Okay, so the last update was that the rails had been finished on the deck. The next step is the skeleton, or the battons that the decking boards will actually be screwed to.
There is a bunch of steps involved with this and none of them simple and straight forward. The first thing I did was get out there and make sure I had a clean work area to start with. Sound weird? Not really, you see it IS in a garden and with that comes certain problems. Although most problems can be killed with insect spray…
This was one of about 8 little fellas who came out to visit when I sprayed. Each one was about the size of an iPod Nano. As you can see in this photo above, I went all Godfather on this one – killed him and killed his family. However, it must be said that I don’t like killing any living being without reason, but this was in preemptive self defence since it really was a safety hazard to be doing so much work that close to where they were lurking. And to clarify further, they aren’t actually bad spiders – they are venomous, but not dangerous as they hardly ever come out of their “house” let alone bite people (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_house_spider) – but I’m more worried about one crawling on me while I’m using a circular saw… resulting in much more damage than a spider bite.
But, on to decking things. The next step was to cut enough timber for the skeleton, which involved getting more wood from Bunnings. I ended up buying the decking boards as well since I was already there. I bought every last stick of decking boards that they had (56 boards) and brought them home and laid them in the backyard.
As mentioned in an earlier post, the boards are Ekodeck – www.ekodeck.com.au – and are fantastic. They also have a product fact sheet thing on their site (under downloads) that gives all the specs on how to construct the frame of the deck itself (as far as minimum distances and so on go). I read through and checked this document – I had already done so before even starting the frame, but recapped – and saw that the maximum space between battons was 450mm.
Therefore, I would need to position the battons as equally as possible and preferably closer than 450mm. I went through and cut a bunch of the timber to the right lengths (measured with a little extra to spare) and then laid them all out to see how they fit together.
You can see the decking boards in front of the frame in the picture above, but more importantly, you can see how I’ve laid the battons out. Now, obviously, I had existing ones in there to hold the posts up, so I had to work within those constraints. I also needed to avoid the trees and preferably frame them, while still trying to keep the battons as equidistant as possible.
This took some time. However, the easiest way, I found was to measure the distance from the front of the deck, guess, and then move the battons in place. Then measure them and adjust slightly to make it more even. Once you’ve done the front, then measure the back as well (distance between battons) to ensure that it’s even across the length of the deck.
As you can see in this horribly blurry shot above, some of the battons that held the posts up were not exactly straight. I had to actually move those as well, which in some cases involved cutting them to fit. Once they were spaced that worked out okay, though. You can also see on the right hand side of the frame that I’m going to have problems in fitting that corner together.
As you can see, I ended up with putting a batton on the end of the side deck and then screwing the cross battons straight into it. I had to be really careful and fairly precise with this as I still needed to have strength there. Also I had a small problem when I looked at it because the boards for the side deck would finish butt up against the back deck boards. That meant I needed a second batton for that. It also needed to be exactly in the right spot, so I used a couple of left over bolts and nuts to space them apart. Worked a treat.
Next post will be getting the deck lighting ready and then the boards go on!!!