Compass Deck #5: Disappointment, Movement and Change

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Blog entry by Nate Meadows posted 06-20-2016 09:42 AM 2798 reads 0 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Refinement and Error Part 5 of Compass Deck series no next part

So I started the deck in late June, early July. I came out on the first day of October, which was a chilly day and much to my dismay, this is what I found!!!

When it is hot out, and the deck is soaking up the suns heat, there is no gab what so ever! But, when its cold, every seam pulls open. These two were/are the worst. Interestingly enough, the Trek Decking shrinks next to nothing compared to the Choice decking! I was/am disappointed in the Choice Decking Brand! A 1/4 inch longitudinal movement is just crazy. The deck has been down two falls and winters now and the gaps close and appear like clockwork! I wouldn’t be so disappointed if I had known about it and was expecting it!

O well, its to late now to cry over spilled milk:) Getting back to work, I moved over to the pool side area. The plan was to do break up the monotone of the rest of the deck. The idea was to put the inlays where they wouldl be seen once the furniture was on the deck. I also wanted to create a set of stairs that hugged the pool; so this particular inlay would be an ever present part of summer life. Again, I didn’t do a lot of calculations, I just went by what felt right.

If you know me, you already know I have a weakness for things nautical…even though I am not a Navy Man man, I bleed Army Green:)! (Though, really we all bleed Red, White and Blue!!!) Anyway, I really wanted to carry the ship idea from the shop onto the deck! I glued several pieces of Trex Decking together using Gorilla Polyurithane Glue and then cut out a ship design.

Because I was limited to so few colors, I wanted to create a silhouette of the ship with the “sun” setting behind it in a horizon of ocean.

I purchased some off shade, off brand decking for the sun and used my Lamello Biscuit Jointer and more Gorillia Polyurethane glue to glue up the blank. I have to give a huge Thank You to David Rakauskas from Colonial Saw Co. He sponsored me with this tool when I first got out of the hospital and the Army! This jointer is an amazing machine! Not only does it cut biscuits but it also has a cutter to remove defects. I will be forever grateful!

My twin brother gave me this little gem of a tape measure for Christmas! It is a Rototape and I highly recommend it if you draw circles at all. It makes life so much easier and it is a joy to use. There is just someone about a good tool in your hand! I know you all know what I am talking about!

Here is where the change comes in and where I must disappoint you…at least for a time. Right after I have finished this part of the deck, things shifted and it looked like we were going to move! All the work for nothing…, not really though, its good practice and I enjoy using my brain and hands. So the new plan was to scrap the ship and sun and just fill in the empty space so that the deck was livable when we left the house.

The great news is we are NOT moving! Bad news…I have not returned to the deck to finish the ship inlay. It may be sometime before that happens. Until then, here is what the deck looks like know!

Thanks for reading! That it for now…

More to Follow…soon I hope!...:)

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

21 comments so far

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 3973 days

#1 posted 06-20-2016 10:44 AM

It sure looks better than my pine decking regardless of the gaps Nate. I suppose folks won’t be out the deck so much when it’s cold anyway. It is disappointing though to find out to late which product was actually the best.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View BurlyBob's profile


7076 posts in 2904 days

#2 posted 06-20-2016 01:44 PM

Nate, That is one fantastic looking deck. Makes me wish I had a backyard large enough for one.

View Bob Kassmeyer's profile

Bob Kassmeyer

257 posts in 3564 days

#3 posted 06-20-2016 10:56 PM

As always Nate it’s always a pleasure to look at your work. We have a composite deck too and some of the skirt boards do some crazy things when it’s 100 degrees out. It looks great at 80, and in the winter there are gaps at seams.

-- Bob Kassmeyer, Nebraska

View Mean_Dean's profile


7019 posts in 3786 days

#4 posted 06-21-2016 12:03 AM

Interesting that the Trex shrinks in length also. At least with wood, you know it’s going to expand and contract in width, and don’t really have to worry about it getting longer or shorter!

One thing you can do in the future, is to cut the board ends at 45 degrees, and kind of shiplap them, so that if they do shrink or grow, you won’t have as noticeable a gap.

