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Old 04-24-2019, 07:50 PM   #121
BigV
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I had to take the boards back out as I filled this last section with gravel as it was much easier to fill underneath them when they were not in the way. When I had it mostly filled and tamped down (see my sledgehammer in tamper mode?) I put the boards in again and filled it in the rest of the way. In the last picture you can see how the line where the ends of the deckboards carries along from one frame to the other.

I believe this will be a very, very solid base for the deck. Enough stonework. Let's install the deckboards!

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Old 04-24-2019, 07:54 PM   #122
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Now that I have a level, flat, solid surface upon which the deck boards can be affixed, let's get started. I knew I wanted cedar as the deck material. I love cedar. It's a dream to work with. Straight grained, easy to cut, rot resistant, fragrant, lovely grain patterns... yeah, I'm a fan. There are plenty of dimensions to choose from, we picked 5/4 x 6, mostly 8 footers. Back at the beginning of this process we saw the old deck had 2x4 material as the deck material. Super strong, but needed to not deflect across the very wide spans of the sleepers they laid as a "frame". This frame is a lot more substantial and has much shorter spans so a thinner deck board is sufficient. Now that I've been able to walk on it I can say it's solid--no deflection.

I wanted to have a different design from the standard straight boards, laid out straight--boring. Also, I knew there would be seams since getting boards that were long enough to span the whole deck, even across the short axis would be extra expensive. I have more time than money (boy does that come into play a lot...) so doing something beautiful and interesting with the shorter, less expensive material was the option I chose. There are a lot of stunning deck designs out there. I spent a lot of time looking at pictures of different decks and this basic design caught my eye, basketweave.

There are a number of advantages to this design. Minimal cuts, no miter cuts (though I did have to trim the ends at 45 degrees where the board extended beyond the edge of the deck), unusual, makes efficient use of 8 foot boards, plus I like it. Here we go.


I tested the pattern with a few fence boards and 2x6x12s I had laying around. Gorgeous, as you can see. This is the center of the deck, right in front of the doors. I like the image of having the arrow the boards create draw you out onto the deck and into the yard.


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Old 04-24-2019, 07:57 PM   #123
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So I bought a stack of real deck boards and pinned them in place.

I started with the centerline. That post is in the center of the roof, and close to the center of the deck. Close, only because some of the edges of the deck got built around the immovable, roof supporting posts. I wanted the center of the deckboards to line up with the center of the deck. On my first attempt I put the leading corner of the deckboard on the center frame member--bad idea. You can see I put extra frame members on each side of the center to provide nailing surfaces for the width of the deckboards. I spaced them apart by the thickness of the fence of my speedsquare, both the ends and the sides. I also have a nice digital angle finder I used to precisely line up the boards. Once lined up I used two single nails to layout the boards. I did several this way to find out how they would look and to see how they'd affect the outer sections. The "arrows" will all be parallel to each other, but if the first "arrow" isn't parallel to the centerline of the deck and the edges of the deck, by the time I'm out at the corners, one side will be long and one side will be short.


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Old 04-24-2019, 07:59 PM   #124
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This Western Red Cedar is beautiful wood. I didn't have room to in my truck or room to store all I'd need for the whole project, so I got a batch at a time. Mostly 8 footers and a few 10 footers (for those places where the deck was wider to accommodate the posts).

I stacked it up under the roof out of the rain. I chose the wood carefully, but there were still things to look out for. This grade of decking had only one side graded good, and you can see the edges of some of the boards are quite rough. Those are the down sides, obviously. And there were several places where the protective plastic covering the bunk of boards at the lumberyard where the staple was still in the board. I pulled out a couple, I sawed through a couple, I snagged my hand on a couple, then I decided to stop production and take them all out.

This Western Red Cedar is beautiful wood. I didn't have room to in my truck or room to store all I'd need for the whole project, so I got a batch at a time. Mostly 8 footers and a few 10 footers (for those places where the deck was wider to accommodate the posts).

I stacked it up under the roof out of the rain. I chose the wood carefully, but there were still things to look out for. This grade of decking had only one side graded good, and you can see the edges of some of the boards are quite rough. Those are the down sides, obviously. And there were several places where the protective plastic covering the bunk of boards at the lumberyard where the staple was still in the board. I pulled out a couple, I sawed through a couple, I snagged my hand on a couple, then I decided to stop production and take them all out.

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Old 04-24-2019, 08:02 PM   #125
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Not only did they have one rough side, they weren't all exactly 96" long. This mattered because of the geometry of the layout, a longer board meant the next rank started in a different position. The length of the board had a direct effect on the spacing of next rank of boards. So I setup an infeed table from one of the 10 footers and a stop block and cut them all to the same length. I tried to cut several at a time with mixed success. The saw motor bottomed out on the stack before the blade cut through the bottom board completely. It was a minor inconvenience.

