I’ve written more about it on facebook than here, but you might recall that ‘d all but abandoned my hopes of expanding my little concrete pad that passed for a patio this year until I’d stumbled across a pile of lumber at the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
And that lumber became the genesis for the biggest project I’ve ever taken on.
ReStore is a great resource for old furniture, light fixtures, building materials, and most anything you can think of in a thrift store, sans clothing. I go out there from time to time to see what they have. And in the latest trip to see what I could see, I went out back to a lumber pile, and noticed that they had a big pile of lumber that at one time had been painted for the SDSU Jacks.
It was explained to me that all these boards of blue and gold had been left over from the stadium demolition. Much of the lumber had gone to stadium benches which were sold to alumni. And they were more interesting, as they had been painted with row numbers. What was in the pile were the more boring or pedestrian boards that they didn’t want, or couldn’t use.
Noticing that it was a big pile of 18 foot long 2×10 lumber, which retailed in the neighborhood of $50 a board for treated lumber at Lowe’s, I asked the ReStore people “how much?”
The reply? “$5 a board.” And I couldn’t load it fast enough.
The cheap lumber left me to imagine how I was going to put this together from a pile of boards I possibly sat on as an undergraduate student, into a structure that my family could use and enjoy for many years to come.
Here I might mention that I’ve never built a deck before. But, I watch the DIY Channel. I’m game!
I found that my inexperience would crop up from time to time, especially as I was measuring for my decking. On one occasion, I seem to recall exclaiming to myself “Why are these posts 12 feet apart, and these at the bottom are 12’4″? I measured twice!”
I found myself running back to Habitat ReStore on more than one occasion for “just another couple of SDSU Bleacher boards” for various reasons; whether it was to add support, or to fix my goof-ups.
And in constructing it, I found creative solutions to some of those various goof-ups, such as breaking up the 12ft spans of decking with a board in the middle, masking my post mismeasurement, as well that little thing where I omitted the width of the lumber bolted to the outside of the posts in my calculations.
Did I mention I hadn’t build a deck before?
After going on vacation for a week, I returned and dug into the deck once more with gusto, adding railings, 2 sets of stairs, and finally a pergola to outline where my outdoor kitchen will be.
An open corner will hold a plant, or a planter box, so I don’t have to do try to make a post and short railing sturdy enough to weather kids hanging on it all the time. I’ll cull through the leftovers to see if I’ve got something to make hand rails out of for the stairs. And I’ll add some decorative trim to mask the underside of the deck.
But for now, my deck of SDSU leftovers is looking pretty darned good for an alumnus of the SDSU political science program (versus the engineering or construction management programs), to the point where I’m not afraid to put the family on it
You know, what they say is true. You CAN go anywhere from SDSU. As far as these bleachers are concerned, you can go from life as seating for thousands of football enthusiasts to a new home and life entertaining and helping a Brookings family enjoy the outdoors for years to come.