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The joy of joistsThursday, July 01, 2010
The pile of pressure-treated lumber is quickly disappearing, which means it's getting close to time to order the deck boards and railings... but first, it's time to build the deck joists. These will be attached to the ledger board using Simpson Strong-Tie brackets, then rest atop the beam and connect to a header at the far end. There are seven long joists, and three short joists, all cut from pressure-treated 2x8 lumber.

It was not long after I began cutting these boards on the miter saw that I noticed what woodworkers call "end checking", where the freshly cut edge begins to crack as the green wood quickly dries out. After hunting around town a bit, I managed to track down a can of Anchorseal at Woodland Building Supply, which was a lifesaver!

And now, to hang the joists. This should be easy, you say. Just hang the brackets on the ledger, and set the joist on the beam. Then check to make sure everything is straight, proper, and sloped in the right direction.

About that slope... for some reason or another, the far beam ended up about an inch too high to hit a perfect level away from the house. The posts and beam were all set and nailed in, so trimming down the posts would mean some nasty nail removal and that just didn't sound like fun. So, other options? How about notching the beam for the joists? Sounds interesting. Perhaps we can cut through with the circular saw, then finish it up with a chisel. And we'll do that seven times. Okay... like this?

It sure would be nice if it didn't take twenty minutes per groove, but they hug the joists nice and snug, and they allow me to compensate for variation in the joist thicknesses, leaving a surprisingly level top edge...

Three down, four to go... a while later, and we're getting something surprisingly deck-joist like...

And here is the view from the basement door area - not bad so far!

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