Marc Elliot Hall's Blog


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— also known as my vanity gripe page

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Mon, 01 Mar 2004


After seven years of stalling, I have finally jacked up my upper deck to prevent visitors from feeling like they are sliding off the edge of the world. Total distance raised: nine inches. I poured four new footings (one to go and one to be left as is) on Saturday, as well. Between this and the retaining wall, I'm hoping to avoid having any future deck-related issues.

Technique: First, I dug out the existing footings so that they could be tilted in place. Over the years as the hill behind the house slid away, they had moved anwhere from two to six inches down and tilted anywhere from fifteen to forty-five degrees off plumb. When the dirt around the footings was cleared away, I laid planks flat on the earth between the footings. On each plank, I placed a car jack; and atop each jack I mounted ten-foot-long, two-by-four studs vertically between the jack and the bottom of the joist at the deck edge. Raising each jack a turn at a time in sequence and then repeating until the deck edge was level and the permanent four-by-four posts were suspended plumb from the bottom of the joist, I then tilted the old footings so they were more true. This wasn't enough, of course, to support the deck on the level; I also needed to add several inches of height to support the deck at its new height. Using cardboard tubing as forms around each existing footing, I poured concrete into place around metal brackets I had fastened to the bottom of each four-by-four post. Now, when I remove the extra support and jacks, the deck will be permanently affixed to a new, more secure foundation.


On the other hand, during our recent bout of late winter storms, my front fence blew over. The posts had completely rotted at the base. Fortunately, this only represents twenty linear feet and two posts to replace. Quite doable.


Bryan read my novel the same night I posted it. He said it was pretty good, but was missing some pieces. This tells me two things:

  1. It's too short. He shouldn't have been able to read the whole thing in one sitting.
  2. Even my ten-year-old can find things to criticize about my creative endeavors.

I guess this means I have more work to do.

Latest Project

My latest foray is into building a new, Debian- based home entertainment network.

I'm starting with a box for my car — not because I'm selfish (although there is certainly some of that) — but because I need a testbed that has a limited propensity to scope creep. More on this in a future blog entry.

posted at: 19:30 |

Marc Elliot Hall St. Peters, Missouri 

Page created: 21 January 2002
Page modified: 14 November 2006

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