Thursday, September 23, 2010


On Monday, I shared how our good friend John got his air compressor running. Here's why. Last summer we hired a scuba diver to help John put fifteen 55-gallon plastic barrels under our float cabin. We've added extra weight (translated stuff) to the float over the years. The plastic barrels filled with air make the cedar log float more buoyant.

This year we needed to add barrels to our floating woodshed and my garden float. Both had logs completely submerged. The bottom of our firewood pile was soaking wet and my garden soil couldn't drain. Plus, the longer the cedar logs stay submerged, the quicker they become waterlogged. While Wayne and John were making it happen, I filmed the steps. Take a look.

Now the float logs are well above the lake's surface, and there's still enough warm fall sunshine to dry the tops. With the barrels underneath and the drying logs on top, everything will stay high and dry. Thanks John and your trusty compressor. We're really pumped! - Margy


  1. Okay, today's dumb question:
    If the barrel didn't have air in it to begin with, what DID it have in it?
    -- K

  2. That's a good question Kay. In the second picture you can see John sinking the barrel by filling it with water. On the top of the barrel there are two openings for caps. One is sealed, the other is open. After the barrel is filled with water it can be pushed under the float logs. The plastic makes it neutrally buoyant so it doesn't sink to the bottom. The barrel is placed with the capped opening up and the open one down. Once air is pumped into the barrel, the water is displaced and pushed out the opening. Once filled with air, water pressure holds it inside. Some people who use scuba divers put the second cap on after air is pumped inside, but most don't bother. - Margy

  3. Very cool, thanks for the explanation in your comment reply. How much higher did the 4 barrels raise your float?

  4. Hey Solar Burrito - In answer to your question. The wood float is small but very heavy. All of the logs on one side were submerged by several inches. After four barrels were placed under that side (it has the greatest load), the logs came out of the water about six inches or so, so I would estimate that it raised the float on that side about 8-10 inches. We still have a lot of wood to load for the winter, so my guess in the end it will be about 4-6 inches higher. But that will keep the bottom of the stacked wood out of the drink.

    When we added 15 barrels to our cabin float last year we gained about 2 inches total, but it is much heavier. In winter, when the decks stay wet and there isn't much sun to dry the logs out, we drop about an inch. If we get snow, we need to sweep it off unless it melts quickly. Way too much weight for the cold season.


  5. Glad to see your explanation too! Love hearing about your floating cabin and what it entails to keep it maintained. I hope you show some inside pics too soon!

  6. Hi Shelley - I will do some more inside shots in the future. You can see some (mostly my wood stove and kitchen) in the Float Cabin Living section. - Margy