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specialty deck tools

Posted by weedyacres (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 24, 09 at 20:32

I've been having fun shopping for specialty tools that will make our deck building smoother. So far I've bought:
-post hole auger for a tractor (found a used one for $300: not much more than the rental of a manual one for a weekend)
-Metal connector nailer (got a reconditioned Bostich on ebay for $150)

Has anyone used these "joist jaws"? They seem handy, but 50 bucks seems a bit much for something so simple.

And what about levels? I've found string levels (seems like the string would sag) post levels (we'll have a total of 51 posts between the frame, pergola, and railing), plus an 8-foot option (the longest one we currently own is only 2 feet). Which are the most useful? Do I need them all?

Batter boards: are home-made ones good enough? Any tips for your favorite design?

Any other tools you'd recommend? We've got the basic assortment of saws, drills, and nail guns that we need.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: specialty deck tools

tools kick butt...below is a post I put together last year with my favorite tools

Here is a link that might be useful: toolz

RE: specialty deck tools

I love my rotary laser lever with remote control. Nothing beats it for leveling posts. String (line) levels suck.

I retired my bowrench (anyone want to buy a used one?) in favor of the BoardBoss (I have 2 of them).

Makita impact driver for screwing.

Headcote trim screws and Smartbit for countersinking them.

I've considered joist jaws, but I just make my own jig.

An accurate post level is handy...a 2' level is useless...get a 6' or 8'

home made batter boards (do they sell commercial ones?)

good, strong stringline and a bunch of identical wood blocks. I like yellow string.


RE: specialty deck tools

Buy a cheap laser line level, ditch the "last century" string level..Homemade batter boards are great.

RE: specialty deck tools

Yes, there are commercial batter boards: $119 for a set of 8 on If I planned to build more than one deck I might consider the investment. :-)

Steve: would you mind posting a photo of your home-made joist jaws?

RE: specialty deck tools


I make those jigs on the fly, then throw them away. A clamp, a piece of ipe, and a screw. I don't have any pics. It's not rocket science.

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