Compass Deck #1: The Beginning

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Blog entry by Nate Meadows posted 05-21-2016 03:14 PM 1575 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Compass Deck series Part 2: Compass Framework »

This build was not a rational one what so ever! As most of you know I was/am up to my head in projects already; so why build a deck? There really is a simple answer. I love my wife and I want peace in my house!:). Theresa really wanted a deck, and it was not going to wait. So, if I was going to build it, I was at least going to build it the with a Nate twist!:) I hate doing things twice and if you know me at all, I think outside most boxes of normalcy.

The first step was getting things squared and leveled. I used pier blocks just in case we have to move the deck to add on to the house, but that is the only place where I went “lite” on the build.

The next step was to get all the lumber. Thank God for tax returns right:?. Lumber is getting so expensive! Especially in California were there is a lumber tax! I really want to invest in a sawmill! One thing at a time!

I used 4×12s for the main beams with twelve feet spacing between each run. The joists are 2×12s set on 12 inch centers with joist hangers. The hangers are screwed in with joist screws, NOT NAILS. First, I HATE nails! Don’t get me wrong, there are some really good applications where nails are good for but for the most part I am a screw guy. They hold so much better, are longer lasting, are reusable, replaceable and, if and when we ever do have to move the deck, it will be so much easier!

One thing I can definitely say is I am a huge advocate of using two drills. Having to change drill bits back and forth is a production stopper!

Once all the joists were in, I went to the outside edge. Yes the two main beams had twists, which made life difficult. I was able to correct it with much cutting! The outside blocks were added so that I could run an adjacent border around the deck.

I overlapped the joints to add rigidity.

I used joist hangers on the short joists as well as ledger bolts because I really wanted the edge to be strong. It is a constant point of stress and load.

If you notice from the previous picture, some of the ledger bolts were to long to drive on the inside locations. I have to thank MilesCraft for this really handy 90 degree driver. It saved me and allowed me to get into a lot of tight spots!

Move to Follow….

-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

10 comments so far

View lew's profile


13533 posts in 5211 days

#1 posted 05-21-2016 03:20 PM

Sturdy build, Brother! You’re gonna need a BIG crane if you ever need to move it ;^)!!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View patron's profile


13722 posts in 4797 days

#2 posted 05-21-2016 03:28 PM

good to see you ‘back at it ’ nate
that you and theresa are both well enough
to continue your home is a real blessing

somehow it is never done
(at least it seems that way at times)
the journey is a reward in itself

that deck is for sure sturdy

enjoy !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Bluepine38's profile


3393 posts in 4541 days

#3 posted 05-21-2016 03:30 PM

I have found that the 1/4” and even 3/8” air ratchets make great right angle drivers and drills, and they
will take a lot of use and abuse. Great looking deck, and it should be strong enough to support quite a
few people without any problem.

-- As ever, Gus-the 83 yr young apprentice carpenter

View johnstoneb's profile


3220 posts in 3629 days

#4 posted 05-21-2016 03:33 PM

That deck should last. It will probably be too heavy to move. Just have to build the house over it.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View BurlyBob's profile


10448 posts in 3722 days

#5 posted 05-21-2016 04:06 PM

Nate that is one beefy looking deck. You build like I do, heavy duty. Keep after it the wife is going to love it.

View Bob Kassmeyer's profile

Bob Kassmeyer

282 posts in 4381 days

#6 posted 05-21-2016 05:44 PM

Looks good Nate, I have always heard that if mama is not happy nobody’s happy. It’s really good to see you posting again.

-- Bob Kassmeyer, Nebraska

View shipwright's profile


8816 posts in 4254 days

#7 posted 05-21-2016 07:34 PM

Good looking deck Nate. If you ever get a D8 Cat you will have a parking spot for it. :-)

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4759 days

#8 posted 05-24-2016 03:30 PM

great looking deck nate, does the tool for tight areas really work good, is there plenty of power and torque….please post pictures of the finished deck.

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1132 posts in 3663 days

#9 posted 05-25-2016 03:26 PM

To all sorry for the delay, somehow I missed the alerts! and thanks for the kind words.

Brother Lew, totally unless I dismantle it:).

Brother David, I have come to understand that being a homeowner the work never ends:) but I really enjoy it!

Brother Gus, an Air Ratchet, that is a great idea! Thank you for the compliments!

Brother John, There is a thought, build the house around it!:).

Brother Bob, thanks for the encouragement! I hate building half way:).

Brother Bob K, Thank you for your kind words. You are so right about mama not being happy. The misery spreads like a wild fire in dry grass.

Brother Paul, thanks for your constant support! I would love to drive a D8, I hear they are really fun:).

Brother Grizz, thanks for the question. I love that tool! I have to be honest and say that the Dewalt is stronger than the Milescraft. The Milescraft can skip gears if the tension is to high. The Dewalt power right through everything! I will get more of the blog up soon.

-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 3995 days

#10 posted 05-26-2016 04:40 PM

Looks great Nate! Nice work.

-- I never finish anyth

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