t was a beautiful day today--just the right sort of day for deck framing. I started by getting a general sense of squareness by measuring the placement of the sonotubes and bolts, running a framing square off the existing building, and doing a couple of 3/4/5 triangles off the existing building (using dummy boards). The 3/4/5 triangle (and multiples) are essential for squaring up things in carpentry. You thought you would not use this quaint little geometric formula ever again... but YOU WILL!! My favorite is the 12/16/20.
Once I had an idea of what needed to be done, I constructed my pressure treated posts (made of PT 2x4, with a 1/2 inch hole drilled for the bolt. Because the bolts didn't line up--that would be too much to expect--I constructed the posts so that the edge of both would line up, and create a nailing surface for one of the joists. I was about 1.5 inches off on both sets, which was perfect--all I had to do was attach a third 2x4 to the side. And this is how the deck will be connected to the sonotubes, and it is what makes it rigid.
But before I could make all these connections, I bolted off the posts, and then made myself a 5-4-0 ledger, which I nailed to the existing building. I had to make sure the height was correct, as well as level. I made it 5-4-0 instead of 5-7-0 so that I could lap the rim board over the edges on both ends, and that way you won't see any end grain on the board.
Then came the harder part--putting the first joist in right (connected to the sonotube posts) so that it was level with the ledger, and also square with the ledger. I used my dummy boards to get it square with the ledger, and I had to screw and unscrew it a couple of times before I got it level on both sides. Then I cut a few more joists at 5-4-0, and my two rimboards at 6-6-0. I nailed the rimboards to the ledger and first joist, and then leveled them up on the ends with spare blocks. I was then free to put the end joist in. Then, I was able to re-square the entire deck frame, using diagonals.
Just measure a diagonal from corner to corner, and adjust accordingly.
Then I finished my joists, added some hangers, and got everything secure to the posts, and I decided I was done for today!
These are the tools you need for this bit: drill/screwdriver with multiple bits; circular saw; tape measure; speed square and framing square; galvanized nails and screws (3 or 3.25 inch); hammer; level; and a helper if you can swing it. Oh, and here's one last picture of the Simpson hanger: