First up thanks to everyone on this site for helping to answer all my questions along the way, and those that asked the questions I didnt have to. I will try to keep it brief, so here goes. Before I could start the deck I had to prepare the area, which meant removing a huge stump and cutting back about 5metres of solid concrete whichjutted out from the house. The deck was planned to sit flush to the house so I hired a 18inch concrete cutter and smashed my way through this. The stump I paid someone to take care of.
Once this was done the area was then levelled and I built a brick storage seat in the corner and then cracked on with the frame. The seat isnt quite finished as I still need to do the lid.
This was going to be a low deck, so I decided to use 2/90*45 for the joists, which would be supported by 300mm galvanised stirrups. On the end of the deck I used the "L" shaped stirrups as I was putting on a face plate where you step up on the deck, and a normal "U" shaped stirrup would not have allowed me to screw the board in place ( hope that makes sense). I also decided to use joist hangers as you can see below. I also went with 90 * 19 merbau decking. I was able to get this in full 3.9m lenghts, which perfectly measured the width of my deck. The deck measure 4m * 6.7m
As I was builing the deck myself I decided to try these mini grips, and put one on either side of the joist hangers and then attached them to the ledger, The idea being that it would help to hold them in place while i got it all level. These were helpful, although not as effective as I though they might have been. They only cost me 40cents, so it was worth the effort in the end, and anythig that offers a little bit of help better.
I wasn't keen on nails or screws, so decide to go with the deck max system. (Koppers no nail deck - on this forum) seemed to have doen the homework on this system, and also the fact that these guys offered a great customer service ( compared to the alternative - still watingi for a reply to my email ) made it an easy choice. I decided against using their timber though as the cost to transport to Perth would have double the cost fo the deck. So for $100 I got my myself a bicsuit joiner and put the grovves in myself. Certainly more time consuming, and the fact that I had 5 straight boards out of 78 didnt help either. I was getting a board done in 20mins, although i did do one board in 10mins ( must been a straight one ). Below is a picture of the deckmax biscuit, i also decided to stain the tops of the pine so it would show through the gaps ( 3mm gaps)
Another useful tip I picked up was the use of ratchet straps as you can see in the photos below. The deckmax system does supply you with grips ( the first photo), but these just werent strong enough to straighten the timber. The first picture below ( with about five boards down ) took me all day to get to this stage. This was mainly due to the first board taking me a few hours to get down. I figured if I dont get this first board right the whole deck will be out. Thankfully I got it right and everything is square, it was certainly worth taking the time.
This photo shows the deck complete, although due the fact I was working on top of the deck as I was laying it, due to a confined space I decided to get it sanded before oiling. I washed the deck using the napisn methiod which worked pretty well, although I didnt end up having to do this about 4-5 times. In the end there was only some small marks showing through, so I decided sand this back and get into the oiling. Only finished the oiling Sunday morning.
The finished deck. I did three coats of feast watson natural, and am happy with the finish.
Along the way I burnt out my angle grinder, which was replaced. I also went through three biscuit joiners, ( two ryobi and one ozito), after gooing through the first two ryobi I decided to go for the ozito brand and this was a much more solid unit I felt. The Ryobi, on one occasion didnt hold the level in place strong enough and as such, one of my boards didnt go down well. The biscuit cutter went back and I never had that problem with the Ozito. I did go through one OZito along the way though, as it was seriously smoking while I was cutting the joins. These biscuit joiners are not made for so many cuts, and I think 1500 in a few days is too much. Anyway, Bunnings replaced all these with no questions asked.
That is all. I had a good time doing this little project and would do it again for sure ( just not straight away).