Nice job but it takes time

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Review by RexMcKinnon posted 07-12-2011 10:54 PM 3745 views 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Nice job but it takes time Nice job but it takes time Nice job but it takes time Click the pictures to enlarge them

I bought this product because I thought it would improve the look of the pool deck I am building and although I am not finished yet I think it has. The whole purpose of the jig is too allow the user to screw down decking without showing the screw and that’s exactly what it did.
My decking is made from 5/4 pressure treated boards. There are 10 joists each spaced 16 on centers and there are 2 screws per joist which gives 20 screws per board. To boards feel as if the are held down well. I was not happy with many of my decking boards and many were twisted and cupped. It made keeping even spacing hard. You can actually see in the picture under my dogs left paw that there is one board which has almost no gap on the left the a huge gap on the right. I am going to change that board before I am finished. It was perfectly strait for 10’ then had a huge twist in the last 2’. This was the part that made me nervous. Having the boards screwed from the sides I was worried that when I forced a board into place I would get cracking and screw heads popping out but luckly I did not. I should have returned some boards but the distance to the store and the fact the wood was delivered… by the time I paid for delivery for 3 or 4 boards it is the same price and buying new boards myself.

I think it made a great finish and I am totally happy with the result. Why not 5 stars then, because it is slow. If you are thinking about taking contracts with this tool… don’t. I could have finished my decking in 1/3 the time by just driving the screws through the top. If you are a contractor and time is money and you want to secure the decking so the screws don’t show then do something else. There are expensive nail guns that do this and there are other systems which are probably faster. The money spent on the expensive tool will be made back in time saved shortly.

This is a project I am doing for me and my family so the fact that it takes a bit longer does not bother me as long as the result is good. I am curious to see if long term I will have issues but I guess I will have to wait for that.

Here is the procedure to use the jig. This was repeated 20 times per board in my case. It is an 8’x12’ deck with a curved section near the pool. I think you will understand why I say it is slow.
1. Place your decking board. (Have to do this no matter what method you use)
2. Place jig. Align joist with 1 of 3 preset drill guide holes.
3. Use 1st drill to pre-drill hole. (2 drills are a must to use this system)
4. Drop screw in guide hole.
5. Use second drill to drive screw.

The slow part of this method is changing drills all the time. I think if you were to drive the screws directly into the board without predrilling you would split the boards. I guess I could have clamped my decking down, pre-drilled all my holes then came back and drove all the screws thus changing drills only one time per board but then there is a longer setup per board and you have to realign the jig with the holes so I don’t think this would save any time.

In the end I am very happy with the product but if you have a rush job you need done.. you have been warned.

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 4082 days

12 comments so far

View Randy Sharp's profile

Randy Sharp

363 posts in 4559 days

#1 posted 07-12-2011 11:39 PM

Good review Rex. Thanks for taking time to give us your feedback and the notice of the longer construction time. That’s helpful information.

Nonetheless, your deck looks great! I know your family (including your beautiful dog) will enjoy it for years to come.

-- Randy, Tupelo, MS ~ A man who honors his wife will have children who honor their father.

View devann's profile


2250 posts in 3579 days

#2 posted 07-13-2011 12:13 AM

A customer wanted me to use one of these jigs on his deck last year. After checking it out I too realized that I’d have to charge more for the labor and the fasteners. The client decided against it.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View IdeaBill's profile


40 posts in 3494 days

#3 posted 07-13-2011 01:38 AM

Hey Rex
Your deck does look good without any screw holes showing. However it is good to know that it will take take longer if you where bidding this job would you have added a half a day labor and explain it to the customer. That this system gives exelent resolts

View DinoWalk's profile


29 posts in 3446 days

#4 posted 07-13-2011 11:45 PM

Great info, thanks for the review!

View cutmantom's profile


407 posts in 3922 days

#5 posted 07-13-2011 11:57 PM

the drill bit and driver bit will fit in a quick change chuck which will speed up changes but two drills is better

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 4082 days

#6 posted 07-14-2011 04:59 AM

Thanks for the comments. Just trying to contribute like so many others here.

IdeaBill, I think the nest way would be to make a sample panel, maybe 24” x 24” maybe half with screws and half without. Give the difference in price for the hidden screws option and let the client decide. That way you have no explaining and nothing to lose.

CessnaPilotBarry, wish I would have seen those earlier. I would have done a serious comparison also. In the end though I am still happy with the result. If I think about it I will do an update next year to see if I am still happy.

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 4082 days

#7 posted 07-14-2011 05:54 PM

CessnaPilotBarry, I see your point. The Kreg system cost me $89 plus screws. If someone does not have a biscuit cutter or router the up front costs would factor in on their decision. I have both so I could have gone either way. I would love to see some pictures of your deck just to compare the final product.

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View Bertha's profile


13588 posts in 3580 days

#8 posted 07-14-2011 06:29 PM

I always wondered about this jig, so I’m really glad you posted this review. It sounded a bit unwieldy which kept me at bay. It’s got to produce a really clean look, though. Much of my deck looks like the workers were drunk when they installed it; probably were. I’ve got some deck building in my future, so I may look into this.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 3527 days

#9 posted 07-14-2011 06:39 PM

I would consider this on Trex or other composite that will not shrink.

But for treated 5/4 nosed decking, I don’t want any space between the boards initially because there will be a prefect one when it shrinks up. Also, pre-drilling and countersinking the ceramic coated deck screws into popped chalk lines on the face is nearly invisible if done correctly and will not split.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 4082 days

#10 posted 07-14-2011 07:32 PM

Hey David, I know what you mean about the shrinking. I am a bit worried about that also. This deck is for my pool and is roughly 8’x12’ with a curved edge near the pool. I will post it when completed. This is sort of a test for me. If the shrinking is not too bad I am going to do the same on my other deck which is going to have to be redone in a year or 2. This one is much bigger. It is about 35’x15’ and I am thinking about enlarging it to wrap around 2 sides of my house. I made the gaps as small as possible but this jig needs the gap to screw from the sides. I stickered the boards and let them air dry for a week before the install and then they spent 2 days just sitting on the deck as I sorted through them and chose the niceest face and ordered them. It was a hot dry week so I hope they shrunk a bit but I am thinking that a week is not long enough.

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View jonmulzer's profile


48 posts in 3553 days

#11 posted 07-17-2011 09:50 PM

The twisting and such might have been alleviated by putting down the decking ASAP. When I do an outdoor project in pressure treated I have it delivered the day before or pick it up the day of and getting it down immediately. If it cannot be done in a day I keep the unused lumber tarped and sprayed occasionally with a garden hose. If you get your decking screwed down while it is still good and wet it will stay a lot straighter.

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 4082 days

#12 posted 07-18-2011 06:58 PM

jonmulzer, I know about the twisting when drying but I decided to take a chance because with the system I am using I have to have gaps in the wood and I wanted to wood to shrink a bit before. That being said a lot of my wood was crap when still wet. In the end everything went well except for 1 board which I am going to change. I have another deck to do next year. Depending on how this one looks next year I may make some changes to my method. I am not a pro so I am learning as I go. Thanks for the info.

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

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