So, you would cut the one board to look like this on the end:——/ and the mating one like this: /__

(Ok, that’s a pathetic looking drawing, but hopefully you see what I’m talking about!)

Anyway, the rest of the deck looks great, and I’m looking forward to seeing the sailing ship installed!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2125 days

#5 posted 06-21-2016 12:40 AM

Better shrinking than buckling I’d say. That David fella sounds like a good man.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View shipwright's profile


8468 posts in 3437 days

#6 posted 06-21-2016 04:04 AM

The general effect of the deck is just great Nate. Don’t beat yourself upmover the fine details only you will notice.
I know how I look at my work and how others do and I know that you (and I) are your own (my own) worst critic.
This is a really ambitious deck that most wouldn’t even attempt and you have pulled off 90% of it in style. The other 10% was out of your control and that’s too bad but it can’t take away from the 90.

I can’t wait to see the industrial strength marquetry. I too have a penchant for things nautical you know.

Keep smiling and everything will turn out just fine. Trust me.

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

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 3178 days

#7 posted 06-21-2016 04:03 PM

Great work Nate! Turned out great. I’m sure the ship will look awesome when finished.
Take Care!

-- I never finish anyth

View lew's profile


12957 posts in 4394 days

#8 posted 06-22-2016 03:36 AM

Great work, Brother!

Don’t beat yourself up over something that is out of your control. On the bright side- the winter snows will cover the gaps ;^)

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

View tyvekboy's profile


1967 posts in 3652 days

#9 posted 06-24-2016 11:53 PM

What a great looking deck. I don’t think anyone has a better more artistic deck. You Win!.

As far as the gaps … they are supposed to be there. Can you imagine if you laid everything down when it was cold and when it heated up all the screws popped out or the boards caused a trip hazard? That would have been worse. If you squint you won’t see the gaps.

I hope you post it as a project when you get the ship inlay done.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View robscastle's profile


6735 posts in 2843 days

#10 posted 06-27-2016 01:22 AM

Great job on the deck I must say.
Now some physic lessons for you (all in humour of course)

Metal expands and contracts when it gets a change in temperature so expansion gaps are built in
Water does the same, glass not so much, dont put beer in the freezer for too long!
Wood is no different, and as you would know the human body is not exempt either.
Concrete requires expansion gaps and its got the whole earth as a heatsink to use.

The gaps if they were not there would result in buckling and produce an even uglier result

Train track would buckle and derail the train bridges would self destruct

Glad to hear you will be looking at the gaps for some time now, by the way which High School did you attend?

Looking forward to seeing the Abrams soon!

-- Regards Rob

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1132 posts in 2845 days

#11 posted 07-02-2016 12:32 PM

Brother Stefang,

Your too hard on yourself! Pine is a great wood! Sure it has more routine maintenance but it is a great lumber! Thanks for your encouragement though!:)

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

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1132 posts in 2845 days

#12 posted 07-02-2016 12:34 PM

Brother Burly,

Thank you for the kind words. I am sorry to hear you don’t have the space. I was there once. Be thankful you don’t have to mow and have all the yard work:). No really, it is all worth it. I hope someday you can see your wish come to fruition.

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

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1132 posts in 2845 days

#13 posted 07-02-2016 12:37 PM

Brother Bob,

Thanks for the super encouragement! Funny you mention the skirt boards! My father has used composite as well and his skirts are popping like mad. Mine have broke several screws. I meant to put that in the blog. I think it has something to do with the water that gets behind them and freezes, but that is just a guess. I think that it is definitely an issue the industry needs to investigate!

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

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1132 posts in 2845 days

#14 posted 07-02-2016 12:41 PM

Brother Mean,

Thanks for the encouragement and the idea. It is a strange problem to be sure. I think I will be sticking with wood if I ever do a new deck. ??? We will see:). I am not sure when I will get the ship in but I will definitely post it when I do.

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

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1132 posts in 2845 days

#15 posted 07-02-2016 12:42 PM

Brother Fridge,

David is a very kind man indeed! Thanks for the complement and for reading.

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

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