Cottage Life, unless yours is a mansion with full-time staff, is mostly maintenance, with a few intervening breaks for nature or beer. I’m neither deft nor mechanically gifted, but the right industrial chemicals can make up for that.

I include the view shot to illustrate the story, but you have to enlarge it first, and when you do there are other points of interest. The pale-brown line on the water, more or less in the middle of the picture, is a log boom; trees that have been cut somewhere near the ocean and are being hauled off to the mill by a tugboat, which you can actually see towards the left side of the picture, a black-and-white dot on the water among the pine needles.

View over Howe Sound from Keats Island

You can also see our dock partly behind the bushes at the bottom. We get 15 feet or more of tide, so there’s a high walkway on pilings, a floating platform, and a connecting ramp, hinged at the top, rolling at the bottom. The dock bobs in the waves and the ramp squeaks irritatingly.

I asked around and wondered what to do and the guy two lots over said “That bastard’s bin’ squealin’ like a stuck pig for years”. Well, apparently they’d never heard of WD-40. Now, I had to dangle a dozen feet over the rocks to get at the top end of the ramp, and lie on my belly in among the wood-chips and bird crud for the bottom, but it doesn’t squeak any more, just the silence and the waves now. Aaaaah. It is has been suggested that I used more WD-40 than strictly necessary.

WD-40 · It has a Web Site (Flashturbation, sigh) where there’s an Official Fan Club, and of course a Wikipedia entry, and a handy page at Snopes about WD-40 legend: “Lubricates prosthetic limbs”. I love WD-40.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Tim (but not THE Tim) (Jun 23 2008, at 17:57)

I'd hope that this important handyman tip has reached Vancouver, but in case it hasn't:

You only need two tools at home, WD-40 and duct tape. If it moves and it shouldn't, use the duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use the WD-40.


From: Derek K. Miller (Jun 23 2008, at 20:33)

Personally, I've always been more fond of Liquid Wrench, which is not flammable.


From: tkil (Jun 23 2008, at 21:24)

FWIW, WD-40 will eventually evaporate. You might investigate similar products that are designed to leave a protective/lubricant coat.

(This coming from a casual bicyclist; instead of WD-40, I have an old can of "tri-flo" that leaves teflon behind, along with a non-trivial battery of wet and dry lubes for different parts on the bike...)


From: unl (Jun 24 2008, at 01:34)

Tim, there's a more environmentally friendly lubricant: Ballistol, see

I think it also available in Canada.


From: Martin (Jun 24 2008, at 03:52)



is what you want. The WD-40, while a small miracle, will not last. Or you could go handy man a make some silicone or rubber gaskets.



From: Edward Ocampo-Gooding (Jun 24 2008, at 06:02)

+1 for using an actual lubricant and not WD-40. It’s great for water displacement, rust removal help, and temporary fixes, but if you don’t want to hear that thing squeeking again anytime soon, you might want to do some asking around at the hardware store.

I do applaud your manly spelunking below-decks :D


From: Benc (Jun 25 2008, at 09:05)

Give a try to Jig-a-loo.

It gives you a silicone scellant that can also be used to impermeabilise stuff (like, say, a pair of working gloves).


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