Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Decked out

Last night I was dreaming intently when a man yelling through the predawn mist of the Pittsburgh slums transported me into reality, where I languished briefly before returning to my dream.

I woke up for real soon after 6am and decided to get an early start at the office fueled by coffee, but by 2pm I had lost all motivation except for one thing: BUILD THE DECK. The inspector said he'd look at the progress and call me if there were problems. He had not called, and I don't think he ever will. This is Pittsburgh, people.

So I set to work. The first challenge was to install the posts with a temporary support structure. I wanted the support to be simple so that each post could be repeatedly put for measurements and taken down for sawing just by loosening or tightening a single screw. This turned out to be surprisingly easy, thanks to the convenience of the patio railing, which I did not hesitate to exploit:

I used the water level again to mark the posts at the same height that I wanted them to match up with the house. The tube I got is so narrow that surface tension prevents air bubbles from escaping, potentially messing up the balance, so I freakwently held the two ends together to check that the level was level:

I used my new hand saw to cut the posts. I like my hand saw. Cutting once through the 6x6 post, and then ripping it about 10 inches, and then cutting 3 inches into the side took just 18 minutes.

This wore me out pretty good and I took a break to see what I could find to eat in the garden. This, I believe, must be a bonsai watermelon:

I put the posts back in position and nailed them down on the metal brackets separating them from the concrete. Then I pulled out the first of two 16-foot long 2x12 beam boards and threw it up into position. OK, I didn't exactly throw it, I stood on the patio railing and just pushed it into place. To make sure it didn't fall before I got it screwed in place, I had a 2x4 blocking the other side to form a cradle.

Then I screwed everything and added some stability by putting up a couple of joists.

To my delight the joists were pretty much level. I was proud.

My friends will be sick of hearing me talk about my deck.


Blogger Jennifer Jo said...

That made me and the mister laugh out loud. And then he said, "He's doin' it!" and "Wow."

2:59 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Your friends will forgive your garrulity as soon as you invite them all over for a party on the new deck!

5:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did this come straight out of Walden? Howdy-do, Henry David Thoreau.


11:32 AM  
Anonymous dr perfection said...

it reminds me of that recording you made when you were just a little boy, "How to build a (whatever it was)"

12:04 AM  
Blogger ZoĆ« said...

I remember that recording, Dr. P! I think it was a house out of sticks, or something like that. Priceless. We should listen to it at the next gathering.

6:25 PM  

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