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.

5 Comments:

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.

sk

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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