Street price: $30
Nearly two years ago, I stumbled on a YouTube video of a carpenter using an unusual tool to coax decking into place. It was a wedge with its middle removed to leave the shape of a U. The wedge wrapped around a joist, and a few hammer blows caused it to bite into the joist and drive the decking over. A quick jerk with the hammer claws removed it. It was one of the most elegant tools I've ever seen; I had to get one and try it.
The inventor, Mike Jones, happily sent me a sample. Close up, the Deck Wedge is a block of apparently heavy-duty plastic wrapped around a piece of steel that digs into the joist as the Wedge is hammered home. The steel holds the Wedge in place, and the angled side pushes the decking where you want it to go. Once you screw the decking down, a pull with a hammer removes the Wedge.
As often happens with small inventors and their inventions, it took a long time to arrange for production and distribution of the Deck Wedge. A couple of weeks ago, though, Jones called to tell me the Deck Wedge is finally available retail. Seriously, go buy one. This is one of the coolest tools I've ever used. - Andy Engel