Your Complete Guide to the Marksman Deck Tool
Many hidden decking systems have been available on the market in recent years, but most have not been very impressive. While the finished product is usually quite good in a lot of cases, most of these systems need a lot of extra work. As a result, the job usually ends up taking longer to finish, involves more training, and generally increases how much it costs you to deliver the final product.
However, the CAMO Marksman range of deck tools is in a class of its own. They successfully redefine the concept of what is possible to accomplish with hidden deck fastening systems. These tools do away with the need for clips, as well as cutting or routing board edges. More importantly, they make the whole process of installing deck boards much easier.
In a nutshell, CAMO has managed to design an ingenious way of fastening deck boards. Its Marksman range of tools do this by driving screws into boards at an angle all along each board’s edge. They attach decking material directly to the substructure.
Through this, deck boards can be fastened more securely and in an easier, faster way. Whether you want a fastener-free deck surface or prefer a blend of color-matched face fasteners, these deck tools result in beautiful deck surfaces. When you think about it in this way, it is actually quite impressive.
The CAMO Marksman deck tools can work on any grooved or solid treated wood, cedar, hardwood, PVC, or composite decking materials. When combined with the CAMO deck screws , these systems are able to deliver deck surfaces that are free of any fasteners. They manage to do this all using an easier installation method and at a more affordable price. This system includes the following:
- CAMO Marksman tools
- CAMO Marksman PRO tools
- CAMO Edge Fasteners
- CAMO Driver Bits
- CAMO SpacersIndependent tests show that these deck tools exceed ASTM Uplift Resistance industry standards in all grooved and solid wood, PVC, and composite boards. The tools also outpace ASTM Thermal Cycling industry standards for all solid wood, PVC, and composite boards.
Furthermore, this hidden fastener deck system is very durable, with CAMO offering a limited lifetime warranty that offers a guarantee against corrosion and rust throughout the lifecycle of any project. All in all, these tools are truly revolutionizing the face of decking as we know it.
How do CAMO Deck Tools Work?
In practical applications, the CAMO Marksman deck tool can be used to either install new decks or replace and repair boards in older ones. In the second  case, this deck tool allows you to push down warped boards that pop out of any deck structure due to wood shrinkage.
Either way, the CAMO range of deck tools can be an invaluable part of any deck installation process. Once you push down a decking board, you can simply use the CAMO deck tool to drive in screws at each side of the board and secure it tightly on to the joist.
The process of using this deck tool is quite simple. Here is a step-by-step guide to explain how the CAMO deck tool works:
- Use underneath L-brackets, face fastening, or a combination of the two to secure your starter board.
- Lay your first board down. Then, use your CAMO Marksman deck tool to set it in place by squeezing its handle until it grips the board perfectly. Then, release the handle.
- Use the deck tool to push the first board into the starter board, ensuring that you maintain enough pressure throughout. Then, make sure that the first board is completely parallel along the whole length. You can also use a standard board stretcher to ensure that the alignment is perfect.
- Load your CAMO Marksman deck tool with two screws, with one on each side of the tool.
- Using a standard cordless drill or driver that has been set on high speed, drive a screw onto the outside edge of the board. Make sure to push this board against the starter board until it is a tight fit against the spacer’s teeth.
You can keep the speed of the drill on maximum throughout this process. However, you will not have to force the screw. It will do most of the work itself.
- When the bit’s shoulder reaches the deck tool’s screw guide, you can stop drilling.
- Then, proceed to drill the other screw in from the opposite edge.
- Once that is done, repeat this process as you lay out the next boards.
One of the coolest thing about the CAMO deck tool is that it actually allows you to back out screws in order to replace a specific board at whatever position on the deck. To accomplish this, all you have to do is use the bit to reverse out any of the stainless steel fasteners. Then, you will be ready to pop in a new board. This is made possible by the screw’s accurate angle and spacing. This feature comes in very handy when you are doing any maintenance, repair, or upkeep jobs on your deck.
However, this system’s real hero has to be the fasteners. They have much smaller heads than you would expect, quite like trim head screws that need a star drive bit. Also, each has threads that drive down and end in a clipped end which CAMO refers to as a reverse rake tip. This end is able to rip through any tough decking materials like ipe wood or composites without any trouble. Amazingly, it can do this without any pre-drilling required.
The top of each fastener consists of a beautiful design that looks like a reverse thread. In reality, three rows of reverse thread work to draw boards tighter to the fastener head. They also ensure that once the screws have sunk into the wood, they will never come back up again over time.
It is also important to note that these threads are much shallower than the main ones. This ensures that they do not obstruct the screws driving force. However, they do serve as an excellent measure to prevent screws from loosening as the wood or composite decking material ages over time.
These screws are available in the ProTech coated, or 305 and 316 stainless steel versions. Both are protected against rust and corrosion, with the stainless steel option recommended for more coastal or tropical environments.
Various Types of the Marksman Deck Tool
CAMO makes various types of Marksman deck tools. These include the following:
1. CAMO Marksman PRO X1
The CAMO Marksman PRO X1 is designed to work with treated and other softwood lumber. This deck tool drives in CAMO Hidden Fasteners at an angle on the side edges of any wooden board, ensuring that all you see is a beautiful, fastener-free wooden deck.
Since treated wood usually contracts as natural drying happens, this deck tool also ensures that a slight 1/16” space is maintained automatically. However, the CAMO Marksman PRO X1 can only be used with CAMO Hidden Fasteners.
It can fit any almost any deck board. Dual screw guides allow you to securely fasten both sides of any board with a single placement. Furthermore, this heavy duty, contractor-grade deck tool has a powerful clamping action to grip every deck board securely.
2. CAMO Marksman Pro X2
The CAMO Marksman Pro X2 is designed for PVC decking, but it can also be used with treated wood, cedar, hardwood, and composite deck boards. It also comes with CAMO PVC Edge Deck Fasteners, which are designed specifically for PVC deck boards. These fasteners are not recommended for use with any other decking materials.
This deck tool guides each fastener into the edge of the board, automatically creating a 1/8-inch gap. This is the industry-approved minimum spacing when installing PVC decks. It can fit any almost any deck board.
This heavy-duty, contractor-grade deck tool has a strong clamping action that grabs and holds deck boards securely. And, it also has dual screw guides that allow you to secure both sides of a board with a single placement of the tool. The end result is a beautiful deck surface that is smooth and barefoot-friendly.
3. CAMO Marksman Edge
The CAMO Marksman Edge is an innovative deck tool that is designed to be used when installing pressure treated wooden and other softwood decking material. The best part of this tool is that it can be attached to any drill. However, it can only be used to drive in CAMO Hidden Fasteners.
With this tool, you can install deck boards without any gaps. This allows the wood deck boards to contract naturally over time without cracking or splitting. However, if gaps are preferred, you can use secondary spacers to achieve various gap options.
Furthermore, fasteners enter the wood boards at a side angle, ensuring that your deck surface remains free of fasteners. With this heavy duty, contractor-grade deck tool, treated wood has never looked better.
Overall, the CAMO Marksman range of tools is amazing in its simplicity and innovation. You can just grab one and a box of fasteners and move easily through any decking project. You will also finish such work in record time, regardless of your skill level. Needless to say, this deck tool will be an invaluable addition to any toolbox.