Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Deck Building - Kreg Jig

We decided when we started this project that we wanted a smooth, no nails/screws visible on the deck surface.  We first looked at a bracket system which held the decking from underneath.  It was beautiful, but those brackets were expensive, and we needed a lot.  So that was out of the question.  We thought about just using visible screws, but decided we didn't want that.  Then we looked at the Kreg Jig.  It's a crazy jig that J used to build the bar in the basement.  It hides screws and is great for people who are not wood workers, but what a professional look.  

And they just happen to make a deck kit.  It wasn't cheap, but it was a hell of a lot cheaper then buying brackets.  This bad boy ran us about $60-70.  But like I said, it was cheaper then brackets.  And we can use it when we build the front porch, so it was well worth it.

 So here is what it looks like in the box.  You get a jig, two different sizes of spacers, a drill bit, and a driver.  Plus you get a hand full of screws.  We need two large boxes of deck screws, which were about $30 a box.  Which seems like a lot, but the gold deck screws were actually more then this, so not that bad.

So how do you use this bad boy?

First you place the jig on your deck board.  You line up the guide hole.  Straight for the center of boards and angled for ends of boards.  There are nice little lines that will help you line up the jig and the joist boards below.

You then use the drill bit provided to drill a little starter hole for the screw. You set the drill based on the thickness of boards you are using.  So that little silver color you see above moves based on how thick the boards are.  The jig has a measuring system built right into it, so there is no guessing.

Once the pilot hole is finished you add one of there screws.  You can use different screws (we tried) but these work best because of the small head on them.  You are supposed to use the jig for the screw as well, but we found out it was quicker to just screw them in.  With a little practice, this was much faster.  It allowed two people to work in a assembly line fashion.

And this is what a finished screw looks like.  All tucked away and mostly hidden.  I'm not going to lie, you can see the screws, they are not as hidden like they would be with the brackets, but they are not noticeable at first glance.  You actually have to look for them.

I mean look at that photo, you can't see them at all.  So we are pretty happy with how it turned out, especially since it was a fraction the price of what we could have payed.

And here is a photo of the deck as it stands right now.  The facial board has been added to three of the four sides (but we still need to add it to the 46° corners) and the decking is all trimmed.  It's going to look amazing next spring when it's finished and stained.  Yay!

We were not paid for this post, it's just the method we used to install our decking.  But if they want to send me something to try, we'll be happy to review it. *hint, hint*