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Deck planking/trenailing template

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Has it occurred to anyone (manufacturer or amateur) to produce a trenailing template for deck planking on the lines of this sketch?





Made out of steel, in (say) three width sizes (3mm, 4mm, 5mm) it could be placed over the planking strip at the appropriate point, given one swift tap with a very light hammer, and hey presto - accurate indentations for the trenails and an indentation - or a cut - for the plank ends.


Me, I'll never attempt trenails on my own.  I just wouldn't have the faintest idea how to do them all, accurately, by hand.  But if I could buy a template like this, I'd be there with my wallet open!

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I have just finished treenailing the deck of my Bounty. Ii is the fourth model that I have treenailed. I use a light pencil line to mark across the deck where I want the treenail to go, the end from a set of dividers mounted in a dowel handle to mark the treenail hole and a 0.5 mm drill to finish the hole. I then use a pencil rubber to remove the pencil line. I can't see how this gadget would make the job any quicker or more accurate.

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Some interesting views.  Thank you.
The thing about doing trenails that makes me shy away from it, is the virtual impossibility of doing a decent job without some form of accurate template.  Trenails that are unevenly positioned, or of differing sizes, look horrible.  I know - I've tried.
But could I make my own, accurate template?  My first reaction was to think 'probably not', but I was forgetting that I do now possess a Proxxon milling machine.

I don't think I could make a template with pins and a cutting edge, as in my original thinking.  But maybe I could make one with holes for manual drilling?  This is the sort of thing I now have in mind.


The sizes and spacing shown are intended for 3mm. deck planks.  The 0.4mm holes would be centred 1.6mm apart, 0.7mm in from the edges and 1.2mm from each end.  The single hole in the centre would be for drilling the intermediate trenails.

Have I got the hole-diameter and the spacing right?  Am I thinking along the right lines?

Drilling the trenails would be slower and more laborious than the one-tap-with-the-hammer solution I was looking for.  But a template like this (if it works) might at least encourage me to think positively about trenails.

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This afternoon I had a go at making a trenail template.

I used a bit of scrap aluminium - about 100mm long, 25mm wide and 3mm thick.

I tailored the template for 3mm-wide deck planks (because that's the size of the planks I'd have to trenail for my current build).

After squaring-up the end of the alu, I milled out a 3mm-wide, 0.6mm deep step at one end (to fit over the deck plank) and drilled five 0.6mm holes.  I'd intended to go for 0.5mm, but the drill bit broke! (See the little messy area where I made my first attempt).  The positioning of the holes was partly measured, partly by eye.  I think I could have done a better job of it.  Maybe I will, later on.




I practised using the template on some spare 3mm veneer, with a 0.5mm drill bit, and filled the resulting holes with contrasting sawdust for the sake of this photograph.




For use with planks 'in situ' the template needs to be much smaller - say 10mm wide, and 50mm long.  I think the use of thick metal (3mm in this experiment) adds to accuracy and would give the template a longer life, as well as giving it a better 'feel' in use.


This little experiment makes me feel much more positive about trenailing. 


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