Deck-Building Log -- Summer 2005

After laying down the bed for the deck last year, the goal for this year has been to get at least the frame of the deck built. Various projects kept me from starting earlier in the summer (the yard, cleaning out my garage, the rabbit hutch), but I finally got started in early August.

Monday, August 8

OK, the rabbit hutch is finally finished, time to start on the deck!


Bringing in some pressure-treated
lumber on the femtovan

The start of the wood pile

Five posts down, twenty-three to go...

Wednesday, August 10

Just had time for a few more posts tonight. It doesn't look like much, but making sure that the posts are at a level height (and are straight vertically) takes a lot of finicky work.


Four more posts done tonight

Saturday, August 13

After a little more work on the yard, had time to do some more posts.


The rest of the pressure-treated
lumber was delivered (from Carp)

The posts are half done!

Monday, August 15

Put in some more posts...it's amazing how much faster I am at doing them now than when I first started. I really hope the same happens with the beams and joists. :-)


Six more done, only eight left!

Tuesday, August 16

Managed to finish the posts. Next, I need to make sure the posts are lined up, and then start in on the beams!


Finished the last eight

A view of all the posts

Thursday, August 18

I discovered tonight that it's a pain in the ass to move posts that are sitting in deck blocks buried in gravel...I'm thinking that shouldn't have been a surprise.


Using string to align them

That second-last one needs moving

Oy, all of these need to move

Sunday, September 4

I finally got back to aligning the posts after a couple of weeks away from the deck. I finished lining them all up, and my thumb fell prey to the sledgehammer only once... :-(


That second row waited a while for me...

The posts for the higher deck are done!

I had to dig out the gravel from one
side in order to move each block

Done the fifth row of posts

The sixth row was the worst one

But I managed to get them in line

Just one more to go...

All done!

Saturday, September 10

The first step in doing the beams is putting on all the post cap brackets...eight screws for each post!


All the post-caps added on

A closer view of one

Sunday, September 11

Had grand plans of getting all the beams done this weekend, but other events interfered...and then I realized how long it took just to assemble one of the beams properly.


The first beam is done

This thing was pretty damn heavy

Sealing up the beam so water
doesn't get trapped in there

Monday, September 12

Got another beam done tonight, but it started raining before I could do any caulking...stupid weather reports...


Did I mention these things are heavy?

Thursday, September 15

Tonight was probably the last time I'll be able to work on the deck for a few days...all of a sudden, the weather report is full of rain!


Three down, four to go.

Managed to do the caulking this time

Friday, September 16

Managed to get a little work done between the downpours...


Header joists on the upper deck

Now that the beams are lined up
it's time to fix them in place

Sunday, September 18

Today was a big day--all the beams are done! So I thought I'd include a little more detail on how the almost-19-foot beams are assembled from 12-foot lumber.


First, I select out boards of the same width

Two boards are stacked together

But offset by just over 6 feet

Then I use clamps...

...to straighten out any slight curves

Drill some pilot holes

And then join the two boards

Now I need a six-and-a-half foot piece

Which needs some end-cut preservative

And then gets clamped together

More screws...

And then time for the other side

Yup, preservative for every cut

This was one bent board

But it finally came together

The finished beam

Put in its place

Then the next beam

And the next!

Now I need to line them up

And then fix them in place

The angle and last beam
need some planning

It took some time to get
everything just right

The angled beam is mounted
to the post with carriage bolts

And supported with some new brackets

This was a tight squeeze

Monday, September 19

Well, the rain hasn't materialized yet, so I got a little more done today.


One of the header joists done

More brackets

This is what it all looks like now

Last but not least, the caulking

Tuesday, September 20

Still no rain, so I got some more done. In case anyone's wondering, the "double joists" you're about to hear a lot about are the middle joists running between each pair of beams. That middle one has to be a double joist because I'm planning on doing the decking in a herringbone design. A double joist looks very similar to a beam (i.e. it's two 2x8's joined together), but it's still considered a joist since it's hanging off the beams, and not directly supported by a post.

Today's deck-building lesson was brought to you by the letter N. :-)


The last header joist is done

More brackets

Next come the double joists

The first double joist!

The current state of the woodpile

Thursday, September 22

More of the double joists done.


A view from the side

And from the middle of the deck

Friday, September 23

All the double joists are done. Now all I have to do is install 90 single joists...


All done

A view of the whole deck

Sunday, September 25

Between going for a sail and removing my front entrance roofing on Saturday, I didn't get to the deck at all until this afternoon, and even then it was only for a little while because of the rain. Still, I managed to at least get a few of the joists done.


Six down, eighty-four to go...

A closer view

Tuesday, October 4

Haven't been able to do anything on the deck for over a week, between work, the weather, and trips to Peterpatch.


Four more joists done

Spent part of the evening
assembling my new light

Saturday, October 8

I was supposed to be working on the deck all day yesterday, but the weather screwed me over.


The woodpile as of this morning

First row of joists are done

Got another lumber delivery from Carp

Adding a rim joist so that the
lower deck boards can extend
to the upper deck

This of course requires
a new type of bracket

Done the rim joist

These joists in the corner took
a ridiculous amount of time

Saturday, October 15

A lot of rain this weekend, but I managed to find a little time to get some work done.


Added some brackets to support
the rim joist I put in
last week

With all the rain lately, it's
been difficult to measure and
mark the joist positions

Another 8 done...58 to go!

Thursday, October 20

I've lent my digital camera to a friend, so the shots for the next couple of days won't be as high-quality (they're taken with my Olympus W-10).


Four more joists done tonight

Saturday, October 22

Deuce came over to help today, so things went a little faster.


The upper deck frame is done!

Did the measuring and marking
for the next row of joists

Past the half-way mark now
(50 done, 40 to go)

Saturday, October 29

The Grabber dropped by today with the Little Miss in tow. This gave me a chance to introduce SMP to the world of DIY...and she loves the drill!


A new convert to the
joys of power tools

SMP seemed fascinated with
what Uncle KaveMan was doing

Or maybe it was just the
colourful trees... :-)

First row of the lower deck done!

Measuring and marking for
the rest of the joists

A couple more on the next row

The inspection tour

Current state of the woodpile

Monday, October 31

Left a bucket of candy out front for the trick-or-treaters, and then got to work.


10 more done, 18 to go!

Wednesday, November 2

Geez, it's November already...I can only hope the nice weather lasts.


Another 10 done, just 8 more!

Friday, November 4

All the joists are done! Now I just have to frame the walkway.


90 joists are a lot of work...

Sunday, November 6

Got the frame of the walkway started today.


This'll need some joists as well...

Monday, November 7

Now the walkway's done, too.


The framed walkway

Added a step to the deck

Tuesday, November 8

Well, that's it for this year. All the framing is done, and the decking will wait for 2006. Now it's time to work on the entrances!