My company builds a fair number of decks, and we spend a lot of time trying to straighten boards and adjust the gaps between them. Most of our decks are made of cedar, which mars easily, and most of our clients are pretty fussy. So we’ve tried just about every technique in the book to coax the deck boards into alignment without damaging them. The results have always been mixed.
One day we had a nylon felling wedge on site, and a crew member used it to separate a couple of deck boards that were too close (see drawing). We all became instant converts.
Nylon felling wedges are available at any store that sells chainsaws and related equipment. The wedges sell for only a few dollars. A felling wedge tapers to a good, sharp edge, and it is extremely tough. If you pick one with smooth sides, the wedge will not mar even the softest of woods. Best of all, felling wedges are typically bright orange, and therefore they are nearly impossible to lose.
Grant Johnson, Heriot Bay, None