Thursday, August 05, 2010

My troublesome deck

My troublesome deckIt's rotten and it's all got to come up - whether I like it or not.

Sitting looking at it is not going to get the job done.

Talking about it is not going to get the job done.

Thinking about it though, now that's a start.

After much thought and contemplation, I think the easiest way of getting this deck up is with a chainsaw.

The issue is the deck was bolted down on rows and rows of studs. The studs and nuts that hold the deck down have mostly rusted, such that the nuts are never going to come off without cutting the studs. Some nuts have rusted so much it looks like they have castellated themselves.

I also suspect the deck is held down with pitch, or maybe glue of some sorts, in places as well.

It sounds radical, I know, but with a delicate touch I think the chainsaw is going to be the best tool to use to get the job done.

After all, there are people out there who produce beautiful carvings with a chainsaw, so cutting the wood on my deck should not be such a big deal.

Oh yes - and plenty of new safety gear of course!

Once I've cut through enough wood, but not into the steel, I reckon I can prise the pieces up easily enough.

With some wood out, I can then get my big angle grinder in under the wood to cut the studs - and so get the whole lot out. Oops - I forgot my big angle grinder is broken, so that also has to be taken care of.

The reason I'm thinking chainsaw rather than circular saw, or a petrol disk cutter with a wood blade, is that the tip of the chainsaw is much smaller so, oddly enough, I should have more control over exactly where I cut - and how deep.

A clear mark on the chainsaw blade will, of course, give me a safe depth to cut to.


  1. Anonymous4:01 PM

    Personally, I would want to have an idea where the replacement wood is coming from, and how much it would cost, before getting too far into this.

    I also think that you should spend a day getting a couple of pieces out using ad-hoc methods before deciding whether to splash out 280 quid on a Stihl.

    I'd want to see what is under there, what is the general condition of the metal underneath and the studs, what other materials other than wood and steel are present and such like.

    I think I would start by using a circular saw to make a deepish (~ 50 mm) cross-wise cut either side of the stud. Then try to split that section out with a masonry chisel and a 1Kg hammer. Then cut the stud with an angle grinder.

    If you decide to go the chainsaw route you will go through a fair few chains on that. Best lay in a sharpening setup and a dozen or so chains.

  2. Hi Anonymous

    I have some sense of urgency on this as I see rust bleeding through the wood on deck.

    As I well know, water, wood and steel make for very fast localised corrosion.

    My feeling is to get the wood off and get that underlying steel treated before it rusts through to the spaces below - especially say the fuel tanks or the stern accommodation.

    Replacing the wood is a problem I can deal with in due course, once I'm not panicking about the state of the underlying steel.

    As to the chainsaw approach - it sounds dramatic, but should be fine.

    I've thought hard on the circular saw approach, but with that much to do, am concerned it will be so much tougher of a job.

    The idea is to do the deepish cuts with the chainsaw & just deal with the consequences.



  3. I too would have to say circular saw and a pry-bar. Mostly because you can set the depth of the cut. chainsaw could be dangerous / hard to control if you catch a bit of a metal bolt.

    No sense having a nice new wood deck to walk around barefoot on if you are missing toes.

    Good luck man.

  4. why aye! give it large with the chainsaw!

    looking back on it now, it was the best and easiest solution. cut down both sides of the steel deckbeams 3 or 4 inches from the beam and nice 'stove' size lumps of wood will drop down below, and leave a 3 or 4inch stub of wood sticking out each side of a beam. Judicious application of a 2lb lump hammer removes these! The studs into the steel will either snap, or more likely pull through the planks leaving a few inches of steel stud standing. you might get luck with mole grips and turn some out. but if they are through drilled, chop em off with a grinder and knock the remaining bit back down through the beam. Its messy and its dirty, but in the long run is a damn site easier and quicker than trying to replace planks piecemeal one by one. Clear the lot, dress the steel work, hire a stud welder for a few days and stick some new timber down. I used douglas fir, 75mm x 40mm, was about a quid a metre

    (and I only used 1 chainsaw chain and its still going strong!)

  5. Hi Vazz

    I believe my circular saw would just not be man enough for the job.

    Also, it will not reach into the corners a chainsaw can.



  6. Hi Mark

    Thanks for that.

    An update will follow shortly...