Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Latest Updates

Sorry for the lack of posts, but the past 2 weekends we have been busy with wedding "stuff" for my brother who just got married on May 9th. I was the best man, so that was my priority.

I like the look of the cedar A LOT!! I think it looks better than composite decking and I have always loved the smell of cedar. It won't be much work to stain the deck every year since I don't have to do the railings!

We have finished half of the decking boards. We started in the middle of the deck. You are probably wondering why. Well, we were going to start on one of the ends, but we couldn't tell if the board was straight. I am more worried about the board looking straight to the eye, than of it being square.

So, we started in the middle at the middle post and it looked perfectly straight. The problem we ran into is because it is wood, as it dries it warps, bends, etc. We started with the straightest board we could find. Then we used clamps to persuade the other boards to stay straight. We had to do some minimal shimming to make the boards even.

The problem with the clamp is that we started overtightening it and causing our spacers (8d nails) to cause impressions on the sides of our cedar decking. We used some laminate flooring spacers which helped, but they kept getting stuck. We finished about 5 rows in about 5 hours...not good progress at all!

So, I decided the clamps had to go and since they are 4 foot clamps, we were going to reach their limit very soon. I use ratchet straps in the truck all the time to tie things down, so I figured it was worth a shot. I set up 4 straps across the length of the deck and we ratcheted the boards down and it worked like a charm. Plus, we didn't have to move the straps which moved things along quite nicely.

So, half of the decking is finished and this weekend I plan on starting around 9 and finishing the rest of the decking done on Saturday. If time permits, I will also fix the stairs and put decking on those.

Then on Sunday, I hope to clean and seal the decking boards. More pictures to follow.

What to complete after decking:
  1. Stairs - I need to disassemble the bottom and readjust because the bottom riser is 1.5" larger than any of the other rises and the top riser is 3"...small step. So if I inset the 2x4 connector into the stringers, it will make this better.
  2. Railings
  3. Trim/Lattice
And then we will be done. Then there will be a lapse in time until the next big project because of lack of funds :). But I am planning on buying a new grill because I sold mine to my dad. This will happen in the next couple of weekends.

Everyone says Weber, but they are twice as expensive as any other grill. My last grill I bought at Walmart for $250 and it lasted me over 3 years and now my dad has it. I keep the grill covered and do a yearly thorough inspection and cleaning to prolong it's life, so I probably will buy another cheaper grill.

I really want a large cooking area (more than 500 sq. in), no SIDE BURNER (difficult to find) and less than $500...would be nice if it was closer to $300.

Here are 2 that I like:
  1. http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=10848170 - I like it because it doesn't have a side burner, but instead has a second covered grilling section. Also has infrared, but being that it is $300, I am assuming that it is not the best quality infrared cooker out there :)
  2. http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=296460-87041-FGF50069-U403&lpage=none - I like the sonar fuel gauge. not sure how much the main cooking area is as total cooking surface is 675 sq. inches. Has a side burner, which I can deal with. I don't like the small storage area underneath...probably can only fit the propane tank and not much else :( Has a infrared rotisserie burner, which probably requires the purchase of the rotisserie feature.
I will eventually visit both of these stores and do some more research before making my decision.

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