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Old 08-26-2002, 03:20 PM
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Default Ice Shanty Construction

I am about to undertake the building of a new ice fishing shanty for the first time. I wished I had one all last winter, but winter is not the time to build one. There is precious little info on this topic on the internet. There is one site that is linked in many places that offers a plan for $25, and there are some other (what I would consider) goofy pvc/tarp/hoop hut jobs. I want to build a 6'x8' shanty, all wood, not collapsible. Anyone have any links to good pictures or plans that I don't know about? Two of the things I am debating most are the runners/skids and fashioning some kind of tow bar. As far as the skids, I am currently planning on using treated 2"x10"'s with 2"x4" floor joists. As far as the tow bar, right now I'm planning on going to my local steel fabricator for ideas. Overall, lightweight is more important than insulation to me. I want to be able to have myself and another guy be able to slide it on and off a snowmobile trailer. Any help, ideas, opinions or advice in any area of shanty construction would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-26-2002, 03:34 PM
fishhunter fishhunter is offline
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Default RE: Ice Shanty Construction

put a wheel system on it, make life alot easier
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Old 08-26-2002, 03:55 PM
Shep Shep is offline
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Location: Milwaukee, WI, USA!.
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Default RE: Ice Shanty Construction

There used to be a guy up around St Peter, east of Fond du Lac, that would either make a wheeled frame, or sell the plans for it. Haven't lived there for some time, and can't remeber the name. Perhaps somebody at Tripp's(Pipe?) or Dutch's Sport Shop in Fondy would know?

Tight Lines All,

Tight Lines,


"Endeavor to persevere."
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Old 08-26-2002, 04:25 PM
Mike in MN Mike in MN is offline
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Minnesota, USA.
Posts: 9
Default RE: Ice Shanty Construction

Two years ago I built a shanty similar to the one you are looking into. I really recommend looking into steel stud construction for at least the walls if not the whole thing. The weight savings make sense, without losing much if any strength. Also, on the outside of mine I used tin sheets from a heating supply house that had cosmetic defects making them unusable for ductwork, but great for fish house siding. They came in 4'by 8' sheets and show no wear after two years. I also went to the dump (sanitary landfill) and got a door and a window for free. The idea of a frame with retractable wheels sounds great to me if you can build, or get someone to build, that. Good luck with your project.
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Old 08-26-2002, 10:28 PM
REW REW is offline
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Default RE: Ice Shanty Construction

You might consider the use of steel for the skids.
If you use the right size I beams and cross bars - the weight will be little different than using wood beams and 2X4's and it will be immensely stronger.

This idea of using the steel skids and cross bars come from all of the northern resorts. They move the houses a lot - simply hook up a chained up truck - rip it out of the ice and off the ice they go. If the shack were made with wood skids, the skids would get ripped apart every time the shack was moved.

Another pointer from checking out the resort shacks --- you can use 2 inch thick foam for the walls - and use contact adhesive to glue on 1/8 " paneling or even 1/4". Very light, but because of the "stressed skin" construction - very strong. This is the principal that makes airplanes work so well.

Making the floor the same way - on top of the steel cross bars, will result in a warm floor, but plenty strong for standing.

Grab a piece of paper - draw it up - and have a go at it.

Another nice thing to do - is to make it so that it can be bolted together. That way - in the spring, you can take down the house in sections - and store it flat. Lots less storage space required.

Take care

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Old 08-27-2002, 04:23 AM
Thumper Thumper is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: White Bear Lake, MN, USA.
Posts: 133
Default RE: Ice Shanty Construction

Steel for the skis is a great idea. They are commonly used here in NW Ontario in extreme conditions. Steel joists used on commercial buildings work very well. They are common in our scrap yards at times. A salvage company can also be a good source.
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Old 08-27-2002, 06:04 AM
BD BD is offline
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Default RE: Ice Shanty Construction

Marco; Where do you live? On Bago we have two systems that most people use. One is a lever action wheel system so the shanty can be towed over the road. The wheels can then be lifted and the shanty droped down onto runners for pulling behind snowmobiloes etc. The other system is a light weight shanty in which the wheels are stationary. The shanty is towed down the road and onto the ice then is tipped onto its base by lifting the tongue. The first type is much easier moving from spot to spot and the second type is used in only one or two spots (for the spearing season). Both are easy to build. Give me your address and I will send you some drawings. If you get anywhere near Bago, stop at one of the lakeside taverns. Many of them store shantys in the off season. Then you could look at the construction first hand.
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Old 08-27-2002, 06:17 AM
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ScottL ScottL is offline
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Location: Benson, Mn, USA.
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Default RE: Ice Shanty Construction

Most importantly, don't sacrifice comfort for weight. I'm 6'4" and 250 lbs. I like a roomy fish house. Alot of the fishouses I've fished out of are not built with me in mind. Especially vertically. I like to be able to stand up and stretch, without hitting my head. So I built my last house with 7ft ceilings. I also have 2 young boys 7 & 4 who like to fish. Have you ever jammed 3 people into a relatively small space. That's why I built it 8' wide and 12' long. I also like to spend at least a few nights in it so I have sleeping bunks in each end, and most importantly a carbon monoxide detector and a good furnace with a low oxygen sensor that shuts it down in that event. No fun waking up dead.
Before I built it I did quite a bit of research on size, frame styles, inside arrangement and door placement. I looked at other peoples homemade houses and I also went to the St.Paul Ice Show, and looked at the "spec" houses that several different companies make, and took notes of what I liked and didn't like and I even took some measurements (when no one was looking)LOL of bench heights, hole placements and other details.
After having used it for the first year, there are somethings I would do differently in my next one, but then I doubt it is possible to build the perfect house. it's good that you are starting on it now, because it does take quite a while to build one unless you are a carpenter by trade, and first ice is no time to be pounding the first nail.


Scott Lee

Scott Lee

Since there is six times as much water as dry land on earth, any fool can plainly see the good Lord meant for man to fish six times as much as he works.
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Old 08-27-2002, 06:23 AM
kmcquoid kmcquoid is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Isle, MN, USA.
Posts: 14
Default RE: Ice Shanty Construction

It really does depend on which lake you are looking to use it on AND how you want to use it. Do you want to have a resort move it around? Will you move it yourself? How often?

You might contact some of the resorts on the lake(s) you are looking at and ask what their recommendations are and if there are any requirements they have should you need/want their assistance.
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Old 08-27-2002, 06:37 AM
Kaz Kaz is offline
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Location: Plymouth, MN, usa.
Posts: 643
Default RE: Ice Shanty Construction

Marco: I would strongly recommend a wheel system too. You will want to move your house at least two or three times during the season. Also a wheel house is easier to take off the lake and haul down the black top. If you can get ahold if an "Outdoor News" there is a couple of welding shops advertised every week who make up a frame that will squat on the ice. I have a KingCROW 7'x16' that tows very well. I have taken it to LOTW as well as several lakes in the twin cities area many times. A added plus is, it works as a camper too. If you hunt, it's great item to tag along. Fit it with some propane for heat and deep cycle batteries for light (and TV or Two-way radios) and you have a fantastic base of operations. The wheel system cost a little more, but it is defiantly worth the add costs. Have a ALL SEASON MULTI PURPOSE FISH HOUSE....Kaz
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