Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Turning a Deck into Fort Bean

When we bought this house, we inherited a number of do-it-yourself projects from the previous owners. Among these were a badly framed set of rooms nailed together in the garage, a mushy bathroom floor from an incorrectly installed bathtub, plumbing segments connected with automotive hose and an untreated grey-wood deck with an elevated area that we assumed was for a hot tub. There were several other items of lesser importance schlocked together throughout the place that I won't bore you with.

Thanks to some people who are way smarter than me, most of these items were fixed and the remainder were ignored. I've never liked it, but this year the ugly untreated deck finally got to me. It had to come out. One day, my brother came over and we started pulling nails out of boards and slowly dismantling the thing. I wanted to see if some of the wood was salvagable, so we tried to keep most of the boards intact. After removing the main floor of the elevated "hot tub zone," we found about 25 four-by-fours held into the ground with cement apparently to keep the hot tub from collapsing the deck.

Most of the post were held in place by a 2 foot deep, 10-12 inch diameter slug of cement (with a 4x4 in the center). It took a few days of hard work to get those puppies out of the ground. When Seymour helped me unload them at the transfer station (garbage dump), the buggers weighed in at about 1000 pounds. They charged about $45.00 to take it.

Eventually we removed the deck structure and we got a few more surprises. There are two cement slabs under the deck. The good news is that we can use these as a patio. The bad news is that a chunk is busted out in scallops every two feet or so to make room for 4x4 supports for the deck. Yeesh! Hadn't these people heard of deck kits? Either we dig them out leaving a heavily damaged cement area or figure out a use for them. I am thinking of creating an open air gazebo-like area where Wisteria can grow over a part of our patio. If I do, the 4x4s will stay.

At the end of the project, we ended up with a great number of 2x6 boards left over. I am using these to create Fort Bean for the MiniSnab & friends to hang out in. I have a plan in my head that is derived from an amalgam of different tree fort plans, shed plans, and modular dwelling plans perused from books and the Internet. To be honest, I've never done anything like this before and I hope that the new shelter is sturdy enough to last a few years. I have a few restrictions like an extremely limited budget and a need to make most of the structure out of nothing but 2x6s.

So far I've framed the floor and covered it. It is very remiscent of the tent platforms at a few Boy Scout camps I attended in my youth. I've framed all four walls (one will have a plexiglass window) but still have some nailing to do to get them all hooked together. I am going for a sloped roof, but I need to figure out if my scroll saw can handle the angles needed for supports (which are 2x6s). I did manage to buy a couple of sheets of plywood and some tar paper for the roof on my limited budget. A tarp will probably cover the roof until spring when I will decide on a roofing material. I'm winging it, but so far it is working.

Wish me luck. I hope my intuitive civil engineering skills are up to the task. So does the MiniSnab.

4 comments:

ladybug said...

Let's take a pic & post it for the folks!

(He's been a'workin' hard, that man 'o' mine!)

DewKid said...

Good Luck!

Corn Cob Bob said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DewKid said...

I hope you post several! I'd like to see what Snabby is up against... Just watch out for the vgzrts that usually hide under decks.