Friday, September 30, 2011

Handrails Just In Time

Handrails were installed on the steps with about 5 minutes to spare before it started raining.The next couple of days will see very little deck progress because R is in Tennessee with G at Bristol Motor Speedway. G has an opportunity to drive a sprint car at the famous NASCAR track. They left this evening and will drive non stop to Bristol and then come back on Sunday.

I have plenty to keep me busy if it ever decides to quit raining. There are plenty of weeds to be pulled and/or sprayed with Round Up.

On Sunday, my cousin's husband pointed out some poison ivy to R that is growing in with my hostas. I am not yet sure what I will do but I am leaning towards Round Up because the plants are still very small.

I might even try to maneuver some of the vintage wrought furniture out of the basement. If it's sunny and not windy, I will try and paint a few pieces in between my weeding and poison ivy killing.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Kitchen Spindles In

Today we finished installing the spindles on the kitchen deck steps. We then moved to the back steps and stopped when we realized we needed additional washers.Tomorrow might be a down day for deck work. B & G's pressure tank has developed a leak and we have to meet the plumber at their house. They are realizing that having a house is a pain in the a$$.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lags Screws vs Carriage Bolts

These lag screws are what were used to attach the posts for the hand rail before I removed it's wobbly self.
These carriage bolts are what we are using on the new railing to attached the posts.
As you can see from the photos, the lag screws were terribly undersized.
In the carriage bolts vs lag screw debate, I side with carriage bolts every time. Not only is the diameter wider but with the addition of a washer and nut you can tighten without destroying the wood fibers. You can also tighten the nut on the bolt as the wood dries out and shrinks with age. The large washer keeps the nut from digging into the wood and allows you to tighten the nut tighter on the bolt.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Spindles In and Spindles Out

Today while R was installing spindles, I was busy doing my best Mike Holmes imitation by kicking out old spindles.

We really did not want to dismantle anymore of the old railing but this was needed because we need to install a new railing post that is shared with the step up portion of the deck that goes to the barn loft.It was pathetic how loose the railing was installed. We estimate that this was the newest portion of the deck, too. All the material was undersized, installed with nails, and instead of using carriage bolts they used lag screws that were only 2 inches long.

Rain is in the forecast for the beginning of the week so tomorrow we have to get it in high gear and finish the hand rails on the kitchen steps and finish the back steps hand rails. The hand rails on the back steps are about 25% done already. They are also short steps so they are easier to work on.
I was really hoping to talk R into bringing out the wrought iron furniture but I think we will be pressed for time.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Deck Building Update

Deck building and mowing the lawn have taken all of our time as of late. The cool weather is allowing the grass to grow at the speed of light....OK....maybe not that fast but it is growing FAST!!!

The deck is starting to actually show progress. Unlike all the deck work that we did in areas that were not visible but were important for a well made and long lasting deck.We have been adding balusters or as we call them, spindles. The last 3 bundles of 12 spindles have required additional sanding because of mill marks and rough edges. This actually takes longer than you would think plus it's a killer on the neck muscles.Tomorrow we will start building the handrails for the stairs. Then we can add the top rail (2X8) which will make the railing look almost finished.
I am really looking forward to changing out this kitchen door. Several years ago we purchased an oak door with a large beveled window. We also have a vintage wrought iron lock set that matches the original lock sets in the front and back doors. PLUS......I have a vintage wood storm door that needs installed.

Today as we were installing two screws per baluster that I realized I am going to need lots of wooden buttons to cover the screws. Two per baluster X the number of balusters + all the other places that we used screws and countersunk them for buttons= a whole lotta buttons. I need to find a vendor that sells in bulk.

I'm getting antsy to bring my vintage wrought iron furniture out of storage. Both R and I are surprised how big the deck feels now that the railings are installed. Strange how once you have a visual perimeter it lets you see and feel the actual size. I think it is because without railings we never used the area near the edges and only walked in the middle of the deck.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What Would Mike Holmes Do?

I think we watch too much HGTV. I know I watch more than R. Basically I will watch everything on HGTV except those whiny first time buyers shows. Those people get on my last nerve. I mean really....first house and they are whining that the master bath isn't big enough or the back yard isn't already landscaped to perfection and their budget is 600K!!!! Give me a break.

What shows I really like are the realistic shows like Holmes on Homes. Of course, we are not Mike Holmes caliber but we use his advice of building over minimum code. We always try to go beefy whenever we can. Better to have too many deck posts than not enough or better to have too many big joists that are too close together than not enough and have them space too far apart.

