Securing the Decks for Sanding
Now that all the planking was done, they had to be sanded to flatten them and give them a realistic finish. The decks had to be absolutely flat, or I ran the risk of sanding too much on an upward curve. To prevent this, the decks were screwed onto thick pieces of plywood, and the sides were held down with flat screws.

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I had to be extremely careful, as just a little too much sanding, and I would have to rip that part out and plank it again. I glued sandpaper to perfectly flat pieces of hardwood to use as sanding blocks, first 100 grit, then 150 grit to finish. I was surprised at how long this took, a few hours of sanding for each piece to get a perfect flat finish.

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The Blind Test
The only way to see if I was making progress, (besides the sawdust piling up) was to run my fingers over the deck with my eyes closed; if I could feel any texture, it needed more sanding. Once I could feel nothing but a smooth surface all over the section, it was done. All the sections were then vacuumed and brushed thoroughly to remove all the dust.

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Deck Intro / Cutting the Planks / Planking / Lower Decks / Sanding / Water Gutters / Chain Runs/ Final Product