Napaman's Deck Project #3: Question for LJ's: The frame is in...and the deckboards are sitting on...

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Blog entry by Napaman posted 07-25-2008 12:34 AM 1234 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Napaman's Deck Part 2 Part 3 of Napaman's Deck Project series Part 4: Finished without finishing!! »

Hello everyone…

Sorry for the delay in adding in any entries…the framing and piers took us an extra day and then we just slowed down…then yesterday I finished adding two more piers so we can have one end of the deck bend since we have the extra wood…

When I bought the wood I ordered 2”x6”x12’...and when they went to pull my order they only had 16’ now I have 26 boards of with anywhere from 4-5 feet of redwood…so I will be able to make some planters and benches…

Today we worked on the drainage underneath…to finalize it and started to dig out part of the dry creek bed…I never mentioned that the deck has a huge gravel pit under it to help with drainage…and then a back up pipe to take the water out to the front it it goes over the pit…and then the final barrier is a sump pump I bought that also drains out to the street…

In front of the deck we are digging down to allow for some river rock and more gravel and then the water will lead under the deck…right now there is no gap beteen the deck and the dirt…but there will be…

ONE PROBLEM I NEED HELP WITH—-it took us longer to do the framing then I thought…and when placing the deck boards on top many of them have a bend (edge to edge) in them…is this correctible by clamping the curved ones to the straight ones…and then screwing them in the top…or is it too late…did they sit in the sun on my patio for too many days??

In most boards the gap is not too bad…and looks like an appropriate gap…but in some the bow or bend on the edge is pretty big…I am hoping that clamping them as we screw them in will bend them back—-let me know what you think…





-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

7 comments so far

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1288 posts in 3856 days

#1 posted 07-25-2008 01:50 AM

Hello Matt, The tool you need is called the Bowrench. Here is a link to Rockler’s. They sell them. I made one almost identical to the Bowrench about 20 years ago. You can also use a sharp chisel to pull in the boards as they go in. I use a 16 penny nail as a spacer.

Good Luck, John

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View Zuki's profile


1404 posts in 4196 days

#2 posted 07-25-2008 01:55 AM

In our climate (north of 49 and as far east in north america as possible) we generally leave a gap between the decking boards of around 1/4” to allow for seasonal movement. Being in CA I am unsure if you would have to worry about that.

Hmmm . . . not really sure if I answered your question though. :-/

-- BLOG -

View lew's profile


12269 posts in 3875 days

#3 posted 07-25-2008 04:02 AM


When I built my deck, it was out of the “old” style treated lumber (the green stuff that has arsenic in it). Anyway, it was bowed like yours so I pulled it into place and screwed it down. As far as the gap is concerned, everything I read said to leave the gap. When I mentioned this to a local contractor, he said NOT to leave the gap. His explanation was that the wood will shrink because it was “wet” from the chemical treatment. He was right. I left no gaps at any edge joint and now there is a space at least the width of a 16d nail between almost every board. The gap seems to remain constant summer and winter, wet or dry.

I am not sure how wet the “new” treated wood will be. Maybe a local deck contractor can give you a tip on the wood and the local procedures.

Remember, it’s only July- lots of summer left.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 4110 days

#4 posted 07-25-2008 03:00 PM


Congratulations on the deck. That tool John recommends sounds really cool. I may have to get one even though I don’t plan to build a deck. But, that picture at Rockler must have something wrong with it.

Anyway, I would go with no gaps because I don’t think the boards will gain moisture over time. I think they will dry out as time goes by just like every other deck I’ve ever seen. Even when it rains frequently, the boards will tend to get more dried out over time. Just my thoughts.

-- Jim

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4196 days

#5 posted 07-25-2008 04:56 PM

thanks everyone….JOhn also suggested something I can make in a pm…i have to read it a bunch to see if I can make it…and then I will let you all know how it goes…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4419 days

#6 posted 07-25-2008 05:32 PM

I’ve seen pros,& cons about proper board spacing.

Some say no spacing if the wood is real wet, it will sometime shrink up to 1/2”.

I build my decks with about 1/4” spacing, with no problem.

Once a bent board is fastened down it’ll stay there.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Karson's profile


35130 posts in 4520 days

#7 posted 07-31-2008 03:00 AM

The desk I built had no gap and it is starting to appear now that it’s drying out.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

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