Making The Deck Base
Now it is time to start
the Deck. Which will be the base, the platform, The Asylum will set on. I
found the best location was not one which came readily to mind, but one which
was dictated by compromise with our home, back yard, and orientation to the
The Base is standard construction
of most free floating decks today. Using Pier Blocks for the corners, a 4x4
to compensate for height, and treated 2x8's for the joists. This will be decked
with 5/4 Deck Lumber which is made of cedar.
The first thing to do
is establish the first corner.
My personal assistant,
Annie, is nudging the block into the best position.
My construction supervisor,
on the job, napping as usual.
Meanwhile, I do the heavy
lifting and struggle to get the rock, roots, and plastic out of the way.
And, it -was- a struggle.
Any one, male or female,
on televison or not, who says they like to do this kind of thing? They sincerely,
and quickly, should seek Professional Help.
Pretty well done. My oh
my, does a mature tree sprout all kinds of roots. From the large to the tiny,
there is alot of them and the fine mats of roots, intertwined with the rock?
Digging is almost impossible.
I like nice tools. This
chop saw can cut a 4x12 in half at 45 degrees.
We shim the first block
to level. This entire project is based on "Practical" and "Common
Sense" and "Reasonable" and "So What?". Sadly, I
did use shims made from soft pine, not treated wood. And, if in ten years
I am still here and they have rotted out?
I, will not care.
Those of you who are shrieking
of my choice of materials? Too bad ... I had them, they worked, and I do not
And, we do our best to
kinda line it up with something that may be kinda perpendicualr with the property.
I plopped a 2x8 on top and made it line up with the crack in the cement. Good
Fiddle around in the dirt
to get a flat spot for the next block.
One really nice way to
level the joist is to shim it on the adjustable end (my left) and measure
from the bottom of the joist to the block.
The finished product.
I have made other decks
and really like to dado the face of the support to have -something- for the
joist to rest on besides two carriage bolts.
Had these carriage bolts
in my bucket and saved a trip to Home Depot or Lowes or Menards or Ace Hardware,
or, my neighbor or my son.
I have a set of dado blades
and will assemble a stack for the saw.
Oh. I am older now and
sawdust is not my friend any longer. Box is half empty already. Nose is also
And we continue with the
second joist. I use the carpenter square for an approx ninety degrees.
All four in place. Besides
using the carriage bolts, two per face, I also ran in some heavy duty screws
from the end of the joist as well.
One squares the deck just
as the Egyptians squared the pyramids. By measuing the corner to corner and
Btw, how did the Egyptians
level the pyramids?
Easy. Remove the sand
to bedrock. Pound away at the bedrock to make a swimming pool about 6"
deep. Fill with water. When there are no high spots left as the water evaporates,
the base is level.
One just needs 10,000
folks to help along, that's all.
Now, to find the spot
for the hole.
I used a fairly straight
piece of cedar laid across the box and lined it to Magnetic North with a compass.
This is useful to gauge where our 7" offset for the wedge will be.
Nothing scientific here.
Just keep adjusting the board equally on each side until it is center to the
sides and, parallel to Mag North.
Then I ran inside to look
up on some table the difference between True North and Magnetic North for
Minneapolis / St Paul. From what I saw, a surprising one degree.
I, am close enough.
Then we make marks on
the centers of each joist and scribe that center to the board.
Lay a straight edge parallel
to the board, on the center mark and measure 7" offset -away- from North.
ie: The Beast, when mounted on the wedge will need to be offset so the center
axis of the tube, when vertical, is close to the center axis of the dome.
From that, I wanted to
scribe on the joists where the edges of my Base Column would end up.
And we mark the joist.
The shorter mark is the center of the deck platform. The longer one is the
center of the column.
Now, for the part I absolutely
hate to do. Dig. And, not into just any soil. But the junk in Woodbury we
call "Dirt". A mix of clay, sand and rocks.
Not just any suburban
rocks either, but 2-3-4-6" rocks.
And, "The Beat Goes
On ... "
If you look carefully
onthe right board, there is a piece of DayGlo tape that I used to mark the
width of the hole on both boards. Also, the boards are fastened on one end
only. So I can swing them out of the way as need for the shovel work.
Always be ready for The
18" down after roots
and rock and lotsa sweat, I found out where the 2" Pvc tubing for the
At the bottom of my #%$^#&$^%*#&$%^#%#&&*^
That's where !
This would not be so bad,
but Saturday was the last day for decent weather. Radar and the weather guys
are forecasting a solid week of rain.
Minnesota weather? Sure
is not anything to write home about.
(To Be Continued)