Product Focus: ‘Deck King’ – a Right Royal Idea

The all-new Deck King decking tool, designed by Australian inventor Mark Behnecke and distributed by Stanley Tools, can halve the time it takes to lay outdoor decking…

It takes guts, commitment and nerve to transform a concept into a marketable product, and professional and DIY deck builders are fortunate that a small Aussie team has had the confidence to bring Deck King to the general market.

Caption: The new Deck King creates evenly spaced, uniform decking surfacesAHJProduct01Aug05

The tool, like the greatest inventions, is extremely simple and logical. Comprising a hand-held metal plane equipped with spacer pegs, the Deck King is used to lay up to five lengths of decking timber at once with even spacings. Forget the old system of tackling one length of timber at a time and using a spacing widget to manually align each plank – the Deck King brings symmetry, uniformity and speed to the process. And with outdoor decking representing one of Australia’s most popular home improvement projects, the tool is bound to be of great interest to both professional and DIY deck builders.

The Deck King is the brainchild of Mark Behnecke, Craig Symons and Warren Bakos, who struck upon the design while laying a deck. “We was putting down a deck in September 2003 and it was taking forever because we were dealing with a 40m2 deck and fixing one length at a time,” explains Mark. “Warren thought a spacer tool would help to line up multiple lengths at once, so I grabbed a piece of merbau and put nails in it so it looked like a rake, and the second half of the job took half the time.”

The following day Mark approached a patent attorney and the rest, as they say, is history. Mark entered into a business partnership with Craig and Warren, secured an international patent, and has since overseen the first high-volume production runs of the tool (with national distribution undertaken by Stanley Tools).

Made for Aussie Conditions
Mark says the Deck King is equipped to handle the two main types of decking timber used in Australia, i.e. 70mm and 90mm hardwood planks. Each tool comes with two fixed-peg solid metal strips, one for 70mm spacing and the other for 90mm, and the user simply attaches the appropriate strip to the body of the tool using butterfly wing nuts. The pegs provide a 5mm space between planks in accordance with Australian Standards (Section 3.13 Verandas & Decks, 3C.13.1). “The Australian Standards say you have to have ‘at least 5mm between adjacent timbers to allow water to be sprayed up from underneath the deck and reach both the deck surface and adjacent walls’,” says Mark.

AHJProduct02Aug05Caption: Simple, solid and understandable – the keys to a successful invention

There are numerous benefits of using the tool apart from ensuring even spacing between multiple planks. When the tools two longer pins butt up against the edge of the joist the Deck King doubles as a rule, giving the user a straight line directly above the centre of the joist. The tool keeps multiple timber surfaces securely in place for either hammer nailing or rapid nail gun fixing.

Perhaps the most important benefits of the tool, however, are its time-saving and safety functions. Halving the time spent kneeling, aligning and securing decking timber also halves the risk of muscle strain, repetitive motion injury and accidental injury – and user safety is, of course, just as important as a professionally finished job.

The Deck King is available now to all resellers. For more information call Stanley Tools on 1800 338 002.

By John Power