I show how to drill accurate holes in a 6×6 deck post to install 1/2 inch bolts in the Simpson Strong-Tie PBS66HDG Standoff Post Base. This project is continued from How to Install a 6×6 Wood Deck Post. Also see the project introduction which explains the sagging wood deck problem.
How to Drill Accurate Holes for Deck Post Bolts
I didn’t think I could freehand drill a 1/2 inch hole through the 6×6 inch deck post to install bolts in the Simpson Strong-Tie Standoff Post Base, so I’d fastened the post with Simpson Strong-Tie SD #10 x 1-1/2 structural wood screws as temporary solution.
Wolfcraft Drill Guide
My solution was to buy a Wolfcraft Drill Guide Attachment from Amazon.com. For a $30 tool it did really well. I used the combination square to check the drill guide was set at 90 degree and set a 3/8 inch spade wood bit in the chuck to drill a pilot hole:
The Wolfcraft drill guide has a raised base that fits over the Simpson Strong-Tie standoff post base. I recommend using wood spade bit to drill the pilot hole because a twist bit will pull too aggressively into the wood and bind. By contrast the spade bit doesn’t pull itself into the wood and gives you more control. I drilled a the smaller 3/8 inch pilot hole in case the hole alignment was a bit off so I could make corrections when drilling the 1/2 inch hole. The Wolfcraft drill guide stroke was a little short and didn’t the drill bit didn’t make it all the way through the deck post. After drilling this hole, I moved to the opposite side and completed the hole. Tip: The drill guide stop (blue knob by my left thumb) on the guide bar can be removed for a longer stroke:
Success! An accurate hole drilled through the post to the other side of the Simpson Strong-Tie standoff post base!
After drilling the 3/8 inch pilot holes through the deck post, I enlarged the holes with a twist bit by drilling from opposite sides of the post. Not sure why I didn’t think to use my 12 inch long twist bit here:
Pipe cleaners were used to swab a generous amount of Copper-Green Brown Wood Preservative (10% copper naphthenate) inside the drill holes as required by the deck building code:
I used about 1.5 gallons of Copper-Green Brown while rebuilding the deck.
Bolt the 6×6 Deck Post to the Simpson Strong-Tie Standoff Post Base
The deck post must be fastened with 1/2 inch bolts with washers and nuts to comply with the Georgia Amendments Prescriptive Deck Details based on the 2012 International Residential Code. The first galvanized bolt is being tightened:
The two 1/2 inch by 8 inch long galvanized bolts with washers installed. Recall the bottom end of the post is a bit darker than the redwood stain toner because I had brushed on a coat of the Copper-Green Brown wood preservative before mounting the post. I’ll leave the SD #10 screws in the bracket because removing the screws would leave holes:
I installed a 2nd nut on the bolts to serve as a lock nut. The 2nd nut is optional but will prevent the nuts from loosening as the pressure treated post dries:
Side view of the bolted deck post:
In the next updates, I’ll install the lateral support 2×6 knee braces, rebuild the deck rail and replace the improper installed deck boards.
Most people will want to install the beam-post knee braces next. I choose to rebuild the deck railing first because it was unsafe after removing several 4×4 guard posts.
This project is continued in How to Build a Code Compliant Deck Railing.
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