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Thread: Deck Board Straightener

  1. #1
    Supporting Member MetalDesigner's Avatar
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    Sep 2013
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    MetalDesigner's Tools

    Deck Board Straightener

    Several years ago, before moving to a warmer climate I made this quick "Scrap Metal" time saving item.

    Deck Board Straightener-deck-4.jpg

    As we all know, probably one of the best tools is a friend to help you with your project, but this is one of those times I had to put bent deck boards on by myself.

    Deck Board Straightener-deck-1.jpg

    I know this is far too simple of a tool for this website, but for me it certainly was a great homemade tool that saved a weekend project.

    In addition, I just suggested it to a friend of mine that has to build a deck by himself... Therefore the reason I made these Computer renderings in attempt to re-create my long lost old homemade tool.
    ( If I can find the old digital photos I will include an actual photo of the straightener and/or get my friend to send me a photo of the one he makes for himself )

    Several years ago, found myself having to fix an elderly neighbor's deck by myself after she had fallen through the rotten deck boards. It was obvious when the deck was originally built they used treated wood for the frame and supports, but the deck boards for some reason had not had been treated against weather or carpenter ants.

    I offered to buy the new deck boards and also donate my time to put them on... and while she allowed me to help her as a gift, she insisted that she pay the lumber company for the new treated boards.

    Because she was unable to leave her home, I gave her a list of what was needed and she called the lumber company and had them deliver the treated boards. Unfortunately, I was at work when they delivered and the lumber company used the opportunity to get rid of all their 'picked through' bent "Propeller" boards. (You know they type of lumber that no one wants) *SIGH*

    Deck Board Straightener-deck-2.jpg

    I only had the weekend to complete the project and was by myself. After viewing the large number of very bent boards and knowing I was too far to drive in town to the lumber company and still finish the project that weekend ~ I decided to take some digital photos of boards and use them anyway, because other than being crooked to the point of being hard for a single person to install, they were still structurally good quality.

    That was when I decided to make a quick metal item I could use temporary screws to attach the cross support joists that could be threaded in with a socket wrench as a way to 'encourage' the bent boards into place and stay that way as I secured the boards with deck screws.

    Deck Board Straightener-deck-3.jpg

    I found some 1.5" x 1/8" thick flatbar, 1.5" Angle, and some 1/2" threaded rod in my scrap bin. Cut and welded the items together as you can see in the images and slightly angled down the nut when I welded it on. On the angle iron that connects to the bent board I welded on a drilled out 5/8" nut to allow the 1/2" threaded rod to easily turn.

    Deck Board Straightener-transparent_view_angle.jpg

    Drilled lots of holes in the Straightener device to allow me to partially insert deck screws (or nails) to hold it secure for each board as I went across the deck, but found out it worked with just a screw on each side and didn't need any in the angle that connected to the bent board.

    I only show 1 straightener unit in the images, but ended up making a 2nd one, and each took about 10 minutes to make but saved me hours of fighting the very crooked boards by myself. I probably now have enough long clamps to do the same job, but did not at the time.

    Due to the weather where we lived she requested I leave a 1/8" gap between the boards so I used a few pieces of 1/8" flatbar as spacers. Depending on what part of the boards were bent or if they were 'propeller shaped' I used one or both of the threaded devices. Basically these devices were just an extra set of hands to bend the boards back into shape while I used deck screws to permanently secure them. Over time as the green boards dried out they have stayed nice and straight on her deck to this day.

    The rest you can figure out from the renderings I made using SolidWorks CAD software. The deck in the renderings is not the shape of her deck but for the Computer renderings I just used a rectangle shape to give the idea to a friend of mine that still lives up North that needs to build a deck by himself.

    I have no idea what happened to the devices as I reused the 1/2" threaded rod and the rest went back into the scrap bin. I have since moved so they are probably recycled and a part of a Toyota somewhere. *GRIN*

    Deck Board Straightener-board_straightener.jpg

    By-the-way ~ Took the photos of the terrible boards to the lumber yard the next week and chewed out the manager for attempting to dump the boards off on a disabled elderly lady and they chose to donate the boards and refunded her credit card. (In the photos I showed them one of the boards flat on one end curved up over a 18" on the other and was almost 45 degrees twisted)

    So that is it... a metalworkers attempt to play with wood and just a simple/stupid type homemade tool ... but it sure worked well to finish the project.


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    Last edited by MetalDesigner; Dec 9, 2013 at 06:55 PM. Reason: typos :-)

  2. The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to MetalDesigner For This Useful Post:

    baja (Dec 5, 2019), kbalch (Dec 10, 2013), Miloslav (Dec 4, 2019), oldcaptainrusty (Oct 17, 2017), rlm98253 (Oct 14, 2017), Sprig1 (Dec 4, 2019), Tiny (Oct 15, 2017)

  3. #2
    kbalch's Avatar
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    Jun 2012
    Clermont, FL
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    Thanks MetalDesigner! I've added your Deck Board Straightener to our Metalworking category, as well as to your builder page: MetalDesigner's Homemade Tools. Your receipt:

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  4. #3
    Content Editor
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    DIYer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MetalDesigner View Post
    ... I know this is far too simple of a tool for this website, but for me it certainly was a great homemade tool that saved a weekend project.
    That's what great about this site! As you will have seen, there's stuff for all skill levels. I've seen your other contributions and they're pretty slick.

  5. #4
    kbalch's Avatar
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    This thread has been moved to the Must Read subforum. Congrats (and thanks) to MetalDesigner for making such a valuable contribution!

  6. #5
    Supporting Member IAMSatisfied's Avatar
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    The desolate ranch country of Northeastern corner of New Mexico, USA
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    IAMSatisfied's Tools
    Thank you, MetalDesigner, for the simple yet useful idea.

    A couple of modifications I think I will add to my version is to sacrifice a "C" clamp, which has acme threads (they're much better for repetitive, higher force loads), and a swivel pad, which can be welded to the angle "pusher". The female threaded part of the "C" clamp can be cut from the rest of the frame and provides more threads than an nut to distribute the load.

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