When building a deck, always nail a thinner member to a thicker member. Hot-dipped zinc-coated nails are a good choice. For more holding power, consider using either ring- or spiral-shanked nails, or go with deck screws. If using screws, it's best to pre-drill pilot holes.
If you’re thinking of refinishing your project, take a close look at it first. Antiques (or potential antiques) deserve special consideration. Always try to restore the old finish rather than stripping down to bare wood. Stripping an antique can destroy the soft mellowed look wood gets with age (patina) as well as depreciate considerably its value.
To determine if the entire surface of a board that you've run through a thickness planer is flat try the following: Scribble a chalk mark on the surface of the board. Then run it through the planer until the chalk mark disappears.