June 04, 2007

Phase II

Deck Lengthening.

CAUTION: Contains carpentry and carpentry-related text. May not be suitable for those who wish to remain awake.

Okay, so I gots myself this wooden platform. First step, taking up the end deck board to get at the stringer on the end in order to remove it.

Old screws have a tendency to rust, which makes rounding them off with a power screwdriver quite easy. And makes them a bit harder than they should be to get off.

Undid the majority of them then got a wrecking bar to pry up the two screws that were still imbedded in the wood, and to my surprise, the stringer wasn't simply nailed to the ends of the joists, but each joint had it's own little joist hanger screwed to the end, all of which were in turn screwed to the stringer. Very nicely done, whoever originally built it. AND it makes it that much easier to fix.

Unscrewed the stringer, unscrewed all the joist hangers and set them aside. Now then, to lengthen out those two end joists by two feet. Got my board, and my nail plate, and had absolutely NO SUCCESS. These plates (more properly, mending plates) are difficult to get started into the wood, and even tougher when you've got no way to support what you're trying to nail against. I beat and banged on the thing until I had it mangled quite well, and realized it was going to be another trip to the hardware store.

I figured out after much sweat that a simple flat plate would work a lot better.


Off down to the Marvin's at the foot of the hill, grabbed two plates and was back home in no time, screwed the plates on to the short extensions, then onto the ends of the side joists, and then reconnected the stringer I'd taken off earlier to the ends of the extensions. Screws are very nice. If your batteries hold up.

Now then--I had a nice box (that I assumed was relatively square--I never did check it) and it was time to add in the interior joists. And answer questions from the children who came out to inspect what I was doing before they went next door to play with the baby. I was able to tell them that I was hot and sweaty before they lost interest and ran off.

ANYway, the platform sits very close to, or in some spots, on the ground, so it wasn't too bad getting the wood in place, but it did require some scratching with the end of the crowbar to level out some high spots. Once done with that, I reattached the joist hangers onto the 3 foot boards, slid them into place beside the existing joists, and snugged them up to the stringer, but not so tightly that they would push it out of position. Screwed in the hanger ends into the stringer, then went back and screwed the new joists to the old. The one foot of extra overlap length allowed enough room to position the boards and pull them up tightly under the old decking to insure it was relatively level and true. Three screws per joist, and I was done with the support work. (And obviously, if I was doing this on anything other than something that was already on the ground, I would have lagged those boards together with some actual meaty lag screws--as it was, the three thin screws I put in there will do fine for what it's holding up.)

Reba brought me a barbecue sandwich, which I ate, although I really wasn't in the type of condition that made barbecue appetizing. Sweat makes it taste sorta weird. And soggy. Anyway, it was better than passing out from hunger, so that's a plus.

Next, the decking!

Turned over the one original board I had taken loose to begin with, and set it on the outside and screwed it back down. This allows you to make an edge between which all the other boards can be arranged so that they have consistent gaps between each board. Of course, I didn't realize there would be quite so much crook in the boards.

Got them all four laid out between the existing and the end board, put one screw in the end of each where they were all spaced evenly, then went down to the OTHER end to align them. Well, there was no way it was going to be even spaces. A couple were so far out that I wound up having to undo them and turn them end for end to attempt to get them slightly more even.

Still, even with the attempts at matching the spaces, I still had to use the ol' iron persuader to warp the boards back sideways as I anchored them down.

That is, until my batteries ran completely out.


I'd gotten almost finished, and then there was nothing left. And none of the other batteries were charged up. Meaning that I had two options--use a regular screwdriver (HAHAHAAAAA!!) or go get some deck nails.

Back to the store.

Looked around to see if they had any batteries--they did, but it wasn't worth the price--and then got a box of ring shanks.

Home, finished nailing down the decking, pushing and pulling the crooked ones into place, and HEY! Pretty much okay!

I did cut a couple of pieces of blocking to hold the corners up off the ground a bit--again, since it's not supporting much weight, this is okay for what it's going to be holding. AND THEN!?


The old platform has been sitting uncovered under a pine tree for ten years now, so it needed to be cleaned. Got a bucket of bleach and some water and a push broom and found more muscles I should have been using more often. But at least I got to enjoy the refreshing scent of bleach. Once it was all done, it looked quite nice. Ish. The new boards are still a lot lighter. But I do NOT care.

Now--time for Phase III!


Posted by Terry Oglesby at June 4, 2007 11:39 AM

Those mending plates say right on them NOT FOR TRUSSES. I'm surprised that they even sell them in Trussville.

Posted by: skillzy at June 4, 2007 12:18 PM


Posted by: Terry Oglesby at June 4, 2007 12:31 PM