I recently heard my next door neighbor refer to our street as the most Amish of neighborhoods.
I knew my other next door neighbor would be building a small deck one weekend and was willing to help if I were around. This willing to help translated into 2 hour on a Friday night and another 2 hours on Saturday. About 6 of us were rotating in and out (based on other obligations) over the weekend and the deck got put up in 2 days. I learned a lot as the project involved digging 7 holes to put the 4x4 corner pieces in, mixing and filling cement, then attaching the 2x6 boards with long bolts, then attaching the joists with joist hangers and then finally attaching the deck material.
The following weekend another neighbor was finishing his deck. This was a project he started about 6 weeks earlier, but unfortunately had to pause. When he resumed it was further along. It was equally interesting to work on this project as I was more involved with measuring, layout and some light tear out of the old deck material. Fortunately there was no digging or mixing of cement. Those 80# cement bags are pretty tricky to lift. Over Saturday and Sunday I probably spent about 4 hours over there.
I also got to play with a variety of tools. We were digging with spades, post hole diggers, and this really heavy pinch point bar (the bar comes in handy for a variety of tasks). The mixing of concrete was done with shovels and hoes in a wheel barrow. Finally I learned the difference between a drill and impact driver. The drill was used for pilot holes and through holes. The impact driver was used for running the bolts through and attaching the deck material. A heavy framing hammer certainly makes putting up the joists easier. Finally have plenty of bits in various lengths on hand and keep your spare batteries charged. I did not do much with the circular saw or miter box, but know where they live if I ever need to borrow them.
The biggest bonus was hanging out with the guys and having a chance to get to know them. I have a hard time hanging out over drinks and we rarely get together to play or watch sports so this was a prime opportunity to develop some friendships.