Rebel with a Cause Part II: Jason Russell, aka, Dr. Decks, dishes on his new DIY Network Show, The Deck Doctor and Bending Deck Boards
DESIGN NEXT DOOR: So the last time we talked your new show, The Deck Doctor, on DIY Network just aired, where the audience was treated to some cool automation eye candy and artistic craftsmanship. Let’s talk about your background and how you got started in the biz.
Jason: I learned the deck business from my dad, as did my brother. Now I’m teaching it to my own son. After high school I started working with a management company repairing decayed and damaged decks. I’ve been working under my own Dr. Decks business for twenty-five years.
DESIGN NEXT DOOR: You’re often referred to as an artist, specifically as a deck board bending artist. What was the incident or inspiration that changed you from a deck builder to an artist?
Jason: Deck board bending. Plain and simple. The ability to manipulate PVC deck boards into curved pieces and surfaces brought my decks from a box to works of art. I started experimenting with heat bending and heat sources a couple of decades ago. A friend in the business was messing around with heat-bending and I started working with him. It’s been a long learning experience and I’ve literally destroyed over $100,000 dollars’ worth of product over the years. In the beginning I was borrowing equipment from different companies and people, until one year my wife bought me own silicone heating blanket. Then it was on like Donkey Kong! Now, I use nothing but Heatcon’s silicone heating blankets to get my creative shapes and designs.
DESIGN NEXT DOOR: What products do you like using for your decks?
Jason: PVC. PVC is my product of choice because I can modify and manipulate it into shapes that you can’t with traditional wood deck boards.
DESIGN NEXT DOOR: Inteplast Building Products were the deck boards you used on your DIY Network show, The Deck Doctor. Was that by accident?
Jason: I like working with Inteplast’s products. I’ve been using their boards ever since I first saw them being used in projects in the Puget Sound area. I like their exotic colors and their natural-looking wood-grain textures.
DESIGN NEXT DOOR: You make amazing curves and shapes for your homeowners’ decks, at the chagrin of some of the product manufacturers. Have you always been a rebel?
Jason: Absolutely! I’ve always done things against the grain. That’s the same approach I take with my decks. I’m trying to build something that’s amazing and not what everybody else is doing. I’ve voided many a manufacturer’s warranty in my career. But I know my decks are sound, quality living environments.
DESIGN NEXT DOOR: In addition to curves and automation, do you have any other signature elements in your deck that if someone saw one of your decks they would immediately recognize it as a Dr. Decks?
Jason: Definitely. By our finish work. We cover all the ends of our boards; everything is clean and finished. I’m a minimalist at heart. I’m heavily influenced by Asian architecture. Yeah, we may have cool automated parts and unique design elements, but in the end I want my work to be a tranquil, calm extension of my customer’s living space.
A big congratulations to Jason and his team on their show, The Deck Doctor, which premiered on DIY Network channel on Tuesday, May 17th, if you missed it you will have another chance to watch the shows on Sunday, June 5th at 9:00 a.m. Check DIY Network for the specific schedule for your area. Want to see more of Jason’s amazing creations? Visit his fan site at www.therebelcarpenter.com and www.drdecks.com for more information on how Jason and his team can help you create your own one-of-a-kind outdoor living environment.
Thank you Jason for taking time out of your crazy busy schedule to talk with us.
Thanks for reading!