To properly maintain wood decking and prevent rot, the leaves, moss, dirt, and other moisture-collecting debris that accumulates in the gaps between the boards must be periodically removed. If you only need to do this once or twice a year, you’re probably OK with getting down on your hands and knees with a putty knife or old Sawzall blade and digging it out, or setting up a pressure washer. But California deck-builder Richard Houghton—who has cleaned thousands of decks over his 14-year career—decided that there had to be a better way and developed what he calls the Deck Groove Cleaner.

The tool features a sturdy fiberglass handle fitted with a stainless steel head, which is corrosion-resistant, of course. Houghton tells me that he spent a lot of time fine-tuning the head design, experimenting with the profile and different metal thicknesses, before he was satisfied with the final product, which is assembled in the U.S. You can order one from him at his website. —A.W.