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Updated: 02/08/01
E- Mail Mike Jelle

Perch Jerker charters Devils Lake, North Dakota

Build your own Clam by Mike Jelle
People have been asking for my clam type house design so I will try to describe it.  I have been to busy to do it the way I wanted to with pictures as I built one. But I will describe it to you. You will need a sled, go to a Fleet Farm, or Tractor Supply Store and pickup a calf sled. These are heavy black plastic
sleds that ranchers use to bring calves back to shelter after birth, they run about $55. You will want a sled with at least 6 inch high sides if you can't get a calf sled. Next you will need 4 10 ft sticks of 1/2" steel conduit costs about $1.50 for 10 feet. A blue tarp for a cover these are relatively cheap. 12ft x 18', 2 1/4" bolts 6" long, and mechanics wire (get galvanized if you can). You will need a conduit bender beg one from a electrician freind or a light one is about $12. Bend the conduit depending on the length of your sled, measure from the middle of the pipe out so that after bending the bends are the same length, Note if your sled is too long you may need to extend the conduit in order to have enough hieght. If you need to extend your pipe just use 3/4" conduit and slip the1/2" into it and bolt it by drilling through both pipes. This can also be a way to collapse the tent when transporting or storing just by pulling the bolts
and pushing them together. Attach the pipes to the sled by drilling through the side of the sled with a 5/16' drill run the bolt through the hole and drill a
board to use as a support for this. Drill holes in the ends of the pipes and attach them to the bolt. This will allow them to clam over the sled and lay out
front just like a "Clam" house does. The conduit that goes against the ice is the critical one for sealing the wind. You need to get it down to the ice close to
the sled, what I do is bend a short piece of conduit at a 90 degree angle for this piece so it hits the ice straight down from the sled. You may need to use
another short piece of conduit to do this. You are ready for the tarp material. Don't worry how it looks! we are not going for a prize. Take the narrow end of
the tarp and center it on the sled, attach to rim of the sled with self threading screws through strips of wood into the sled, go all the way around except the
front where you intend to sit and fish. Next position your 4 conduits they should pivot on the bolts freely, the first one to the rear raise to 45 degrees, This
will keep the tarp away from your back when the wind blows, attach the tarp by pushing the mechanics wire through the tarp and wrapping it about every 3 inches, pull it good and tight. This may seem kind of crude but works very well. You will only need to attach the the middle section of the pipe. The next conduit goes straight up. attach the same way. Next one 45 degrees. and of course the bottom, leave a skirt on the bottom to help with the wind. The bottom needs to be stitched all the way around the conduit. You will have odd
folds and tarp sticking out all over the place cut off what you don't need and glue to the tarp with Plastidip. It is sold in Menards and hardware stores
for coating plier handles etc. You may want to use bars to hold the house ridgid, I get plastic ends from the hardware store that are made to hold conduit.
(Just like the manufactured houses use. I glue them into the right length plastic conduit to spread the conduits and keep the tarp tight in a strong wind.
This also allows you to have the backup and the front open. The tarp will last at least a year depending on the treatment it gets. My favorite house is one of
these mounted on a molded ice fishing sled. They fold easily and if you burn a hole in it which you will just glue a patch on or stitch a piece over the hole.
You may look like Hobo Joe with too many patches but you will be warm and comfortable. When you feel comfortable with your design you can have tarp sown by a commercial sewing Company. I never have I like my blue tarps I don't feel so bad when I burn them. 

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