So it wasn't surprising that today while we sat on the deck preparing to install the spindles that we pondered "what would Mike Holmes do?"

We were talking about whether to use 1 5/8 inch or 2 1/2 inch deck screws. Neither one of us said anything after R mentioned not knowing which one to use. I sat there thinking back to last night's Mike Holmes show about handymen and when he kicked one of the participant's table and it fell apart. I had visions of Mike Holmes kicking the spindles and watching them fall to the ground.

Just then R said, "I better go with the 2 1/2 inch screws because I wouldn't want Mike Holmes kicking the spindles out."

Yup.....we watch too much HGTV.

Today we rounded the corner of the deck and installed more spindles.We will install the top cap once the entire run of railing is complete. Tomorrow we install the handrails on the steps. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we can get both handrails completed so we can get back to doing our least favorite part which is installing another piece of 2X12 and jacking up the saggy old.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Worked Hard...Little To Show For It

I truly do not like days like we had today. Hanging that 2X12 was very difficult because the back of the deck is high up and the ground is sloped making ladder placement kind of treacherous.

Once the 2X12 was barely installed we realized the board was crowned and the old deck was saggy. What to do....what to do. We raised the old deck using bottle jacks. This not only helped to make the deck level but it helped with the crowned joist which is now not as noticeable.

Rather than cut two 45 degree angles for the corner, we chose to overlap the ends and use biscuits to help keep the corner tight. Not only did we use biscuits but we used a lot of glue and 3 long screws which will be hidden by wood buttons. I love me some wood buttons!!

In the past we have mitered corners like these only to have it separate by the next year. I think these boards aren't going anywhere. We were able to install one post before G called and R left to help in the race shop. Tomorrow should be easier since we already have the post ready to install. The spindles are cut and sanded leaving only the holes to be drilled and counter sunk for more WOOD BUTTONS!!!!

The photos shows that the old rim joist goes up and down so that means when we hang the next 2X12 we will need to do the same thing again. I think we will need to call G to help his old man because I am just too short!!! AND walking up and down that hill makes my foot hurt. The lump is getting bigger and bigger. I go back to the doctor in October and I think when I start wearing real shoes, it is going to bother that lump.

It seems when you go out of your way not to drop things on your do. I don't know how many close calls I have had since I dropped that clamp on my foot. Of course I am still wearing flip flops. Sorry absolutely no more photos of my foot. It looks really ugly now.

Cool Score at the Consignment Shop

Check this out.Purchased for 8 bucks at my favorite consignment shop in Fenton, Michigan.
It still works perfectly. You grab this little knob to pull the mixer part up and out of the mixture.
Screams 1930's. My plan is to repaint the black part and just to clean the chrome. The chrome appears to be in fairly good condition.
I see a lot of malts (R's fav) and smoothies (my fav) in our future.

Back to deck building tomorrow. It has finally stopped raining and we are somewhat caught up on our mowing. During the many days of rain we were able to make our deck posts. So once we put up another 10 foot section of 2X12 rim joist we can install several posts and make some railings which is fun because it really gives you instant gratification. One minute there isn't railing and the next....voila...railing.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Name this caterpillar.....

Name this caterpillar. I have been unable to find an exact match.Has a little black head.
Can crawl fairly fast.

Monday, September 5, 2011

It is Labor Day so we will labor away!

Deck progress was slow the last couple of days. Three days ago the temperature was 96 degrees. This is Michigan so it is not unusual that the current temperature at 12:30PM is 55 degrees.

The temperature today is far more conducive to deck building but it's also depressing to think that summer for the most part is behind us and winter is before us.

Winter is not my favorite season. One reason being it last far too long. It's more like two seasons, brutally cold winter and slushy wet winter.

But on to deck building.

Let me catch you up to date.

We added a 2X8 to the top of the railing. We wanted this larger size board because we felt it was more in scale with the size of the house and with the size of the rim joist that we used for the deck. An added plus is that it is perfect for setting a potted plant or a cold drink.
We used two 45 degree cuts to form the 90 degree corner. We added a small L bracket underneath and used biscuits and wood glue to make sure that the corner does not separate as it ages.
Today we will start adding 2X12's across the back portion of the deck. We purchased the lumber two days ago when it was so terribly hot. We have already cut the spindles to the correct length, cut the point off of the end, and sanded the cuts so the edges are rounded.Here's a little teaser to get you to come back. I scored a great deal at one of my favorite consignment shops and updated a curbside treasure for the deck. More on both of those in my next post.