Tibby Singh Chodha checks out the CAMO edge fastening system.
Fixing deck boards to the timber structure can be accomplished in a few different ways. Decking clips are available, for example, but they can be fiddly, and if they require a groove may not be compatible with some boards. The easy way would be to screw them down to the structure, but seeing all the screws from the top can be unsightly. So I was looking forward to give the CAMO hidden edge fastening system a go.
As much as I like fixings, I just don’t like them being on display, and taking the shine away from the woodwork, so I’m a sucker for hidden fasteners. When I get asked how I’ve fixed something together because you can’t see the screws, I know the client’s satisfied with the job.
This is why I admire this system, because its magical trick up its sleeve is to hide the screws. The best thing about it is that you don’t need to be an expert to use it. It’s as simple as clamping the CAMO to the deck board, loading the screws into the angle guided hole and then screwing it into place at the front and back.
There is a range of different models from the standard Marksman, designed with a single guide hole, to the Marksman PRO that has dual screw guides to fasten both sides with a single tool placement. Both of these can be adjusted to fit decking boards from 5-1/4in. to 5-3/4in., with automatic spacing of 3/16in.. Then there are the PRO-XI and PRO-X2 for spacing of 1/16in. and 1/8in. respectively. Whereas, if you’re using smaller decking, the Marksman PRO-NB is designed for narrower deck boards from 3-1/4in. to 5in..
These automatic spacing gaps between each board aren’t normally done, but it allows the boards to move with the ongoing weather changes, especially here in the UK. Moreover, the CAMO requires no pilot holes, so you don’t need to worry about the sky clouding over because you’ll fly through the job.
CAMO’s edge deck fasteners are specially designed screws with a reverse tip. This forward thinking removes wood as it’s driven in. This prevents excess build up and the risk of splitting the board, which would result in wastage. Another feature of the fastener is the thread finishing half way up the shaft, which pulls the board tight up against the joist. So if there were any warped or cupped boards you’d soon straighten them out.
You can literally screw in the dark because the CAMO driver supports you to screw to the correct depth every time. This is achieved by the built in shoulder, which sets the depth for maximum holding power, and also prevents over-driving the screw, which could spilt the decking board. Its Torx head screw prevents any slipping or cam-out effect whilst drilling away.
There are many advantages of screwing the decking boards from the edge, not least an aesthetically pleasing and seamless finish. Although I’m not recommending it but you could walk bare foot because there wouldn’t be any splinters left from any screw holes. It’s also easier to clean and treat as there’s no visible area for the dirt to build up.
Other benefits include allowing quick and easy access underneath decking to clean, install lighting or to do anything else. You don’t need to worry and stress about removing a whole section of decking. The flexibility of this system allows you to take individual deck boards out by removing the screws at angles in the edge.
I don’t know where this very cost effective tool has been hiding but I am really impressed with the CAMO hidden deck fastening system, as it can be used with all solid and grooved wood as well as composite and PVCu.