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Posted by Terry in Hayfork, CA on 1/13/2011

Lori decided that we needed an observation deck, someplace away from the house that we could go to and relax, without seeing the house and thinking that we should be working instead of relaxing. She just wanted something small - enough for two chairs and a small table to set a drink on. Well, I guess that when I start a project, I figure that you might as well do it right and do a good job.

Day One
The deck is 12' wide and 16' in length. It spans across an old drainage ditch up on the mountainside and cantilevers out 4' over the mountainside. This was a quick three-day weekend project on a very limited budget. I think I only spent about $300 on materials. 18" sq. x 12" deep footings were dug out, and since the project is 100 yards away from the house, we had to haul everything in by hand from the nearest trail that I could get either my ATV or tractor to, which was still 50 yards away. This meant that we had to carry five-gal. buckets of water in by hand to mix the concrete for the footings. Not fun, but it was the only way. Then 12" piers were set into the wet concrete, leveled and then left to dry.

Day Two
Posts were added to the piers using all Simpson connectors. The posts and beams are all pressure treated, but the joists and decking are just Doug Fir. Like I said, it was a very tight budget. Once the posts and beams were set, the joists went up pretty quickly. Again, being so far from the house, there is no power up there, so all the cuts had to be made back at the house - measure twice, cut once was the norm as it was a long walk back if you made a mistake. The entire deck framing is put together using 3-1/2" coated deck screws. The decking boards themselves are installed with a 2-1/2" square-drive stainless steel head coated screws ( left over from the main house deck ). I must say, the new Hitachi 24v cordless drill driver worked like a charm, with plenty of power. Also, using a BoWrench (deck tool) made it so easy to assembly the entire deck alone, straightening curved boards with ease.  I installed the last deck board at 8:45 pm.

Day Three
This morning was just staining the deck with a waterproof stain. We headed home at 11 am. Not a bad deck for a weekend of work.

After a couple months of using the deck, we realized that it was a pain to haul things we needed regularly back and forth, i.e.; paper towels and Windex to clean the glass table, citronella candle, lighter for the candle, telescope, etc., so we decided that there should be a storage cabinet up on the deck as well. The cabinet was built to stand off the deck to allow for airflow, so things would dry quicker after a rain or snow.  The entire cabinet was built from leftover material. Since all of the buildings have a green metal roof, I went thru my building scrap pile and found some leftover roofing from when I built the bathhouse. A few hinges and a latch and some stain, and it was good to go.


Hauling the lumber up to the trail.
Come on cordless driver, don't die on me now!
Lori pruning the lucky tree that got saved.
Having the right tools makes all the difference.
Lori bringing in a single deck board and some blocking, along with her bodyguards.
Called it quits at 8:45 pm.
Applying the weatherproofing stain.
All done... for now!
One lucky tree!
Pathway from house up to the hillside deck.
Happy Hour!
This is one solid cabinet!
The back legs are longer than the front so that they could be bolted thru the rim joist of the deck. The front legs were secured from underneath the deck, screwing up into the bottom of each leg.
Heading up to the trail.
Finally got the beast up onto the deck. Next was to cut out notches for the rear legs.
A little fine tuning with my pocket knife.
Installed, but not finished.
Now it's finished.
Door opens 180 degrees for good access.
Plenty of room inside, too!

Posted by Mary in PA on 1/14/2011

Mary's Forum Posts: 101
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The deck was a terrific idea, very creative and you did a great job on it. I'm sure you'll enjoy many "happy" hours there!

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