June 17, 2014

The decision has been made, the measurements set in stone, the lumber sitting on the pool deck. Thanks to one freakin’ %$#@! neighborhood feline, the happy little sandbox our Tiki bar has been sitting in for the past seven years is being turned into a boardwalk constructed around it.

No chicken wire.
No screen material.
No water or sound-based cat repellent.
No trap (oh how I wish I could do a trap!).
A boardwalk.

The thought of constructing a deck (boardwalk sounds better) around the Tiki bar came to me in a dream the last time I was staying with my folks in Massachusetts. I didn’t really know how I was going to go about it, but I knew I wanted a weathered-gray look like you get at the beaches up in the Northeast. A few inquiries from companies who sold weathered barn boards made me realize pretty quickly that if I wanted to save money I’d better be prepared to do it myself. But I’m to woodworking and deck construction like Hillary Clinton is to telling the truth about anything, so I started doing my homework and getting advice from those who I trusted. Hey, everyone has to start somewhere, right?

Keep in mind we’re not talking a major project here: the entire sandbox area is just a tad over 8′ X 10′. But, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t present its own set of problems. For one thing, we’ve decided to keep the brick border that surrounds the current sandbox, and that is anything but square. Fortunately, I’m not the kind that just dives into something without thinking it through first. (Well, yes I am, but in this case I knew I needed to consult with experts ahead of time. So, last Friday night I wandered over to one of my neighbors who knows everything about construction. I had drawn out my dimensions and asked his advice as to how he would do this project if it were his back yard. I told him I was thinking about leveling off the entire sandbox area and laying pressure-treated lumber directly on the sand.

“Recipe for disaster, Doug”, John says to me. You wanna know how I would do it? I would do a frame of pressure-treated 2 X 4s on top of the sand and lay your 2 X 8s on top of the frame. Get your measurements right, make sure the deck is at the same level as your patio so no one trips and sues you, and you’re all set.”

“Sounds good”, I say, “But the only person who’ll be walking from my patio to my deck and back will be my sister-in-law when she goes out for a smoke.”

“Make sure the deck is at the same level as your patio so no one trips and sues you, and you’re all set.”

I take the hint.

This past Saturday I’m out there with Tracey taking all our measurements, and I’m feeling kind of excited – my late brother Mark would be proud to see his big brother taking on the kind of project that just a few years before he would sub-contract out to others to do. I level the area around the perimeter the boardwalk will cover, put all my wood inventory on paper, and head over to Lowe’s. This morning, I’m awakened at 6:45 to see a truck with my lumber just waiting to be unloaded. To me, this means this project is really happening.

Today I finished evening out the area where the frame will lie: 2 X 4 pressure-treated lumber around the exterior with four supporting beams running east to west (towards the setting sun in the picture) upon which the 2 X 8 planks running north-south will sit upon. I’ve still got a lot of sand in the box, so I’ll fill the areas between the frame slats with sand to make it nice and tight. I can build the frame right in the sandbox and then lay the planks out to make sure they’re laying flat – since the frame is sitting on dirt it should be fairly easy to add or subtrack dirt as needed to keep everything level. Once I’ve got the planks laid down, I’ll number them, and then Tracey and Tammy will help me stain and polyurethene the wood. Once they dries, everything is bolted together and the project completed.

More pics as the design comes together!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 21:14 | Comment (1)
1 Comment
  1. very proud of you…looking forward to the finished photos.

    Comment by Jana — June 18, 2014 @ 4:10 am

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