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Hidden Deck Fasteners - Continued

Tebo

Tebo's connector looks like an unused stainless-steel staple, with a third leg projecting from the crown at a 45-degree angle. The Tebo has little in common with other edge-fastening systems. And it's the only system that's likely to challenge the speed of traditional nailing. A $300 proprietary tool — essentially an upright, mallet-driven flooring nailer — is used to install the Tebo connector. The connectors aren't collated, which could make tool-loading tedious, but installation is fast and simple. A mallet blow simultaneously drives the connector into the joist and the edge of the decking at a 45-degree angle. The third spur on the Tebo connector sticks out at 90 degrees to the edge, ready to spear the back edge of the next board in line. The installer drives the board onto these spurs, working down the length of the board with a heavy maul (using a beater-board to protect the decking edge from hammer dents). There's some body English involved, using the balls of your feet to hold the board down while you sledge it into position.

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The oddly shaped Tebo connector stacks in a special driving tool for rapid-fire installation that rivals face-nailing for speed.

The Tebo fastener can be used as a self-gapping system — the shank is a skinny 1/8 inch at its widest section — but with softer decking materials like redwood and cedar, you could have problems. The use of temporary gapping shims, such as tapered cedar shingles, is advised to maintain even spacing between boards. Because the connecting spur is only 9/16 inch long, though, you have to be careful not to make the gap between the boards too wide.

The Tebo connector is designed on the assumption that most installers work from left to right. According to the manufacturer, installation is awkward but manageable for left-handed people.

To fasten deck boards at butt joints, Tebo connectors may be driven into either face of the joist into each respective butt end. However, a Tebo connector driven from the left side of the joist will have to have its spur manually bent over after installation in order to project at a 90-degree angle. Alternatively, that spur may be hammered over flat to get it out of the way.

The Tebo system can be used to install decking on the diagonal, but you'll need to bend the prong back to 90 degrees to the decking edge after installation, using a proprietary tool.

Although the manufacturer is working on an alternative inverted point that will cut into dense, tropical lumber, at the present time, hardwood like Ipe spells trouble for the system. Unless, that is, you want to use Tebo's optional pilot hole drill fixture.

Also, pressure-treated lumber, if not kiln-dried after treatment, may be too wet for these connectors to be effective. Excessive shrinkage could allow the board to pull free of the connecting spur. The connectors come in boxes of 120 for $50, or about 42¢ each.

Sources of Supply

Fastener Manufacturers

BEN Manufacturing

425/776-5340

http://www.premier1.net/~ben69

Dec-Klip

Blue Heron Enterprises

888/438-3289

http://www.ebty.com

Eb-Ty

Grabber Construction Products

800/869-1375

http://www.deckmaster.com

Deckmaster

Simpson Strong-Tie

800/899-5099

http://www.strongtie.com

DBTC

Spotnails

800/873-2239

http://www.spotnails.com

Tebo

Deck One

888/335-3217

http://www.deckone.com

Stealth Decking Fastener

TY-LAN Enterprises

800/742-3632

http://www.shadoetrack.com

Shadoe Track

USP Lumber Connectors

800/328-5934

http://www.uspconnectors.com

Deck Clip — DC50 series