New Deck #2: Day 3 of the deck build

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Blog entry by Karson posted 04-23-2008 02:27 AM 3147 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Starting the new deck. Part 2 of New Deck series Part 3: Day 4 of the build »

Well yesterday was a rain-out day, so today was a double-header. Well not really true. But the deck boards were going down well.

You can see my 20 ft pipe clamp that I’m using to compress all of the deck boards and take out the woofs, and the bows that always seem to show up after your get the perfect boards home. So much for hand picking.

Everything was going well until I got close to the edge.

Of course I was planning to stop here until I did the electric for the lights. BUT, I put a tape measure on the space and I found out that the space was different than I had calculated.

I measured the board and they are 5 1/2”. I mean they are always 5 1/2” Because I bought a 2 X 6. BUT, after you get 24 boards screwed down and you find that the measurements are not panning out, you check one more time. “Let’s see measure twice and Screw once” These puppies are 5 5/8”, they probably are going to shrink to the 5 1/2” size. Meanwhile my deck surface is 3” wider than I estimated for the number of boards that are installed. So what is going to happen is I’ll have a half board on each side.

Not a big problem, but not as designed.

I also went to the big box store to purchase a 20 Amp ground fault circuit breaker. $54.00 lighter in my pocket I brought it home.

I took the circuit panel apart, Took my “Gold Plated” GFI circuit breaker, put it in and it popped. Wait a minute, that’s not suppose to happen. I put the old circuit breaker back in and it worked fine.

(Scratching head, Ponder, Ponder) I know, take the wires apart and see where the trouble is.

Problem, The box where the wires came out of the ground are under 3 deck boards, OK the drill has a reverse. Take up the boards. Lay on my belly on my “New Deck” open the box, untwist all of the wires.

Turn on the circuit breaker, OK the buried wire to the box is OK. The new wire I put in is under the deck is OK. The problem is the wire that is buried to the duck pond.

Pause!!! Wife just stopped by with chocolate covered apples slices and strawberries. You will have to wait while I eat. She must be liking her new deck. She’s not worried about the problems.

They were good. Excellent.

I regress. I also mentioned the duck pond.

4 babies that we got at Easter time. We usually raise them to let the foxes, raccoons and hawks take them. That’s not the plan, but that’s what seems to happen. The two that we had last summer gave us some great eggs, until something had a hankering for duck. We usually let them run around the yard when they get big. We do put them back in the cage at night. Daisy Duck, a jet black one last year thought I was her mate, when I walked close to her she’d squat down on the ground. I’d pick her up and when I put her down she’d look at me and I guess she was thinking, “Is this what sex is suppose to be like!”

Back to the deck.

I took all of the wires apart at the duck pond. The ones buried to the shed caused a problem. Wait the ones to the yard light caused a problem. Today is not my day to fix all electric problems. So untwist all of the wires so I can close up the box under the deck and I’ll worry about the ones at the tree and shed later. These lights all worked great until I put in a ground fault Circuit breaker. So there has got to be some bleed through some where.

Circuit breaker stays on, Put back down the deck boards that were removed. Pack up all the tools. Put the batteries on the charger.

Tomorrow is toy making day. Nothing to be done on the deck.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

10 comments so far

View Grumpy's profile


25526 posts in 4302 days

#1 posted 04-23-2008 02:37 AM

You lucky fella Karson, I never get that sort of food in the workshop. A cup of tea is about the limit. Whats your secret. By the way the deck is looking good.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View jcees's profile


1077 posts in 4250 days

#2 posted 04-23-2008 02:42 AM

You need to shift this bad boy over to HomeRefurbers. Great to see it all come together. 20ft pipe clamps are sweet.


-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View Karson's profile


35194 posts in 4851 days

#3 posted 04-23-2008 02:47 AM

Grumpy: This was delivered to my computer. I never get anything in the shop unless I take it there.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Karson's profile


35194 posts in 4851 days

#4 posted 04-23-2008 02:49 AM

JC: I guess I need to join HomeRefurbers, I hadn’t done that yet.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4273 days

#5 posted 04-23-2008 02:59 AM


This is coming together pretty well. I am glad to see that you isolated the electrical problem. I don’t blame you for taking a break from the deck. You have put in some pretty hard days so far.

Thanks for the post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View itsme_timd's profile


690 posts in 4282 days

#6 posted 04-23-2008 03:22 AM

Karson, the deck is looking great, I’ve been pondering putting one in at my place. Then again I’m pondering about 100 projects right now. However, I’d definitely have to make my own snacks… :-(

-- Tim D. - Woodstock, GA

View Richard Williams's profile

Richard Williams

162 posts in 4243 days

#7 posted 04-23-2008 03:24 AM

Hi Karson, Wow it is looking good. I sure wish I was there for an hour I could trouble shoot what might be wrong with that electrical circuit. However, you are doing basically everything I would be doing but most likely I might know where a couple of possible trouble spots might be. But I have faith in you that you will find it okay. Anyone that can do all that you have shown us won’t be stymied by a few errant electrons. Just remember buddy, the GFCI is doing exactly what it was designed to do. It is sensing that something is not right and that there is a trickle of electrons flowing to ground and not coming back on the white or nuetral wire. Any and all outside circuits should have this protection on them and you did right by buying a breaker instead of the cheaper GFCI receptacles. I have found them frozen in the “on” position after getting some rain seeping into them, even though we took a lot of precautions against allowing rain and wind blown water from getting on them. I wrote the National Electrical Code Committee on this but so far I haven’t seen any response. Anyway, isolating different parts of the circuit and operating the lights or using the receptacles after energizing it will prove if it is going to be okay or not. Very definitely someone’s life could be at risk. Keep us posted buddy. Bye.

-- Rich, Nevada,

View jjohn's profile


390 posts in 4164 days

#8 posted 04-23-2008 03:45 AM

I have built at least 100 decks in my past life and never used clamps to put one together. Very interesting. We always kept the boards at least 1/8” apart for expansion, using the width of a nail as a divider between the boards. Let me know if you ever have any problems with it buckling. You will have destroyed and old myth around these parts. That is unless you plan to cover it from the weather. Anyway I would really like to know more about this.

-- JJohn

View Napaman's profile


5530 posts in 4528 days

#9 posted 04-23-2008 05:50 AM

greatr deck…i have not read every word of a series or blog in a while…i am loving the explanation and care to teach…SPEAKING OF TEACHING…if i talk SEX ED I have to get permission slips in my classroom…never knew ducls could be so frisky…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6866 posts in 4430 days

#10 posted 04-23-2008 11:45 PM

Hi Karson,

Looks good so far.

These things happen right?

Friday is another day!


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

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