wall "stud" and "roof truss" would be all one peice. For sheeting I'm thinking about UV proof corrugated plastic. This too would be all one piece (basically rolled over the house from one side, over the top, to the other side. Then sheet the ends up with the same material.

The house wouldn't be meant to haul a lot weight, just some fishing stuff and cot etc.

Just a one man sleeper shack, say 6'x8'. And pulled with an atv.

Any ideas to make it lighter, better?? Anybody ever do something similar??

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I've considered the same idea just to feel safer w/an atv vs a 1/2 ton truck on 8-10" ice. I bought a snowmobile trailer that I was originally gonna make a crank down shack. (I've gotten too used to using the trailer as a trailer now) But now I'm toying with building something w/hinged walls that would kind of "fold-out", then brace the corners to be rigid. It would be wood & insulation so it wouldn't be all that light but wind wouldn't be an issue. I also thought you could cut out the interior of a plywood sheet and let the insulation provide some rigidity. Being able to lay your hands on some big sheets of aluminum would go along ways in reducing weight. Would it have to be a crank down? If you made a skid house w/conduit and sheeting you wouldn't weigh much more than a tricked out, loaded Otter. Just my $0.02. Good luck!

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when i was up north i saw a cool idea. They made a light frame 1x2 or 2x2. 1/4 in plywood on inside for wall and an inch or so of spray foam on outside. you would have to paint it or the UV light will eat the foam over time. I thought of making a skid like this. Should be very light.

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Have you considered looking at the Canvas Craft trailer/fish house. it is pricey but very light weight. it doubles as the trailer for hauling the ATV and then use the ATV to pull it out once you get to the lake.

Thanks for all of the ideas guys!

Brad, thanks for posting this. It changed my whole plan!

I have a couple Clam 6800's collecting dust. Now I will build a little drop down trailer that one of these will fit on top of. I would leave it folded down for transport, then once on the lake set the shack up. This would eliminate the wind/stability issue brought up earlier.

Now to the drawing board for the trailer............. smile

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build a drop down trailer big enought to anchor a 6 x 12 command post thermal . got a trailer for the four wheeler and a big light fish house to use. now wind issues going down the road,cheap to build and still have a trailer for many other uses.

I may have to do this next year. I never thought of that. it is a good idea. I found a person that can build a drop down trailer for less then $2000. I would get a 8' X 14' trailer with the command post you would end up with a foot on each side to anchor to externally and then anchor on the internal anchor points also. or better yet get the 8' X 14' Big Foot XL6000(only down side is it is not insulated).

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I heard from a guy that owns the canvas craft trailer/pop up combo that canvas craft isn't going to build these anymore. It is second hand ... so worth looking into first.

The drop down trailer would likely have a max width between the wheels of about 6'4" ... maybe 6'6". The max legal trailer width is 8'6" from outside tire to outside tire. With most any type of axle / crank / cable system, the max trailer bed width that fits between is just over 6'.

I have seen some cool looking aluminum drop down frames for sale this year .... likely an expensive upgrade to building your own trailer .... but if a guy started with a good trailer frame and axle system, then you have eliminated most of the serious issues that can happen from "under built" systems. Then again, half the fun of building a shack is to see what you can create from stuff at the lumber yard.

Looking forward to seeing pics of whatever you decide to build!

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I heard from a guy that owns the canvas craft trailer/pop up combo that canvas craft isn't going to build these anymore. It is second hand ... so worth looking into first.

It is true they are no longer making them. They just didn't sell enough to keep doing it (no wonder with a price tag of $3500..........)

But they do have a few left in stock. I'm sure a guy could make a reasonable offer and maybe pick one up for less than retail.

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