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You can see in the wide shot how my workflow went from left to right, from stack to saw to stand.

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Old 04-24-2019, 08:04 PM   #126
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I told you this wood is beautiful. Let's just look at some wood, in some cases beautifully figured, such varied and subtle shades, interesting grain patterns... I love this stuff.

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I think that last one might a piece of dogwood.

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Old 04-24-2019, 08:07 PM   #127
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Back to getting laid. The deck, that is.

I started by carefully pinning the boards down with just two nails each,

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then in the next shot you can see I screwed them in with deck screws. I predrilled the holes before I drove the screws home. I took care to space them as evenly and carefully as I could, by the width of the fence of the speedsquare you see here, about an eighth of an inch. It was convenient to slide it along the length of the board to make sure the gap was consistent when I put the second and subsequent screws in.

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I'd hand selected all the boards, but some of them weren't completely straight, like this one. I noticed it when I spaced the one end and then noticed the other end was not spaced the same. I resorted to moderate force to bend some of the boards into submission with prybars and progressive fastening.

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Old 04-24-2019, 08:09 PM   #128
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After a careful start, I made good progress in these wide open areas of the deck. Eventually, I reached then point where I could start on the next direction but my stock of boards was in the way. This was the beginning of a process that lasted most of the decking phase. I had limited amount of cover from the roof and moving the boards out of my work area happened over and over. At this point, it's fair to say I have a lot of experience handling my wood.

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That bunch in the last picture, they're about to be in the way.

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Old 04-24-2019, 08:13 PM   #129
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I started the next section in the reverse direction and installed as many of the boards as I had free space. The stock of boards stored under the roof I let them stay in place until I coudn't deck around them any more. You can also see in this picture the result of the deck extending beyond the eave before the gutters have been installed. Time to restack them.

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Then they were out of the way again. I wouldn't need to work on that exactly spot again for awhile. Progress on the second section resumed.

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Old 04-24-2019, 08:15 PM   #130
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It resumed until I ran into some wood I couldn't move, namely this post. I made a note of where to notch this board and carried it to the chopsaw. I veerrrryyy carefully cut away most of the notch... and broke out the waste piece. Ta-da!

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Then sadness. I couldn't fit it in place, under the post. Gravdigr, this is the half board we spoke of. It was dark, I was tired, good. night.

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Old 04-24-2019, 08:18 PM   #131
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Post too big? Nope, notch too small. But not any more. You can see the little bits I took out and the saw marks their removal left. ONWARD!

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I made my way outward from the house until I was working close to the edge of the roof. Then I decided to turn my attention to the side of this section closest to the house. You remember I cut the frame to match the line from the corner of the house to the corner post. Now I had to match that arbitrary cut with some custom deck boards. You can see in the foreground that obtuse triangle of exposed framing.

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I laid the a board down and marked a line on top of it where the framing ended underneath, then cut it with my hackzall. Then I used that cutoff to transfer that angle to the board that would be one away from the edge of the deck. I didn't want the edge of the deck to be a thin sliver of a board, I'd rather have more "meat" in that high traffic spot and make up the angle further in from the edge.

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Old 04-24-2019, 08:20 PM   #132
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You can see the board that has the sharp angle with a deep notch that fits on either side of the bolt between the concrete pier and the post bracket. I slid it into place and used the triangle template to transfer the angle from the board in place. You can see it's been cut to a point but not installed.

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Old 04-24-2019, 08:26 PM   #133
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Now that the thin one's installed, it leaves more room for a much wider board to be installed at the edge of the deck here. I feel this made the edge of the deck much stronger. Those spots required some specialty cuts and slowed me down considerably. The obstacles to deckboards still ahead of me were only posts/piers. This meant I could really increase my output.

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Old 04-24-2019, 08:27 PM   #134
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My installation process followed this pattern, one board on the left, then one on the right, left, rigth, etc. Here you can see as I'm progressing from the house to the yard one on my left is fouling against the pier holding the center post.

Time for another notch. Cut, snap, install.

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Old 04-24-2019, 08:29 PM   #135
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I was making good progress, but still some things interrupted me. Some were practical, like why is there a waterfall coming down in my work area? Oh. The gutter is a lake.

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*WAS* a lake.

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Some were just w.t.f. I was challenged when I talked about "half a board". Check out "three quarters of a branch".

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When the project surpassed my understanding, I found new uses for my tools. Pop quiz: what do you think is the purpose of this part of my speedsquare?

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