The perils of DIY

Given how long the economy has been repressed as it has, a lot of people have turned to doing it themselves (DIY). The DIY ethic has been rekindled here in the United States in a big way. With sites like Instructables, Makezine, and Thingiverse helping to push things along.

As you are probably aware, I too have been bit by the DIY bug. For much of my life, I have been a tinker, a builder, an enthusiast. Within the past few years though, those desires in me have been pulled to the fore.

My latest endeavor? Building a deck for my house. It’s been an eye opening experience. From designing, getting the building permit, laying it out, and now, drilling the holes for the support posts.

I’ve come to the conclusion that many DIY’ers have come to on some projects. We can’t always do it ourselves. Even with my wife, Erin, helping me, digging the holes has defeated us.

The design was interesting, working with several deck designers that I had to find ways of connecting corners that the software didn’t want connected. The building permit was even more interesting, with having to deal with who Erin and I call “Moe, Larry, Curly, and Frank”. Layout was finicky, but not hard.

IMG_20130728_135536Then came the digging. I’ve known, from previous experience, that the soil around our house is hard, and sometimes rocky, but I was not prepared for the solid clay-like soil that we have been trying to drill through.

See, while we can’t do it ourselves, that doesn’t mean that DIYer’s can’t do it at all. We looked around, searched Craigslist, and we’ve found some help. So this week, we’ll have some people over to look at the yard, and get us an estimate. It’s not like going to a big box store and having them do all the work. It’s hiring someone local, who knows what they are doing, and asking for help when you need it.We rented an auger, a one person model that I have used before. We started 12 holes, nearly all of them only about 12 inches deep before we got the 2 person model. One day, and one nearly complete hole later, I’ve called in the cavalry.


We still intend to do the rest of the deck ourselves, carpentry is something I am familiar with. Though we are looking into having our concrete premixed and poured for us. Again, we know when to ask for help when we need it, and I’d rather have someone else mix several hundred pounds of concrete, and save my arms for the actual building.


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