Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Decked Out

It was going to be a straight forward simple little project. I would supply the money for the materials and the labor would be delegated.

The work began. The deck at my daughter's house began from posts embedded in cement. I watched as the thing seemed to erupt from the ground, a beauty in honey colored wood. It looked good. It looked like a deck and then the trouble began.

I tuned in to You Tube videos to watch deck building by professionals. That little niggling feeling I had as I watched the deck rise from the soil was solidified by the videos I watched.

I have learned a giant lesson. A DIY (do it yourself) person is not a professional carpenter. The more You Tube I ingested, the more nervous I became about the safety of the deck that was being constructed. It was time to step in and halt the progress. Progress without safety is not progress at all.

For the past week I have been shoring up that deck, and exercising all the knowledge I have accrued from all those mind numbing videos on deck building. Lag screws, carriage bolts and joist hangers are now firmly insconsed in my every day vocabulary. I talk the carpenter talk but sadly still can't read a tape measure. The daughter and I just pass the tape back and forth between us with our fingernail delineating the little hash marks between the numbers on the tape to show where we need a cut to be made with the saw.

My mind is tired from trying to figure out how to fix the work that has already been done on that deck. It would have been easier to build it right the first time then to try to figure out how to fix the errors that plague this deck. We are getting there. Today we started on the deck railing. The drill would not drill through the 4X4 posts and not only did it squat down and refuse to twist that drill bit through the wood, but it wouldn't let us removed the bit. The blade broke on the jig saw and the carriage bolts would go through the holes that were drilled for them.

Within the first few hours in the sun  with sweat dripping down my rib cage, I was ready to weep.

What else do we do when the going gets tough? We take a nap and to the house I went to think about a solution to my problems. I was trying to set a post into the deck for a railing and I failed miserably.

One nap later, I headed back to that deck with a new plan. Removing two deck boards allowed me access to where I need to place the post and a few lag bolts later, I had a post secured to the rim joists that was now plumb and firmly in place. I didn't get as much done today as I had planned. Tomorrow I will be back at the deck but the first thing I'll do is visit the building store for a few new deck boards to replace the ones I butchered today.

Hot, tired and dirty and short of any major accomplisments today, I'm now showered and off to bed. I would prefer to be an observer in this deck fiasco but that is not to be. Those You Tube videos insured that I couldn't sit back and watch this work be done amateurishly.

I am not a carpenter. Carpenters can read tape measures. I can't.

I'm tired and I'm struggling to keep my eyes open right now so I'm off to bed to get rested up for tomorrow!

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