Keep your boat pro­tected yet eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble through the win­ter

Boating - - BOAT DOCTOR -

Climb­ing over an icy swim plat­form and through a snow-cov­ered zip­per door makes win­ter­time work aboard in­con­ve­nient. With ba­sic car­pen­try, that same shrink­able plas­tic makes a stor­age shel­ter large enough to drive a trail­ered boat into with room to walk around, con­ve­niently weath­er­proof­ing your work 365 days a year. I built a small shed to prove the con­cept. Here are the fruits of my ex­pe­ri­ence. —Capt. Vin­cent Daniello BUILD A STRUC­TURE Tra­di­tional two-by-four fram­ing tech­niques work well. So do fram­ing kits from 2x4ba­sics and other com­pa­nies that rely on me­tal brack­ets to make straight-cut lum­ber fit to­gether at the ap­pro­pri­ate an­gles. Most come with di­rec­tions to build 8- or 10-foot-wide shel­ters. Those plans can be ex­panded for wider-beamed boats.

SHRINK FILM Size 7mm film of­fers about the right bal­ance be­tween cost and dura­bil­ity to cover a work shel­ter. Ex­pect a shed to last about three years be­fore need­ing a new cover. For struc­tures with frames spaced far­ther than 2 feet apart, con­sider heav­ier 10mm film. White shrinkwrap film re­flects sun­light, so white shed skins ex­pand less and stay tighter on warm, sunny days. “White is re­ally nice to work un­der,” adds Mike Sten­berg of Dr. Shrink (

“The light is al­most shadow-free, and it doesn’t skew col­ors the way blue would.”

IN­STALL THE FILM Even very wide shrinkwrap film comes from Dr. Shrink in pleated rolls no more than about 5 feet wide, mak­ing it easy for two peo­ple to han­dle on days with­out a breeze. Cut away ex­cess ma­te­rial on all four build­ing cor­ners and tack them closed with tape be­fore weld­ing those cor­ners to­gether — shrink film sticks to it­self well in two or three lay­ers, but once it’s

bunched up, mid­dle lay­ers don’t get hot enough to melt to­gether.

SE­CURE THE EDGES TO THE SHED Or­der enough film to al­low an ex­tra foot of ma­te­rial along the bot­tom of all four sides, which is rolled around 1-by3-inch wooden bat­tens and screwed right into the wood struc­ture. Once it’s heated to around 180 de­grees, the film shrinks roughly 25 per­cent, mag­i­cally tight­en­ing even a pretty loose cover.


Start at the bot­tom, work­ing in 3-foot sec­tions. When the film goes smooth and starts to shrink, move along to ad­ja­cent, un­shrunk ma­te­rial. Don’t go back over an area a sec­ond time with more heat. Shrink-wrap tape re­in­forces welded seams, cov­ers any holes

cut by sharp edges, and re­pairs the few burn holes that are bound to ap­pear. Hinged door frames can be cov­ered in shrink-wrap, or in­stall zip­per doors right in the shed’s sides and con­sider adding a vent or two.

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