Author Topic: Deck Boards - inexperienced, so questions about wood sources  (Read 337 times)

neo von retorch

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Deck Boards - inexperienced, so questions about wood sources
« on: October 03, 2018, 12:27:06 PM »
I've got a handful of hand and power tools for working with wood, but notably, I do not have a miter saw or planer.

I've only ever built mostly low quality creations, though I posted here when I worked on some gates; they came out pretty nice and are holding up well. My point being, I've accepted the mediocre quality of "big box store" lumber for these projects. (In my case, Home Depot.)

However, for some deck boards that I'd like to replace, I'd assume I'd have to go to a more posh (!) small lumber supply store / sawmill. I imagine they sell mostly rough, but higher quality lumber - then you cut, size and plane it to your needs. Is that a correct assumption, or do they sell "ready to go" stuff, too? With deck boards, I obviously need something that is the correct width, length and thickness, and won't readily warp. If I measure exactly what I need, can I get that from a lumber source, or do I need to get spendy and buy a planer?

thd7t

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Re: Deck Boards - inexperienced, so questions about wood sources
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2018, 12:50:25 PM »
I've got a handful of hand and power tools for working with wood, but notably, I do not have a miter saw or planer.

I've only ever built mostly low quality creations, though I posted here when I worked on some gates; they came out pretty nice and are holding up well. My point being, I've accepted the mediocre quality of "big box store" lumber for these projects. (In my case, Home Depot.)

However, for some deck boards that I'd like to replace, I'd assume I'd have to go to a more posh (!) small lumber supply store / sawmill. I imagine they sell mostly rough, but higher quality lumber - then you cut, size and plane it to your needs. Is that a correct assumption, or do they sell "ready to go" stuff, too? With deck boards, I obviously need something that is the correct width, length and thickness, and won't readily warp. If I measure exactly what I need, can I get that from a lumber source, or do I need to get spendy and buy a planer?
Most lumberyards that do milling will dress lumber.  The last time I went straight to one, I think I had boards planed on two sides.  They'll probably give you a price per side planed.  However, the boards weren't rounded at the corners like typical dimensional lumber. 

Regular lumberyards will have dimensional lumber (1x, 2x, 5/4) these are what are used for decks.  If it's not Lowe's/Home Depot, you can get lumber by grade and you can probably get the better quality boards.

jc4

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Re: Deck Boards - inexperienced, so questions about wood sources
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2018, 01:20:48 PM »
Short answer: If only replacing a couple boards, measure the width and thickness. Buy the same size (pressure treated) from Home Depot. Cut it to length. And screw it in. You're not going to get any benifit from better wood.

Long answer:
Disclaimer: also inexperienced, just less.

I'd expect your lumber mill stuff is fine as long as it's aged (had time to dry) and pressure treated (can handle being wet and outside).

You should only need a planer, miter, etc for fine woodworking. Think furniture, cabinetry, etc.

For a deck, some consistently sized boards and a skill saw would be enough. Although I'd prefer a table saw if building a whole deck.

BDWW

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Re: Deck Boards - inexperienced, so questions about wood sources
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2018, 01:36:05 PM »
For a deck, some consistently sized boards and a skill saw would be enough. Although I'd prefer a table saw if building a whole deck.

Just curious why you would want a table saw over a mitre saw? For deck building a mitre saw would have far more utility, and I would say for the home owner in general it would be far more useful.

neo von retorch

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Re: Deck Boards - inexperienced, so questions about wood sources
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2018, 03:02:18 PM »
Thanks everyone so far!

I have a table saw, and I love it and I've used it for almost every wood related project I've done. I've used my cheap circular saw for one or two rough cuts, but I hate the lack of precision in comparison to my table saw. I don't have proper rollers or wood stands yet, so my table saw is limited in use for longer wood - that's why I thought of a miter saw. At least in my shop, I'd be able to put it somewhere (aka my bench - that's what I'm picturing anyway...) where I could deal with longer wood a little easier (without buying/building some kind of stand to keep the wood level.)

Anyone else want to chime in on sources / wood quality for this purpose?

Cranky

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Re: Deck Boards - inexperienced, so questions about wood sources
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2018, 06:32:21 PM »
My dh and son-in-law built our deck using a library book, a borrowed circular saw, and wood from Lowe’s. 10 summers later, it’s still solid.

We went to the local Nice Lumber place for butcher block for our kitchen counter, but it seems overkill for decking.

We did have more deck built outside the back door, using Trex, and I admit that I like it better than wood.

lthenderson

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Re: Deck Boards - inexperienced, so questions about wood sources
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2018, 06:56:36 AM »
However, for some deck boards that I'd like to replace, I'd assume I'd have to go to a more posh (!) small lumber supply store / sawmill. I imagine they sell mostly rough, but higher quality lumber - then you cut, size and plane it to your needs. Is that a correct assumption, or do they sell "ready to go" stuff, too? With deck boards, I obviously need something that is the correct width, length and thickness, and won't readily warp. If I measure exactly what I need, can I get that from a lumber source, or do I need to get spendy and buy a planer?

Almost every deck surface I have built or repaired used 5/4 lumber from a big box store. You buy the proper width and just cut it to length with a circular or hand saw. I'm guessing you are going to want to match the wood in the existing deck and most likely, you aren't going to find that wood at your local sawmill if it is redwood.

When I build furniture, that is when I go to the sawmill and need a planer because much of that starts at 7/8" thick to allow enough material to be removed to smooth it and still end up with a 3/4" thick board.

jc4

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Re: Deck Boards - inexperienced, so questions about wood sources
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2018, 07:31:45 AM »
For a deck, some consistently sized boards and a skill saw would be enough. Although I'd prefer a table saw if building a whole deck.

Just curious why you would want a table saw over a mitre saw? For deck building a mitre saw would have far more utility, and I would say for the home owner in general it would be far more useful.

You're probably right. My dad had a table saw growing up, but not a miter saw. Now all I have is a skill-saw, and I miss the table saw. I've only once used a borrowed miter-saw (for crown-moulding). I could see the miter being more versitile. I'm just really comfortable with the table saw.