We are re-building our back stairs and deck. Some parts were getting punky, some parts were actually rotting. It has been ten years. And they are in the shade – they do not get dried out properly sometimes. It was time.
No biggy. We can do this. And we are almost half way done, actually. What we could have done in two days before will take us four now but that just means ‘double the pleasure, double the fun’. Fun with Sally changes meaning as you age. Now it means much more carpentry than it ever did.
But it is our own fault. We didn’t know what we were doing the first time….the carpentry, I mean. We know more now but likely not enough to have the assembly stand for more than another decade. There is always another lesson to be learned and we could study and investigate wood and work forever. Better to just get on with it and just plan on doing it again in ten years. Hopefully it will last a bit longer this time.
But – so that you know – the chore started by first finding someone to buy milled lumber from. That is not easy in the winter. Most people hibernate. I do, too. But looking for lumber did not really disturb my winter somnolence. I did it slowly.
I found some. But actually getting the lumber did disturb my semi-hibernation.
C is a young man ten or so miles away and he had a mill that needs paying off. So, he was at the ready. He delivered four or so loads by way of his small (same as mine) boat. Some deliveries were delayed by winter storms. We then reloaded it into Sal’s boat and floated the loads under the highline. We hauled the loads up the hill and stacked them. Then we took the 12 and 16 foot 2×6’s along our irregular path to the worksite near the back of the house.
Funny how muscles seem to wake up from semi-hibernation at a much slower rate than do plans and concepts, don’t you think?
The two decks and stairs are supported by 6 inch logs. One of them was also rotten. One other was suspect. So that meant cutting and carrying two logs and adjusting the plan on the fly to accept different posts. But that was just part of the fun. Whoopee.
“Geez, Dave! Why are you only getting ten years from your work? I thought you built to the 30 year rule!”
Yeah. Good point. The main reason was that the back deck was one of our first. We didn’t know enough to separate the planks by a generous 1/2 inch. In the rainy season the planks swell up and form a tight surface. That surface collects the rain and that promotes rot. We promoted rot right up to the rank of major. Those deck planks that we did later in other areas (when we knew better) are still good (a couple needed replacement but 90% are fine). A simple error like plank spacing came back to haunt us.
Also, we don’t use treated lumber. Partly that is because local fir and cedar is almost as long lasting but mostly because we knew that we would have to re-do what we did the first time. We worked fast ten years ago. We worked without knowing what we were doing. The only thing we DID know was that we would have to re-do it.
And, so we are.
And we are seriously considering hosting Woofer’s again…………..