You know the saying, “Some days you’re the windshield; some days you’re the bug?” Today I was the bug.
Today we worked on deck #3. The tasks that were left fell into two distinct categories: interesting and complicated (rip a long, thin triangle piece we need because part of the deck runs between two buildings that are not straight on, set the last posts, cut the curves on the corners) and simple (drill and screw the planks).
All the interesting things are things that Steve needs to do, because my skill level as a carpenter is not high enough. That left decking.
Working in sections, I use the big drill to drill two holes per plank per joist, followed by the small drill to countersink.
Then I change out the bit and use the small drill to sink the screws. It’s boring and taxing, straining my back, hands, knees, and neck. At the same time it’s oddly meditative: you don’t have to be think much, but you really have to concentrate, because the minute your attention wanders is the minute a screw goes wanky and shoots out from under you or you hit a knot and strip the head.
It’s also humbling, in a good way. At work, I don’t do a whole lot of work anymore – I strategize, plan, direct, and manage, and I edit more than I write. Today is all about work, and it’s not a bad thing to be reminded that we all have our strengths – I may be a senior vice president at a public relations firm, but here, I’m grunt labor.
At the end of the day I can’t help counting:
- 15 planks that cross 28 joists, times two screws per joist = 840 screws
- 2 planks that cross 22 joists, times two = 88 screws
- 1 plank that crosses 35 joists, times two = 70 screws
- 8 planks that cross 16 joints, times two = 256 screws
That’s a grand total of 1,254 screws, not counting the planks that we had to piece – quite a few – which results in the use of two additional screws.
Definitely a good day’s work.